Today's fast-changing world brings with it new technological innovations, to morphing consumer expectations. With the market moving at a breakneck pace, marketeers at large have no choice but to adopt Marketing Technologies (Martech) in order to keep up and adopt to the evolving digital landscape.
Let's take a look at a list of 7 prominent marketing trends that are affecting the way we approach marketing today.
Marketing trend 1:
Companies are utilising technologies to tap on the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning.
While we have yet to succeed in gifting true intelligence to our machines, artificial intelligence development has come a long way. With input from marketers and data scientists, artificial intelligence assisted technologies are crucial tools for marketers in the changing marketing landscape of today. 61 percent of survey respondents named AI and machine learning as the key initiative of their data strategy.
A study by Salesforce also found that 76 percent of customers now expect their needs and expectations to be understood by companies, and 53 percent expect personalised offers.
To meet these increasing customer expectations, companies have to store, process and manage huge amounts of personal data at scale, for usage in companies’ engagements with their customers. AI & machine learning helps to store, process, manage and utilise this large amount of data gathered from customers via chatbots (which we will get to in trend number 2), predictive analytics and more.
Marketing trend 2:
Chatbots have become pervasive, to satiate consumer demands of getting answers instantly.
One of the top Martech trends that branched from the development of AI is the rise of the chatbots. According to Grand View Research, the Asia Pacific chatbot market is expected to grow by 24.7% annually from 2017 to 2025.
Chatbots follow a set of pre-programmed rules to guide customers through a series of required responses to get them what they need. Powered by AI, Chatbots also gain the ability to gather data and improve interactions with customers over time. Chatbots also help provide a better user experience by allowing customers stay in in a native environment within apps which they are already using, and convey their needs in human-like conversations; fulfilling people’s desire for ‘right now’.
Marketing trend 3:
Big data and privacy are issues that consumers care about.
The advent of new technologies to help manage and utilise data collected from customers, creates a cyclical loop of companies collecting even more data. Salesforce research shows that the median number of data sources used by marketing organisations jumped from 10 in 2017 to 15 in 2019. 61% of millennials surveyed also indicated willingness to provide personal information in return for the level of personalisation they now expect.
But along with the increased propensity for customer-provided data led by the desire for, is the increased distrust in companies, with nearly 6 in 10 consumers believing that companies do not look after consumers’ interest. With almost all the respondents claiming to correlate trust in the company with loyalty, 51 percent of marketers surveyed now have become more mindful of the need to balance privacy concerns and personalisation needs.
Marketing trend 4:
Blockchain for marketing is a thing.
The impact of blockchain technology, which is more closely associated with cryptocurrency and financial services, on digital marketing may not be obvious immediately. But the technology puts user data in the hands of the users themselves, encrypted and could be used to control what the users themselves want to see in terms of marketing messages.
This has great potential impact on the way data is exchanged and collected, and the weight marketers put on the value of marketing efforts to consumers.
Psst. Read our blockchain for marketing article, where we list the technologies available today, here.
Marketing trend 5:
Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR).
While far from being widely adopted by the mass public, VR and AR have made it into public’s consciousness through highly successful games like Pokemon Go and Beats Saber. With cheaper VR headsets, readily accessible AR technology through consumers’ smartphones, and the majority of the largest companies leveraging VR or AR technology; It is fast rising as a marketing tool with strong potential that is capable of immersive storytelling and differentiating a company from its competitors.
Various platforms have also been progressively making the technology more accessible to companies, such as Youtube and Facebook supporting 360 degrees videos. Snapchat has also experimented with the integration of social media shopping with AR experiences.
Marketing trend 6:
Shopping on social media is pervasive.
With 87% of customers referring to social media to decide what to buy, shoppable social media is a uprising trend which ties in closely with observed customer journey trends. Instagram launched its shopping feature worldwide in March 2018, with 72% of users having bought a product after they saw it on Instagram. A study in the US also found that more than half of the millennial respondents have done unplanned spending due to a fear of missing out (FOMO).
While shoppable social media is great in theory, a majority of the actual transactions still occur on the companies’ own online platforms. As of May 2018, only 18.2% of online consumers in the US have made purchases directly on social media platforms. Reviews on social media are more crucial for businesses instead; Mobile shoppers are 133% more likely to convert when there are positive reviews. Nevertheless, shoppable social media has accelerated the buyer’s customer journey and adds much value to social engagement between brands and their customers.
Marketing trend 7:
Voice-first interfaces are set to surge as people get more connected outside of their personal devices - at home and at work with IoT devices.
Advances in recent years on natural language processing and machine learning have expanded the abilities of voice-activated virtual assistants. With the popularisation of voice-activated smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and in-built voice assistants on iOS & Android devices, the voice-first interface has become more common in recent years. It is projected that by 2020, 75% of US homes will have at least one smart speaker. In Asia, there are at least 85.5 million smart speaker users in China in 2019, surpassing US.
Marketers the world over are today considering the ramifications that this has on search engines and the results that are delivered to the end users.
Marketing was traditionally a singular top-down approach. Today, marketing evolves alongside technology.
With the evolution of marketing technologies (Martech), there are now many paths across different mediums, that a customer may take in the process of making a decision. These mediums are evolving, at times independently from one another. While core marketing principles remain the same, adapting of these principles into different applications can be challenging,.
Marketers and marketing teams need to keep abreast with the industry's ever-changing tides in order to stay relevant, and continue delivering effective content via the most effective medium, to the most desired customers. The answer to this, is Martech. Martech is what powers marketers with delivering and optimising results, while leaving the 'hows' to technology.
In this series, we will further explore the now symbiotic relationship marketers have with Martech, and see how you can do likewise for your company right now!
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This article is part of our Marketing Technology (Martech) Series, where we talk about the latest trends in Martech and uses of AI in marketing. This month, Construct Digital launches "March: Month of Martech" where we talk about different aspects of Marketing Technologies that businesses can deploy right now. This includes the Data Learning Centre and ABCTA: The Ultimate Handbook to Call-to-Actions (CTAs). Find out more here!