Gilt.com’s 2014 Crystal Ball: Personalization Will Drive Email And Social Channels

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It's that time of year. To get a sense of what's coming in 2014, we asked some senior marketers to answer a single, open-ended question about the coming year:

"What new consumer or technology trend do you expect to see in 2014 that will change your marketing strategy?"

The below response is from Tamara Gruzbarg, senior director of analytics and research at Gilt.com.

"Two of the most popular means of push communication that online marketers rely on are promotional emails and Facebook sharing -- and this trend is about to change! Providers of these communication channels are becoming more aggressive in monetization practices:

  1. In 2013 Google created and rolled out a "promotions" folder in Gmail, including the addition of a new ad unit available for sale to advertisers in the main inbox. Expect others to follow suit, or more aggressively filter content, soon.
  2. Facebook is pushing advertisers to more of a paid model and away from relying on the amplification power of organic posts alone. As a result, marketers will have to become more nimble and strategic about the ways they engage and have dialogue with consumers.

True personalization of customer experience will stop being reserved for a select few and will need to become an operational principle for any marketer who wants to remain relevant in an increasingly fragmented and regulated environment. Possible ways to approach this situation:

  1. Move from solely promotional to highly personalized event-based emails.
  2. Build out strong referral-based campaigns and engagement strategies through social channels.

Both of these tactics may not work from an ROI perspective and, most importantly, not ring true for the recipient/consumer if they are not founded on robust customer insights and enabled by a scalable personalization engine.

Not every company will have the means to build out these capabilities internally, but in 2014 more companies will begin to realize that personalization cannot be ignored for the business to remain healthy. Consumers, additionally, have an increasing expectation of personalized communication tailored to their preferred environment.

Providers of personalization services will become the new email service providers (encroaching on the ESPs' turf), and/or ESPs will need to provide truly scalable personalization services across various customer communication channels."

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