Council Post: What To Expect In 2023: Shifting To Digital Marketing Fundamentals

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Ajay Gupta founded Stirista in 2009. As CEO, he oversees the data-driven, performance marketing solutions provider’s global growth.

Every day we hear about the state of the economy, rising inflation and that consumers are reprioritizing their spending to focus on necessities. But consumers aren’t the only ones pumping the brakes on spending—we’re seeing brands taking a hard look at where it makes the most sense to allocate marketing spend for maximum return.

For brands and their agency counterparts, I think there will be a return to fundamentals and a laser focus on performance and metrics for digital marketing in 2023. Let’s take a closer look:

Performance Measurement Will Reign Supreme

Many marketers are scrutinizing their budgets and shifting spend from expensive branding campaigns to those based on performance. Particularly for brands that have traditionally invested heavily in print, television and sponsorships, I think 2023 will see them lean into digital marketing channels where performance data is more readily available for analysis.

For brands that already invest in multiple digital channels, their emphasis on performance will likely change as well. It’s no longer enough to see high impressions and clicks on digital ads; campaigns need to result in contributions to pipeline or revenue. Of course, brand awareness will remain important, but direct-to-consumer brands may look to maximize channels that promote engagement and conversion across a wide landscape of digital touchpoints.

This means brands may want to consider hiring a new breed of marketer who’s versed in digital channels and in data analysis. As the marketing tech stack becomes more complex, companies would be wise to invest in the generation of marketers who are proficient with the latest technologies in addition to the methodologies for converting data into actionable insights.

Personalized Marketing Will Go The Extra Mile

Just about everyone who has visited a website and then seen an ad for that product on another site knows what it’s like to be hyper-targeted by a brand. It makes sense—if a consumer has shown interest by visiting a site, then maybe they’re going to make a purchase. Honing that approach with more refined buying signals will enable marketers to reach consumers with a higher intent to buy at the right time.

Consumer data aggregators have built large identity graphs that inform hyper-targeted ad delivery. These massive third-party data sets can enrich first-party data, giving brands the ability to efficiently create custom audience segments of more interested buyers.

Brands are also fully embracing contextual marketing. With contextual marketing, a consumer sees an ad based on the content they’re currently browsing. It’s particularly beneficial as it doesn’t rely on data collection or the use of tracking cookies.

A mini-trend that can also improve efficiency is sequential messaging in omnichannel campaigns. Here, brands link their ads with triggers and touchpoints that guide consumers through more personalized experiences based on how they’ve engaged with the content. So, rather than serving the same information to all audiences, consumers see a series of messages that tell a story across multiple channels and build toward a sale.

Email Will Continue To Be An Effective—And Evolving—Marketing Channel

For all the ups and downs of email marketing over the years, no one has successfully declared email dead. That’s because many consumers want to receive emails from brands so they can learn, engage and stay current. And many marketers still rely on email as a reliable workhorse for driving conversions.

As far as personalization goes, email is still an ideal platform for delivering timely and relevant messages to hyper-targeted audiences. Triggered responses, time-of-day sending and the immediacy of email contribute to its overall effectiveness. Plus, it’s a familiar channel that consumers rely on—they’re not likely to turn away from or pause their email as they might another channel like TikTok, Twitter or Reddit.

Look for email to grow increasingly interactive with the inclusion of games, image carousels, quizzes and videos that don’t require leaving the email client. Marketers should also focus on delivering an exceptional mobile email experience since the majority of email views are on mobile devices.

Doubling Down On The Right Metrics

While this might seem fundamental, determining appropriate metrics and tracking them over time is still outside the reach of many marketers. That simply can’t continue as marketers are under increased pressure to demonstrate a return on investment on marketing spend while also improving performance. As a corollary, many marketers are overwhelmed with data from their tech stacks. The problem isn’t that they don’t have enough data, but that they have too much. This is forcing marketers to focus on what they should be measuring, not just what they can. Different types of campaigns will require identifying the metrics that define success and determining how they will be collected and reported.

No one is suggesting that brands completely abandon awareness marketing, but rather that they carefully examine their mix in light of today’s economic realities and the need for measurable outcomes. Omnichannel digital marketing is going to provide the personalization, engagement and data that ROI-focused marketers demand.


Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?




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