In our series “Inside a Digital Marketer’s Mind”, marketing experts from various industries and regions tell us their thoughts on the state of Digital Marketing.
Read on to get an overview of today's digital marketing challenges and trends, as well as tomorrow's opportunities and predictions, according to CEO & Co-founder of UK agency Greenlight Digital, Andreas Pouros.
Digital marketing today
What developments in digital marketing are you the most excited about?
I’m excited, professionally and personally, by blockchain technology and how it could be used to innovate how we engage with each other, streamline processes, and be a proxy for trust. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing blockchain tech being used to safely and transparently store customer data, verify ad delivery, and build trust where trust may not currently exist. For example, many of our luxury clients have problems with counterfeit versions of their products being sold online. I’m currently working on a project to digitally verify whether something is legitimate or not via a unique identifier that would be generated and secured by a blockchain. Someone could very quickly verify if something is real or not in seconds. And with an ever-growing consumer base that care about the environment and CSR, being able to track something back to source will become mainstream – be it diamonds or coffee. The opportunities in my view are endless.
"It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing blockchain tech being used to safely and transparently store customer data, verify ad delivery, and build trust where trust may not currently exist."
What do you see as the biggest challenges for digital marketers today?
Digital marketing today is complex, with the average marketer having a dozen channels to manage and a host of suppliers and technologies to orchestrate. For agencies, it has become difficult to secure sufficient internal resources to maximize performance while simultaneously needing to evolve as quickly as they can to better reflect the new reality of this increasingly cross-functional discipline. With increasing levels of complexity, the biggest challenge in my view is: how do you ensure you’re keeping or exceeding the pace set by the most well-resourced businesses and brands?
What in your opinion is the best tactic to reach or convert shoppers today?
Getting a better understanding of your customer is imperative. With the growing maturity of data management platforms (DMPs), you can gain a much deeper understanding of who your customer really is which makes targeting far easier and more effective. For a large client in the finance sector, we were able to identify the behaviors of people who are more likely to be interested in a particular savings product, which led to us increasing customer acquisition by 30%, while reducing costs by a similar margin year-on-year. Ultimately, the business that can target its existing and prospective customers on a one-to-one level will win.
What was your biggest surprise in 2017 - what didn't you see coming?
For me the biggest surprise of 2017 was quite recent, and that was seeing Amazon buy the rights to Lord of the Rings, with a plan to spend $1bn on a 6-season TV series. It will be the most expensive show ever made, and to think that a brand that was known simply as an online bookseller has grown so dominant is incredible. Amazon keeps showing itself to be a formidable player in media, and this latest news shows that when it feels that it might be struggling to dominate, it’s willing to spend huge amounts of money and bet on itself. Whenever I think Amazon might be content to play second fiddle, Bezos goes and surprises me again!
"66% of consumers expect a response to a query within one day, 40% expect a response within an hour, and 50% of people have become more impatient over the last 5 years."
Digital marketing tomorrow
Name 3 predictions for 2018 in ecommerce and digital marketing
- ‘Voice’ will become far, far more ubiquitous. We’re already seeing Amazon and Google slashing the prices of their voice-based devices in an attempt to catalyze adoption. Their ecosystems will start to eat into Apple’s market share.
- With regards to blockchain, I think we’ll see the first real mainstream implementation of smart contracts in adtech or in customer service.
- I think we’ll see some big investments in augmented reality (AR) by some of the world’s biggest brands, with early signs of real utility.
Where is online shopping heading to in 3 years’ time?
Consumer needs are changing – 66% of consumers expect a response to a query within one day, 40% expect a response within an hour, and 50% of people have become more impatient over the last 5 years. The amount of time people are willing to wait for a web page to load or video to buffer continues to decrease year-on-year. Within that context you see the big US firms (Amazon, Apple) leading the charge, setting new benchmarks for service. Amazon Prime, for instance, is slowly making it normal for people to expect their deliveries to be with them within two hours of placing their orders. Apple has made it normal to expect all your digital media to be at your fingertips, inside and outside of your home.
Extrapolating into the future, online shopping in three years’ time will continue along this trend of increasing impatience among consumers. We would therefore expect that peoples’ expectations of delivery time (be it with drones or other methods) be within an hour, regardless of who the seller is. This has implications for warehousing, logistics, customer support and more. Consumers will expect their needs to be second-guessed and even delivered upon automatically.
For example, a customer’s washing machine is about to come to the end of its life and so the user is notified of that fact and an order for a new washing machine that matches the customer’s inferred preferences around price, brand, and capability is automatically ordered for them. I call this ‘frictionless selling’. This obviously suggests that leveraging the Internet of Things (IOT) and working with artificial intelligence (AI) will become necessities for brands and retailers in three years’ time, rather than luxuries. And brands will need to start leading, rather than following Apple and Amazon’s first mover advantage on everything.
"Ultimately, the business that can target its existing and prospective customers on a one-to-one level will win."
What would be your main advice to digital marketers to stay relevant?
Don’t allow the current complexity of digital to lead you away from remembering that it’s all about the consumer. Don’t lose sight of human needs, human psychology, and that everyone is an individual, and needs to be treated as such.
What are the top marketing tools you cannot work without?
Well, as CEO of the agency, my tools are those that help me run the business: Excel, Salesforce/Financial Force, and our Greenhouse intranet that allows me to communicate with our staff on a regular basis.
From a marketing perspective, our most important tools are:
- Our data management platform (DMP)
- Hootsuite and Crimson Hexagon (for social media management)
- Asana and Smartsheet (for project management)
Is there new software out that you plan to evaluate?
We’re looking to do more neuro testing as a way to truly understand the triggers behind decision-making and get a clearer view on brand or product sentiment. This is a very exciting area and provides an added layer to audience insights that we want to use a lot more of.
Is there anything that you are missing / that needs to be developed?
We need a fluid method of understanding consumer’s needs in real time. Almost every analysis we currently undertake is retrospective in nature so there’s a ‘reality gap’ between insight and action. To achieve this, though, requires a full stack rewiring of ecosystems and an integration of IoT and AI. We’re at least three years away from that point in my opinion.
What you didn't know about Andreas
Can you name a recent ingenious marketing campaign that really stuck out to you?
I’m going to be cheeky and highlight one of my teams'. We work with Rajapack, one of the biggest B2B packaging suppliers in Europe, which sells supplies, equipment and facilities management as part of its offering. Given the sector, it’s difficult to conceive and execute successful marketing campaigns – but we have, and we do. Our recent work with James Lake shows what can be done with some creativity and solid execution.
What are your top 3 favorite industry news publications?
What is on your reading list?
Originals: How Non-Conformists Change the World, by Adam Grant.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I once saved a man’s life when he slipped on ice and fell into oncoming traffic.
About Greenlight Digital
Greenlight is a multiple award-winning digital marketing agency that designs, builds, deploys and measures marketing solutions and campaigns across Search, Social, Display, Affiliates, Analytics, Data Insights, Creative, eCommerce, and more with the unwavering objective of achieving dramatic growth for its clients. Greenlight promotes brands and products in 29 languages and 32 territories on behalf of such clients as diverse as ghd, Dixons Carphone, Superdry, Laura Ashley, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, eBay, Footasylum, and many more.