Marketing is one of the many fields influenced by technology nowadays, and the marketing industry trends are all about and around technology. All the digital tools and platforms in place help us collect data quickly and gather insights that we use in targeted marketing and sales future actions. Consumers behaviors are not just better understood but influenced more and more subtle to encourage desired outcomes.
2019 and the next period, in general, will mean a rapid evolution of the use of technology in digital, content marketing and not only. Let’s dive a bit into what these marketing industry trends are, and how besides being aware of it, should we already incorporate them in our business to make sure we’re riding the wave not carried with the tide on its retreat, once everyone else is already doing it.
Marketing Trend #1
It’s all about the experience, the classical funnel is shifting
Brands are more inclined today to draw customers to them by offering more memorable experiences and interactions, be them virtual or physical. These come hand in hand with the funnel shifting trend where one message doesn’t fit them all anymore, just because all of them can buy. Engaging the right audience with your brand is the new competitive advantage. It’s the way to make the experiences unforgettable and a reason to drive brand loyalty.
Think Coca-Cola and how their campaigns around the world offer a sense of belonging and keep their audience engaged with the brand, both online and through retailers. One of the many examples is the small world machines installed in malls in Lahore, Pakistan, and New Delhi, India. Two cities very close geographically but divided by decades of political tension. Shoppers were invited to interact with the people from the other town and share a moment over a Coke, and this way, they not only felt connected to the same community but also to the Coca-Cola brand.
Such examples span more and more industries, from retailers to tourism and telecom. They engage more and more all human senses in as many touchpoints as possible to create positive memorability. Malls are another perfect example; they offer more than shopping, they offer SPAs, saloons, games, test drives, playgrounds for children, events, all to keep their shoppers engaged and feeling good.
Marketing Trend #2
Content marketing is still king, especially in video formats
Content marketing as a player has been in the arena for quite some time now, and it will continue to play a crucial role in the upcoming year as well. Content is meant to inspire, provoke, or excite the audience; it’s a way for a business to start a conversation with its audience. It’s not just about “teaching” and getting a reply from your followers, but more about getting your customers to share and engage with your content to build trust, reputability, and growth.
Video content is still on the rise, especially in vertical form and over the top (from social sources rather than TV or any controlled or curated media), while desktop and mobile video advertising are growing exponentially. Especially new generations don’t like turning their phones so vertical videos become the norm – see IGTV, launched by Instagram, that streams long videos as well, and they are in a vertical format. However, with each average individual spending a few hours of video watching every day, no wonder we have YouTube and Google, but also Facebook, Instagram and many other social media platforms allowing native video sharing and advertising.
Marketing Trend #3
AR, AI and the rise of machine learning. Chatbots
Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality help brand show their products to customers when one of them is not physically there. For example, through the IKEA app, customers can scale their preferred furniture and see how it looks in their home. This way, IKEA helps customers make up their mind about what to purchase.
Artificial Intelligence, with the use of machine learning, is more and more used to interpret consumer behavior data from both online and offline environments. Through this data, then AI “helps” companies target their advertising accordingly by recommending things from messages to be sent, to whom, and when during the day, to achieve maximum results. Advanced personalization, such as Netflix’s recommendations of what to watch, is already here and this trend that will only grow in the future.
Chatbots, on the other hand, especially for customer service, are a perfect way to speed up the process of helping people with the issues they have without making them wait on the phone or send emails. Chatbots are here to stay, and as we move forward, we can expect them to be AI integrated, become even smarter and able to solve complex problems. There are already countless examples of chatbots, like the customer service from FedEx and UPS in the USA, where a bot is picking up the phone almost instantly, and you only need to mention keywords to be helped with a lost package or a product return. Alternatively, there are chatbots installed on websites or apps like Facebook messenger, as the shopping assistant from eBay.
Marketing Trend #4
Having a purpose, taking a stand
Younger consumers expect brands to have a purpose and take a position on top of their profitability goals. Sustainability, green manufacturing, forest support, a health approach – we seem to see already brands taking a call. Even if sometimes they take a controversial position, as did Nike regarding Colin Kaepernick’s inclusion in their Just Do It campaign in 2018. Despite people burning their Nike equipment on social media, Nike’s earning went up to $6 billion out of this.
Taking a stand becomes more and more important as Millennials, generation Z and Alpha grow up and start needing to see a meaning for everything in this world. Millennials, or Generation Z, is the name given to the cohort born between 1980 and 1994, followed by generation Z, born between 1995 and 2009, while the youngest generation today, born after 2010, is generation Alpha[i].