Enlighten Designs' CMO Breakfast: What Does the Future of Digital Marketing Hold?

27 November 2019

What does the future of digital marketing hold? That was the question asked at Enlighten Design’s recent breakfast for CMOs. Representatives from Enlighten and Microsoft New Zealand shared their thoughts about how the marketing landscape is changing and what CMOs can do to keep a competitive edge.

There were three takeaways:

  1. AI will have a significant impact on digital marketing.
  2. The path to personalisation should be well-defined.
  3. Marketers need to master data storytelling to captivate audiences’ attention.

Here's how CMOs can harness new technological tools to ensure their brands’ success.

AI’s Impact on Digital Marketing

The CMO breakfast kicked off with a presentation about how AI is changing and will change digital marketing. AI refers to a computer's capability to learn on its own, without human interference. While there are some impressive use cases for AI in a mind-boggling number of industries, the applications of AI in digital marketing are really exciting.

AI allows marketers to forge closer relationships with customers while scaling their marketing efforts. With AI, you can personalise communications (the technology analyses customer interactions to deliver perfectly tailored offers), personalise experiences (customising what the user sees and what he or she interacts with based on previous visits), predict what a customer will do next, and improve BI tools so marketers can do things like drill down further into metrics or evaluate social media sentiment at scale.

What’s the Path to Personalisation?

Nadia Phillips, marketing consultant at Enlighten, presented at the CMO breakfast. She discussed how marketers can start their journey on the path to personalisation. 

Phillips explained that today’s tools allow personalisation to take place in almost any channel (web, mobile, VR/AR, kiosks, emails, and apps), with any content, at any time. The secrets behind personalisation at scale are web experience management (known as WXM) and an experience database.

WXM involves content management, digital asset management, product information management, and marketing resource management. Those components allow you to find the right content at the right time, instead of constantly creating content from scratch. An experience database complements WXM; it contains information about what a customer or lead has done online, so you’re able to serve up the right content, at the right time, when the customer is in the right place.

Phillips cited some examples of personalisation that worked at scale to attract customers. A website header based on a personalised referral source boosted traffic by 310 per cent, while location-based customisation advertising brought in 25 per cent more visitors to another site.

How do you achieve these results? You must align digital goals with organisational objectives. You want the customer to take some kind of action that will increase engagement, such as registering for a newsletter or downloading content. Those actions are related to marketing objectives, such as increasing contact acquisition or capturing a full data profile.

The digital goals you set should be clearly linked to measurable customer behaviours that show commitment. Some examples include creating a profile, watching a video, or requesting a demo. Those goals should ultimately lead back to your overall aim for the organisation (increasing revenue is a common goal). Moreover, each digital goal has a value, with the easiest actions being worth the least.

Phillips recommended prioritising key customer segments for quick wins – these customers are the ones who have the highest potential to easily make an impact on your goals. After that, it’s a matter of deciding which digital channel and content to customise.

Master Data Storytelling

Verne Roberts, delivery team lead at Enlighten, was the third presenter at the CMO breakfast. He shared a presentation on the importance of mastering data storytelling.

Roberts quoted American management consultant W. Edwards Deming – "Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion." Data storytelling refers to the use of data to tell a compelling story. In today’s world, where people are bombarded with data, marketers have to sort through the chaff to use information that will make customers take notice.

One way to get customers to take notice is to make content interactive; according to Hubspot, interactive content is shared twice as often as the passive variety. Roberts cited the example of the data journalism project Enlighten worked on previously. Enlighten led a hands-on lab for journalists so they could learn how to use Microsoft BI to aid their storytelling efforts.

Enlighten realised that data storytelling could play a role in enterprise marketing efforts, too. Data storytelling engages internal and external audiences, and it transforms brands from advertisers into publishers. That transformation increases brand awareness.

Roberts ended the presentation by stating that data storytelling delivers customers what they want. In an era of fake news, customers want transparency. They need to feel as though they can trust you. Interactive content connects them to a brand, while emotion shows that you’re not some faceless corporate entity.

Data storytelling gives customers all of these things. It provides the information behind the story, so you can build trust. With data-driven storytelling, customers can fact-check. Moreover, interactive content allows customers to truly engage with your brand and understand the powerful narrative you’re sharing.

Enlighten: Helping Today’s CMOs Meet Tomorrow’s Marketing Challenges

Enlighten Designs has been helping customers create amazing digital experiences for over 20 years. We’re ready to help you tackle tomorrow’s challenges, too; we’re a Microsoft Gold Partner in Application Development, Data Platform, and Data Analytics, and we’re a Sitecore Gold partner. Our expertise in AI, personalisation, and data storytelling enables us to help companies connect to their customers more deeply than ever before. To learn more, contact us.

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