Clever marketers are always swift in finding ways to utilise new technology and devices in their efforts to sell products and promote brands. Today we use NFC/RFID chips embedded into street posters that open up web pages on smartphones and Bluetooth is being used to send deals to customers as they move around a store.
As we head into 2018, there is a range of new marketing trends set to have a real impact, many of them using technological advances. If you are looking for inspiration for your marketing strategy, here are some of the leading predictions.
1. Increased personalisation
It’s long been known that personailised marketing is highly-effective and 2018 will see a rise in the number of businesses providing digital content that is tailored to specific groups and even individuals.
The technology is available using platforms like Optimizely, which take A/B split testing experimentation to a whole new level in order to provide optimal user experience and increased sales.
2. Augmented-reality for digital marketing
With the advent of augmented reality phones and apps, the door is open to marketers to take advantage of this newly available technology. Online retailers are already developing apps that can show you what their products look like in your home, for example, if you take a 360° image of your living room, you can easily see what a new sofa will look like. The same applies to clothing.
Out and about, you might be able to point your phone down the street, see which restaurants are available nearby and take a look inside them. If you like what you see, you can book a table and turn up.
There is huge marketing potential here and we will start to see its impact in the next 12 months.
3. Big Data marketing becomes mainstream
One of the benefits of cloud hosting is that it makes it affordable for smaller companies to have the storage and processing capacity to undertake Big Data analyses. In 2018, expect to see SMEs using Big Data to develop quantitative-based marketing strategies.
There is so much useful data that can be collected, these days, that increased collaboration between marketing and data teams will become the norm. One thing is for sure, those companies that make use of Big Data will have a big advantage over those that do not.
4. Artificial intelligence to power live chat
Live chat has become a ubiquitous marketing tool over the last few years and for good reason. If a potential customer needs answers before deciding to buy, the easiest and quickest way to get those answers is by using live chat. It enables you to speak to the customer whilst they are still interested.
One of the issues for many smaller businesses is that live chat requires you to have someone available to do the chatting. That, however, looks likely to change in 2018 due to the growing number of AI chat services that are setting up. AI chat enables companies to deal with more customer queries simultaneously and sell more products.
5. You may need to market your data security features
With yet more high-profile data breaches in 2017, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of their personal data. As a result, companies that can guarantee data security are likely to be seen more favourably than those that cannot.
In this sense, a company’s data protection capability can be seen a valuable brand asset that clever marketers will begin to make the most of. “Excellent products, great prices, free next-day delivery and guaranteed privacy.” Of course, you’ll need to put those robust security measures into place first.
6. The rise of voice-optimised content
For those of us who’d thought the real revolution was replacing the pen with the keyboard, think again: the keyboard is on the way out. Voice recognition technology is taking over. You can now use devices like smartphones, computers, Amazon Echo and Google Home, etc., just by speaking to them. By the end of the decade, it is expected that 50% of all searches will be done by voice.
The important change for marketing teams here is that voice searches tend to use more long-tail terms. We speak more words than we type and do so in more grammatically accurate sentences. You may type ‘shoe shop Leeds’ in a Google search box but would feel awkward saying it. Instead, you’d say, ‘find me a shoe shop in Leeds’. This is likely to have an effect on keyword optimisation and how we write our marketing content.
7. Instagram to become the no. 1 social media channel for marketing
With 800 million monthly users, Instagram’s popularity continues to grow, especially with new tools like Instagram Stories. It’s highly visual content makes it ideal for marketing and it has been shown to give much better engagement than Facebook or other platforms. With all this going for it, it looks like brands will be flocking to Instagram in 2018.
8. The year of the convention
Live events have become one of the most successful marketing channels which is why over 60% of businesses are planning to increase the number of events and conventions they attend in 2018.
Whilst bringing companies, customers and the press together has always helped market products and services, today’s live events and conventions also have another role to play – they can generate huge online attention. With the live streaming of talks and product launches, niche-influencer vloggers and bloggers churning out lots of free content, and everyone else posting updates across every conceivable social media channel, live events are a marketing opportunity not to be missed.
As you can see, from a marketing perspective, 2018 seems to be a very exciting year for businesses. Overall, we will see marketing focus more on data analysis and make increased use of digital marketing, artificial intelligence, voice search and social media. Hopefully, the trends mentioned here will inspire your marketing team to break new ground, too.
If you are looking to use Big Data to help your marketing, check out our range of cloud hosting packages.