Next year will bring a whole new set of challenges for companies trying to adapt to technological advancement. We have surpassed our own human capabilities and have started to merge the real world with the computer world. From 360-degree videos on Facebook (FB) to fake couches in the living room, consumers are utilizing all the digital power at their fingertips. Virtual assistants are no longer administrative professionals that work remotely. They are friendly, interactive robots that sit in your home and serve as a source of knowledge. They also set your alarm, check the weather, plan the week, and send in your favorite pizza order.
There is a growing demand for highly personalized customer service. People are now just seconds away from getting what they want and need, thanks to the evolution of the smartphone. Since handheld devices have become so accommodating, consumers are started to expect the same out of businesses. These five digital trends will help companies solidify their marketing strategy for 2018.
The “Fake” Real-World Experience
Augmented reality (AR) can literally manipulate our senses, from what we see on our mobile devices to how we feel in our environment. Apple introduced an app called ARKit with the iOS 11. Using their iPhone or iPad as a lens, consumers can now place virtual objects in the same room they are in. This technology is revolutionary for all industries, from furniture retailers to game development companies. It allows marketers to sell the consumer an experience rather than just a product. It also gives them more confidence in their purchases because they are able to mock up real-world scenarios, like how a new kitchen island will look.
Several of the Fortune 500 companies are rallying behind AR and have seen a 32 percent improvement in business performance. AR should be watched closely since major companies like Amazon are already utilizing it to the fullest.
Online Video Engagement
If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably noticed a plethora of videos on your news feed. Video marketing will continue to take over digital channels in 2018. Hubspot, a marketing software developer, found that 48% of marketing professionals plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in 2018. It’s easy for consumers to scroll past a text ad if there is nothing helping it stand out from surrounding content. Videos, on the other hand, have the ability to engage users in a matter of seconds.
Videos don’t have to be long to get an effective message across. In fact, over half of consumers prefer videos that last under a minute. Sacrificing a small amount of time now will create lasting relationships in the future. Let’s face it, if you’re not in the process of adding video content to your marketing strategy next year, you’ll lose half your potential consumer base who spends their time watching short clips on their news feed every day.
The Age of Artificial Intelligence
A lot of people wonder how robots will impact the work force. But how will artificial intelligence (AI) effect client-facing in the business world? AI Chatbots are being taught how to create the perfect customer service experience. They still rely on humans, because they learn from real human interactions. However, Chatbots aren’t equipped with one our biggest weakness: feeling. They are conditioned to cater to a consumer’s needs and know how to stay level-headed in a sticky situation. Self-control is imperative in the customer service business. These machines are important assets to a company because their number one focus is brand loyalty.
A Small, Powerful Window of Influence
Google (GOOGL) has done a lot of research centered on what it calls “micro-moments.” These moments are crucial to a business and how efficiently it reaches a target audience. Consumers are spontaneous and don’t always know what they want. Smartphones are the ultimate connection between businesses and consumers because search engines fulfill a consistent need. They depend on the internet and businesses to narrow down their choices, whether they’re looking for a last minute gift or trying to find a good happy hour. In fact, a Google survey concluded that 87% people will utilize their phone first as a resource, giving it a much stronger pull than word-of-mouth or social media.
It is imperative for companies to nail down their target demographic and the best time of the day to reach them. Then, it needs to restructure the marketing budget to cater to this small but powerful window of influence. Companies can use Facebook’s Advanced Location Targeting to further drive traffic to a store or increase online sales. Social media is a compliment to SEO, but far from a substitute.