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Looking back on the trends of 2017, one thing is clear to me: the major themes carry forward and continue to be relevant for 2018. But what are they?

No:1 trend for 2017 and 2018 – Retention

We believe that customer retention is the most important metric for marketers—in 2017, 2018 and beyond. Google and Facebook have pretty much cornered the digital advertising market. Because of this, customer acquisition costs on these platforms continue to climb as auctions get more competitive and media planners continue to adopt online video as a tool to drive brand awareness and favorability.

Ads that target “existing” customers — retargeting and other retention based programs —cost a fraction of the price of those campaigns that are focused on awareness and new customers —acquisition. While CPMs range considerably, a benchmark for retention based ads in today’s market is $5 CPM and below, while benchmarks for acquisition based campaigns are closer to $20 and can be as high as a $40 CPM and up.  In fact, you can create a powerful retention program via email at $1 to $2 CPM.

Now is the time to reassess your loyalty program. Whether you work with a third-party provider or handle your retention programs in-house, ask yourself if all the data from that program is integrated into your own CRM? Also, is this loyalty data available to your programs in other marketing channels, like Email, SMS and Push?

If the data is available, are you making the best use of it for First-Person Marketing — getting the right message to each of your customers at the right time and/or place?

For many marketers, this will be a major challenge in 2018. For all of us, it is a top opportunity.

No:2 – Marketing automation

This has never been more important. Identified by 43 percent of companies that rated their marketing as very successful as the key to optimizing productivity and achieving ROI. Look for automation technology to become even smarter and more robust in 2018.

No:3 –Data segmentation

Without it your personalization efforts are baseless. Personalized email marketing increases open rates, ROI, and revenue by more than 50 percent when done right. Next year, continue to ask your customers about themselves and their preferences and start to think about integrating third-party data in order to achieve the goal of First-Person Marketing.

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No:4 – Email as the key to identity

What is the first thing you did when you started up your new iPhone or Android? You chose a language. Second? You entered your email address. With email addresses powering everything from social media and internet-of-things applications, to your phone and even your car’s operating system, getting email right has never been more important. The most recent innovations in AdTech at Google, Facebook, and Amazon all involve email addresses to enhance targeting to building look-a-like audiences. As email continues to strengthen marketers’ decision making across all channels, it has never been more paramount to shore up your email marketing best practices, so as to continue to have the permission to communicate with your customer.

No:5 –Mobile usage

The use of mobile continues to climb, with the platform now accounting for seven out of every 10 minutes spent with digital media. Our 2017 Consumer Digital Usage and Behavior Study found that people check their inboxes regularly throughout the day. Timing, creative, copy, context, and location have never been more important.

No:6 –2018 is the year of transparency.

While the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn’t take effect until May of 2018, its effects on your marketing program should already be felt. If you haven’t done so, you should assess the level of consent you have to send marketing communications for every record in your database. You should determine the legal basis under GDPR that you have for processing and using your customer’s personal data.

It’s important to note that you should not email customers who have not opted in, or granted you permission to email them. You may need to budget for campaigns to reach such customers via the channels for which you do have permission.

At Adestra, we believe that the GDPR is an opportunity for companies to build even more trust with their customers. Remember, trust is the key to customer loyalty, aka retention. By communicating clearly that consumer privacy is a core value of the company, and using wholehearted compliance with the regulations as an illustration, marketers can build brand equity, do the right thing and make more money.

Thank you, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

DISCLAIMER: The content and opinions within this blog are for information purposes only. They are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances, the Data Protection Act, or any other current or future legislation. Adestra shall accept no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on materials contained within this blog.

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