Online marketers have been in the marketing scene for longer than the last decade, but many people might not have been aware of that. Seeing as the past decade was when we got the massive blowout of social media (we did get all of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram between 2010 – 2019), it is evident why we started seeing digital marketing as a thing in that decade only.
Perhaps an interesting thing to note was how the past decade ruled out many of the marketing predictions that were made for it, all thanks to the many disruptions that happened to the marketing landscape.
As we head into yet another decade, we are at another crucial point. As a business looking to stay ahead of the curve and grow your marketing efforts, what pieces of technology should you invest in?
Exploring the Tech-Marketing space for the new decade
When choosing the pieces of technology below, a lot of things went into consideration.
No one knows where anything is going for sure, and another ten years is a long timeframe for anyone to make accurate and pinpoint predictions. However, the improvement of the marketing landscape in the past decade has given us a strong foundation to build on for the years to come.
Thus, we have aggregated not only the forms of technology that have been around in marketing for a while but those that are also emerging with their prospects for this industry.
We have also researched the possible use cases of these forms of technology to back up why they will be instrumental in shaping the marketing landscape for the new decade we just stepped into.
Enough talk. How about we just get right into it?
Blockchain technology is no newbie, but it was taking a backseat to everything else before its introduction to the financial industry. The name is now much common with cryptocurrency (chief of which is bitcoin), but that is far from the only thing this platform has on offer.
The protocols of blockchain are such that they allow for the creation of smart contracts to aid verification, documentation, and elimination of third-party influences. There is more in the pipeline, but those three are enough to make marketers want to get involved at all.
An ideal application for blockchain is in the ad marketing niche.
Speaking of proper documentation, blockchain will make it possible to see where ads are shown on the internet. This will prevent ad publishers from putting a brand’s content on malicious websites which could backfire on the reputation of the said brand.
On the other hand, the realization of ad publishing fees has suffered in the past decades. Ad publishers are only getting a small fraction of what they should be realizing since the ads will have to pass through intermediaries for verification.
If the Unilever and IBM joint blockchain experiment is anything to go by, companies can be expecting to get as much as 20% more of their advertising spends back when they leverage blockchain technology.
2. AI and Big Data
No, they are not the same technology. However, they are noted for working together for the best results.
Big data has started gaining traction from the past decade, and the same will continue into the current decade. Comprising a massive stream of data cumulated from different sources, big data is only going to increase and explode into significant proportions in the coming years.
As the explosion happens, it is becoming more impossible for ordinary human effort in making proper use of this data. That is why the advancements in Artificial Intelligence makes even more sense for us.
With AI, important trends in the growing body of big data can be mapped out and effectively translated into reports from which crucial marketing decisions can be made.
What product to create and who to create it for? The pain points of the audience which no one seems to be looking at? The products that have gained traction, but would be better offered to an emerging market? How best to get the message out there?
All of these and more will be questions that will get answers due to the marriage of AI analytics and big data.
3. Live Video Streaming
Perhaps the reason why video streaming was not a thing earlier is the kind of network framework and infrastructure we had in place.
It only took the massive development of 3G to push people towards platforms like YouTube which offered an on-demand video for streaming. Brands also started integrating video content into their marketing, and that bore great results.
Seeing as 87% of marketing professionals now use video as a marketing tool, it needs no telling that this is one of the best things to have happened to the world of marketing as a whole.
By the time 4G would make the market, social media channels had found a way to leverage the faster connection speed – live streaming.
Rather than just getting on-demand content, videos can now be seen as they are being created live. This takes all the editing out of the process; bringing an uncut, human side to the brand. That, and the audience gets to interact with the video and content in real-time, rather than just being able to comment on the finished product.
5G is here, promising even faster internet speeds with reduced latency, and you can bet that live video streaming will be one of the channels where you will enjoy massive success. Since the audience now has the needed infrastructure to get the content without lags, the onus lies on you to create such content for them.
4. Internet of Things
Why does the internet of things seem to be popping up in almost every marketing discussion and circle these days?
The reason is not farfetched.
Rather than taking the data mining channels to the audience, IoT creates an avenue where the audience embraces the channels themselves and brings the data to you. We don’t know about you, but that sounds like any marketer’s paradise.
When subscribing to IoT devices, users have agreed to the data collection protocols which these units come with. Unlike blog posts, podcasts and other forms of content too, the audience does not need extra motivation to interact with these devices. If they have it, best believe they are generating data for you while also making their lives easier.
Seeing as the world is looking at 20.4 billion connected devices in 2020 alone, know that these numbers are going up. The influence of IoT also cuts across multiple industries, so no monopoly could see the tech die out for marketing.
Putting things in context, about 90% of all automobiles are expected to be connected to the internet before 2020 runs out. Leaving the roads and coming back to the home, we are looking at a market value of $53.45 billion in the home IoT scene by the year 2022.
That is just two years from now, and the decade is still being defined by more statistics like this.
The data obtained from IoT devices represent subconsciously-gathered data, which is usually more reliable than what you would get if you were asking the consumers directly. Before you toss out the possibilities of IoT, you might want to ask 80% of retailers who will have customized their store visits and experiences using IoT by 2021.
5. Chatbots and AI
At the start of the past decade, we would be happy to wait a couple of days to get a response from a brand we were trying to interact with. Fast forward to a couple of years ago and we would not wait more than 24 hours for the same response, else we take our business to another customer-centric brand, so to speak.
Now, 24 hours is even too much for a brand that wants to be dubbed customer-centric. If consumers are not getting that reply in a few minutes to a couple of hours at the most, they will leave and go where they will be quickly attended to.
That has defined the need for chatbots since you cannot always be online.
Yet again, AI has come to play here. Learning from big data analytics and trends, browsing through previous conversations and keeping itself up to date with your business practices, AI informs the chatbots to hold intelligent conversations with the consumers on the other end.
According to an MIT Technology Review piece, 90% of businesses have reported faster problem resolutions with chatbots on their platforms. Even millennials that are considered difficult to please in today’s business landscape – up to 70% of them – have reported great experiences with chatbots.
Since AI is still in the development phase (as we expect that it should be for a few years from now still), it is logical that 86% of customers believe that there should be an option to escalate chats with a chatbot to an agent.
The advantage of this is that you are not contracting tons of agents to handle routine requests from consumers. Chatbots can be at the forefront of the customer service experience, and the agents are only called to step in for advanced issues. With time, the chatbots will also learn how to respond to these advanced issues.
6. Augmented Reality
The largest players in the tech industry (who are also into a great deal of marketing) are holding major stakes in AR firms as we speak.
Putting faces to this allegation, Facebook is known to have acquired up to 11 companies spanning both the AR and VR scene. Those who have been following the company will remember their purchase of Oculus for a staggering $3 billion in 2014 – and there are more we might not even know about.
Google is not going to be left out of the game either, holding a significant stake in all of Eyefluence and Owlchemy Labs. Apple is also acquiring assets (Metaio and Akonia Holographics, anyone?) in this industry too.
If that tells us anything, it is how much of an importance the AR industry must hold for these giants to be investing in it.
Besides immersive gaming (think Pokémon Go) and fun time with the kids, what can AR do for marketing? Quite a lot.
Think about the IKEA innovation which allowed consumers to see how different pieces of furniture might fit in their space before they even bought it at all. This takes customer doubt away from the buying process, helping to speed up things and increase revenue (while reducing customer attendance times) for the company.
The same is true for product demonstrations since AR will allow interested consumers to see how the said product will operate in real-life conditions, so to speak.
Those are just some of the current applications as more are being developed by the passing of every day.
7. Voice Interfaces
The first age of the internet saw marketers optimizing their content to display right on the desktop. We moved on from that to the age of building the same content for mobile as that is where a larger percentage of internet traffic is at these days.
The new decade is here, and it is time to optimize your offerings for voice queries.
Voice searches and commands are gaining so much traction these days, BMW is in a strategic partnership with Amazon to implement the Alexa assistant in its new cars. This is a huge automobile brand, and they must have a lot of data backing this decision.
In 2019 alone, grocery shopping took a 20% share of voice-based orders. This is nothing compared to what we are expecting, seeing as there is a $40 billion voice-based shopping market shaping up to emerge by 2022.
For this to be effectively used, marketers need to go back to the drawing board to unlearn and relearn what they think they know about SEO. While the former modes of optimization deal with what the user would type out in their browsers, the content will now have to be optimized towards voice commands.
Research already shows that the top three keywords in voice searches are ‘how, what and best,’ so companies will have to take these and get specific – depending on their in-house offerings.
Finally, consider the fact that major search engines and product offerors now have a dedicated voice assistant.
The Google Home is tied into all of Google’s products (of which a marketer’s lives revolved around most of these), and Amazon is putting Alexa up there. On the consumer market business end of things, Apple is not playing with Siri either.
With 55% of teenagers using voice commands every day, it is just a matter of time until more of them catch on the trend and start looking up stuff on the internet with voice only.
Where would you like to be then? On the winning side, we suppose.
The above technology picks are worth strongly considering for any marketer with a solid plan for the next decade. If you have even more tech picks on your list which didn’t show up here, let us hear about them in the comments – and why you believe they are key to marketing strategies in the new decade.