How to stay ahead of the marketing hype cycle

November 2016 was a pretty exciting month for New Zealand marketers. First up, we launched Data Powered Marketing, with our mission to help New Zealand’s marketers make better data-based decisions.

Then – within days of our launch – Gartner released their 2016 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising. If the task of an innovative software business like Qrious is to always be just ahead of the curve, I’d like to think we pretty much nailed it with our DPM service.

Keeping ahead of the trends

Gartner’s Hype Cycle was initially created as a visual way to represent trends in the maturity and adoption of innovation. But as the tech sector exploded from the mid-1990s, the Hype Cycle became a way to track and quantify the endless outpourings of innovation. A few years on, it now occupies a unique place in the business landscape – one part valuable investment tool, and one part hype driver itself – and is a ‘go-to’ for organisations wanting to stay abreast of trends.

In 2016 Gartner did something a little different. With technology increasingly blurring distinctions between Advertising and Digital Marketing, Gartner decided to acknowledge this. They merged the previously separate charts for each sector, creating a unified Hype Cycle for Advertising and Digital Marketing.

Of course, we were pretty chuffed to see this. It’s a great validation of the Data Powered Marketing approach, where we use data and technology to help marketers and advertisers make better decisions about their customers. Today’s connected consumer moves seamlessly between the traditional channels for digital marketing and advertising, and by placing the customer and data at the heart of our model we help our clients reflect this customer need.

A key role for the Hype Cycle is helping organisations understand when and where to invest in or deploy their resource. By placing innovations and services along a spectrum from uncertain innovation through to BAU productivity, Gartner can help businesses identify the optimal time to invest. Clarity on an innovation’s journey from uncertainty through to BAU helps the C-suite understand the relevancy and timeliness of that innovation for their own organisation.

Interesting new innovations in the hype cycle

In 2016 Gartner added three new innovations the Hype Cycle. All of these are directly related to the rise in data powered marketing.

Ad blocking exploded in usage last year, driven by always-on consumers no longer willing to accept interruptive advertising. Savvy marketers understand this and are already changing their approach. The focus is now on understanding customer needs (through data collection), their progress through the conversion funnel (through tools such lifecycle management) and then serving up content and information appropriate to the customer need.

Digital wallets may not necessarily be driven by data powered marketing. However, as a data focused product, digital wallets will be the trigger for a flood of innovation based on the data they will generate. On a basic level, the ability to market directly and with relevance to customers based on real time purchasing data will be significant.

Finally, one pretty close to home. Gartner’s final addition to the Hype Cycle was B2B Predictive Marketing Analytics. This is a core function within Data Powered Marketing, whether for consumer, B2B or the public sector. The ability to convert, change behaviours, and influence positive outcomes (regardless of sector) based on data and data analysis is a central part of our promise.

Key takeaways

As the GM of Data Powered Marketing, it’s my job to help organisations reach better marketing decisions by utilising data. In some instances that means evangelising the data opportunity from the start – there are many businesses in New Zealand who know there is an opportunity around data, but either don’t know where to start or simply don’t have the resource needed to deliver.

When I look at the Gartner Hype Cycle for 2016, I see a real alignment between my role, the developing trends in data based marketing, the underlying drivers of those trends, and the Data Powered Marketing offering. Here are my three key takeaways:

  1. Real time marketing (or right time marketing) – Real time marketing (or the right message, for the right customer, at the right time in their conversion journey), is exploding. As Gartner reports, many organisations still struggle with this – only 29% think they are getting the right message to the right customer at the right time.
  2. Personalisation – At the same time personalisation is becoming a non-negotiable for consumers, many organisations are struggling. Again, Gartner reports only 25-30% of businesses think they can find the right channels for their customers, or can confidently serve up the right content.
  3. Data driven – Regardless of these short-term difficulties, the migration from product-based shout advertising to data driven information and value based content-type marketing is now strongly underway. Data Powered Marketing are uniquely placed to help our customers navigate this migration, with end to end data management, analysis, and marketing tools.

Future proofing New Zealand organisations

You may be forgiven for thinking it’s all about the data now – and it is. Well, it mostly is. Looking through both the takeaways and the Hype Cycle in general, the other trend from the last five years is starkly clear… yes, we now have loads of data and can do some pretty sophisticated stuff with it. But with the rise in data has come the rise of the customer. Almost all of the innovations in the 2016 Hype Cycle have this in common – they are dedicated to putting the customer at the heart of your business. Sure, data is the tool that enables this, but innovative, savvy (and future proofed) businesses understand data is really about better understanding of customer needs and problems.

Which brings me all the way back to the beginning, and back to November 2016. Data Powered Marketing is dedicated to delivering on the global data trends seen in the Hype Cycle. As a nimble and innovative business, we’re ideally placed to add new tools and methodologies to our product set, reacting to innovations yet to come. Helping New Zealand businesses thrive through these changes, and reaching best in class standards in data and customer understanding is in our DNA. It’s a pretty good feeling to be at the vanguard of this movement.

Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising 2016

Gartner Hype Cycle-2016.png

Source: Gartner

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