The past 12 months have been big for digital marketing. We saw a significant increase in mobile shopping, the emergence of big data and its connection to customer behaviour and a rise in social commerce. Additionally, consumer shopping habits have been evolving.

Digital marketers need to keep up with the numerous devices consumers use and the changing ways in which consumers use them to shop.

It’s an exciting time for the industry with a vast array of opportunities to showcase brands across an ever-growing number of platforms and channels. We should prepare to see new ways of looking at consumer behaviour and in order to create a more personalised experience for customers with big data and utilise the ever-growing channels they use to better attract and retain custom. Here are five domains in which opportunity lies for marketers:

The self-broadcasting boom

The world of vlogging exploded in 2015. Swedish vlogger Felix Kjellberg now has more than 41 million subscribers and over 15 million views on his YouTube channel PewDiePie. Here in the UK, Zoella’s Tanya Burr and Sprinkle of Glitter have become household names (if you know any tweens). Last year’s launch of Periscope and Meerkat have only accelerated this boom.

For brands, the self-broadcasting boom offers a wealth of marketing opportunities, including the chance to work with “famous” vloggers to gain further brand exposure in a way that resonates with specific target audience - like tweens. This year, marketers can utilize and capitalise on emerging influencers to attract and retain target audiences.

Mobile purchases

In 2015, there was a decrease in consumers browsing their handheld device before purchasing on a desktop. Why? With the continued rise in smartphone ownership, which is set to hit 6.1 billion in 2020 and tighter security, we are now using our phones to browse and buy. Retailers, brands and e-commerce sites have a huge opportunity to launch more mobile applications (to buy), announce intriguing sales rewards (to buy), interesting loyalty programs (to buy) and other fun promotional initiatives to revolutionise the mobile shopping experience (to buy again and again).

Big data (the secret to getting to know your customers)

Advancements in technology now enable marketers to really get to know their customers as individuals, not segments. Through the often misunderstood term - big data, marketers can relax and understand it is enables them to gain an improved intelligence and deeper understanding of customers more intimately, predicting their next move - creating a truly personalised shopping experience.

Omnichannel: The source for key marketing opportunities

We have seen an explosion of consumer touch points and data due because new channels have emerged. The increase in channels has left marketing teams focusing on activities instead of outcomes and operations instead of strategies. This will need to change in 2016. Additionally, brands will not just have to know when, but how to speak to customers across a variety of channels including web, mobile, social, email, print, in-store and video. Marketing opportunities will emerge from the channels combined with the fact that customers behave very differently across channels in terms of responsiveness, browsing patterns and buying habits.

The four stages of e-commerce penetration

E-commerce penetration in 2016 will be driven by the four stages of development across markets: access, trust, experience and choice/price. In addition, the three leading drivers of purchase motivators within e-commerce will continue to dominate: free delivery, financial rewards and customer feedback. For marketers, it’s about striking the right balance between delivery options/promotions, customer reward and profit and how to encourage customer reviews and feedback - to keep a loyal customer while attracting new ones.

Ultimately opportunity to be creative, to attract retain customers is growing at an alarming rate. This is certainly an exciting time for the industry. But we need to unlock the data our disposal, understand our customers then stay one step ahead of them so we’re ready to meet their needs at any point and any time.

By Steven Ledgerwood, UK Managing Director, Emarsys

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