Here are 5 Trends Marketers Need To Keep Up With

Richard Fang

Voice AI, Chatbots, Social Media, and More

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The pandemic has changed how marketing has developed in some cases.

If you look back on how marketing has developed, the progress of it from simple advertising to what it is today has been pretty amazing.

But with technology developments as well as perception changes around the marketing ecosystem will mean 2021 to 2022 will bring some interesting trends.

Growth of Voice Search

Voice search has always been cited as a game-changer in the last 5 years but without as much growth as the recent year.

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With the growth of smart speaker systems such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, there is an opportunity for brands to explore smart speaker advertising.

This is, however, still quite infant.

What brands should be doing, however, is taking the first step into optimizing their content for voice search.

According to Google, 20% of all Google search queries are now done through voice search. What is even a more lucrative opportunity is that almost 71% of all mobile users between 18–29 use voice assistants on their smartphones.

This presents a massive opportunity to target the millennial market through search, especially beyond traditionally used platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.

Customer Experience & Marketing

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Customer experience has historically not been the focal point of marketing and handled in separate teams. These usually fall into product, technical, or even user experience functions of the business.

This is no longer the case.

This is because marketers are no longer simply just an information supplier to the market. With consumers getting smarter and savvier, there is no longer a need to mass spam the markets and overflood it with information users can already access (although this will still exist).

“You’re no longer marketing AT people. You’re influencing them in an environment where they’ve already had a chance to form a view.” — Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase

Instead, there will be a shift to providing customer experience on both a personalization and engagement side. The goal is to provide a seamless and engaging experience with customers and provide the most relevant content to them.

Although some industries are miles ahead of their peers (e-commerce is a great example), many are still just laying the foundations.

It won’t be surprising to see more CX functions to fall under marketing in 2021 and the coming years.

Continuing Growth of Chatbots

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Ok I admit chatbots have been around for years. But there have been rare cases of a chatbot actually providing a good user experience and conversations.

Think of the last time you’ve used chatbots. Was the experience better than talking to someone live?

Probably not.

However, according to a recent study by Juniper Networks, AI-powered chatbots will help retailers cut costs by $439 billion annually and increase sales by $112 billion by 2023.

Companies are starting to figure out that chatbots provide enormous opportunities to optimize, personalize, convert and even proactively engage in conversations with customers to help increase sales.

It’s not only B2C brands that get the benefit of this. B2B companies are expected to utilize chatbots just as much through other outcomes such as lead gathering, opportunity discovery, and customer service.

Social Media Changes

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Social media has been around for decades. Its continuous growth, as well as new platforms like Tik Tok, make it a playground for marketers to thrive in.

This year, social media has continued to develop in many areas but there are three big focal points to look at.

More regulation and changes

By 2020, social platforms will be more regulate and scrutinized.

We saw in 2019 major legal cases against big tech giants already occurring due to privacy and data concerns. Other concerns around social health, as well as fake news, will be on the top of the list as well.

Concerns around social health, especially around Gen Z and Millenials, have also been noted. Examples of platforms already participating in assisting with this include Instagram, wherein some countries like Canada and Australia, the removal of likes from posts has been enforced.

This will mean tech companies will be examined for their social and data activity than ever before.

Social commerce

Social commerce integrations have historically been slow in countries like Europe and North America.

It’s APAC that’s leading the charge.

Consumers in these regions are already shopping via social channels (especially with influencers), but platforms like Instagram have set up the groundwork to utilize social commerce in the west.

For example, Instagram has released in 2019 functionalities for businesses to build storefronts directly from their own Instagram handle. This means users can buy directly from posts.

This is expected to grow even further.

Demographic Updates

Social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have predominately been a marketing platform to Millenials and Gen Z.

Social media have been changing as older age demographics are joining the scene.

“Instagram users are a lot more older than people often imagine,” says Simon Kemp. “There are more 45 to 54 year-olds using Instagram than there are 13 to 17 year olds.”

More Engaging Content Formats

Advertisers are getting smarter.

No longer is mass spamming ads on a billboard or print acceptable or even in digital formats.

Businesses are adopting new technologies such as VR/AR but also utilizing interactive content as well.

The sports industry is a huge market with big contenders like Nike and Adidas leading the front. With this, to stand out in the market, your content needs to stand out.

Reebok did exactly this.

By installing a speed camera with a shoe display in a busy shopping area in Stockholm, it gathered the attention of people around it. The reward for running past the display faster than 17km per hour would win a new pair of ZPump 2.0 shoes.

Although this isn’t necessarily the first time someone has done this, this is still a great example of how interactive content is taking over the world of advertising.

Content in AR and VR is also getting traction.

IKEA started the whole augmented reality piece back in 2013 with their mobile app, but many other companies joined, including Pepsi and Shopify.

Although VR and AR have always seemed like more of a gimmicky concept, consumers are getting harder to reach with standard content forms, and brands realize this is one avenue of reaching and producing interactive content.

Pokemon Go is a great example of the applicable uses of AR through gamifying content.

Summary

The big 2021 and onwards is an exciting time for marketing with so many new technological developments but also perception changes.

Marketing is no longer just becoming just an advertising arm but a much larger function with more involvement from customer experiences to newer content forms.

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Editor at CornerTech and Marketing @richardfliu on Twitter

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