Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO, Wpromote
Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO, Wpromote

When many CMOs and other marketing professionals discuss the most important trends of 2017 and beyond, certain topics often get forgotten. However, attribution, analytics, and metrics are absolutely critical for marketers to understand in an increasingly cross-channel, cross-device digital marketing environment if they want to guarantee the success of their businesses. CMOs need to nail these fundamentals and have a firm grasp on where the evolution of the digital customer is going.

These are the must-know tactics for staying on top of 2017’s most important trends and understanding how to incorporate them into your campaigns.

1) Analytics Must Look Forward, Not Back

Rather than only reflecting back on past results, the true use of analytics is in iterating and changing future actions. Adjusting your messaging, switching between channels, updating existing audiences or creating totally new ones, and increasing or decreasing budget allotments are all important uses of conclusions drawn from analytics. Every result should be used in some way to change your guiding metrics. Pay extra attention to your mobile analytics in 2017 and beyond, as mobile is an ever-growing platform that is starting to assume central importance in marketing campaigns.

2) Hyper-Targeted Social Media Marketing Is The Future

In this connected world, social media, both paid and earned, is essential for any digital marketing campaign. Facebook and its brands (that is, Instagram) are powerful mediums to introduce your business, products, and services to new customers while building loyalty with your existing customer base. The most effective way to find leads on Facebook and Instagram is to upload customer lists, and then either “zoom in” on those segments and create powerful messages or “zoom out” from those segments to find “similar customers,” or lookalike audiences. Facebook’s powerful AI can identify people similar to those already in your audience (and thus are more likely to convert) to introduce to your brand or products.

3) Keep Your Physical Locations Alive With Direct-To-Consumer Marketing

While E-commerce grows into an ever bigger market with increasing revenues and investments, many retailers still function with physical brick-and-mortar presences, and it’s crucial to remember to drive sales through those physical locations, too. If your brand sells through retailers, other partners, or you have your own stores, your future success and possibly even existence may ride on selling directly to your consumers. Brands and advertisers need to own the customer relationship, which will increase margins and help you own and control your brand destiny. Drive foot traffic into your stores through locally targeted ads, or encourage customers to shop on your online store rather than Amazon through paid and organic search management.

4) Attribution, Attribution, Attribution

In the current climate of constant cross-channel sales, correct attribution is fundamental to knowing when to subsequently adjust budgets, create new copy, and run or pull ads. With many different cross-device touch points along the sales funnel, it can be difficult to figure out where to properly attribute your sales. Google and Facebook now both offer geofencing and other tools to connect your physical sales to digital ads. One big idea for 2017 is the importance of turning things off: for example, turn off your TV ads, wait a few months, and then see how your sales have performed. Do this with each part of your marketing to understand what is truly driving traffic both offline and on.

5) We’re Moving From ROI To Customer Lifetime Value

Marketers looking for long-term success instead of just short-term gains should be focusing on a metric besides ROI. The real top KPI for CMOs right now should be customer lifetime value (CLV). Businesses will make or break their futures on whether or not they can retain loyal customers and optimize their campaigns to improve CLV instead of ROI. Remarketing to existing and loyal consumers is more cost-effective than constantly prospecting for new ones, making CLV a metric that will increase your revenue and save you in significant spend over time. This viewpoint is integral in allocating and optimizing budgets and marketing initiatives properly, and is a key understanding that contributes to all of the other initiatives mentioned so far.

As the customer journey becomes ever more multi-touch, digital, and personal, CMOs and marketers need to shift their focus to meeting consumers’ needs over the long-term, making sure their measurement and analytics are robust and accurate. In 2017 and beyond, these are the trends competitive CMOs will need to win!