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Marketing Fulfillment Trends in 2018: What’s on Your Horizon?

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As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to put the final touches on your marketing fulfillment plans for the year ahead. So what’s on the horizon for 2018?

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to put the final touches on your marketing fulfillment plans for the year ahead. So what’s on the horizon for 2018? Not surprisingly, most of what’s deemed to be “hot” pertains to digital channels and technologies.

But, no matter what channels or techniques you use to generate business, at some point you will be sending physical materials like collateral, POP displays, and more. Getting those items to their intended recipients quickly, accurately and cost-effectively calls for an experienced marketing fulfillment partner.

More on that in a moment. But, first, here’s a quick overview of what’s getting the most buzz right now.

Artificial intelligence: rise of the machines

Robots aren’t poised to take over the world (yet!), but artificial intelligence is making noticeable inroads into marketing.

  • According to research and advisory company Gartner, by next year, 30 percent of our interactions with technology will be through “conversations” with smart machines.
  • By 2020, the company predicts, chatbots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions.
  • And, in its 2017 State of Marketing Report, Salesforce estimates that AI use among marketers will grow more than 50 percent over the next two years. In that same survey, 57 percent of those already using AI said they found it absolutely or very essential in helping increase touch points with customers and prospects.

Mobile marketing: marketing hits the road big-time

Here are some stats that should open your eyes about the importance of mobile marketing:

  • By July of this year, more than almost 4 billion people had internet access.
  • More than 50 percent of them used mobile devices to access it.
  • And U.S. mobile ad spending is expected to surpass $29 billion by 2020.

The takeaway is clear: If your website isn’t optimized to load quickly for mobile display, and if you’re not using mobile search, mobile payments and, in some cases mobile apps, you’ll be losing business.

Influencer marketing: be more social

Influencer marketing has shown itself to be one of the fastest growing customer acquisition methods, especially among younger consumers, who cast a skeptical eye on more traditional marketing. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub 2017 Study, businesses are getting an average return of $7.65 for each $1 they spend on influencer marketing, with the top 15 percent realizing more than $20 for every influencer dollar spent.

Email: alive, well and profitable

Email is arguably the oldest form of digital communication, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated. According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing is still “the king of the marketing kingdom,” returning $44 for every $1 spent.

As is true of other channels, email is evolving. The latest trend? Email segmentation and personalization. According to Statista, the average email open rate for personalized emails is 18.8 percent, versus 13.1 percent for non-personalized emails.

“Personalization” can be as simple as adding a name, but AI will enable email marketers to do much more. For example, Diadem Technologies says machine learning algorithms will make it easier to target email offers by demographics such as age, customer loyalty or past purchase history. AI can also help marketers determine the right time to send emails to increase open rates, based on recipients’ previous interactions.

Diadem also expects interactive email to become increasingly popular for engaging and retaining customers. Integrating interactive content, such as forms, surveys, polls and quizzes, within the inbox – rather than directing recipients to a separate page – reduces the effort needed to perform the desired action. Embedding social links also makes it easier to share.

Getting back to fulfillment…

Okay, so you have a solid strategy. You know what you want to communicate and which channels you’re using to get your information out there. Are you ready – really ready – to respond to and nurture the inquiries and leads you receive?

No one wants to see all the time and effort (not to mention money) they’ve invested go up in smoke because a key element in their execution failed to perform flawlessly. So the time to take a close look at your fulfillment program is now – before you pull the trigger on expensive marketing campaigns.

Fulfillment is a vital link between you and your customers. If your vendor is slow in filling orders, or sends inaccurate or incomplete shipments, you could be missing opportunities to make a sale and grow your market share. That’s why it pays to partner with a company that has a proven track record and decades of experience, like Iron Mountain Fulfillment Services.

For more information on our complete portfolio of marketing fulfillment solutions, contact Iron Mountain.

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