We curated what marketers should be thinking about and acting on in 2018.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There has been a lot of buzz on AI for enterprise for the last couple of years. When Salesforce announced Einstein at their 2016 Dreamforce, Mark Benioff said "AI is the next platform—all future applications, all future capabilities for all companies will be built on AI.”
The prediction mantra "email is dead" started back around 2008 when social media adoption, specifically on Facebook, was steadily surpassing most online communication channels. In 2010, even Gartner predicted, "social-networking-services, coupled with changing demographics and work styles, will lead 20 percent of employees to use social networks as their business communications’ hub by 2014". It's 2018 and email, up to now, has not lost its momentum. Whatever you are using for your email engine, a marketing automation platform or a standalone email platform, keep informed about new technologies and advancements. Buzz around personalization, interactive capabilities and support for more compelling visuals are the upgrades you should be seeing this year.
The rise of Marketing Technology can be credited to Scott Brinker and his famous Marketing Technology Landscape graph. It has given many B2B marketers inspiration to build out their martec stacks so everything is neatly automated, tracked and reported. Of course, it's not as easy as it appears. Most of us just came down with a case SNOS (shiny new object syndrome), and spent money and cycles to get tools and apps integrated or just to get them to optimize our workload. This year, it's all about simplifying the stack and testing what is tried and true.
Focus on The Journey
B2B marketing executives are getting so serious about the buyer's journey, that they are restructuring their organizations. Eager to test out individuals who can support each stage of the journey, execs are looking for experts. These experts know the product, can develop content for each buying stage and can even communicate directly with prospects. Marketing and Sales organizations are going to be even more aligned as the lines blur. The question is when does marketing end and sales begin?
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes in effect on May 25, 2018. This new privacy regulation will radically change every phase of consumer data management within the EU, but also worldwide. All companies that possess lead, prospect, or customer data about persons located in the EU will have to comply with the new regulation, whether or not these companies or their servers are located within the EU. Data-driven personalized customer engagement is what drives modern digital marketing, yet GDPR is going to completely upend what is considered acceptable usage of customer data. Marketers need to understand what GDPR means for their 2018 plans, and in particular its impact on personalized marketing – from newsletters and email campaigns to registration forms and digital advertising.