With so many demands on a marketer’s budget as to how, when and where consumers want to be communicated with, business decision-makers recognize the value of data and insight-driven decisioning, and that decisions rely heavily on information and analytics. Many marketers, particularly in the retail and credit card verticals, have better geographic and customer information than ever – which allows them to target more selectively and with better response and conversion rates.

Companies with “data-rich environments” are seeing up to 2.5x the response rates over other companies that do not have consumer data readily available inside their organizations. Loyalty programs and concepts are a very important part of marketing conversations with consumers, since they enable an exchange of valuable information for marketers. According to the 2015 DMA Benchmark Survey, here are some top-level facts for the retail segment, specifically:

  • There were 3.3 billion loyalty program memberships in 2014
  • The average US household is enrolled in 29 loyalty programs but is only active in 12
  • Because of Amazon, 18.4 % of merchants have had to offer more competitive pricing
  • Michael Kors is the #1 fastest growing omnichannel retailer

What are these statistics telling us? The more you know about your customer, the more likely they are to stay a customer, and expand their relationship with your brand. Amazon isn’t only dominating the marketplace on price – they know your shopping history, and actually use it for more tailored marketing across channels, and they do it seamlessly. Look for marketers, especially in retail, to use more sophisticated targeting from transactional data gleaned from websites and loyalty programs to take personalized marketing into overdrive in 2016.

Marketers across industries are looking to leverage new and different types of data to maximize profits. Expect technology investments to pick up, as political, economic, market, and consumer sentiment indicators point in a positive direction. While companies are, at times, slow to adopt data-enabled insights and analytics best practices, a small subset of global brands are heavily investing in new people resources, data and analytic discovery platforms, and new analytic tools that go well beyond traditional vertical and horizontal views of the business.

New analytics, insights, and resulting decisions will fuel the “potential” for growth while maximizing existing investments – and allow for faster business decisions based on new performance metrics. From a customer experience perspective, in a world of increasing choice, algorithms curate and drive a unique data-driven experience focused on convenience for customers. Built in feedback loops, ease of access and user experience will be at the heart of marketing strategy in 2016.