So much of the time, marketers feel they're behind the eight-ball, chasing after solutions to problems and just trying to keep up. Here are three cutting-edge concepts (plus one bonus) revealed in the IDC FutureScape study of Chief Marketing Officers you should be discussing with your company's leadership. It can be a good way to demonstrate that you're ahead of the marketing curve.

Cognitive computing

Cognitive computing uses computers to simulate human thought processes. It depends on self-learning systems that mine data, recognize patterns and use natural language to process things in ways that are similar to how the human brain does.

According to the IDC FutureScape study, by 2020, half of all companies will use cognitive computing as a part of their automated marketing and sales interactions with customers.

Today, it's being used in telesales and simple email marketing campaigns to help identify qualified leads and set up sales calls. But IDC predicts that cognitive computing interactions with customers will increase as algorithms become more sophisticated. These systems can process millions of decisions almost instantly, faster than a human being ever could. And that means they can constantly optimize marketing messages along with how and when they're served up. 

Surprisingly, IDC states that many consumers are actually more comfortable interacting with virtual systems than real people. They feel less "watched" and "judged" because computers work off pure data, not personal value judgements. 

Imagine how it could impact your financial services business if a computer could predict the next product or service your customers would be interested in at exactly the time they want to purchase it.

The cognitive computing revolution is already underway. What are you waiting for? Learn more about this emerging technology with these videos and articles from IBM, a leader in the industry.

Content Marketing

Content marketing isn't all that new. It's been around for years. The news, according to IDC, is that by 2017, marketers will spend more on content marketing than on product marketing. That's right, more money will go into the assets that bring consumers in to interact with product information than on the product materials themselves.

Why is this happening? Because more and more savvy marketers realize that consumers will never read their product information unless they build an effective content trail that leads them to it.

Today, according to IDC data, top marketers are spending 40 percent or more of their budget on content marketing. How does your budget compare?

It's definitely time for you to up your content marketing game. Learn how you can make the case for growing your content marketing initiatives. In addition, you should find resources -- including an agency experienced in building advanced content marketing strategies -- to help you become a content marketing leader.

Predictive Analytics

The good news, according to IDC, is that by 2018, predictive analytics will be a standard tool for most marketers. The bad news: only about a third of marketers will know how to use it effectively.

Predictive analytics leverages a wide range of statistical techniques from predictive modeling, machine learning, and data mining to analyze current and historical information to help marketers make predictions about what triggers to serve-up to drive desired consumer activity.

This is what the best retailers are doing right now to drive sales online. And you should be doing it too. While the math behind predictive analytic systems can be complicated, finding one that could work for your financial business doesn't need to be. This interesting article in InformationWeek provides good information about how the financial services industry is leveraging predictive analytics to drive business and retain customers. Once you have a baseline knowledge about this topic, check out this article that introduces some of the top Predictive Analytics software solutions. It can help you build a short list of vendors that offer solutions aligned your business needs.

The "Plus One"

The sales funnel will be dead by 2020.

According to IDC, the 114 year old sales funnel model will be dead by the year 2020. That's because this artifact of the Industrial Age has outlived its usefulness in today's digital-driven marketplace. What will it be replaced by? IDC believes customer-focused marketing is the answer. It puts the focus on marketing to your best customers to earn the highest profits possible from them. It can be a great way to reduce marketing waste while driving more dollars to your bottom line.

This article explains how you could break down your company's traditional marketing silos and replace them with a more customer-centric approach to marketing.

Not sure how to introduce these new marketing strategies to your business? Then contact an agency that's been leading the way in developing innovative marketing strategies for financial companies for more than 35 years. We can offer an informed perspective on how you can use data driven strategies, content marketing and a customer-centric approach to stay ahead of the marketing curve.
 

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