As I sit in the office trying to muster my last ounce of motivation before breaking up for Christmas, I think to myself: what’s marketing going to look like in a year’s time? For marketers like myself it’s a difficult question to answer, simply because our intelligence-driven world is changing at lightening speed. Brands are finding it harder to differentiate themselves and gain trust from consumers, who similarly are trying to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change.
For those of you who’d like some light reading and no-nonsense content, here are my predictions for what’s to come.
1. Understanding customers should be top on the agenda
Consumers have so many channels to choose from nowadays so, as marketers, you’ve got to get the channel right. Brands are now more empowered than ever to track customer behavior and decipher that Customer X would prefer an SMS, while Customer Y, who hates receiving text messages, would much prefer email.
In 2019, remember that communication preferences matter. Did you know that some analysts foresee around 50% of searches to be made via voice search by 2020? Predictions like this one may seem outlandish, but the kids of today are growing up with the expectation that they’ll be able to contact whoever they like, however they like.
2. AI is poised to smarten up your marketing
To some, Artificial Intelligence sounds a bit like a horror movie. If I weren’t a marketer, my first thoughts of AI might have conjured images of 1984 or fanatical robots on the rampage. The latter aren’t too dissimilar to Elon Musk’s recent predictions that AI might kill us all. Jokes aside, AI is going to empower brands to do much more in less time, and with half the effort. Machine learning is causing quite the stir, enabling marketers to deliver hyper-personalized customer experiences across a multitude of channels like web, mobile, and in store. A great example are relevant product recommendations in email and landing pages.
3. Customers want relevant content, not irrelevant ads
Tell, don’t sell. That’s my mantra. If you’re like me, then you’ll respect brands more if they offer up some inspirational content that actually makes you think, rather than mind-numbing, generic ads that have nothing to do with you. Don’t get me wrong, ads can be exceptionally targeted if brands understand their customers and pay attention to data. However, rich editorial content is proving to be a worthy cause for investment, as customers continue to differentiate brands more on experience, rather than product and price.
4. Automation will enhance your brand authenticity
If you’re not already automating your marketing communications in 2018, you’re falling seriously behind. Intelligent messages will put your brand in a good light because customers appreciate (and are even impressed by) them. They’ll think your brand more authentic and reputable than competitors, and will think of you when they come to purchase next.
To nail your automation in 2019, you’ll have to have to be able to recall and act on important data quickly. If I’m browsing some flights to New York because I’m thinking about going with my boyfriend, and later receive a triggered email prompting me to book before prices sky-rocket, the likelihood is that I will.
5. AR and VR will transform the shopping experience
Customers have long complained about shopping. Inattentive store assistants, dimly-lit dressing rooms, and inaccurate product information have all contributed to many disheartened experiences. For retailers, it’s always been a challenge to control every irritating factor, but not for much longer.
As consumers ride the mobile wave, retailers are dipping their toes in digital signage, which is set to take off among luxury brands. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are on course to revolutionize the shopping experience, arming retailers with the tech they need to provide seamless shopping experiences that are both informative and entertaining.
With AR, customers will be able to view themselves donning their new attire in store via a digital projection. VR goes even further; ever wanted to see what your new bathing costume would look like on a speed boat? No, me neither. But it sounds pretty cool!
Goldman Sachs predicts that the market for AR and VR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025, so watch this space!
If these predictions have inspired you to spice up your marketing, please contact your account manager or watch a quick demo.
That’s a wrap. I’m checking out now – see you all in 2019!