The current pace of business innovation is fairly astonishing, to say the least. As a result, it might seem impossible to keep an effective marketing strategy up-to-date. If your plans seem to lag behind technology before they are even implemented, you might need to learn how you can future-proof your marketing approach.
In this article, we’ll review some of the potential future threats to more traditional marketing strategies. Then we’ll look at three key tips for future-proofing your own approach, and provide some examples and resources to help get you started. Let’s dive right in!
Understanding Future Threats to Your Marketing Plan
If you want to stay proactive rather than reactive with your marketing plan, there are a number of important things to consider. Whether today’s users prefer virtual reality headsets, augmented reality phone apps, or artificial intelligence chatbots, one thing remains true: customer experiences matter.
In fact, 80% of customers say that the experience a company provides is just as important as the products or services it offers. As markets change and it becomes easier for consumers to purchase what they need directly from suppliers, focusing on customer experiences can be key if you want to retain their business.
Additionally, sometimes the biggest threats to future planning are the things we can’t predict in our online culture. For example, what if a successful campaign against social media gains traction while all your resources are focused on Facebook marketing? Knowing how to avoid ending up in that situation enables you to strategize effectively for the future.
‘Future-proofing’ works to lessen the impact of rapid technological change and innovation on your business’ marketing. There are many ways to engage in future-proofing, but let’s look at three of the most effective options.
1. Build Omnichannel Experiences Around Your Customers
Often, you’ll find that an omnichannel approach can provide more longevity than a traditional multichannel strategy. The key to omnichannel marketing is making sure your efforts are focused clearly on the customer. No matter what channel the customer is using, their experience should be seamless and consistent.
This deviates from traditional multichannel marketing, where the strategy focus was on the individual channel rather than the customer. Now, with the help of artificial intelligence, marketers can use data systems to create highly-personalized experiences for customers as they move across various platforms and channels.
One example of a company with a comprehensive and effective omnichannel experience is Disney. The My Disney Experience coordinates vacation planning back and forth between a selection of tools and channels:
There are a few simple ways to start building your own omnichannel strategy. These include:
- Audience segmentation: Dividing your audience base up into distinct groups can help you understand the key differences in your customer demographics, and tailor personal experiences to each customer type.
- Customer tracking: It’s not uncommon for consumers to move from one device to another during a purchasing experience, and customer tracking technology can help retain important data points across platforms.
An omnichannel marketing approach can be helpful in creating a more agile marketing strategy for the future. Your customers’ needs can remain your focus, even as new technology trends come and go.
2. Create Scalable and ‘Headless’ Systems
More customers are usually a good thing, unless your current system is not prepared to handle a sudden influx of business. For that reason, scalability is an important characteristic when planning out your marketing strategy.
Fortunately, headless architecture lets you create systems that can scale quickly without disruptions to the customer experience. This approach decouples the front-end or client-side experience from the back-end functionalities of the software you’re using. This creates a system where the most effective processes for each area of deployment can be applied separately, without limiting each other.
Companies that are looking to deploy multiple programming-heavy services, such as video streaming alongside subscription services and digital downloads, can benefit from exploring headless architectures. Some notable platforms successfully implementing these kinds of structures include Acquia and Adobe:
WordPress is a popular CMS that can be decoupled for headless implementation. Through the use of the REST API, developers are able to handle content separately from front-end deployment and user experience. Using this kind of setup makes you more flexible, and better able to adapt to rapidly-changing technologies.
3. Develop Responsive Content
Responsive design is almost a deal-breaker when it comes to modern web applications. A website that’s built responsively is able to resize and reformat to display optimally on whatever device or screen size a visitor is using. As more device types and screen configurations become available, responsive design becomes an ever more important player in marketing.
Building responsive content as a part of your strategy can also help to support an omnichannel marketing approach. Content that can be deployed or accessed through any device, including smart devices, tends to have more longevity. It also helps keep the user experience as the central focus point.
In terms of responsive design, a focus on mobile-friendly optimization can be important for increasing search engine rankings and accounting for a wide range of devices. Chipotle’s website is an excellent example of fluid and responsive design in action:
If you’re looking to increase your responsive design toolkit, exploring RESTful API as a way of creating content for all devices can be helpful. Most importantly, a responsive design strategy should be geared towards creating content once that can be distributed almost anywhere.
We can only guess at what the next ‘big thing’ is going to be. However, by keeping a few key tips in mind, your marketing plan can gain some agility and be ready to move when new developments arise. Omnichannel marketing, headless architecture, and responsive design are just three ways to begin building a marketing strategy with longevity.
Are you excited to try some future-proofing strategies to enhance your marketing plan? Share your favorite ideas with us in the comments section below!
Image credit: Dose Media.