From the growth of programmatic to the rise of multichannel, there are fascinating changes taking place in the marketing industry. As we enter 2015, here are three trends marketers should be aware of for the year ahead.

Data data everywhere

The role of programmatic continues to evolve and expand, and – as a consequence – marketers are empowered with deeper customer knowledge and greater levels of insight than ever before. A key industry trend that will gain momentum in 2015 is for large global brands to use data obtained from non-traditional sources – including point of sale fulfillment information or shelf-level data – which provides a treasure trove of rich consumer insights.

Technology platforms – including single platform marketing operating systems – can match this data against anonymous user profiles to deliver improved knowledge to brands, while technology companies can provide insight and expertise on how to maximise the use of this data. These platforms will enable brands to market to consumers more directly and effectively, while delivering full transparency into how media is working – both online and offline.

Moreover, when brands work proactively with their data in this way and technology providers become data advisers, programmatic moves to the forefront of the conversation to drive growth and innovation within a business.

Keeping one step ahead on the path to purchase

The path to purchase is becoming less linear as consumers move seamlessly between devices, and from digital sites to bricks-and-mortar outlets, creating a multitude of different touchpoints. With this rise of multichannel activity, and the need to better understand online and offline purchasing behaviour, a number of major technology providers now offer solutions to track consumers across channels and devices. Consequently, this type of technology will become de rigueur in 2015 and all major players in the marketplace will require a relevant solution to this issue.

However, utilising major technology providers to enable cross-screen tracking may not be the best solution for all marketers. These companies leverage the power of their own data and data stack, and as a result could be inflexible in their approach. In contrast, independent technology providers are able to work agnostically across the entire ecosystem, providing customisable and powerful data solutions for marketers.

Changes in the industry model

There are fascinating changes taking place in the industry as brands adopt programmatic technology to leverage their own data and drive improved audience extension. These brands are now armed with a deep knowledge of consumer buying habits, and are reframing their business models to become media companies in their own right.

Furthermore, brands can now combine the various media assets on their sites – plugging into their own first-party data and benefiting from third-party data – to better monetise data-driven consumer insights. This is key as there is a limit to how much advertising a brand can show a consumer before reaching saturation point – after the same advert has been served four times, any subsequent exposure is not likely to engage new prospects or entice existing customers to repurchase, so other ways to engage consumers needs to be investigated.

Responding to this need, companies including Carrefour and eBay are selling their inventory to other brands keen to benefit from highly targeted audience segments. In this new ecosystem, brands can buy inventory from each other to reach consumers who are already engaging with, and expressing interest in, similar products.

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