As 2011 winds down and you find yourself thinking about everything that is good about the holidays, it’s also time to consider the 2012 marketing trends on the horizon as put out by’ Marketing Profs’—and how to take advantage of them in your marketing plan.

For my money one 2011 trend will continue to be huge in 2012, and all marketers need to embrace it and harness its power. That trend is Customer Data.

Here are some of my favorite picks for the Top 5 marketing trends for 2012, and all five are related to Customer Data.

1. Customer Data

When you think about it, every marketer accumulates data every minute–whether from the Internet, from sales conversations in their customer relationship management (CRM) tools, or from ongoing service or sales history. Every minute you are not using your Data means a lost buying opportunity plus you stand the risk of it rapidly becoming outdated.

A recent IDC study found that digital information is doubling every two years. That kind of information growth is what Data is all about. The information available from buying behavior across all your communication channels including the new ’Social Media’ channels constitutes real opportunities to engage potential buyers in different ways to drive revenue at every stage of the customer lifecycle at the right time.

2. Marketing Automation 3.0 (or the Rebirth of the Marketing Data Mart)

Marketing Automation 3.0 is about the rebirth of marketing data marts and their integration into your marketing automation platform. That integration creates a true closed-loop sales-and-marketing system that will harness and extend the capability of your Data.

Why? When you use today’s marketing automation platforms, you generally only have the functionality for surface-level segmentation. The marketing data mart enables you to go much deeper on segmentation based on customer interaction, and hence really drive revenue performance from your campaigns.

3. Customer Intelligence

We’re not talking about marketing analytics, characterised by static dashboards that typically report on campaign performance and basic levels of buying behavior.

Real customer intelligence makes your customer-interaction history actionable, enabling you to conduct more sophisticated forms of segmentation and profiling that drives new customer acquisition and creates up-sell and cross-sell opportunities more efficiently.

4. Customer Lifecycle

Customer lifecycle has new implications in the age of improved customer intelligence.

Just as the cell phone revolutionised telecommunications with anytime, anyplace communications, the application of customer intelligence to the customer lifecycle now creates marketing opportunities that have never been realised before. Marketers can now use the customer lifecycle as a dynamic means to engage prospects and customers at the right time, with the right offer, in the way they choose to buy.

5. Right-Time Multichannel Marketing

Right-time multichannel marketing takes conversations and customer interactions—obtained via social media listening platforms and marketing data marts— and makes them part of customer profiles that can be used in campaigns that drive the right offer to the right buyer at the right time.

What marketers need is a commitment to a closed-loop sales-and-marketing system that treats marketing automation, customer intelligence, CRM, social media listening platforms, and any data source as a holistic environment all driven on the basis of the customer profile.

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The drivers of these trends in 2012 will be the economy (The need to unlock profit at every turn) and global markets that have become extremely accessible through the Internet.

Together, they will be the force behind the most important trend in 2012 that’ll ultimately drive marketing strategy: Customer Data transformed into customer intelligence, and then used across right-time multichannel marketing to drive revenue throughout the customer lifecycle.

(Image courtesy of Bigstock, Business Vision)

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