If you were asked what your thoughts were on ‘the next big thing in marketing communications’, what would you say? When asked in a recent vox pop survey our Fifth Ringers identified three main themes - measurement, technology and constant contact. Not a great surprise given the current marketing environment, but let’s take a close look at each of these.
Measuring your measurement
Measurement is something that has become increasingly important to us at Fifth Ring and to our clients. There was strong agreement amongst the team that this trend will continue, with measurement becoming more of a priority as we see our clients under more pressure to prove ROI on their communications. We also think that this will become even more refined. Right now there is a mass of ‘big data’ out there, with only a few knowing what to actually do with it. Fifth Ringers believe that over the next 12 to 18 months B2B companies - particularly in our specialist market sector of energy - will want to become more shrewd in their measurement techniques, especially as costs increase against a backdrop of lower oil prices.
Xerox are a great example of a B2B company that successfully measures its campaigns. Their “Get Optimistic” campaign, a targeted business magazine in partnership with Forbes led to increased readership by 400% compared to previous campaigns, and gained $1.3 billion in pipeline revenue as a result – quite a dramatic improvement.
3D printing and hologram technology
3D printing has been making the headlines this year and some of our team think it could be a big part of the future of marketing communications. Five or ten years ago 3D printing was something that any large organisation could afford, but as it becomes cheaper and more accessible, it’s opening up opportunities for all kinds of organisations. Will it reinvigorate direct mail? Taking it from a slowing channel and projecting it back into the heart of marketing communications?
One of the best predictions from the Fifth Ring team came from Claire in our Houston office, who reckons that hologram meetings to be the future of international business. It may sound a bit futuristic, or a bit 'Star Wars', but just google ‘3D holographic telepresence technology’ and you’ll see that it could soon be a reality!
Constant contact. But that’s not new, is it?
The concept of constant contact with your audiences isn’t a new one, but similar to the measurement story, its sophistication will have a profound impact on the future of marketing communications. How? With the movement of marketing automation platforms into the mainstream we are all now in a position where we can not only create a dialogue with our audiences, but a highly individual and personalised one. This creates a content dilemma for marketers who now need to craft not just a few, but potentially hundreds of individualised messages. Marketers are now content producers.
Never forget the story. Or the people
Our colleague Claudia from Singapore offered a poignant thought on the future of marcomms, and one that every B2B marketer should remember. There are still people. And there are still stories to tell. Regardless of sophisticated measurement and advancing technology, we should be working towards ‘people-to-people’ marketing, engaging in real conversations to tell our brand story. A great point to remind us all that at the end of the day we are people first and ones that happen to be marcomms professionals.