Posted on 31 Jan 2018 | Filed under Marketing
By Jenny Clarke
It’s the beginning of a new year, where we roll out the marketing plan approved in the last quarter of 2017, but which three marketing trends should we be taking action on right now? Here are our top three hot topics which directly impact your bottom line in terms of overall business growth. These topics will be of particular strategic interest to marketing and communications professionals tasked with keeping the customer at their core.
1) Multi-platform/Multi-screening with mobile at the centre
With more than 50% of searches made on mobile and 91% of Facebook usage being made on mobile, mobile marketing is still massively important.
Google announced way back at the end of 2016 that, although most of its users were checking Google on mobile, its search index was still looking at desktop content which, then, wasn’t necessarily being reflected in the reduced content rendered to the end user on mobile sites.
As a result, Google was beginning experiments to work towards a mobile-first search index, improving the user experience and making sure content searched for, is content found, regardless of the device being used.
With this in mind, the importance of mobile isn’t new, but ‘joined-up’ marketing in terms of messaging and imagery across multi-screens and multi-platforms is a key focus, in terms of all marketing planning, as this will be the best way for you to engage your customers the most effectively with your brand.
2) Conversational User Interfaces
Conversational user interfaces including Chatbots, voice-controlled devices and voice assisted support and human assisted support will be big business for 2018.
Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa are becoming commonplace at home these days, but conversational technology can also help with efficiencies in the workplace and provide a better customer experience in terms of pre-sales support and customer care.
The Facebook Bot Engine which was launched last year, for example, relies on machine learning. It means that you can feed it sample conversations, and it goes on to handle many different variations of the same questions, so for the end user, it is more like having a natural conversation with a human being. The potential is huge as developers can continue to improve their bots over time based on customer behaviour and to support the buying process.
Human assisted support is also a great way to manage time efficiencies for the business and the customer. For example, there can be a live chat between a customer and an agent. The ‘virtual customer service agent’ sits behind the agent, but follows the conversations, and where the virtual agent can generate the answers she will do this by quickly populating the agent’s screen. This way the human agent only has to focus on the more challenging aspects of the conversation.
In another instance, the virtual agent can handle the whole conversation, and the human agent can step in if required. The virtual agent, uses machine learning to get better at things, but most machine learning techniques work in so-called “supervised” mode.
3) Interactive Content as an Enterprise Marketing Function
Content is still King but today’s B2B and B2C buyers want content that constructively helps them accomplish their goals.
Smart, data-driven, intriguing content can give rise to productive and satisfying dialogue that is useful to both the buyer and the marketer along the entire customer life cycle.
In fact, most marketers agree that for 2018, content marketing is the single most important marketing activity in terms of making a commercial impact.
For 2018, attention will focus on interactive content more than static content in terms of driving engagement. Interactive content leads to more repeat visitors and multiple exposure. Interactive marketing content is also very effective for internal marketing communications and both marketing and sales departments can use content to share and to educate. Getting the sales team excited about what you are doing is really important.
Interactive content has created a pathway towards more robust, meaningful engagements with digital audiences, leading to better data and, ultimately, a better customer experience.