Marketing’s most dramatic changes of the past year are in the use, collection, and control of data. Add to this the sharp shift over a few years to centralise the customer, and it’s time to stop calling price, place and promotion marketing’s be-all and end-all.

Just as we feel we are getting a grip on applying data-driven tactics to price, place and promotion, the rug gets pulled from under us with more changes.

So, what’s happening with data and marketing in 2019? How do we best prepare for disruption to the status quo?

GDPR fines, Cambridge Analytica, the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and the upcoming ePrivacy Regulation have pointed the spotlight firmly on consumer data - how it is collected and how it has been used.

This spotlight has put privacy and data control front of mind not only for businesses, but consumers too.

Last year’s State of the Connected Customer report found that 59% of customers believe their personal information is vulnerable to a security breach, and 54% of customers don’t believe that companies have their best interests in mind.

How does this change - and these numbers around trust - play out in the marketer’s world?

To help address these challenges, we’ve identified three areas for marketers  to focus on in 2019 – the 3 new Ps for marketers in 2019. They are essential for any marketer in a customer-centred organisation (and if your org isn’t customer-centred, I’d argue that it’s time to change that).
 

1. People

 

Despite the incredible advancements of technology, including cars that drive themselves and watches that communicate with our doctors, one thing has not changed – we still sell products and services to people – not to computers or devices.

By 2020, we are predicted to each have 10 connected devices, creating a big new challenge for marketers: how to understand and connect with the one person behind several devices.

In this seemingly fragmented user environment, marketers must still deliver the right experience at the right time to the individual consumer, no matter what device they are using. To bring the consumer back into focus - a real person rather than a wayward collection of touch points – a lot of disparate data dots must be brought together.

Intelligent, real-time, AI driven marketing will come into its own as marketers contend with huge increases in their data management platforms.

Marketers must combine these digital IDs and signals. Only once we connect the dots can we effectively communicate and engage with consumers. Customer experience is king and not connecting and communicating in an omni-channel, omni-device manner is the fastest route to failure.

Lifetime customer value and its increasing focus on business success will demand that marketers leverage tools for identity and intelligent AI driven marketing at scale and in real-time.

This is evidenced by the fact that our fifth State of Marketing report found that marketers expect their use of data management platforms to increase by 64% by 2020.

The shift in use cases, with a focus on identity resolution and management moving up the list in terms of priorities, means Identity mapping to truly focus on the people behind the devices should become a hygiene factor for marketers in 2019.
 



2. Personalisation

 

Consumer expectation is clear - treat them as individuals or see them walk...

The results of the Salesforce State of Marketing Report back up this demand, showing that 79% of customers are willing to share data in exchange for contextualised engagement, and 88% will do so for personalised offers.

The challenge for marketers is two-fold. First, given only 47% of marketers say they have a completely unified view of customer data sources, how can a brand offer a personalised service with such limited information?

Second, how do marketers make engagement with the consumer relevant, interesting and personal without stepping over the line into invasive? When does engagement become an infringement of privacy? Afterall, there’s personal and then there’s creepy.

The answer might be more straightforward than you’d expect: create a customer data strategy based on clear business objectives (so one that doesn’t hold any more customer data than is necessary to achieve those objectives), put the people in place that can deliver it, then, and only then, look for the technology that can help you execute the strategy.

 

3. Privacy

 

Consumer demand for trust, transparency, and privacy is creating a new business imperative. Where companies once controlled customer data, the consumer is taking back control, insisting that their data be treated with the integrity it deserves.

And in order to use that precious data, we need the processes in place to foster trust with consumers. This starts with informed consent – not just providing a checkbox on a webpage, but a true understanding of how data will be collected and used, in consumer-friendly language.

This often means going above and beyond what’s required by law or industry standards and yet only 44% of marketers would say they do so.

The days of honesty being seen as a quaint and optional add-on, of getting any kind of transparency being like pulling teeth, are over. Going forward, demonstrated respect for privacy will be a key customer demand. There is much work to be done by businesses to restore consumer faith in data collection and use.

As always, in adversity and a shift in the zeitgeist, there is opportunity.

The brands that take on these three new Ps as a business and strategic priority will prosper. Trust and privacy will be critical, and not just in the sense of avoiding a GDPR lawsuit, but going above and beyond to do what is right by the ultimate judge – your customers.

Find out more about the strategies, tactics, tools, trends and tech driving marketing in 2019 – and see what the highest-performing marketers are doing differently – in the State of Marketing report.

Christopher Jordan is the Head of Data & Audiences, Asia & India at Salesforce. He tweets at @jordy382. Read more from Chris.