In our series “Inside a Digital Marketer’s Mind”, marketing experts from various industries tell us their thoughts on the current state of Digital Marketing, including trends, developments and predictions for 2018.
Today, Matthias Koch, Global Mobile Marketing Senior Manager at Meliá Hotels International, shares his insight, tips, and thoughts.
What developments in digital marketing are you the most excited about?
It will be very interesting to see how augmented reality could have a positive impact on our industry, especially in the way guests experience our product. In the end, it’s not just a marketing activity but also a factor in how we create the best product experience.
Also, as we adapt more to how users want to consume, it’s exciting to watch communication become more tailored and efficient. Currently, we try to identify the most receptive and ideal way to communicate on a personal level. For example, some users may be more receptive to a single SMS than they would be to ten emails. In this sense, we’re optimizing the communication, ensuring that an adequate message is sent in the right moment and in the right way. We have to imagine how each individual customer is interacting with us, be it through the website, the contact center, or through our app.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for digital marketers today?
The main goal is to unify the customer profile. We need to be able to identify the user and their needs so that we can provide the best services and experience.
So, our biggest challenge at the moment is being able to unify the data from all the different systems that we’re using. We have different property management systems and, in our hotel chain alone, 6 or 7 different systems that we’re working with. We need to make this data available in a centralized database, and the systems need to be able to communicate with each other.
Digital Marketing tomorrow
"In the end, it’s important to get back some of the power we had before dealing with all of the intermediates."
Name 3 predictions for 2018 in ecommerce and digital marketing
- There will be a move from media buying towards __programmatic buying__, that’s for sure.
- I can also see an increase in the __use of artificial intelligence__ in media creation and buying.
- The __personalization__ of ads will likely continue to increase: Considering all the customer data that is being recorded, I predict a lot more companies moving towards this. Amazon, for example, is a front runner who has done a great job this year, and I think a lot of people will follow their approach come 2018.
Where is travel marketing heading in the next 3 years’ time?
Well, for travel brands, efforts will likely be put into enforcing a brand’s direct channels, such that these become integrated at all consumer touchpoints. The experience should encourage travelers to book from the brand directly, versus booking via third party suppliers. In the end, it’s important to get back some of the power we had before dealing with all of the intermediates.
We're seeing a rise in powerful tools available to facilitate direct bookings, such as the like of Facebook’s Dynamic Ads. Hopefully there will be more methods in three years’ time.
What would be your main advice to digital marketers to stay relevant?
You need to stay up-to-date, modern, and innovative, all while staying aware of your own limits. In other words, do the best you can with the opportunities and possibilities you’re given. If the technical infrastructure of something just isn’t there yet, focus your time and resources on optimizations that are within reach.
What are the top 3 marketing tools you cannot work without?
A paper, a pen, and a laptop. Other than that, obviously Google Analytics Premium - this is relevant to Convertro (formerly AOL, now OATH) - our attribution platform. What’s also important for us at the moment is Adform, which is an ad server.
Is there new software out that you plan to evaluate?
As we get closer to launching our new app, we need to put a stronger focus on proper app marketing, so we’ll continue to have a deeper look into which platform could help the most with this. Currently we’re considering different platforms like TUNE, Adjust, Appflyer or Kochava.
Is there anything that you are missing / that needs to be developed?
Yes - when talking about attribution models, everybody is considering the post view and the post click activity. So, even if you have a modern, self-calculating attribution model, a key part is missing, which is the integration of certain engagements on mobile ads. Mobile ads are working really differently to desktop ads in that they're no longer limited to being just shown, clicked, or ignored. Nowadays, with mobile ads, you have a variety of different functionalities like the scratch effect, a swipe moment, interaction inside of the ad format, and so on.
I’d like to see an attribution model that includes all these different engagement of the different ad types. From my perspective, a person who interacts with the ad for a few seconds has a higher value than one who has only viewed the ad.
Open source vs. paid: Where do you use free software
It really depends on how important the tool is for us. If it is strongly valuable for us, we’re obviously open-minded when it comes to paying for it.
What you didn't know about Matthias
"The main goal is to unify the customer profile."
Can you name a recent ingenious marketing campaign that really stuck out to you?
There are two great ones that come to mind, although they are a bit older:
- The first would be the Coca Cola Zero drinkable ad. They teamed up with Shazam and recorded the “swish” sounds you hear whenever you open a Coke. People were then able to interact with Shazam and the app itself in exchange for a free Coke Zero.
- Another well done campaign was called “happy to help” by KLM. It was an outstanding social media campaign. They created a social media “center” at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and people could tweet for any sort of help. For example, they’d help people who were stranded at the airport, or those who forgot their passport, etc. Another woman requested a wake-up call and received it. They spent an entire week taking care of all travelers, regardless of which airline they were flying with. It was brilliant.
What are your top 3 favorite industry news publications?
Meliá Hotels International was founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and is one of the world’s largest resort hotel chains, as well as Spain’s leading hotel chain. It currently provides more than 370 hotels in 43 countries on 4 continents under its brands: Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Paradisus Resorts, ME by Meliá, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Innside by Meliá, Sol Hotels & Resorts and TRYP by Wyndham. Its product and service portfolio is complemented by Meliá Club, the only vacation club operated by a Spanish company.