As we embark upon Q4 2015, marketers are poised to begin 2016 with more opportunity than ever to enhance moments and activate audiences. Today’s hyper-connected consumers expect contextual experiences that deliver value in the moment of need. And businesses need to deliver and exceed these expectations to be successful.

All of these experiences, across every channel, are driven by data. It’s as simple as that, but the possibilities are endless. With data as the known driver of success, let’s take a look at the other four building blocks to success in 2016.

1. Strategic Roadmap

Strategists see opportunities across the customer lifecycle, and they offer clients added insight to navigate a vast array of opportunities, prioritize areas of focus, and accelerate results. Focused time spent outlining key strategic initiatives and building a prioritized roadmap is the first step to success. The roadmap is akin to an architect’s blueprint and ensures the team (or teams) aligns and executes on a unified vision to achieve shared goals.

The strategic roadmap should be revisited frequently to review progress, make adjustments when necessary, and celebrate accomplished goals. Build the strategic roadmap to point the organization towards success.


2. Team Agility

Marketing teams need to be poised to move faster in 2016. To do this, they need tools that provide transparency, actionable data, cross-channel deployment, program performance, testing, and ongoing optimization. Having the team and tools in place to maximize these elements, embrace a continual cycle of testing hypotheses, and optimizing accordingly, is mandatory.

Organizations also need to ensure alignment of cross-functional teams to deliver on key priorities, so they can move swiftly. Focusing on the consumer experience and aligning resources to support this cause is important. Think of it as a “Customer Pivot,” so organizations can stay viable and competitive today. Organizations must concentrate on delivering value across the customer lifecycle, while moving quickly to enhance experiences and create competitive advantages.


3. A Foundation of Automation

Agile teams need agile automation platforms. They need to be able to deliver all cross-channel touch points efficiently, with actionable data fueling every touch. And they need testing and analytics to support ongoing learning. Without this foundation, success is not possible. Marketer’s hampered by limitations in automation need to focus here first.


4. Innovate, or Stagnate

Across every industry, consumers expect more with new levels of interaction and value. To deliver on this expectation, marketers must innovate. This begins with questions such as, “if I knew X, what would I do differently?” Possibilities are endless and need to be fine tuned for every organization and use case.

Understanding just one data point such as location, weather, timing, device, inventory levels, etc., can lead to contextual experiences that activate consumers. Defining these opportunities to innovate, integrating them into the roadmap, and harnessing the capabilities for data-driven innovation, are the vital elements of success.


Final Thoughts

Although there are differing opinions on the concept of failing fast, it may enable teams to increase its speed by taking risks in new areas. By developing a culture of experimentation, innovation can be placed on the fast track.  Assess your team to get the innovation wheels turning.

As 2015 winds down, take time to focus on planning and establishing a strategic roadmap, team agility, automation capabilities, and innovation focus to queue up for success in 2016. With more moving parts than ever, these success factors will help your organization pivot toward the customer to deliver on heightened consumer expectations and achieve success.


This article originally appeared in ClickZ on November 12, 2015. 

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