Disruption is the new normal, so what are your options? You can keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best. You can react to rapid change and hope your competitors are also going to remain reactive instead of becoming proactive. Or, ideally, you leverage analytics, the power of AI and experimentation to drive innovations and develop winning strategies and tactics for your brands and business.
We’re facing a wave of challenges—privacy regulations, walled gardens, the death of the cookie, and a consumer more sensitive than ever about the use of their data. These challenges are compounded by the revolutionary change that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated for e-commerce and other forms of virtual customer connections/relationships. Amid all this, success will depend on smart marketers and innovators who have the will and capability to adapt to meet the demands of the evolving consumer.
To meaningfully meet the demands of this consumer, marketers must make quick decisions on how and where to reach them. Invasive marketing—from pop-ups and auto-plays to retargeting and location-based ads—have long been a turn-off. At the same time, companies have seen new regulations, such as the EU’s 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and corporate actions, such as Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) from Apple. Yet most marketers haven’t been able to avoid a reliance on third-party data and are now confronted with a new reality.
Rather than being insurmountable, these changes offer new opportunities if approached with the right mindset, tools and strategy. The way forward is through exploring new and innovative measurement techniques to overcome data deprecation while ensuring marketing success. Additionally, the new winners will experiment to uncover untapped opportunities. As businesses are forced to adapt, new approaches to democratizing analytics and insights will further spur data-driven decisioning through greater organizational buy-in.
Data deprecation will fuel innovation
Data deprecation brings many challenges, but it also creates opportunities to establish deeper connections with customers and deliver growth. Success will depend on privacy-safe data capture and future-proofed measurement connected to outcomes. Today’s uncertainty represents a key strategic opportunity to leverage this disruption and make a shift to future-proof and create value through data-driven decisioning.
The growth of walled gardens, the death of the cookie and Apple’s IDFA are part of an ongoing trend of data deprecation. Digital marketing’s core has been undermined. How can you perform multitouch attribution when you don’t know who is touching what? Will the industry move back to the biased views of last-click attribution? Will marketing accountability be restricted to the walled gardens grading their own homework?
While all of these are possible futures, successful marketers will find new ways to create a meaningful value exchange to grow their first-party data and establish stronger connections with their customers with a transparent, privacy-first commitment. New future-proofed measurement solutions, such as Analytic Partners’ Commercial Mix Analytics, will combine data across publishers and channels with a focus on meaningful outcomes, providing the foundation for better data-driven decisioning. In fact, our ROI Genome shows that companies that adopt a robust measurement program for data-driven decisioning drive at least five times the growth versus those that don’t.
Experimentation can reveal new white space
Experimentation will be a powerful tool to reveal new white space amid the disruption. The pace of disruption is accelerating, traditional route-to-market pathways have changed, and omnichannel customer options have forced many businesses to shift spending priorities. As relationships become more omnichannel, smart marketers will test new methods to best meet the needs and maintain strong relationships with their valued customers.
Experimentation with a test-and-learn strategy at its core will allow organizations to assess risks and opportunities and deliver against changing consumer expectations. Experimentation offers the promise of testing a variety of possibilities and will deliver great insight with minimal resource expenditures. It makes it possible to take calculated risks, safely assess what will and will not work, validate new methods and uncover untapped opportunities.
AI to democratize analytics
Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing consumer experiences—whether it’s your digital voice assistant or the latest photo memory ping on your phone, auto-fill in your search window or personalized content recommendations on your streaming service. AI provides us with more access, helps us be more efficient and delivers a better experience. There is great potential for it to do the same for analytics.
AI represents an opportunity to drive greater understanding and buy-in by making analytics more accessible and transparent. In 2020, Analytic Partners identified $2.6 billion in growth opportunities for brands by leveraging analytics to inform decisions. That is only the beginning of what organizations can achieve when they fully adopt data-driven decisioning, and AI can be a vital component for making that happen.
The uncharted future
Disruption is a constant and the path to success is uncharted. While this may seem like an insurmountable challenge, it is full of opportunities for those who are prepared to innovate. Changes to IDFA and third-party cookies and the acceleration of e-commerce will continue to disrupt marketing as we know it. Innovation will fuel better practices for our industry and ultimately better experiences for our customers. AI has the potential to dispel the black-box stigma and democratize analytics to fuel the adoption of data-driven decisioning.
If businesses approach disruption with an eagerness to innovate, experiment, analyze and adopt, it will make the difference between success and stagnation. Disruption is an opportunity for businesses and brands that confront it head-on.