The Future of Marketing and Emerging Technologies
With an increase in connective technologies, marketing has changed as consumers no longer need to rely on top-down brand communication. Instead of only interacting with a brand through TV and print media, brands are much more multifaceted in today’s business landscape- perhaps even more so than some brands realise.
In the past, a one-way broadcast approach was the focus, and while billboards still work, there’s been a massive shift towards marketing that prioritises personalisation, purpose and the entire customer journey- not only the sale or direct experience of the product.
Technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots and other emerging technologies are also challenging traditional ideas of marketing. To explore these further, here are some examples of the effects these are having in the way we market brands and products:
1. AI and chatbots
We’ve discussed the use of chatbots and AI in a previous post about AI trends in Africa, but in specific relation to marketing, chatbots are effective because they’re a measurable and automated way of engaging with customers, at any time of the day!
AI underlies all of these kinds of transactions, as sophisticated programming and pattern recognition allows for the “bot” to gather data and respond to certain questions with a relevant answer, which means that all basic FAQ’s can be answered upfront. By this stage, enough data has been gathered about the particular customer to establish a detailed profile (depending on the application), which can then be used for more targeted and personalised marketing (including further product recommendations).
2. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR)
AR, VR and MR applications have been dismissed by some as being a bit gimmicky, especially as foundational technologies are being continuously improved, but they have the potential to completely revolutionise marketing in the future (and already are!).
This is because, as mentioned previously in our recent post about the future of retail, immersive experience are an integral part of marketing, and allow consumers to engage with products and brands in a completely different way. This includes everything from being able to try on outfits virtually to being able to engage with items/people in a carefully constructed visual environment.
For example, a travel destination can be marketed using a VR application to show exactly what a place looks like, and for the consumer to get an insight into what it would feel like to be there. Simplistically speaking, this could lead to them actually booking a trip to experience a place or an event in real life.
With AR and MR, products and brands can also be marketed without having to create a whole new environment, but can be used to place specific products and brands within an existing space. Pokemon Go, for example, gives just some indication of the scope for engagement with brands within a consumer’s own environment.
3. Advances in Tracking and Retargeting
More than one person reading this has probably had the experience of having a conversation about a product and then seeing ads for it the next day, without having searched for it.
It’s a little bit creepy, but this speaks to the power of personalised digital marketing, which uses all kinds of data that consumers may not even be aware of. Over time, as you search for anything, or do anything online, little bits of data are being collected about your behaviour that is then used to build a detailed profile that can then be targeted with relevant messaging or advertisements (which all falls under the banner of customer success).
There are various marketing applications that use advanced data analytics applications and AI to make sense of volumes of disparate consumer data, but some of the more popular customer success applications in the internet business landscape at the moment are Gainsight, Totango and Intercom.
With all of the advances in technology, and the latest data infringement controversy at Facebook, cybersecurity has become even more of a concern than ever before, especially when it comes to the relationship between personal data and the marketing or sale of products.
There are many companies that use emerging technologies like AI to prevent fraud and protect sensitive consumer information, but one of the most interesting effects of cybersecurity on marketing is that consumers will be able to purchase products instantaneously with fingerprint and facial recognition, without having to go through an extended checkout process. This makes buying a product quicker and easier than ever before, which will definitely have an effect on the way products are marketed in the future.
What is the future of marketing?
There are so many different kinds of technologies affecting the future of marketing, and it’s difficult to say exactly what the impact of these will be in the future. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the more connected we are, the more marketers need to focus on creating a cohesive customer journey – one that isn’t just about making a sale, but about the entire experience of a brand (or multiple brands) simultaneously.