Personalization and engagement are key to business today. By consolidating your marketing tech stack, you create better customer experiences.
Let’s face it, direct-to-consumer brands have been plagued by fragmentation, much of by design. The root of the problem: disparate, overlapping technology investments that hold marketing back, stifling collaboration. But things are changing.
New martech innovations are helping direct-to-consumer brands overcome this challenge. Integrated, cloud-based marketing infrastructure is helping brands become more customer centric and helping them deliver the top-flight omnichannel CX customers expect, at scale.
Let’s look at the major martech trends impacting D2C brands in 2022.
5 martech trends to watch in 2022
The world of marketing is changing fast as brands ramp up customer engagement and CX to get ahead in the lucrative D2C market. Here are the top martech trends we can expect to gain steam next year:
- Omnichannel personalization
- Integrated AI
- Customer data takes center stage
- Data privacy
- Going beyond the sale, having a purpose
Martech takes personalization to new levels
The hard reality for brands is that what customers want is always changing. In martech, and retail in general, there’s no “set it and forget it.”
Even the best marketing approach will need to be tweaked often to keep up with customer expectations. Being able to be flexible means creating a strong line of communication with customers to listen to them around the clock and provide what they are asking for.
Creating a consistent and personalized end-to-end customer experience requires modern marketing infrastructure. This kind of integrated system can ingest data from multiple channels, personalize the messaging and journeys, and learn from each engagement to continuously optimize the value brands provide customers.
With the advent of new channels, devices, and technologies to tie it all together, retail has been elevated from piecemeal strategies to a holistic view that puts customers first. When brands proactively respond to customer interactions and anticipate what customers really want, they can create seamless customer experiences across all touchpoints.
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Brands are already catching on to this new retail reality, as IDC estimates that 45% of Global 2000 B2B and B2C “enterprises will exploit smart personalization for context-based customer engagement, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and conversational computing” by 2023.
This requires AI be infused throughout the marketing tech stack instead of used piecemeal by individual applications. That’s been the previous approach, which has made it challenging for marketing teams on many fronts
IDC recommends that brands use a platform that provides no/low code access to enable marketers to customize it easily for various use cases, including assessing the impact of multiple touchpoints and improving product content.
Martech: Customer data shows the way
Brands don’t know what they don’t know when customer data is trapped in silos. Teams need access to relevant data on a timely basis in order to act on it. Without this capability, customer engagement is managed on a channel-by-channel basis, making it difficult to align disparate channels and coordinate fully omnichannel engagements.
When data is compiled into a single source of truth, brands can provide omnichannel personalization across the board. This is the ideal, but some unraveling of past practices must happen first because sales channels were personalized as they were created, leading to a fragmented experience for customers and brands alike.
The end goal of this system and data integration is to empower brands with a full understanding of their customers so that they can take appropriate action. For example, a customer that frequently returns items in-store should not be targeted with abandoned cart campaigns.
A brand that integrates all of their systems will have insights like these so that they can focus their efforts on improving the experience of their most profitable customers.
To optimize direct to consumer models and win against digitally native competitors, consumer products companies need a focused customer data strategy.
Spotlight on data privacy
With the looming demise of third-party cookies, marketers will be focused on first-party customer data and leveraging it to the fullest effect.
It’s a big shift for marketing teams, as so many ad and marketing strategies have been built around third-party data. But first-party data is a goldmine for D2C brands, providing a complete view of each customer that can fuel personalized CX.
At the same time, the shift to first-party data has forced retailers to get more strategic about how they track. collect, and protect consumer data. Consumers today are very aware of the value of their data and will look for real value before handing over their personal information.
First-party data enables a brand to obtain consent for compliance with GDPR and the growing number of privacy regulations. Having a centralized customer data system helps them manage large volumes of first-party data from multiple channels.
With cookies going away, marketing today is all about first-party data. Explore best practices and use cases for first-party data collection.
Purpose powers martech trends in 2022
The connection between brands and consumers has grown stronger over the years. D2C success isn’t just a matter of supplying goods. Consumers today expect a brand to stand for something and take actions that help people and the planet. For instance, Warby Parker has given a pair of glasses away for each pair purchased to help vision-impaired people around the world live better lives.
Consumers also want brands to provide something beyond just products, something closer to a personal connection. According to IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer 2021 Predictions: “It’s critical for organizations to create a contextual and empathetic relationship with their customers, focusing on understanding the customer, what they want, and how they want to be treated.”
The only way to accomplish this is through omnichannel marketing excellence that delivers integrated and real-time experiences, based on a complete customer view.
The time is now for brands to integrate their martech stacks to offer differentiated, relevant experiences by activating customer data at scale. This defragmentation will elevate to a must-have for D2C brands. Leaders will take this opportunity to deliver better customer engagement and drive operational efficiencies by reducing the complexity and cost of their martech investment for better business outcomes.