How technology is changing marketing in the modern era?
One of the main things we learned from 2017 was that customer engagement and trust are becoming key aspects of digital marketing. Smart companies are already using consumer experience as a foundation of their strategies in attempts to create a more dynamic level of personalized engagement with their target audience.
One report by Forrester Research even showed that trust between customers and brands was at an all-time low in 2017 and the recent Facebook privacy scandal certainly didn’t help. This paves the path for new trends that are slowly changing digital marketing as we know it.
Here are the 11 most important trends that show how technology is changing digital marketing in 2018.
1. Programmatic Marketing: Marketing of the Future
There’s a wide consensus among marketers around the world that programmatic marketing is the marketing of the future. The only thing standing in the way of this change is marketers’ lack of knowledge about this field and the reluctance to give up the old ways of doing things. 2018 might be the year of change, especially for B2B companies.
Google has been providing marketers with this options for a while now but in 2018, channels like LinkedIn and Smart TV have begun to offer advanced targeting options. What makes these ads special? They can use AI to fine-tune themselves based on the available data of what works and what doesn’t.
2. The Rise of AI and Machine Learning
The rise of Machine Learning and AI will shake up the digital marketing industry. Multiple studies predict a growth of more than 50% in 2018. Gartner even expects that around 20% of business content in 2018 will be written by machines. These are certainly impressive numbers but it’s not only researchers that feel this way.
58% of CEOs around the world believe that in order to succeed, companies will have to be competitive in the AI space.
AI allows businesses to analyze the digital crumbs left behind users that browse the web, providing useful information about customer behavior. This can help brands create more personalized algorithms according to the provided relevant recommendations.
3. The Rise of Augmented Reality
The growing popularity of games like Pokémon Go is opening the market for augmented reality apps. 2018 might be the year when we start seeing an increasing number of brands beginning to use AR as a major tool for engaging with their customers.
AR offers a lot of options for further customization of the consumer journey, from sponsored filters on Snapchat, to exclusive content that’s triggered when visiting a specific location.
4. Growing Popularity of Live Video
Live streaming has proven to be an excellent social media tactic. This gives brand ambassadors the opportunity to respond to the audience’s questions and comments in real time. Live video is not only more transparent but also more natural than other marketing tactics and modern customers recognize this.
According to Livestream, 82% of users would rather watch a brand’s life video than read social media/blog posts.
5. New Marketing Roles
In the last few years, marketing has shifted from brand-centered to focused on creating a unique Customer Experience (CX). This is why traditional designations of digital marketing and channel marketing are slowly starting to disappear.
Digital marketing is becoming ubiquitous in today’s dynamic environment. This requires flexibility and innovation in order to respond to the quick changes in the market. That’s why in many companies, marketing teams are being led by CX Managers, Content Managers, and Design Managers, while digital by itself is starting to disappear as a role.
6. Personalizing the customer’s user journey
Personalization was the best way to increase sales and engagement with your customers in the past. Today, personalization slowly starts to become the only way to achieve this goal. Personalized chatbots and email newsletters make customers feel more important and appreciated. This kind of information sharing creates a stronger bond between the consumer and the brand.
This is something all companies need to take very seriously. The modern customers aren’t interested in your promotional methods (most of the time). If they don’t feel a personal connection with the products or services being offered.
7. Automated Marketing
Automation in email marketing isn’t anything new but more companies are complementing this approach with automated CRM processes. This relieves the organization from dependence on human workforce and human errors.
Visionary companies are already creating strong foundations for automatization of the user experience. In order to support the growing needs of marketing teams, automation is expected to increase even more in 2018.
8. Shifting the focus from one generation to another
In the recent years, most marketers were focused on grabbing the attention of Millennials. However, the time has come to start focusing on the younger generations. The marketers that will find a way to do this successfully and continuously will profit from their efforts in the next couple of decades. However, Generation Z (post-millennials) have different perceptions and different online behavior than their older counterparts.
They are much more tech-savvy, expect quick responses, are addicted to video and actively use voice-search on a daily basis. 2018 is a great year to start focusing on targeting these generations as a lot of them are entering the labor market.
9. Customers Become the New Influencers
Social influencers are already impacting buying decisions every day. Micro-influencers bring more credibility to the table and this slowly peels–off the delusive claims of celebrities that serve as brand ambassadors. These micro influencers add a whole new dimension of promotion by providing authentic post-purchase reviews.
They basically act as the voice of the brand without being direct product evangelists. Brands spent $1 billion USD on influencer marketing in 2017. This number will likely grow even more as more brands start using this approach.
10. Fake News and the Modern, Skeptical Customer
There were several ultra-popular fake news sites that marked 2017. As a result, the already skeptical modern customer will (probably) become even more skeptical in 2018.
As a response, brands will need to do a better job of gathering information about their target audience and create a more insightful experience for their consumers.
11. You Need to Learn More About Privacy
Not only are consumers becoming more conscious and skeptical but they are also more concerned with their privacy, especially after the Facebook privacy scandal. Subsequently, the General Data Protection Regulation went into effect on the 25th of May 2018.
This gave EU–citizens more control over their private data but it also gave companies standards they have to comply with. Non–GDPR-compliant businesses will face a fine of up to 4% of global annual turnover or $23 million, whichever is greater.
Another proof of consumers becoming more conscious about their privacy protection is the increased use of Ad blockers. According to Paige Fair, 11% of internet users use some kind of ad blocker, which is an increase of 30% compared to last year.
12. Growth Hacking as a Sustainable Strategy
Companies like Uber, Dropbox and Airbnb became large players by using this technique. In case you’re not familiar with growth hacking, it’s basically a technique that includes giveaways to users that will recommend your app/product to a friend. This approach enables companies to identify the most efficient ways to grow by rapidly experimenting across marketing and product-development channels.
We believe that 2018 will be the year when smaller companies start using the benefits of this approach as well. This is mainly because there are a lot of new tools that can make growth-hacking possible without a strong coding background.