Experts predict that we are heading into 2023 at an economic crossroads.1 Kara Alvarez, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing & Sales Enablement at Data Axle, predicts that some of 2023’s challenges will include inflation, recession, scarcity of talent, and adjusting to the deprecation of Google’s third-party cookie. However, with these challenges comes opportunity – opportunity to think outside the box, take risks and connect with consumers in new ways.
James Purtle, Senior Director of Digital Strategy, has high hopes for 2023. “I’m excited to see how companies innovate their customer experiences next year, from new ways advertisers reach and interact with me as a consumer, to new products and solutions to meet today’s challenges.”
The performance of your company hinges on the strategic and big picture choices you make in the coming months. We’ve gathered the best and brightest Data Axle thought leaders to give you a glimpse into the upcoming trends and tactics businesses should consider adopting this coming year in order to ensure economic success.
“Evolving internet privacy policies have empowered consumers,” says James Purtle. “Consumers will expect more two-way communication with brands. Evolving internet privacy policies will empower consumers to set clearer boundaries with marketers – mainly regarding who they are reached by, who they share their personal information with, and what they get in return.”
“More and more consumers will associate their identity and personal information (e.g. email) as having intrinsic value and so brands will compete for “identity-share” by offering more incentives like coupons, newsletters, etc. for the right to advertise in effective, privacy-safe first-party data environments.”
These new expectations mean that advertisers need to adjust their communications and advertising strategies to make sure they are connecting with their audience. “There is a lot at stake here,” says Sal Pecoraro, Senior Vice President of Technology Solutions. “Companies who get this right will reap the rewards of an increasing base of loyal customers. Companies who get this wrong may face increasing backlash from social channels and potential regulatory enforcement. Luckily, there’s lots of new technologies and data-driven tactics to help advertisers along the way.”
“The dream of true one to one personalization is still the goal of both marketers and consumers,” says Sal Pecoraro. “Relevancy is still king. Millennials don’t want offers for retirement homes and seniors don’t want messages about radical snowboarding vacations.”
“There’s a lot coming up in the customer experience/journey orchestration technology space. CX/JO is something that more and more companies are starting to adopt for its rich analytics, ability to stitch identity and react in real-time as customers and prospect interact with a brand. Companies realize that it’s important to have meaningful, frictionless, customer focused experiences as customers and prospects flow from one channel to the next along their journey with brands. Nothing helps brand reputation and loyalty more than a great customer experience and nothing ruins it like a bad one.”
“We have to market to the whole person, and we have to market with empathy,” says Thomas Zawacki, President of the Axle Agency. “It’s time to move beyond being contextually relevant and audience-targeted to connect based on a much deeper understanding of the person as a human being.”
Chatbots have been an important part of communicating with consumers and customers for a few years now. However, as the technology advances, AI-powered chatbots are being used in new and innovative ways to help consumers along their purchasing journeys, as well as providing brands with invaluable insights into their customers. Chatbots collect first-party data directly from consumers through direct questions. Companies can then take that data and use it to optimize messaging or adjust their personas.
Despite the ubiquity of chatbots, nothing has hogged the end-of-2022 discourse more than the generative AI product, ChatGPT. OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a chatbot, in November 2022 and it was off like a shot. The bot was built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 family of large language models, and utilizes both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques. Our Thomas Zawacki weighs in, “The power of generative AI is something that has really been mostly discussed between industry insiders and data enthusiasts. The reason ChatGPT is so fascinating to the general public is because they had no idea this technology existed and that we’ve been working on it, as an industry, for years.”
“The foundation of generative AI is comprehensive and accurate data, but the end goal is more nuanced and more effective than it has been in the past. We must refine our core models to make them more accurate, and then add sentiment, life-stage, intent and moment-based attributes to account for a consumer or business customer’s rational and emotional propensity to convert. And, we have to strive for an authentic conversation with humans in a blended marketing world – blended meaning the intertwined customer offline and online customer journey, and interspersed B2C and B2B roles we all phase in and out of throughout the day.”
“Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I can say that ChatGPT holds a lot of potential promise for advertising use cases, from creating more appealing logos to helping customers trouble-shoot, even writing proposals for enticing new prospects to give your product or service a try.”
In order to take advantage of the benefits of generative AI, advanced personalization and stave off the effects of the deprecation of Google’s third-party cookie, companies need to invest in strong data collection, management, and integration tools.
“Companies, particularly B2C, have been inventing a lot of time and budget in data, tools supporting data and integration over the last few years,” says Kara Alvarez. “It will be interesting to see the outcome in 2023, with more companies having those pieces in place, how that changes their strategies and what they are able to do that may not have been possible in the past. B2B is a bit behind B2C in terms of the options they have had. I’m excited to see how these companies evaluate and adopt new tech and how that changes their strategies in 2023.”
“Investment in data processing and hygiene is crucial in 2023,” continues Pecoraro. “Identity resolution is going to be huge in 2023. Identity graphs are a powerful tool when companies have a strong identity resolution protocol that combines quality data with proper data management and robust technology capabilities. Companies can leverage ID graphs to reach people in any environment throughout the customer journey. And companies are going to need this data at their fingertips in order to complete their identity graphs and reach the audiences they want to reach.”
Is cash over? Thomas Zawacki says it’s likely. “Many retailers curtailed their acceptance of cash at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of digital wallets, cryptocurrency, and online shopping have made cash seem even more extraneous.” There’s data to back this up, MIT’s Technology Review found that cash is dying.
“Cash might never completely go away,” predicts Zawacki, “but it is definitely taking a backseat. Digital transactions allow for companies to connect directly with and gain more insights into their target audience and current customers. We can increase customer satisfaction by understanding what they buy, when they buy it and gain valuable insights into their wants and needs. There’s a lot of actionable information to be gleaned from these transactions.”
See more trends and predictions for 2023 in part 2 of this series.
Tom Zawacki manages digital strategy and product innovation for Data Axle. He leads vision, planning, development, and execution of next level solutions that provide transformational results for the company’s client base. Tom is an accomplished business leader, motivator and innovator with 25 years’ experience in digital marketing.
Kara leads our product marketing and sales enablement teams responsible for content and sales support. She has over 20 years of product experience with B2B and B2C products ranging from software to services to manufactured products. She is driven to ensure our sales teams have the right information to provide to clients and prospects and are able to articulate the full value that Data Axle can delivery to them.
Dan has been helping clients successfully navigate the challenges of multi-channel direct marketing since November 2000. Dan’s specialties include new customer acquisition, email append services, prospecting and lead generation. Dan’s clients can depend on him to present solutions that exceed their goals.
Sal is engaged in managing a corporate-wide product vision and strategy to create and maintain leading-edge marketing products and services that are consistent across all divisions. He is known throughout the industry for his consultative approach to identifying solutions for clients’ database marketing and data processing needs.
For over 10 years, James Purtle has driven digital data and media strategy for Fortune 500 brands and Agencies. An expert in predictive marketing, he has created go-to-market strategies for major programmatic Ad Tech and Data Management platforms and currently oversees digital activation strategy.
With over 25 years of data industry experience, Lisa owns a deep knowledge and understanding of actionable data and predictive outcomes. She is passionate about architecting data-driven solutions that fit customer needs and helping them exceed their business goals.