A new year means new trends. Which trends should marketers be keeping an eye on this year?
Keeping ahead of upcoming trends can be incredibly difficult for marketers who want to appear cutting edge. Ensuring you have the right technology available to make the most of these trends is also vital when it comes to keeping up with the competition.
So which trends should you be thinking about and what do they all mean?
Businesses looking to improve their customer experience will be aiming to create a 360° customer view. This is when all customer data is stored and accessed from a single central location as and when it is needed. In order to develop a 360° view of your customers, businesses need to collect, segment and analyze specific information about their customers from a variety of different sources.
The term AI encompasses a wide range of technologies that essentially include software that has the ability to think for itself and make decisions based on its own analysis, without any human input. AI can contain various elements, including machine learning and neural networks.
Chat bots are an extension of AI and are able to mimic human conversations. This is normally achieved in a customer-centric Q&A scenario where customers will submit help queries and a chat bot will respond by selecting the appropriate answer.
The definition of influencer marketing varies depending on who is providing the definition. Many will associate this with paying digital ‘socialites’ to represent their brand. However, the modern influencer only provides a brand with true value after nurturing a long term relationship where they become powerful brand advocates instead of another transaction in an ongoing social campaign.
Tim Mcloughlin from Hotels.com states;
“Influencer marketing is the practice of building organic and lasting relationships with influencers that are relevant to your brand, on an equal value partnership basis- delivering value to you, your influencer and your target audience through influencers’ networks. Working with influencers on a paid, owned, earned and borrowed basis- borrowing their reach, creativity and credibility.”
MarTech is the amalgamation of marketing and technology to bring technology-based tools into the marketing environment. The process of creating, managing and using these digital tools allows marketers to speed up processes and automate tasks that would otherwise be incredibly manual. For example, this can include sending drip feed emails to nurture leads by providing them the most relevant content at the right time, and also re-engaging with leads that have gone cold.
Wearable technology is a relatively new term that essentially refers to all forms of technology that can be incorporated into clothing and accessories. Generally more sophisticated and specialized than the traditional laptop and mobile cousins, wearable technology can incorporate biometric functions. Wearable technology can come in a variety of forms, including; watches, glasses, contact lenses, hats and jewelry, to name a few.
Personalization is a method where marketers provide only the relevant content to an individual at the relevant time. This helps to build customer loyalty and also enables you to gather behavioral data. This is a cost-effective method of marketing and is also recognized as a way to improve sales.
1-to-1 messaging is one delivery method for personalized marketing. This can range from confirming online orders, arranging delivery slots and gathering customer feedback.
Programmatic is the process where purchasing ad space from digital publishers is automated using algorithms to determine the cost and ad placement. However, programmatic and AdTech take this one step further by allowing advertisers to target specific demographics that can range from something as broad as age and gender, to something specific as what time of the day they browse and what device. All this is performed in real time using audience insights to deliver the right ads to the right viewer at the right time.
The rise of video content has become more relevant throughout 2017 and will continue to rise in importance in 2018. Successful content marketing campaigns use a variety of content types in order to engage and provide value to their audience. Video has become a key part of this due to its popularity in providing easily digestible information, with videos being shared as much as 1200% more on social than standard link-based and text-based content.
VR/AR technology has become one of the biggest buzzwords of 2017. Large Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook are investing more in VR/AR than ever before to determine its capabilities.
Virtual reality is a fully immersive technology that creates a whole new environment for an individual to engage with whereas augmented reality involves overlaying simulated elements over the real-world environment, such as the incredibly popular Pokémon Go app.
Voice Search (Including Siri, Alexa and Google Home)
Initially brought to the consumer market via Siri, voice search is the capability to use voice commands to initiate and carry out searches. Essentially speech recognition software, requests and commands can be made via speaking aloud instead of typing and has seen a boom in marketplace throughout 2017 with technology such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.
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