One of the most asked questions in the marketing industry is, “What are the new trends?” While many companies are open and willing to jump in and try the biggest, newest, and most talked about innovations on the horizon, some of these changes will make a direct impact on campaigns whether a business is ready, or not. And, of course, many of these methods will go on to become industry staples (think social media and mobile marketing), while others fizzle after a few years.
We may have just begun 2018, but there are trends that are catching everyone’s attention and slated to grow over the next several years.
Personalizing marketing is nothing new, but because of new data, customizing your message has become even more targeted. Thanks to AI and machine learning, marketers have moved from relying solely on demographics to having habits, desires, activities, and purchasing preferences available at the touch of a button. Furthermore, companies are learning how to use these actionable metrics to convert data into sales.
“Marketers have always wanted to know what their customers are thinking,” GO’s Digital Strategist, Jamie Esposito, explains, “But, now the industry has the ability to embrace a customer-centric mindset because we have the data to support it. Before, it was always a bit of a guessing game, but with this information, we can truly deliver what the buyer wants.”
For example, major retailers like Amazon are leveraging rising AI-based solutions that blend data from various sources such as historical transaction data, trending sales, competitive info, CRM data, and social media feeds. This produces a rare view into the purchaser’s persona. By better understanding consumer behaviors, Amazon can create private label merchandise, therefore, placing them in an immediate duel with other sellers and specialty retailers.
Google AdWords has been a major player for years, but, just like everything else, it continues to evolve. Gone are the days of simple PPC and generically produced keywords. Many of Google’s latest features revolve around machine learning and customer-centric marketing.
For example, with Google's new smart display campaigns, advertisers can present ads in almost all formats across the entire Google Display Network. This means that ads are reaching people during all stages of the buying cycle, from those just starting to show interest to those ready to take out their wallets. To do this, Google connects three optimization technologies including automated bidding, automated targeting, and automated ad creation. By using targeting, these ads appear where they will get the most significant response for the most value. While this change is already in process, it will impact how Google determines ad placement for years to come.
New Forms of Native Advertising
Native advertising, or paid media publicity that is fundamentally not intrusive, promotes a brand while blending in with the platform. If done well, this method is better at developing authenticity and engagement with prospective customers than conventional digital ads. But, what has transpired recently is that consumers are catching on to “hidden” promos and are starting to demand transparency. The reality star who is banking on their 15 minutes of fame is no longer convincing viewers that they are genuinely excited about their protein shake or teeth whitener.
What will change in the future is how native advertising is conducted. Last year the Federal Trade Commission proceeded with warnings to almost 90 brands and social media influencers, including social media maven Kim Kardashian, that they failed to reveal that the brands and products they promote is paid content. Instagram recently changed the way they display their sponsored content, in part, because of this warning, and other platforms will continue to do the same.
Voice Search Marketing
It is predicted that by 2019, 67 million of voice devices will be homes and offices across the United States alone. While many consumers are using this technology to make shopping lists and listen to the latest music, a shift is quickly happening towards the way advertising is conducted. Brands are starting to understand that these devices present a unique opportunity to make ordering easier, and by formulating campaigns using past purchase information, shoppers can buy a product simply by using their voice.
At GO, we touched on this in our blog, Why Brands Need to Adopt a Marketing Strategy for Voice Devices, and pointed out that as this technology grows at a rapid pace, marketing agencies are rushing to be the first ones to use this opportunity in the best way. It may take a little bit of time before buyers are comfortable ordering a product verbally by size and name, instead of visually from a logo and packaging, but the business that capitalizes on this prospect by using “wake words” and jingles will most certainly see a jump on the bottom line.
The future of marketing is looking to become a more responsive, authentic, and analytical as we embrace new media, platforms, and opportunities. But, what stands as the primary goal, as it always has for the marketing industry, is to choose the best option for our clients as we guide them through the changes in the years to come.