Marketing is the core and life of any business as it can’t function half as effective without it. It’s one thing to create a product/service, but another to market it and to make it seen, gaining immense exposure for your business. Product design and development are crucial, but without effective marketing and running promotional campaigns at the right moment, you will sell nothing.
There is a further challenge with marketing, though – it is constantly evolving and new ways of promoting products and services emerge every year. With constant growth of technology, we need to adapt to new marketing ways on a daily basis. Before you even know it your competitors adopt the new trends and you can be left behind very rapidly, your target audience choosing your competitors instead of you.
These innovations are the products of brilliant minds in the marketing field, but the future of marketing would not be so exciting without the technological advances that make these changes possible. In the last years, new technology has become increasingly affordable and accessible to the majority of consumers, providing businesses with new channels they can use to communicate to audiences.
One thing is for sure: technology is growing and will continue to transform the future of marketing. For instance, smartphones are now becoming more popular than computers, with 18 million users in Australia and a forecast to exceed 2 billion users worldwide by 2022. Another prediction is that marketers will be spending over $375 billion on digital adverts by 2021; so you absolutely want your business to use these highly popular marketing channels and communicate to users where they spend a good deal of their leisure time.
Here are four areas of marketing that will continue to evolve in 2019 due to the latest technology developments:
Technology allows businesses to get their brand out there more through launch, promotion, and building awareness tactics.
Through technology advancements, businesses can now utilise media like electronic billboards, the Internet, etc. These allow them to reach audiences in mass numbers all at one time and foster positive relationships.
Branding forecasts include:
- AI brands that create themselves and know what you want before you need it
- Advertising will be used less for branding purposes, but rather for driving transactions with consumers
- Consumer interactions with brands will be digital first, with human/personal coming only second
- Brands will explore new innovative uses of augmented reality and gaming for product promotion
- Brands will work directly with consumers to build products and brands – consumer co-creation
- Brand interaction is shifting from message bombardment to productive interactions
- A growing number of consumers will afford making ethical purchases and will prefer brands that are socially responsible
- Consumers will require simpler brand engagement after years of being flooded with brand messages.
Recent growth of technology allows customer service to be enhanced greatly. The newest tools allow businesses to reach out and be in contact with customers or audiences without even being face-to-face with them. A business can either nourish existing customer relationships or create new ones by using digital tools exclusively. The growth of technological speed also allows businesses to attend to PR issues or negative reviews before they get out of hand.
Some of the customer service developments predicted for the future of marketing includes:
- Customers’ expectations will be higher than ever. They won’t compare you to your competitors, but to the best service they have ever received from any company
- Customers will prefer companies that are easiest to work with and have processes that create the smallest amount of friction
- Data will be used to analyse buying patterns, increase personalisation, and make customers feel that businesses know a lot about them
- Self-service solutions will be preferred, compared to the habit of making a phone call to get your problem solved, as older generations used to do
- Employee experience will be very important due to the small pool of available talent. Good employee experience is required to better customer experience
Immediate feedback is a thing of the present already, as there are different feedback options available (surveys, reviews, live sharing, post sharing, etc.) Feedback channels allow businesses to be aware of what products/services are doing well, and which ones aren’t, thus allowing them to either improve or scrap them before wasting any more money. There are tools to optimise the way businesses acknowledge customer feedback, such as:
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques – these allow users to determine emotions from raw texts, like social media posts or customer reviews, rather than having a human going through the entire data and determine customer sentiment
- Analysing customer reviews using text mining to predict their behaviour. Similar to the previous method, mining consists of examining large collections of text and converting them to structured data for further analysis like visualisation and model building.
The numbers that audiences (even potential customers) can be reached by is astounding. With just 1 post, you can influence a large number of people and attract paying customers almost instantly.
Businesses have shifted away from traditional marketing such as print media, TV adverts, and are utilising online marketing as more people are online now specifically on social media. March 2019 saw 2.38 billion monthly users for Facebook and a lot of businesses opt to advertise through this channel as it is the most popular.
A prediction for the future of marketing that will also influence the way brands reach consumers is content creation getting a boost from AI. It is expected that by 2022, content creators will produce more than 30% of their digital content with the help of AI content-generation techniques. This will increase productivity and advertising effectiveness, but will also have a disrupting effect on the creative process.
All these changes predicted for the future of marketing have several technological advances in common, that have already started to transform the digital marketing landscape of the late 2010s:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It consists of the self-development of machines to perform human tasks almost perfectly. The most common applications are recommendations, predictive search, chatterbox, etc. What actually happens is that machines leverage customer data to anticipate the customer’s next move. The marketing solutions provided by AI are designed to enable consumers to understand the world in the same way a human would.
Data allows businesses to gain insights into their customers/potential customers; such as their likes and interests. The importance of data collection is so significant and can make the difference in an effective marketing campaign as it enables you to target the campaign adequately. Benefits of collecting customer data include better ability to resolve customer issues, identifying customer spending habits, selecting the most suitable marketing media, and others according to our post on the importance of data collecting and an effective CRM strategy.
Virtual reality marketing is gradually becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Virtual reality refers to any type of experience that places the user in another world or dimension, while augmented reality consists of placing content into the real world (a very good example is the Pokémon Go mobile game).
The key is to implement virtual reality into your content strategy to deliver more interactive and engaging content and ads. It is still important to determine the primary medium for your customers and incorporate VR content into it, because VR needs to be the platform and not the message. Virtual reality enables you to showcase your products as if the user was stepping into your store; by using immersive storytelling you can create a feeling of presence and attract the user to follow your video’s narrative.
The future of marketing may look rather hi-tech, but in the end it all comes down to the primitive part of the human brain: people will be loyal to your brand only if you are able to engage them on the emotional level. The challenge is to keep touching audiences and selling experiences and emotions to consumers, while staying up-to-date with the constantly changing marketing landscape.