In every successful marketing program, the focus begins with the consumer—and how they prefer to be served in the journey to purchase satisfaction. That goes for channel marketing too. This hasn’t changed, but in today’s marketing environment, the channel (i.e., the local retailer, dealer, distributor or agent) is more focused, data-driven, automated and accountable than ever.
This is always a primary driver. Especially now, a customer comes to us with more knowledge about our products and services. They’ve done their homework online. Google notes, “As marketers, we learned to master the funnel—a linear customer journey from awareness to consideration to purchase. Mass media and demographic profiles were used to approximate user intent and inform targeting and creative. But today, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all. They look more like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses and more … these ‘intent-rich’ moments are creating journey shapes as unique as each of us.”
Customer intent is redefining the funnel. Our job is to provide knowledge and confidence to convince consumer prospects that our brands and co-branded partners, provide the best route to meet their needs.
Data and Technology Matter
It’s data-driven and technology supported. Marketers identify specifics in terms of key performance indicators (KPIs) or cost per engagement by individual marketing, web or media channels. In-store technology is being designed to serve us better.
Here are five trends for you to keep an eye on in 2019:
- Marketing automation platforms for speed and scope of service and intuitive cues through AI to best serve a broad platform of users. Digital/Direct products, such as Strategic America’s Metis[™ Local Search solution, are aligned to deliver greater efficiency for every market we serve. With that comes attribution, reporting and analysis.
- Integrated, omni-channel, full-funnel strategies that parallel the consumer’s journey. Today’s complexity recognizes path-to-purchase considerations and builds in web and media prompts, relevant content, search and in-store promotions. Smart marketers are investing in top- and mid-funnel strategies with appropriate calls-to-action at every level.
- Select bundles of appropriate tools to offer and test the right combination for each market and every neighborhood. While direct and traditional media remain valuable, options like connected TV are gaining ground. This year, more dollars are projected to be devoted to digital than all other media combined.
- Non-category competition means disruptors are finding their way into nearly every area, and their impact is certain to be felt. Without a doubt, these competitors will work to deliver a faster, less expensive, more data-informed marketplace. And smart marketers are exercising their own digital channel of delivery.
- The macro economy will impact everything. Whether it’s trade wars, interest rates, material costs, home sales, stock market activity, or conflicts—all will combine for a tumultuous ride in 2019.
What will be required in 2019? Solid strategic planning, qualified partners, data analysis and, a constitution that can handle more change. It’s coming. At SA, nearly four decades of focus on channel marketing brings context and robust expertise on delivering a quality program to increase sales. Another way of saying, we’re here to help.