With new advancements in technologies and the rise of augmented customer ecosystems, such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, marketing and selling processes have changed as we knew them. But the onset of the COVID- 19 has transformed consumer behavior, perhaps forever. Now, when the majority of the people are under lockdown and have to get their essentials delivered to their homes, it has become imperative to redefine the way marketing and advertising are carried out. The race is on to reach the customers where they are most of the time, i.e., online. Here is how that race is panning out and the tools that are helping marketers win.
Author Tom Goodwin describes the phenomenon called Digital Darwinism as a kind of survival of the fittest brands in the face of an onslaught of changing consumer demands and preferences.
These are hard to predict. And they change fast. On top of that, there are always so many choices fighting for the consumer’s attention. In such a situation, reaching out to the right customer with the correct product and content is essential but extraordinarily hard. And at the same time, there are cost pressures, and the companies have to optimize their day to day expenses and efforts.
There was a time when digital marketing was all about SEO and PPC, but now it has evolved into something more. In the following sections, we will see the major technology trends shaping the future of the industry.
Big-data and Analytics
Big Data and analytics are playing a massive role in transforming the online digital marketing and advertising landscape. As already mentioned earlier, the inclinations and preferences of a customer have a very short life span.
This is a significant challenge because reaching the right target customer with the relevant content at the correct time is of utmost importance. Think of the recommendation engine of Amazon or Netflix as a case in point. Have you ever wondered how the landing page is different for different customers, why the products being recommended, and the buyer journey being showcased differ for different personas?
In these celebrated instances, marketing has cottoned on to the fact that people are ready to shift customer loyalties for instant gratification. These marketers tailor the content that is shown based on what a person is reacting to on social media or what a person is tweeting.
They leverage deep analytics to try and decipher what that specific type of consumer wants at that point in time.
Timing being everything, brands need to buy ad space and the virtual location optimized to impact the campaign’s efficacy.
Programmatic helps in retargeting campaigns that enable brands to reach out to new customers by smartly streamlining the buying and selling of digital ads. The power of analytics-driven AI is used for chatbots to showcase coupons and add-on products that specific consumers can use.
And now, AI is moving up the value chain by enabling greater personalization of messaging too.
Perhaps, the most important thing affecting the marketing scene is that the companies have started taking mobile devices seriously. The proliferation of IoT has started changing every domain, and online marketing is no different.
It was estimated in 2014 that every person on this planet would be connected to 4 devices on an average. Chances are, we would have far outstripped that forecast in many major markets. Smartphones and wearables are ubiquitous.
These connected devices are rich in data that can provide a detailed view into consumer habits, patterns, and past purchases. Location data can provide insights that allow consumers to tap into the best offers around them. They can also trigger advertisements for goods that are most topical, relevant, and accessible to the consumer -at that time!
Many retailers are leveraging NFC or near field communication.
Imagine you visit a fashion site, search for a particular handbag, and find it out of stock. But on your daily route to the subway, you cross a retail outlet. Now imagine that the retailer knows what you are looking for, and as soon as you are close by, you get a notification that the handbag is available. As you walk in, the floor assistant knows you and your requirement. Imagine the effect on customer satisfaction as well as loyalty.
Most companies want to leverage a cloud-based solution to reduce their operational costs and capital expenditure. Apart from these “pay as you go” benefits, the cloud can spin up various environments with exceptional flexibility.
This makes it easier to reduce the turn-around time for marketers that want to build in greater agility into their strategies. Many giant retailers are facing stiff competition from online startups who are leveraging technologies such as the cloud to pivot and showcase new messaging, products, offerings quickly, and personalized options.
These strategies are working as they seem to be garnering higher customer loyalty based on relevance. Brands and marketers can use the power of the cloud to drive greater customer engagement through personalized communication strategies that can scale as the consumers grow.
They can operationalize specific strategies, for e.g. “voice of the customer” kind of surveys that make the customer feel valued. Brands can craft personalized experiences for customers, and the cloud allows them to operationalize the rolling out of these experiences at scale.
The online marketing and advertising world have been evolving for a long time now. Technologies like Deep Learning, AR, and VR have been spoken of as likely candidates to impact them profoundly. But even before such advanced technologies kick in, there’s tremendous headroom for the expansion of comparatively traditional technologies like Analytics, Mobility, and the Cloud.
The industry is at the cusp of innovation and transformation, and it is likely to be these technologies that make a significant impact first.