The world of marketing is spinning faster than ever. Developments in technology and improved access to customer data are providing marketers with exciting new opportunities, but also new challenges in terms of identifying and meeting the needs of an increasingly empowered, demanding and multi-channel customer base.
Performance marketing has a powerful role to play in addressing these challenges. Rewards-based, third party online marketing enables brands to reach out to wider and more targeted audiences, track the consumer journey and gather valuable data on buying behaviour and campaign success, as well as boost brand awareness and drive revenue, all at minimal cost.
To help marketers better integrate performance marketing into their campaigns for 2013, here are my top trends for the New Year:
- Mobile performance marketing will become mainstream
With the surge in smartphone and tablet ownership set to continue and consumers’ passion for apps undiminished, 2013 will see mobile performance marketing really take off. Mobile price comparison sites, location-based voucher and discount codes that can be redeemed in-store and our newest initiative – the ability to bring performance marketing to the lucrative app marketplace – are just some of the mobile opportunities that all marketers should be integrating into their campaigns.
- Personalisation will be even more important
The rise in personalised advertising has been a top trend in marketing in 2012 and will continue into 2013. More and more brands are using performance marketing to allow them to carefully select target audiences for tailored ads and offers and to analyse conversions and actions to improve service. Those brands that don’t adopt this will be left behind.
- Programmes that are not multi-channel and multi-touch will fail
Consumers now want to research and buy products and communicate with brands through a multitude of channels and devices, and to be able to jump seamlessly between them. For marketers it is becoming hard to manage the technology, volume and flow. Performance marketing provides a good route for expanding into new channels, such as mobile, without having to invest heavily in additional development.
- Social media will drive peer-to-peer marketing
For marketers, social media has become a platform for ‘consumer-to-consumer’ marketing. In 2013 more marketers will look to embrace this and encourage consumers to act as ambassadors for their brand or product. One way of achieving this is by making consumers ‘micro-affiliates’ and rewarding them for sales and leads. To protect brand reputation, any such move should be handled and presented with absolute transparency.
- Data privacy, security and regulation will remain key
Legislation around data protection and privacy is increasing. Our own research shows that consumers care deeply about data privacy and information security, and these are issues that marketers need to be seen to understand and respect. In performance marketing terms this means ensuring affiliate partners are reputable and that the network technology has the necessary safeguards in place.
- Brand reputation and loyalty will underpin marketing success
Consumers are increasingly looking for an emotional connection with their favourite brands. In terms of performance marketing this translates into a need to be more selective when choosing affiliate partners, focusing on those that best match the brand’s values and aspirations. A well-established affiliate network can really help here.
- Performance marketing will provide vital metrics
With marketing budgets increasingly constrained, advertisers need a clear insight into where their money is being spent and which approach or channel is proving most successful. Performance marketing is based on metrics such as the ‘cost per action,’ ‘cost per lead’ or ‘cost per download’, providing marketers with a clear picture of programme’s success.
- Simplicity, speed and security
These are the top online consumer needs and marketers need to ensure their affiliate partners, online performance marketing ads and underpinning technology support this.
- Technology will be foundation for success
As suggested above technology will play an increasingly important role. In performance marketing technology underpins tracking, which allows marketers to see where sales are coming from and reward partners, such as affiliates or consumers, accordingly. Technology can also be implemented to provide real-time data and insight regarding consumer behaviour and deliver valuable feedback on sales and campaign success.
- Data, data, data
Technology, social media, tracked affiliate and performance marketing and online and mobile commerce are all delivering vast volumes of real-time structured and unstructured data. Marketing professionals must find ways of capturing this data and turning it into valuable customer insight. This insight should underpin performance marketing campaigns into 2013 and beyond.
Overall, the use of performance marketing as an essential component of the overall marketing mix is growing. The latest research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) revealed that 61 per cent of advertisers plan to increase their investment in affiliate marketing in 2013, giving a huge vote of confidence in this most rewarding of marketing disciplines.