With technology driving all Marketing conversations or conversions, today, Digital Marketing will be a significant portion of the Opex of a company in coming years. As a result, new trends, technologies, and solution providers are entering the world of Digital Marketing, which will sustain the momentum for Digital Marketing in the years ahead.
2020 will see adoption of new trends and emphasis given to existing trends that are popular. We would like to consolidate some of them here:
Chatbots once regarded as a fancy feature on some websites will become the default mechanism for first-level interaction with a company. Chatbots quickly capture prospect attention, save time, save costs and offers a better alternative to a grumpy representative.
Private Messaging Apps
Messaging apps like Whatsapp, Viber and WeChat started off as a great way of initiating conversations. But their popularity is seeing more functionalities like payment gateways being integrated into these apps. Examples include WeChat Pay, Venmo and Paypal.
AI, ML and Data-driven Efforts
While some businesses are already using chatbots and voice assistants like Alexa and Siri, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Language can achieve a lot more. Some Healthcare, Travel and Hospitality companies are experimenting with AI-powered marketing tools to capture new prospects.
Targeting specific prospects with relevant ads or messages has existed as a concept since the mid-1990s. However, it's only in recent years, the ability to serve relevant ads has improved for 2 reasons: one - better capturing of user data and the use of AI to power ad-serving tools.
Self-management author Dale Carnegie was one of the first to point out that prospects and customers like to be addressed by their name, and their preferences understood before talking to them. Business houses have taken it to the next level by studying the customer's social media behaviour, buying patterns and a whole lot of such data to serve personalized messages.
Video ads may have been around for over 2 decades but now, explainer videos are slowly replacing Marketing collateral like brochures and increasing conversations through comments that appear on the video page. This is resulting in more conversions and a sales funnel with more hot leads than before.
Gone are the days when business houses could sell customer data. New privacy norms are forcing companies to be transparent about their data storage and data usage policies. Companies who are already following such norms can now advertise this fact proudly and establish more trust with prospects and customers alike.
Integrated Solution Providers
Currently, many organizations use multiple tools to manage various aspects of Marketing such as Contacts database, Social Media, Marketing automation, Leads Management, Email marketing, Content Creation, SEO, Analysis, etc. But soon, organizations will prefer a single provider or software platform such as HubSpot to manage all these activities.
While Google, Alexa and Siri are popular for voice-searches, organizations will incorporate voice-search tools on their database as well as internal tools for ease of searching. The conversational tone and the question-answer format even make the experience pleasant.
BI over SEO
Till recently, free tools like Google Analytics was the default means for analyzing traffic to one's website. Now, paid Business Intelligence tools like Google Data Studio are providing a lot more information in a structured manner. Further, marketing data from Facebook ad campaigns can also be exported to Data Studio for a comprehensive picture.
Smartphones the most Popular Vehicle
With the proliferation of high-speed broadband networks, young adults worldwide are increasingly tuning out of Television, and turning to smart-phones, for Infotainment. This has changed the style and language of Marketing for many companies. Marketers are leveraging the advantage of multi-modal communication offered by Mobile apps.
Integration of Online Maps
While previously, a link to the Google Maps location of one's offices were found only on the contact page of companies, such maps are now being integrated into messaging apps, social media networks and online shoppes. Smart algorithms derive the user's location from GPS coordinates and suggest options, dynamically, on the go.
Sentiment Analysis is a great mechanism for Online Reputation management. By analyzing online posts, comments and feedback from prospects or customers, software tools can grade the user as being positive, negative or neutral about the company. Based on this, marketing departments can reach out to aggrieved users and take necessary action.
YouTube as a Significant Partner
While we have already mentioned Video marketing, YouTube deserves a separate mention. More than any other Video Marketing network in the world today, YouTube has the largest online community, and offer various value-added features that are a boon to Marketers.
Considering the time spent by an average consumer on social networks today, many B2C businesses are turning to Social media sites as the primary channel for communication. The ease of modulating the message dynamically, the cost-effectiveness and better user engagement is why social media are slowly replacing print media and TV ads.
'Content is King' is an oft-touted cliché but one that has come of age. Generic messages and a one-size-fits-all approach adopted by marketing departments have rendered many campaigns ineffective. Instead, presenting high-quality content in a targeted manner engages with prospects better and leads to better conversions.
Previously, Influencers gave opinions on lifestyle products like Fashion, Jewellery or personal-care products, on social media sites. Today, every category of product or technology has its own roster of Influencers who are regarded as an authority on that subject. There are Influencer Marketing platforms where one can reach out to Influencers and seek their opinion.
While social media has been used to push product information or feedback for B2C companies, now such sites are becoming interactive. A product photograph is embedded with icons, using which one can seek a testimonial, ask for pricing details, watch a video or locate stores in that vicinity. And all this can be achieved without leaving the site.
Merely putting out a product photograph on the social media page is passé, as explained above. B2C companies are also integrating payment gateways into the window featuring the photo, in order to achieve quick sales.
VR and AR to make a Foray
In businesses such as Decor, Real Estate and Education, decision-making by the prospects is slow and involves a lot of data to be presented. Immersive technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are easing this process by presenting necessary information in realistic and interesting ways.
Rank Zero in Google SERP
Rank zero in the Search Engine Result Pages is the answer or partial information that you see at the top of the page after a search. More and more companies would want to take up this slot, which opens up a window of opportunity for Digital Marketers.
Consumer Privacy and KYC
The last couple of years have seen several incidents of Online Fraud and Security breaches when it comes to customer data. To overcome this, privacy regulations like GDPR, Identity Management and Know Your Customer will become a norm for Digital Marketers.
Digital and Marketing Transformation
Finally... all those companies that have been slow to adopt Digital Marketing will start doing so in the coming year creating more Digital or Marketing transformation for themselves, and their industry.