Signal’s Prediction for Digital Marketing in 2016: Improved People-Based Marketing Options Will Give Advertisers Flexibility and Control

This is the first of eight blog posts detailing Signal’s New Year’s predictions, as outlined in the recently published report, “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2016 – What Marketers Need to Know Now.” For the report, Signal’s distinguished panel of in-house digital experts and thought leaders discussed what marketers really need to know to stay ahead of emerging trends in marketing and technology. The first of this series focuses on the driving forces behind people-based marketing, and the success factors that will set some advertisers apart from the competition the 2016.

Getting a clear single customer view across disparate data sources. Overcoming attribution challenges to understand the consumer journey. Connecting the past to a customer’s intent right now. Strengthening brand loyalty. Demonstrating ROI to drive more funds to marketing.

These are hard challenges, and in 2016, marketers will feel increased pressure to solve them as CEOs seek more transparency into digital campaign outcomes. As accountability sharpens, brands will demand better people-based marketing options to tie their campaigns to real people rather than cookies or devices.

Traditionally, a brand’s ability to reach true customers was confined to email and direct mail marketing. Then in late 2014, Facebook introduced people-based marketing to help advertisers target addressable audiences by deterministically matching their customer lists with its own deep well of known user data. This new people-focused approach has ignited a new excitement among marketers for the power of first-party data and customer relationships.

Facebook’s ad revenues, which are predicted to nearly triple from $11 billion in 2014 to $27 billion in 2017, underscore the growing demand for addressable media solutions. So just how hot is people-based marketing going to be next year? Here’s a telling sign: in conversations with clients, Signal hears that media buyers are being directed to shift as much as 50% of their budgets to fully addressable media options over the next year or two – up from single-digit percentages.

Meeting such goals will require deep fluency in identity data and cross-channel recognition. But the good news for advertisers is that technology has finally caught up with their need for better cross-selling, up-selling and amplifying customer engagement. Disruptive, new addressable media alternatives have emerged and will help marketers target multi-device customers outside of walled gardens, on the myriad of other content sites and apps frequented by consumers. They’ll address shortcomings of walled-garden solutions by providing more openness and closed-loop attribution insights. They’ll provide always-on customer recognition. And they’ll enable brands to move beyond people-based advertising to real-time, people-based engagement across all their channels.

With customers more connected and empowered than ever before, it’s all about engaging them in the context of the relationship at each step of the journey. Those who get it right in 2016 will be well positioned to win over C-suite skeptics, while reaping the rewards of outsized returns and big competitive advantage.

What does it take to get real-time, people-based marketing right? The answer lies not just in a company’s data, but in the technology partner that advertisers trust with it. While many promise the benefits of people-based marketing, few can actually deliver on the success factors that drive it: deterministic data matching, always-on customer recognition and data ownership.

That’s why Signal’s platform was built from the ground up to make people-based marketing simple and fast. Signal’s integrated technology solves first-party data collection, cross-channel identity resolution, data onboarding and media activation – all in one platform. Other point solutions simply aren’t built to collectively address these challenges, and can’t be customized to keep pace with always-on consumers. With one data taxonomy and zero handoffs between providers, Signal collapses execution time from days to less than minutes, so you can recognize and engage customers at the moment they’re in market for your products.

To read more of Signal’s 2016 Digital Marketing Predictions and the action steps you can take to reach your people-based marketing goals, download the report: “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2016 – What Marketers Need to Know Now.”

Originally published December 17, 2015

Mike Sands

Mike Sands is a co-founder of Signal. Prior to joining Signal, Mike was part of the original Orbitz management team and held the positions of CMO and COO. Mike also has held management roles at General Motors Corporation and Leo Burnett. His work at General Motors led him to be named a “Marketer of the Next Generation” by Brandweek magazine. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Northwestern University and a Masters in Management degree from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management.

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