The New Year brings new tools and strategies that small businesses can use to embrace these 2020 digital marketing trends
The speed of digital marketing has led to impatience on the part of the consuming public. Studies suggest that viewers form an opinion about your website in about 0.05 seconds. This means that you must have a focused message and well-defined brand identity to reach new customers and retain existing customers.
2020 will bring new tools for marketing businesses via digital media. Here are five trends in digital marketing to watch for in 2020:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has been incorporated into digital marketing for many years and will continue to be applied to new areas within digital marketing in 2020. AI is typically used to personalize and target marketing messages via digital channels.
AI collects massive amounts of data to achieve its objective. The AI tests its process and adapts it based on the test results to optimize its outcomes. As a result, AI can react to changing circumstances rather than following a rote algorithm.
For example, a human analyst can infer a consumer’s location, demographics, and vacation habits can be gleaned when they buy just one vacation package. AI, on the other hand, may analyze massive data sets, send some marketing messages, and “realize” that a potential customer falls into other categories. AI might find that vacation packages are better suited to someone who has posted on social media about a stressful day at work. These “stressed out” employees may then be targeted for vacation ads.
Personalization, however, leads to a risk of identity theft. One digital marketing trend will be the use of AI to protect user data. For example, using AI rather than humans to collect personally identifying information can lower the risk of identity theft. This is a significant development in digital marketing because identity theft contributed to about $17 billion in stolen goods and money in 2017.
Also called “omnichannel” marketing, cross-platform marketing is a strategy that is designed to reach its intended audience regardless of the hardware or software that the individual audience members use. This presents the customer with a seamless interaction with your brand.
For example, a brick-and-mortar retailer may use text messages (SMS) to direct customers to the deals on their website. Then, the website may display online offers that are available inside the brick-and-mortar store so that the customer can pick up the purchase rather than waiting for delivery. Inside the brick-and-mortar store, the customer may receive loyalty points or discounts that can be used for future offers, thereby continuing the customer relationship beyond one purchase. This integrated and interrelated customer experience provides multiple opportunities to convert the customer into a purchaser.
At first glance, you may be hesitant to use SMS to interact with customers, lest your business be viewed as overly intrusive. However, nearly 75% of mobile marketers believe SMS is a highly effective marketing tool when integrated with a full mobile marketing plan. Using SMS, email, web ads, streaming video ads, and non-digital media gives your business the level of interaction necessary to build your brand.
More online interactions are taking place via voice commands. Voice assistants, such as Siri, and smart speakers, such as Echo, have improved to the point that many of your potential customers now prefer speaking over typing. This new tech has started to be seen as a type of home improvement for some households.
To take advantage of this trend, you will need to optimize your website for voice searching. The majority of voice searching is for local services. So if your business relies on local customers, you may want to make sure your site includes search engine optimization (SEO) keywords with your geographical location.
Moreover, voice searches are often couched in the form of a question. If your site is optimized with a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section, you have a better chance of capturing these searches.
Finally, voice searches are more conversational than text searches. Whereas you may type “pizza open now near me,” you might ask “where is the closest late-night pizza place?” There is some overlap between these searches, but optimizing for one would not necessarily capture the other. As the consumer electronics market surpasses $301 billion, finding new ways to target potential customers is essential.
As consumers are presented with more options, both in terms of who they can buy from and how they can buy, they tend to develop less brand loyalty. As a result, businesses are seeking deeper experiences with consumers. The theory is that these deeper and more authentic experiences can garner brand loyalty where more superficial experiences, such as traditional broadcast commercials, may not.
Content experiences will be the next evolution of content marketing. In content marketing, businesses provide useful content that is directly related to the business but only tangentially intended to market or sell the business’s goods or services. However, blog entries, instructional videos, white papers, or other forms of content marketing are passive.
Content experiences will be more interactive in its customer engagement. These might include interactive live streams, quizzes, live polls, and other events that will provide information and promote the content provider’s business.
Adaptation of Retail
The death of retail has been predicted for many years and retail will likely have more obituaries written in 2020. However, brick-and-mortar retail is not dying. In fact, although e-commerce revenue in the U.S. is almost $424 billion and is steadily climbing, it still makes up only about 10% of overall U.S. retail revenue.
One digital marketing trend that will continue in 2020 is that brick-and-mortar businesses will adapt, rather than die. Brick-and-mortar and e-commerce will work together to emphasize each one’s benefits.
For example, comparison shopping, product and service reviews, and buying guides provide benefits to online shopping that are difficult to match in a store. On the other hand, shopping in-store allows product and service demonstrations with the products or services.
2020 will bring improvements to both the technology and theory of digital marketing. AI, interactive experiences, voice optimization, cross-platform interaction, and retail adaptation will be trends to watch in the upcoming year. Is your business prepared?
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