Today, artificial intelligence permeates almost every aspect of marketing. It can be used to assess shopper patterns and analyze blog and social media content, which in turns helps build up a picture of whom your customers really are.
This technology extends to actual conversations between humans and AI, too. While we already have chatbots on e-commerce stores and websites, they are becoming more and more sophisticated.
There’s a huge drive in the marketing world to increase personalization levels, to further target their consumers and deliver relevant and beneficial messages to them. The ability for customers to have a meaningful conversation with an intelligent, reactive chatbot is a result of this drive, providing consumers with a close approximation of a ‘human’ experience.
With the rise of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google, we are seeing more and more instances of search engine queries conducted entirely through voice. Rather than the searcher scrolling through paragraphs of text to find their answer (despite some engines’ impressive information capabilities), the voice assistant itself will provide the relevant information.
Brands are jumping on this trend in droves, incorporating voice functions into their marketing strategies wherever they can. Domino’s Pizza, for example, now allows hungry customers to place orders through their voice assistant, speaking directly to Domino’s own AI personality, Dom. We can expect more businesses to follow suit in 2018 in more exciting and innovative ways.
The proliferation of social media lets people from all over the world create their own content, and savvy brands have recognized this and are making the most of it. A quick and relatively easy way to create a viral campaign for brands is to get their loyal customers to share their own content online to win prizes, raising brand awareness at the same time.
From Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign to Heineken’s Reinvent the Draught Beer Experience challenge, UGC has been employed to great effect.
It’s free content for your brand, and increases lead generation and nurturing. As social platforms grow to offer greater functionalities such as stories features and augmented reality, we can expect UGC to grow even bigger.
Brands as Publishers
Today’s customers have an insatiable appetite for content. With their phone in their hand, they are always searching for news, ideas, blogs, reviews, videos—anything to consume. As such, the phrase above refers to the notion that in this increasingly content-driven world, brands must make the move to a more editorial stance with their content.
To that end, brands are focusing on creating content that their customers will want to engage with, and supply it across all their channels. Their social feeds, blog, and marketing emails all carry useful content that will keep their customers connected with them. The aim of the game is to educate, not just sell.
Experiential marketing, sometimes known as engagement marketing, is a form of advertising that immerses the customer wholly in a branded experience. Think of the Coca-Cola truck visiting your nearest town at Christmas or M&M’s Arcade in New York’s Times Square.
This form of marketing evokes a strong sense of emotion in the consumer, creating a meaningful bond with the brand as a result. Where digital ads are somewhat passive, experiential marketing is highly active, and the resulting emotional and memorable experience creates a customer experience with strength and longevity.
When done right and with a little creativity, it’s highly effective and a method well worth considering for your brand.
In a nutshell, data-driven personalization is a method through which consumers are segmented and marketed to based on hard, factual customer data, known as ‘big data’. This data is gathered through analysis of consumer engagement and interactions with the brand across a variety of channels. Once collated and analyzed, it is used to build up an impression of a customer, which in turn lets brands personalize marketing to them specifically.
While this idea certainly isn’t new, there have been huge advancements in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence in recent years. This has enabled computers to rapidly and accurately analyze a staggering amount of data, yielding far wider personalization options.
So what does this mean for your store? As an example, with big data you could predict a customer’s shopping habits, creating targeted marketing campaigns that are statistically more likely to result in qualified leads. Ultimately, the options open to store owners are huge, and will leave a lasting impression in the world of marketing and sales. Start small with agile email marketing tools, and expand your network to display ads, videos, and even push notifications.
Previously the domain of sci-fi films and fantasy, augmented reality is making waves in the marketing world. The ability to cast virtual objects into the real world has enabled brands to become ever more innovate with their marketing.
The Scandinavian retail giant IKEA recently launched their IKEA Place app, which lets customers virtually try out their desired items in their own home via their smartphone’s camera. And cosmetic brand L’Oreal have developed their own range of apps to let consumers sample makeup and hairstyles from the comfort of their own home too.
As the technology develops it will become increasingly more accessible, and as a brand, it’s well worth you jumping on it. If you do, avoid the novelty factor and instead focus on delivering true value to the consumer. The convenience and functionality of this app offers a world of opportunity to the customer, so be sure to capitalize on that.
Influencer marketing is another trend that has grown and flourished in social media’s wake. From Zoella to Selena Gomez, there are thousands of individuals on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and more with huge followings. As a result, they have considerable clout, and can make (or break) brands with their personal endorsements.
Using influencers to raise awareness and engagement with a brand’s product or campaign is a highly effective tactic for marketers. In a social media-driven age, influencers are the new religion for brands of any size. While big companies like Pepsi can enlist A-list celebrities in their campaigns, so too can smaller brands. SMEs should seek out individuals who are popular with their niche audience (think mummy bloggers or amateur chefs).
New technologies are taking e-commerce marketing to new heights, with concepts that are reshaping how brands reach customers. As a store owner, it is vital that you stay abreast of these changes and implement them in your own strategy. In a changing commercial world, those who stay ahead of the curve are destined to succeed.
As always, we are curious about your experience and whether you would add any other tips to the list. Let us know in the comments section below.