Last week the latest IPA Bellwether report for Q4 2013 found that budgets across advertising, marketing and digital had been raised for a fifth quarter in a row in the final three months of 2013. Online channels once again saw budgets increased by more than any other category while traditional marketing and advertising spend has continued to suffer. Marketing budgets were heavily slashed during the recession as companies looked to cut costs, however, the survey’s findings indicate a brighter future for the digital sector in particular.
I’m sure the continued success of digital comes as no great surprise to anybody, given how the web has revolutionised how we sell to and support our customers over the last few years. Alongside this growth, there has also been a surge in demand for analytical tools to try and make sense of the increasing volume of information as well as to support and learn from these interactions. However, we have only just scratched the surface. Many businesses may have the basic tools in place to cover email analytics, website behaviour and so on, however, this is largely the extent of it.
What many of these businesses are ignoring are the 95% plus of the “behind the scenes” interactions which now take place between them and their customers – partly because there are few commercial solutions available but also because they are swamped with information and don’t know where to start.
This is where we feel that we will see major changes in the digital space in 2014 and beyond.
The next few years will see digital technology move into a mainstream environment where more affordable solutions which are able to learn, adapt and automate responses to particular behaviours, will become the norm. In short we’re all going to become more self-service orientated. Driven partly by customer demand to work how they want and when they want to and partly by an overwhelming need for businesses to become a lot more efficient at what they do. And unlike in the past where the difference between a human and automated response may have been obvious, the future with technology will be different as the replies and prompts that we receive as customers will be far more sensitive to our individual needs knowing not only how we might be expect to react but also how our peers might behave too.
The potential for making sense of the business data mountain and for streamlining and automating many basic businesses processes to deliver a better results more efficiently than current manual methods, is huge.
It’s where we see our future and where those businesses that can effectively learn to mine their data to create richer customer experience will strike gold.