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Seven Data-Driven Marketing Trends to Watch in 2023

December 15, 2022

By

Josh Vincent

Partner, Data & Analytics – Transparent Partners

At Transparent Partners, we have the benefit of working with some of the most data-driven, innovative brands as well as those that know they are behind and need to move into a modern marketing approach.  Below are seven of the most important trends that have caught momentum in 2022 and every CMO and marketer with a customer-centric strategy should pay attention to in 2023.

1) Marketing Shift Into Cloud Infrastructure

Enterprises are continuing to adopt cloud-based infrastructures to realize a variety of benefits around scalability, cost-efficiency, automation, and security.  Data cloud platforms, with  Snowflake dominating, are disrupting the way enterprise data is managed by creating a unified data infrastructure.  

The two unique characteristics of this setup are 1) applications run on top of this unified data infrastructure without needing to copy or move the data itself and 2) an ecosystem of new startups and innovators are building specialized tools and technologies to realize capabilities not previously possible. Think of the iphone app store release in 2008 as an analogous development that launched a new platform for startups and innovators to build the apps that all of us as consumers rely on today.  

This is radically improving all things modern, data-driven marketers care about doing including robust consumer data capture, data sharing, identity resolution, personalized activation, and cleaner measurement for more powerful optimizations.

To learn more, keep reading below and check out The Modern Marketing Data Stack.

2) Rise of the Composable CDP

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) were at the top of the wish list of Marketing Technologies in 2022.  According to the latest Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing, CDPs are well past the peak of inflated expectations and are approaching the bottom of the trough of disillusionment.  The next hype cycle phase up the slope of enlightenment may well be driven by the rise of the Composable CDP.  

A Composable CDP is built by implementing the component applications that best meet a brand’s marketing use cases, on top of a data cloud infrastructure with unified data.  This contrasts with a traditional off the shelf CDP of packaged software that copies data into a dedicated instance.  While the composable CDP approach enables a single source of truth for customer data along with other benefits it is not always the way to go.  See this podcast for a long form, nuanced discussion on the types of CDPs and how to design the best approach for a given brand.

3) Navigating the Complexity of Consumer Privacy

The key dimensions of consumer privacy are intertwined moving targets of complexity.  From the growing list of regulations like GDPR and CCPA to the host of industry changes like Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention that are disrupting third-party cookie-based tracking, it is a challenge for marketers to keep up.  

Even though brands are moving toward first-party data strategies there is often confusion within an organization around what data may be used for marketing based on what consumer consent parameters have been obtained, as well as what data needs to be deleted upon request.

Brands that can successfully offer something of value (e.g. better experiences, special promotions) to entice consumers to identify themselves and consent to the capture of their data with transparency on how it is used will be ahead of their competitors.

See this compliance hub to stay up to date on the changing regulatory and legal developments along with the ways to ensure your brand is ready.

4) Data Clean Rooms for Sharing and Collaboration

Brands can only get so far by capturing and making use of their own data.  Modern, data-driven marketing is conducted across an ecosystem of publishers, advertisers, agencies, advertising platforms, retail media networks, and measurement partners.  

Clean Rooms are platforms that enable multiple parties to match customer-level data and collaborate while protecting consumer privacy and security.  The primary use cases for clean rooms are core use cases of data driven marketing:  identity resolution, customer-360 enrichment, audience insight, segmentation, activation, and measurement.  

Clean rooms come in many forms including Google’s Ads Data Hub, LiveRamp’s Data Collaboration, Amazon’s Marketing Cloud, and Snowflake’s Data Marketplace.  There are also new tools such as Habu that inter-operate across multiple clean room platforms.

See this clean room primer for an overview of the definitions and use cases to guide marketers on data sharing and collaboration.  

5) Marketing Mix Modeling as the Foundation for Measurement

Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) is one of the oldest forms of ROI measurement and marketing optimization.  It is slower moving and less granular than individual tracking methods like last touch and multi-touch attribution (MTA) but it is the most holistic approach to measuring the variety of marketing and external factors over a long period of time that influence sales.  

As the privacy developments discussed above disrupt individual tracking mechanisms, MMM stands as a foundational measurement approach appropriate for nearly every brand.  Some are reporting that Google and Facebook are pivoting from MTA to Marketing Mix Modeling with both platforms providing open source code as transparency into their methods (see Google and Facebook projects).  

No single measurement method provides a perfect view so marketers will still need to triangulate across a variety of methods.  Other go-to methods include experimental design, incrementality testing, brand lift, sales lift, and some forms of direct tracking.

6) Consumers Still like NFTs and Brands That Build Metaverse Experiences

Crypto and blockchain projects have experienced tremendous value destruction in 2022 driven by several bad actors running lesser-known companies and the stunning collapse of Super Bowl Advertiser FTX caused by its fraudster founder and CEO.  

It may seem like this entire space is melting but the technical underpinnings are sound:  The global, decentralized Bitcoin blockchain network is as stable as ever creating a new block every 10 minutes. The ETH merge in September successfully transitioned the Ethereum network to proof of stake.  

Blockchain technology is here to stay with sustained interest from consumers and major brands experimenting with physical apparel with metaverse benefits like Nike and Adidas plus Starbucks extending its loyalty program into metaverse experiences.  All of these use cases provide marketers with rich customer interaction data tied to forms of consumer identity that can be used for a variety of activation and measurement uses.

For a deeper look into how brands may use NFTs and metaverse experiences in the future see this post.

7) Ads and Conversational Experiences Written by AI Systems like ChatGPT

Marketers have been as aware of artificial intelligence (ai) as any other business stakeholder group and have applied it in a variety of ways over the years.  The most notable developments relevant for marketers in 2022 have been from OpenAI.  

Their Dall-E 2 system creates realistic images and art from a user's natural language prompt.  Some AI generated creations have even won awards competing against artists.  OpenAI’s ChatGPT answers questions and writes stories in natural language based on a user’s natural language prompts.  Since released in November it has generated tremendous interest with potential to disrupt search, computer coding, and homework assignments.  

We are still in early times for AI and these releases have been in raw forms of direct interaction with the tools.  We can expect these technologies to be embedded in other applications in the future with startups and innovators building out products in 2023.  

A powerful application for marketing would be to use ChatGPT and Dall-E 2 (or similar) systems to auto-generate a variety of ad copy and creative coupled with dynamic creative optimization (DCO) and other testing methods to optimize for the greatest impact;  all with speed, automation, and limited human labor creative.

Conclusion

What are the hot topics on your agenda for 2023?  Our team is knee deep with brands and marketing teams to sift through what matters and where to focus as the dynamic world of marketing + data + technology + change management continues to evolve.  Reach out to me at josh.vincent@transparent.partners to connect!

Here’s to a healthy, prosperous and data-driven 2023!