Last week Google hosted their annual Google Certified Partner Summit – hosting 500 partner agencies and providing a (under the cover of NDA) sneak preview of things to come. I can’t talk to any of the specific announcements, but in broad strokes, here are the key takeaways that all marketers should be thinking about as we move into 2018:
1. Right message, place, time, channel
This was repeated over and over again over the two day summit. We say it all the time at NATIONAL, and to hear it coming out of the mouths of Google executives just solidifies our philosophy even more. Audiences do not respond to messages that aren’t tailored directly to them. You need to craft the right messages for different audience segments, appeal to them when they’re ready to digest those messages, where they want them.
Key takeaway: Any campaigns you plan to run need to have multiple variants, personas and plans.
2. It’s all about machine learning (AI)
To enable the first point (Rx4), you need to be able to harness Machine Learning (or Artificial Intelligence) to be able to scale your insights across your different audiences. This means being able to look at large datasets and rapidly understand them without an army of analysts and infinite time. Google has been consistently building upon their ML tools within each of their offering to do just this, and last week was a demonstration of that power.
Key Takeaway: Agencies and their analysts must be invested in AI, and understand how AI works within these platforms or their digital analysts will quickly be made obsolete by platforms like Google Analytics.
3. If you’re not data rich, get cracking
The industry will begin to see massive changes to Google’s data platforms, particularly in how they leverage your current audience data. Again, back to Right Message, Place, Time, Channel, the ability to scale this type of tailored messaging is entirely dependent on your orgnanization’s ability to store your audience data. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems such as Salesforce’s Pardot allow for this type of custom segmentation and tailoring. Google’s platforms already take advantage of this data for better marketing optimization, but what’s on their roadmap will take this a big step further. Businesses that haven’t entered into this world will need to quickly jump into these platforms to stay competitive with their peers as they’ll lose out on marketing automation that will save time and money, ultimately driving far greater bottom line on marketing efforts.
Key takeaway: If you’re not invested in audience data, get started soon as these platforms will allow you to forecast, optimize and drive huge gains. If you aren’t, your competitors are.
All in all, while I can’t say anything specifically, 2018 is going to be a very exciting year for data driven marketing.
Written by Jonathan Litwack
Former Vice-President, Marketing Technology, NATIONAL Public Relations