We summarized 5 digital Marketing Trends 2018.

Trend 1: Customer-centric Experience – The Digital Dialogue Takes the Lead in the Transformation

The digital transformation is led by a radical customer focus in marketing. Customer demand for of a best-in-class experience and personal appreciation can only be achieved in marketing in the context of an increasingly fierce competition. Marketing is becoming the driving force to push forward the factors necessary for customer-focussed user experiences, such as data availability, process automation and analytical intelligence. The high time-to-market pressures in this transformation will be accelerated by a market, where market entry barriers are lowered through digitalisation, new business models become possible and changes in value chains. The transformation will also be accelerated by the growing pressure on companies for profitability; by increasing demands of customers who are used to be mobile, always on, linked, social, prepared to switch and increasingly used to best-in-class user experiences.

Trend 2: Responding to Behaviour in Real Time – From Campaign Management to Realtime Marketing Automation

Relevance in marketing and service communication does no longer only mean individualisation of the communication based on existing customer data, such as purchase history. Relevance in communication is increasingly gained through up-to-dateness and speed based on the consideration of the customer’s context of use, such as e.g., his location, the weather or terminal device which is used. The capacity for real-time marketing is becoming vital for success. Companies must be able to deal with previously unknown data in real time, to analyse it and based on the analysis results output the correct communication measures or dynamically adapt communicated content without any time delay.

Trend 3: Smartwatches, Wearables & Internet of Things – New Terminal Devices, New Touchpoints, New Connections

The Internet of Things, especially in the B2C sector, opens up new potential for digital direct marketing. Consumer products such as fitness trackers or smart homes increasingly generate data from which a better customer understanding can be gained. Companies do not only learn more about what types of products a customer buys, but also e.g., how and in what contexts these products are used. The capacity to use this information for the optimisation of not only products but also the marketing and service communication is becoming an integral part of competitiveness. Furthermore, networked terminal devices open up new communication channels. Smartwatches and other wearables, connected cars, smart homes, networked household appliances etc. offer a huge potential not only to capture data but also to communicate with customers. Even if this is not possible yet with many other terminal devices, it is recommended that possible deployment scenarios on a conceptual level are anticipated.

Trend 4: Geo-fencing, Beacons, Location-based – Mobile Contexts and Touchpoints Set the Time

Truly customer-centred communication is no longer possible without including the customer’s location. Geo-fencing for location-based services or communication e.g., in order to direct customers on the highstreet to the nearest PoS or navigate in-store, have become a must-have. After experiments with non-customer-specific services such as beacons, this means a growing investment in truly customer-specific tracking technologies and tracking enabled apps. Furthermore, it is important to adapt content dynamically to the customer’s location at the time of usage in order to take into account changes, time delays in the perception or the context of use. In order to respond in real time to the location (including to changes in location) with the correct marketing and service communication, the speed of the marketing capacity is becoming critical for success. Traditional campaign management with a planning phase is being replaced by real time marketing automation.

Trend 5: The End of Unilateral CRM – Taking Into Account The Complexity of Customer Relationships

Many companies today focus their CRM on a primary transaction-orientated seller-buyer relationship with the customer. The complexity of the customer requirements according to their relationship with the company or brand is only insufficiently considered. In the future, it will become vital to manage more complex and emotional relationship types and to correctly classify customers. All relevant relationship types will have to be identified and indicators (e.g. statements in social media posts) which allow the classification of customers into relationship types will have to be modelled. Taking into consideration the relationship type of each individual customer helps to make the marketing and service communication even more customer-centred and to address the true motives. The categorising of customers according to relationship types should be transferred to an automated and continuous process which responds to changes to the indicators in real time.