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What lies ahead in 2011?

After a couple of the most difficult trading years in living memory, the UK database marketing industry is undoubtedly hoping for a return to something approaching normality this year – but what exactly will 2011 bring? Antony Begley discovers what a number of the industry’s leading lights are predicting...

Claire Maiwald, Marketing Executive, Abacus

Alan Thorpe, Director Financial Services Europe, Acxiom

Jason Lark, Managing Director, Celerity

There is a feeling of guarded optimism in the air for 201l; however, the VAT increase set to be implemented on the 4th of January is throwing a spanner in the works. This increase has many marketers following a path of caution until there is a clearer picture of how it will affect consumer spending. With that said, innovative businesses are finding ways to successfully work around this increase and kick 2011 off to a strong start. Focus will return to customer acquisition in the New

Year and for many marketers, budgets are set to rise. It is vital that this additional resource is invested in more intelligent marketing – consumers have changed and this change needs to be acknowledged in 2011. Investment in custom and bespoke analytics is sure to increase so that marketing professionals can gain essential insight into their customer and prospect bases. This insight could empower them to make immediate improvements to their audience selection strategies and increase the performance of their customer campaigns.

Competition will be fierce in 2011 and in order to stay ahead of the game it is important to do what your top-performing competitors are doing – but, most importantly, doing it first!

12 January 2011

As personalised communication technologies become the norm, the trickle towards a new type of marketing experience will become a flood. Consumers expect recognition-driven relationships with brands, where their preferences are respected and sharing data delivers a return to them – an approach kicked off by the likes of Tesco and Amazon. This escalates the power of data to new levels within marketing organisations, with increasing numbers of senior marketers hailing from an insight-driven background. Brands will remain crucial, but the most successful organisations will consider access to and being able to act upon insight as an equal contributor to the success equation. The value of engaging the individual – whatever the channel, product, place and time – is taking precedence over product push or channel optimisation. So if you’re in the business of helping client companies take transformational steps to bring them closer to consumers, you have every reason for optimism in 2011. The best providers will blend marketing strategy consultancy, data, technology enablers, agency skills and channel execution and offer low-risk roadmaps to redirect product-or channel-driven, siloed organisation towards the new north of customer-centricity through customer metrics.

2011 is set to be the year of timely cross channel marketing automation and our focus is to deliver business communications across every available channel, whilst controlling the brand and the message/offer delivered to each and every customer. Businesses continue to awaken to the increased revenues and profits delivered by using data to drive relevant, timely communications. Consumers need pertinent communications via their channel of choice. If clients fully integrate and automate their communications, this will allow them to focus on refining their campaigns and improving results rather than fulfilling the campaign itself, boosting ROI. Traditional marketing no longer delivers the

relevance or level of interaction that today’s consumers require from their brands. Imagine……you’re watching TV, a targeted ad is served to your screen, you red button through to explore the offer then exit. Next day, you receive an email or direct mail piece with a follow up offer, you go back online, you get through to checkout, you’ve been there for 15 mins, a pop up message is sent in real-time with an offer of assistance (you exit). Next day you receive a customer care call... We are nearer to this than you may think.

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