Technology has played an integral role in the growth of marketing over the years. As new technologies show up, marketers need to keep up with the trends to ensure they are able to speak their audience’s language.
We decided to look a some of the growing trends that will shape your marketing strategy in 2018.
Mixed reality with AR and VR
Augmented Reality has been introduced as a revolutionary trend that can add a new layer to the real world. Virtual Reality has allowed customers to be part of a different world, living a new experience that can increase the engagement with a product.
Both of them have already offered a glimpse of how they can be part of a marketing strategy. 2018 will be the year that AR and VR will see additional use cases, allowing more brands to experiment with them. As their growth phase matures, there will be new opportunities to help brands with:
- assisting sales
VR can bring new ways to use storytelling as part of a campaign, while it can also provide new creative paths for a shopping experience. From virtual dressing rooms to virtual trips, the ideas are infinite.
AR has an even bigger potential to help more brands engage with their customers. The introduction of AR as part of social media has already led to many authentic campaigns that blend fun filters, virtual experiences and an interesting integration of everyday objects to a new world.
In terms of social media, we’re expecting many new ideas over the next years. Snapchat has already introduced Lens Studio to make the creative use of AR easier, while Facebook Spaces aims to take users to a virtual world. Instagram is already investing in AR as part of Stories and there will soon be more features for brands and users.
As more consumers seem to enjoy these immersive experiences, there is a big opportunity for brands to leverage these new technologies to stand out with their authenticity and their focus on experiential marketing.
AI and the rise of the bots
Artificial Intelligence can have numerous uses as part of a marketing strategy. We’re expecting to see further personalization and intelligent conversations in 2018. Consumers start feeling more comfortable with conversational interactions with digital assistants and chatbots offering a glimpse of what’s coming up.
Machine learning will become even more mature and personalization will allow brands to build their relationships with their audience. Despite the initial cautiousness in the interaction with bots, consumers seem to be ready to benefit from such interactions. As more chatbots show up, customer support, ecommerce and social conversations can significantly change through them.
Brands will be able to develop improved relationships with their customers, answering their questions in real time.
However, it will be important more than ever to blend the human element as part of AI. Smart technologies can only become smarter if marketers train them. A successful marketing strategy that blends AI needs to remain authentic and genuinely helpful. The replacement of the human interaction shouldn’t feel automated and that’s why it will still be crucial to make the conversational interactions natural.
The rise of blockchain and cryptocurrency might make the biggest bet of the next years. The hype of this trend has peaked in 2017, but we’re expecting further development in 2018. According to Grand View Research, the blockchain market will reach $7.74 billion by 2024.
A decentralized access to data can bring a big impact to users and marketers, changing the idea of business transactions.
Blockchain raises issues such as:
- data ownership
- data privacy compliance
- data security
It actually alters the global business world and this couldn’t leave marketers and brands away from it. Even if the trend is still at an early stage, the shift has already started and marketers are encouraged to explore what this means for them.
There needs to be an understanding that data won’t belong to anyone. Attention will be harder and it won’t be surprising if brands have to pay for the consumers’ attention. Decentralization will help individuals access their personal information and customer relationships will become harder, but possibly more authentic.
Moreover, as Jeremy Epstein, VP of Marketing at Sprinklr-turned-CEO of Never Stop Marketing, mentioned in a previous post, one of the first disciplines to be disrupted will be advertising:
“The good news is that you will have much greater trust in knowing that your advertising and outreach efforts are going exactly where you intended them to go. The bad news is that attention of others will come with a price tag.”
Blockchain meeting IoT
Imagine the potential of blockchain technology being part of the Internet of Things. Two trends together can make an even bigger one with enhanced security and a decentralized access to data, making them very appealing.
Consumers would feel more confident to trust both technologies and marketers would need to explore how they can benefit from this trend.
Thus, our daily use of these emerging trends can improve their adoption rate. Marketers are already aware of the implications that blockchain will bring to their marketing strategy and its adoption to IoT would require further planning.
It’s better to explore these scenarios early to imagine how marketing changes in a world of transparency that data doesn’t belong to anyone. There are many questions to be answered yet, but the future of this trend will affect our current definition of marketing, ownership, transparency and security and we cannot ignore it. It could even bring an improved relationship between brands and consumers, provide that they’d be willing to keep up with the change.
New technologies to improve live video
Live video has already grown as one of the most popular trends in digital marketing. As more social networks invest in it, more brands are willing to try it out.
If 2017 has been the year of easy access to live streaming for brands, then 2018 will be the year they take their streaming to the next level. Social networks are already exploring how to include new features in live streaming. This means that brands will have the option to gain further benefits from the new immersive experience of live videos.
For example, Instagram Stories allow you to include more than one person in live streaming. This could be a useful addition to influencer marketing or Instagram takeovers to boost awareness and engagement.
Moreover, Facebook’s focus on digital fundraising and the introduction of the Donate button during live streaming has started a big shift in the field of fundraising.
The next challenge will be the improved integration of AR in live streaming, which can blend another emerging trend as part of an engaging medium.
People are already enjoying the immediacy of a live video, especially when it’s creative and authentic. This could be an amazing opportunity for brands to re-engage their audience or even find new followers through their unique use of videos.
2018 will be the year that emerging technologies will come closer to our everyday lives. As we’re leaving behind their initial test phase, it’s time to explore how they can benefit us on a daily basis.
Marketers are now asked to find the best use cases for their brands to benefit from this shift, helping consumers make the most of technology.
A modern marketing strategy that includes emerging technology needs to understand the consumers’ needs, their interaction with technology and what they really expect from it.
It’s not just about adding new technologies to your marketing mix for the sake of it, it’s the time to revise your creative plans and include the best technology that can bring you closer to your consumers.
New technologies can bring a new era of experiential marketing that supplements awareness, engagement and conversion. All of them can help brands find a meaningful connection with their consumers that can lead to an improved customer experience.