Years roll on, technology keeps advancing, customers evolve, and brands are left with no choice but to keep adapting. Customer is definitely the king and their thirst for convenience has now reached an all-time high. To stay competitive and in the race, brands need to ensure that their marketing initiatives keep up to the evolving technologies and meet the needs of the ever-convenient customer. A rich customer experience being the focus of all marketing endeavors is merely an understatement today. Let’s look at a few things that brands should do to ensure that they are in a position of strength in 2020 and beyond.
Voice Technology – An “echo”-ing opportunity for brands to redefine customer engagement
Voice technology is making all the right sounds and is expected to be one of the most disruptive technologies in the years to come. A lot of experts around the world believe voice to be the next big thing for advertisers, mainly because of its’ ability to connect to people in a humane, and natural way. It’s like we are talking to another human. Here lies the opportunity for brands to make a mark. Since the scope for personalization here is immense, the content for voice needs to be curated in a particular tone and feel that appeals to people.
When it comes to voice, establishing a genuine connection with the people is the key for brands. Voice has the ability to evoke emotional reactions out of people, which makes the setting of tone doubly important. The other important part is the response, which needs to be precise, relevant, and timely. The rate at which Artificial Intelligence and data analytics is advancing, it won’t be long before voice technology achieves a near perfect response ratio.
To cut a long story short, brands have a massive opportunity to further their prospects by enhancing customer engagement like never before. Voice technology in marketing is certainly one for the future. These numbers do tell a story.
- Findings by comScore suggest that 50% of all searches by 2020 will be voice searches.
- 55% of adults in the USA will have a smart speaker by 2022, as per a report by OC & C Strategy Consultants.
- Tech giant Capgemini suggests that 24% of people prefer to use a voice assistant over visiting a website. Findings also reveal that out of the 71% of consumers who are satisfied with voice technology, 52% of them cite convenience, 48% love the hands-free scenario, and 41% prefer the automated shopping bit.
Augmented/Virtual Reality – The chance to bring the world to the customers’ feet
If AR and VR already make your jaw drop, wait till it gains full traction and becomes more accessible. It’s no secret the amount of money that social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are spending on these technologies. For instance, Facebook shelled out around US $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR. Through AR and VR, brands can promote, advertise, and showcase their products and services to consumers in the most surreal and immersive of ways.
For consumers, it’s convenience at its highest level. Imagine taking a trip to the Caribbean islands, trying out the dress you saw at the store the other day, checking out exactly how the 2000$ couch would look like at your living room, visiting house after house before zeroing in on which one to buy – all from the comfort of your house by either putting on a VR wearable or checking out multi-dimensional videos on your preferred internet-enabled device. Yes, that’s how immersive, engaging, and convenient it will soon get for consumers across the globe. After all, there is a reason why these social media giants are spending so much on AR/VR.
For brands to be in a position of strength, they must resort to AR/VR story-telling from now itself. A year or so down the line, the technology will only evolve and competition will only stiffen. The following stats do paint a picture:
- Recent studies show that the global AR Ad Revenue is expected to go beyond US $2 billion by 2022.
- The installed base of VR headsets is forecast for a surge up to 37 million by 2020.
- The market size for AR/VR is expected to be worth 192.7 billion US dollars by 2022.
Influencer Marketing – The need for a wise and judicious brand advocacy
Influencer marketing is not new to brands. If anything, some might even feel that it should be considered as an ongoing trend, or one of the near past. But it’s far from true. Influencer marketing of the near future will be a tad different to what it is now. Presently, it’s more or less all about targeting people with over 100,000+ followers and asking them to advocate the brand messaging. But influencer marketing will soon evolve to be much more than that. Customers are getting smarter and brands too are getting wiser.
Soon, apart from individual influencers, there will be a rise in demand for influencer groups comprising of people closely connected to one another. This will give brands a better chance to create an impression as their outreach channel will not be focused on any one particular influential channel. The other thing that consumers will demand for is increased transparency and authenticity.
It has to be understood that the primary reason why people have moved on from traditional advertising to social influencer listening is because they lost faith in those ads. Now, the cost of influencer marketing is skyrocketing. Consumers know this fact. The last thing brands would want is for consumers to perceive the influencers as commissioned brand validators or co-branders. The future would require brands to do some digging before targeting influencers as consumers will hunt for signs of sincerity and authenticity.
Early days are over. Influencer marketing is evolving.
- The net-worth of influencer marketing industry is expected to be around $10 billion by 2020.
- As per 94% marketers, transparency and authenticity are key to the success of influencer marketing.
Video Marketing – Freedom of speech and expression to brands
Video Marketing is already big today and nothing is scheduled for a change in the years to come. Video is an easy to the eye, interactive, and fun way for brands to communicate with its consumers. Sometimes they can communicate more through a 30 second video as opposed to a 1500 word blog article. This trend is one for the future as well because the popularity of on-demand video is all set to keep increasing. Then there is social media videos which is perhaps the biggest sensation going around in the world right now.
Social Giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have laid the perfect foundation for brands to make the most of their marketing and advertising endeavors through the ‘Live Video feature’. The biggest benefactors have been e-commerce brands as they can promote product descriptions, and demo tutorials in a mighty effective way. Looking at the future, advertising and promotion will soon reach a whole new level once AR integrated video starts surfacing in a more streamlined manner. As mentioned earlier, AR videos are definitely the next big thing for brands and marketers to focus on.
While brands will be busy leveraging the might of video marketing in the time to come, they might want to focus a little on the SEO perspective as well. After all, the competition is going to be cutthroat and brands would definitely want their inch of visibility. Video optimization of strategically targeted keywords therefore will be the key behind effective ranking on YouTube or any other popular video-centric forum. Refer to the points below and you will know why video marketing will make a lot of noise in the years to come.