Embracing digital transformation within your organization will be vital to your business’s success in the near to long-term future. Whether you’re already immersed in the digital economy, or transitioning towards fully embracing what it has to offer, there’s no question that it will continue to change rapidly. Digital marketing is evolving at a similar pace, and trends suggest a drastically different landscape in the coming years. Fortunately, businesses that embrace digital transformation will be able to harness the power of data and in turn improve customer experience and product innovation, while adding more tools to their marketing toolbelt.
Below we discuss what we can expect from digital marketing in the future — these trends will drastically change the industry while allowing businesses to make the most of their data on the path to digital transformation.
We are presently witnessing the growth, normalization, and use cases of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in practice within a wide range of industries. Large-scale players such as Amazon and Netflix already have built AI features into their platforms that help with product recommendations and transactions. In the future, we can expect to see its use grow even further within various marketing applications including content, voice, facial recognition, chatbots, and digital assistants.
AI can help bolster the personalization of your organization’s marketing and advertising efforts. With the help of machine learning and automation, modern marketing methods will be equipped to better collect customer data and improve the way that we use data. In the near-term, AI-powered marketing programs will become the new gold standard within the industry because of its increasingly accurate ability to analyze consumer behavior providing more interactive and personalized customer experiences.
The majority of us are no stranger to chatbots. These effective and increasingly popular software programs communicate naturally with website visitors and customers, allowing customers to ask questions and receive answers to those questions in real-time.
As AI continues on its current trajectory, in which computers become better at analyzing customer behavior and sentiments about products and services, chatbots will become better at having “real” conversations with customers — greatly improving the user experience in a significant way for digital marketers. It is expected that in the next few years chatbots will become a normal part of the average user experience, as many organizations continue to integrate them into their digital platforms.
Most recently, we’ve seen the technology take shape as brand-focused chatbots cleverly integrated into social messaging platforms. Facebook has taken the lead on this front by creating a bot specifically designed for businesses to integrate into their messaging service. As customers become increasingly more accustomed to receiving real-time or quick responses to inquiries, this is one digital marketing trend that deserves the attention of marketers everywhere.
Private messaging apps have already begun to replace how businesses communicate directly with their customers. In lieu of emails, mobile apps like WhatsApp, Viber and WeChat have gained significant popularity, and a large portion of activity on these apps involves B2C communication. In response to this increasing preference amongst customers, companies will need to start shifting their focus on how to better use private messaging apps.
Popular brands are already undergoing experiments in monetizing messaging apps and we can soon expect customers to be able to pay for products directly through messaging apps. Some applications have already reached this notable milestone — WeChat, Venmo and PayPal users are using these types of apps to transfer money to their peers.
How people search online is already changing — in fact, 20% of searches conducted on Google are voice searches. Much of this growth can be attributed to the growth in popularity of voice assistants like Google, Alexa, and Siri.
With a growing desire for all things hands-free, customers are able to use their voice assistants to search for things, read text loudly, and even voice dictate text messages. For businesses, this means optimizing their SEO strategies to accommodate voice search, one component, in particular, being a greater focus on long-tail keywords and more detailed search phrases.
As such, digital marketers should ensure that they have at least a basic understanding of how voice search and speech recognition can shape their brand building. With the growth in technology continuing to increase rapidly, this will only become more crucial as more customers use smartphones with voice assistants.
Customers’ preference for personalization and ranking in addition to having a connection with a given brand before making a purchase, points to the need for interactive content as opposed to traditional content. Here, a user controls the experience and is able to personalize the content they consume.
For digital marketers, adding interactive sections to your organization’s website is an effective way to provide value to visitors, increase their engagement, and learn more about their preferences.
Examples of interactive marketing include:
To demonstrate, many clothing brands now include an interactive sizing guide on their website — a customer is led through a questionnaire and can specify their preferences regarding preferred fit, their body type and which clothing brands they’ve previously purchased from to match them with the right size. Customers feel empowered by knowing that they played a role in the purchasing process with a particular brand.
Things are moving fast in the digital marketing world so it’s important for each business to embrace digital transformation in a measured way but also with a sense of urgency. Identifying the greatest areas of need or competitive threat is a good place to start but looking even farther forward to establishing a leadership position in key areas like customer experience should be the goal. It all starts with suring up the foundation and then building from there, just as you would with any challenge in business or life.
If you’re looking to elevate your customer experience with a more robust combination of digital marketing strategy and data analytics, there is no better or more critical time than now. Interested in a brief introductory chat with a partner at REEA Global to see if we’re a fit for your organization? Contact us today.
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