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4 Marketing Tech Trends To Watch in 2014

David RaabBy David M. Raab, Principal, Raab Associates

I'm not a big fan of year-end summaries and forecasts, mostly because I produce summaries and forecasts all year round. That said, here are my top four marketing technology trends to watch: Customer data platforms, digital advertising, predictive analytics and tracking consumer behavior.

David RaabBy David M. Raab, Principal, Raab Associates

This article originally appeared on David Raab’s Customer Experience Matrix blog.

I'm not a big fan of year-end summaries and forecasts, mostly because I produce summaries and forecasts all year round. That said, here are my top four marketing technology trends to watch: Customer data platforms, digital advertising, predictive analytics and tracking consumer behavior. 

Customer Data Platforms Mature

Marketers will have an increasing number of ways to build consolidated, multi-source customer databases without waiting for help from their IT departments. Systems that build such databases for specialized purposes such as lead enhancement, cross-channel campaign management, retention programs, and advertising audience management will increasingly provide more value to their clients by exposing the databases to other execution systems. As a result, the distinction between the customer database and execution systems will become more evident and companies will be able to succeed by offering either data or execution exclusively.

Digital Advertising And Customer Marketing Converge

Data management platforms, which store semi-anonymous cookies for online ad networks, will converge with conventional customer databases, which store profiles tied to actual identities. The advantage will be marketing programs that span both channels, delivering personally targeted information via display advertising and simplifying personalized marketing on mobile platforms that don’t support conventional cookies. The unification of these previously separate data sets will allow more careful orchestration of customer treatments across all channels, increasing the effectiveness of all marketing contacts.

Predictive Analytics Finally Take Center Stage

More accessible customer data and broader opportunities to deliver personalized messages will support the long-expected mass deployment of automated predictive analytics tools. These will be part of a centralized customer management architecture that uses them to deliver the best message to each customer during each interaction in every channel where a customer can be recognized. Increasingly automated testing will allow incremental optimization despite constant changes in customer interests, product availability, creative executions, and offers.

The Privacy Dog Won’t Bark

Consumers will continue to allow marketers to track their behaviors, even if they become slightly more discreet about the personal information they post directly on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Efforts to limit such tracking through government regulations will not result in significant limitations, at least in the United States.

David Raab is Principal of Raab Associates, a consultancy specializing in marketing technology and analytics. He is author of the B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool (VEST), an in-depth guide to marketing automation products.