With changing regulation and an ever-evolving technology and advertising landscape it can be tempting to think that the whole marketing world is due to be turned upside down. While many current trends and factors highlighted elsewhere are significant, and important to consider, it falls to me to remind everyone that some things never change.

Yes, the consumer is changing (or has changed) and the marketing technology and techniques used to communicate are getting more and more sophisticated. However, the need to base your marketing on a thorough understanding of your customers remains.

In this modern world we need to know more about individuals in order to not only communicate effectively but to also communicate responsibly.

This was no more evident than in the findings of a recent paper we released around the changing financial behaviours of consumers. In it we looked at the groupings of individuals based on their financial behaviour and how those behaviours are set to change over time. An example of the type of trend we encountered is what we termed ‘the Life Escalator’ which is the degree to which people’s levels of affluence is likely to change at different stages of their lives.

Understanding such a level of detail is what’s required to deliver relevant and accurate messaging. And this is just a single example from the multiple trends we uncovered. So while the levels of data and insight are always increasing, what they make up – a full online and offline view of individuals – and what you do with them – communicate in an effective and responsible manner – is not going anywhere.

While this example is definitely more relevant to financial services companies the lessons are there to be learned for all industries as you can be sure similar patterns and developments will have an effect across the board. Someone more likely to buy one product now will probably evolve and adopt new behaviours in five years’ time. After five years that individual is quite a different person.

#7for17 - Matt Dunn

Click the image to download the full #7for17 paper

With increased volumes of data available to marketers it can be tempting to ignore some sources. However, to build accurate views of customer bases a multitude of sources are required – including third party data sources you would otherwise not have access to. Not third party data simply for acquisition but third party data for enrichment; finding out more about your key customers so you can service them better.

Use yourself as an example. Is your digital activity an accurate representation of yourself and your behaviour in the real world? Could someone paint an accurate picture of your character and behaviour based solely on your Facebook profile?

In order for someone to be able to tailor their messaging so that it is relevant and of interest to you on a consistent basis they need a whole range of data types from online to offline, geo-demographic and digital.

An understanding of and consideration for your consumer will continue to be the bedrock of good, effective and responsible marketing. In 2017 and far, far beyond. As people get carried away with new technologies and techniques investing in data and insight will continue to pay dividends.

This article is an extract from #7for17 – seven views on the future of marketing. Click here to download the full paper.