Here’s what some experts in the field predict for the future of digital marketing, 10 big trends:
AI meets content creation
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is one of those trends which is going to keep growing and growing, eventually reaching into almost every aspect of our daily lives. An interesting trend regarding AI is the concept of AI journalism. Presently, AI is already being used by some content personalization tools- using self learning algorithms to predict visitor’s intent and dispense real time personalization based on their user profile and behavior. We are not far off from seeing a future where machines can be programmed, using AI to write their own, human quality written content. Embrace yourselves for a future of AI content creation, writing alongside human writers. Another question for the future is whether we’ll also have AI reading this AI-created content, vetting it, and giving us distilled insights.
Predictive content marketing
How businesses do content marketing is adapting – it’s not enough to generate great content if it doesn’t reach the right people. Expect more businesses to start using scientific behavioral data and insights to target their users with relevant content in real time. By using machine learning, programs can learn to predict what content resonates with who and target users with greater and greater accuracy.
With Facebook and Youtube already embracing immersive content formats like 360 video, it’s only a matter of time before they become mainstream. Expect the traditional content formats to be replaced by 360 video and virtual/augmented reality within the next 2-3 years.
The amount of information available on the web is growing at an exponential rate. With the increase in information density, companies will find it harder to get themselves noticed and compete. In order to cut through the noise, brands will be forced to start to target specific audience segments most interested in what they provide. Focus on a narrow segment of users interested in what you sell and you will stand out to them. Try to appeal to everybody and you will stand out to no-one.
Shift in content marketing strategy
The second shift in how content marketing gets done is that creating content is no longer the goal. The end goal is great content being promoted and pushed to potentially interested readers through a comprehensive distribution strategy. This will involve more and more channels, making cross-channel strategy the only kind that works.
The rise of relationship marketing
We accomplish our goals more effectively when we build relationships with others. You are more likely to quit smoking, lose weight, get a promotion, when you have a support network of friends and family. In a similar way, when businesses start treating customers like real people, and build strong relationships with them, they can help their customers accomplish their goals. And, in turn, those customers can help businesses accomplish their goals too. 2017 will certainly see a shift in the way companies perceive and interact with their customers- from sales transaction to relationship building.
Obviously, data points are still useful for building relationships. The difference now is that there is a shift in consumer expectations towards a relationship. Still, underneath that personal relationship has to be a scaleable business model based on gathering the right data, feeding it into solid AI and monitoring outcomes constantly.
IoT bringing B2B improvements
IoT (Internet of Things) is going to have a big effect on the future of marketing. IoT refers to everyday objects become ‘smart’ by being connected online. We already see this trend with smart TV’s, smart watches, smart scales – the list goes on. IoT is going to provide a wealth of data for B2B businesses to use. B2B businesses will be able to use this data for more efficient personalization, providing a huge opportunity to increase efficiency of the sales cycle, and by extension, increase sales.
Evolving technology and consumer expectations are driving the on-demand economy. McKinsey predicts that in keeping with the ever growing on-demand economy, consumers will demand more in four areas:
- Now – consumers want to interact at anytime, anywhere
- This is where near field communication ( NFC) technology will dominate. At the present NFC chips are embedded in smartphones and it serves the purpose of data exchange when tapped with objects that have NFC chips as well. A future where you can tap your phone against a beer coaster to order a new beer is actually closer than you think!
- Can I – consumers want actionable data that provides real value to them
- An example is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s new app, which streamlines the house searching experience. An interested buyer takes a picture of a house they are interested in, and the app identifies the house and provides a host of information to the prospective buyer, including list price, taxes, among other actionable information.
- For me – consumers want to be targeted with information relevant to them
- Simply – consumers want all of their interactions to be frictionless.
Shift from talking at the world to making the world talk
Most branded content will come from consumers. Branding is quickly becoming a two-way conversation between the company and the customer, as social media platforms have given customers a platform to be heard. Branding is no longer going to be dictated totally by the company itself, rather branding will be the whole experience a customer has when interacting with that brand. Companies will have embrace this and accept they aren’t in complete control of their own brand.
Big data will get personal
With all this data available that can be analyzed to reveal patterns and trends about human behavior, brands will change how they go to market. Brands are now becoming more personalized, focused on allowing individuals the use data to further their goals. The products and brands that help people on this journey to achieve their goals will become an integral part of our lives. Brands that participate in this productively and respectively will form deeper relationships with their customers. Those you don’t will be shut out.