Who could have anticipated a teeny tiny virus can turn the world topsy-turvy during our lifetime? Well! Bill Gates did in a Ted Talk five years ago.
Lack of technology to predict such a catastrophic event's exact time and the year has caught businesses off-guard and plunged many into an eternal purgation. And, he believes humanity is still not prepared for the next one.
This is worrisome, indeed!
But, if we take a look at the brighter side of the picture, we realize the pandemic has taught us some game-changing lessons.
For instance, the world had witnessed unprecedented growth in the digital space during the 2020 pandemic.
Since everything digital has become the new normal, chief marketing officers can no longer relax, thinking their antiquated marketing methods will generate desired results forever.
Think about it - the new norm of social distancing has made outdoor advertising a thing of a distant past. Print media is likely to fall in the same direction.
Why do you think there is a change of direction? We all have the answer by now!
When change is the only thing Constant now, the year 2021 is likely to throw different challenges to us in general and businesses in particular.
If you fall in the latter, you should better understand the marketing trends or choose self-anointed purgatory.
Here are the seven marketing tech trends to consider in 2021
Content is the Key
Providing authentic content about your business and respective services has always been a powerful marketing tool for companies.
Recently, consumers are showing more than a casual interest in easy-to-consume content. In fact, in the US, there were approximately 88 million podcast listeners in 2019. By 2020, at least 75% of the US population was aware of podcasting.
Even newsletters are not lying 'unread' in subscribers' inboxes.
Countries like the US spent over 350 million dollars on email advertising in 2019. The following year, nearly 78% of marketers have witnessed a surge in email engagement over the last 12 months. In addition, newsletter mentions sprang up 14% during the lockdown.
Content continues to dominate the digital realm! However, the medium of expression changed a lot.
Live Streaming and Influencer Marketing are Going to Rule
Influencer marketing isn't going anywhere. When everybody is trying to go Live on Facebook or Insta, the forthcoming years will see an upsurge of influencer marketers. A few predictions show the influencer marketing industry will be worth over $15 billion by 2022.
That's quite a huge market!
Live streams give a face and voice to the content, with the freedom to explain things that are left unmentioned in words.
And, the catch here is…
Using the popularity and engaging comm skills of influencers for live video marketing campaigns makes your brand stand out. Such campaigns give you that competitive edge because your audience feels more connected to your brand.
The right message communicated in the right way compels them to become your loyal customers eventually.
Do Not Skip the Social Media!
If the content is the king, then social media is the new kingdom for the king to rule.
The year-long pandemic has already shown the world that you cannot underestimate the power of social media. However, staying in constant contact with end-users through social media platforms is a radical approach.
But the posts should not be informative only. Instead, they should be a channel to listen to your buyers, interact with them and keep the engagement more real.
There are different tools to make that happen! Social media stories or Reels, for instance.
Social media stories have their share of benefits, such as gain increased brand awareness among followers cost-effectively via constant engagement. In addition, it is easier to target the New Millennials.
Plus, you can have increased traffic to your website.
After all, 500 million people use social media stories every day. How can your marketing plan skip that?
Start Automating your Ad Buy - using AI.
Artificial Intelligence is here to stay for a very long time. However, this technology can provide an added boost to your marketing campaigns - how?
The answer is Programmatic Advertising. This is an AI tool that automates ad-buying and helps businesses quickly target a more specific audience. This means higher conversion rates at lower acquisition costs.
Interesting, is it not?
You may be surprised to learn that the year 2020 witnessed a surge of advertisers utilizing programmatic ad tech, a percentage of which rose from 76% in 2019 to 83% in Q2 of 2020.
Do you think you should reconsider your marketing strategies?
Chatbots and Voice Search have gained Traction.
"Hi Jonathan, This is Alex, your customer support partner for this session. How can I help you today?"
Does that sound automated to you? The script doesn't, so is the prompt response. But, these are scripted responses auto-generated by AI-empowered chatbots. 77% of companies already have chatbots in place for after-sales and customer service, as per Accenture.
Getting auto-responses from an AI tool might have felt creepy ten years ago. But, this technology has become the New Normal for businesses today.
They are a perfect medium to reach customers - how?
These bots help customers find solutions quickly. Hence, we can safely say that filling up lengthy forms, cluttered inboxes, or wasted minutes spent scrolling through content are things of the past. So -
Once a satisfied customer is always a loyal customer.
The chatbot market was already valued at $17.17 billion in 2020. Their popularity depends on that one single factor - 24/7 service. Millennials prefer live chat over every other communication channel for customer service.
Brands like Whole Foods Market, Fandango, Sephora, Staples, The Wall Street Journal and Pizza Hut are using chatbots already.
What about your business?
On the other hand, more and more customers are using voice search to find what they want.
Voice search is more convenient than typing words on the search bar.
In the year 2019, approximately 40% of all internet users in the US and a third of the total population used voice search. Ever since Google increased its word recognition accuracy rate from below 80 to over 90%, more and more brands like PayPal, Campbell, Nestle, and a few others have included voice search in their online marketing strategy.
In 2019, 115.2 million people in the US alone used a voice assistant every month.
Considering the rising preference of the customers, brands cannot ignore techs like Voice Search from their strategy.
Conversational or Personalization - Which One to Choose?
Today's customers prefer both!
They are picky about how the brands respond to their inquiries. Research shows that "⅔ of buyers expect a response within 10 minutes to any marketing, sales, or customer service inquiry".
This means businesses have fewer than 10 minutes of response rate for every inquiry.
The promotion of brand loyalty is directly linked to customer satisfaction. One delayed response and that customer is gone forever.
However, prompt responses might not be enough - Why?
A few statistics will help you to get that answer -
- 71% of customers would leave a brand frustrated if the shopping experience were impersonal.
- 72% of buyers prefer engaging with personalized messaging only.
- 75% of customers prefer having a conversation with someone from the company before they make a purchase.
- According to few businesses, personalized call-to-action performs 202% better than basic CTAs.
These self-explanatory statistics can clearly say that your marketing strategy will not succeed if you steer away from either personalization, conversational or both when communicating with customers.
Capture the 'Micro-Moments'
Have you ever heard of this before? Well! To answer this question, businesses need to understand two facts about
their consumers first-
First, what do they want?
Second, when do they want to?
According to Google, micro-moment refers to "an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need – to know, go, do or buy."
In 2021, it has become imperative for businesses to be there, be helpful, and quickly capture end-users micro-moments and deliver accordingly.
The change in customer behavior will be challenging. But, staying active simultaneously when customers search for specific information will help you capture the lead instantly.
In the mobile age, customer behavior has become more dynamic. If they think/talk about a product or service, they want to learn more and buy more of it with just a few clicks.
If you are ready with Ads, then push it that instant, or use exact keywords in your web pages to feature in search engine results whenever your prospect searches for a solution to their problem.
Food for thought
Marketing is not a piece of cake, but it is no rocket science too. All you need to do is stay familiar with the ongoing trends and changes in the market, consumer behavior, what your competitors are focusing on, etc.
These seven tech trends are just the tip of the iceberg. But, they are enough to give a clear idea of what strategies your business needs to apply to stay ahead in the competitive curve.
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