The term “Digital Marketing” first came into being back in the ’90s, right when the internet was gaining popularity. Today, digital marketing has changed how brands, both big and small, reach out to their customers and try to win their business. After all, digital marketing tends to be cheaper than traditional marketing while occasionally being more effective: It allows companies to target specific niches, to monitor the return on their marketing dollars invested, and to communicate with the customer like never before.
However, digital marketing has changed over the past two decades: The rules governing SEO have not always been the same, with the importance of keywords receding a bit and concepts like latent semantic indexing coming to the fore. Even the online digital strategies companies follow have changed. Companies now rely on influencers more than ever before, and, for some, the importance of Facebook has dwindled in comparison to other social media sites.
With all this in mind, one can only wonder what the new decade holds in store for digital marketing. So, without further ado, here are four trends that will dominate digital marketing in the coming years:
- The opinions of others will become more important:
According to some estimates, the average individual living in modern times is barraged with almost 5000 ads daily. So, in response, that very same individual has learned to filter out most of the ads they are exposed to and to respond to most brand promises with skepticism, if not downright cynicism.
In response to this modern-day attitude, brands need to adjust their strategy; they need to realize that potential customers would rather hear from someone who has actually interacted with the brand rather than from the brand itself. This will manifest itself in the following ways:
- Influencers will become more important:
Brands working B2C are already leveraging the power of influencers and have even started bringing micro-influencers into the mix. This strategy is only going to gain more traction with time. What’s more, B2B brands will also start making use of influencers within their niche as well as leveraging their immediate network, which includes their partners, customers, and employees, to reach out to potential customers.
- Peer reviews will gain in importance:
Edelman, the communications company, released a consumer report where it found that more than three out of every four customers asserted that peer reviews either made or broke the deal for them when it came time to make that purchasing decision. In short, peer reviews were critical to building that first time trust with a brand.
In response to this trend, brands need to start asking for online reviews, particularly B2B brands. This can serve technology companies well as most companies looking for technology solutions will turn to online reviews first as a trustworthy resource on what might work.
- Influencers will become more important:
- The rise of tech:
Speaking of technology, it will play a more prominent role in digital marketing over the next few years. For instance, machine learning and AI will become more important: They will help marketers analyze online sentiments regarding a particular product or service and gauge how the market really feels. They will also enable marketers to optimize their marketing campaigns through programmatic advertising. As you can see, a lot of digital marketing will become automated, leaving digital marketers free to focus on the stuff that really matters.
Aside from automating marketing research and ad placements, technology will be used in customer interactions. This can be seen in the rise of voice search, which is becoming a staple of modern life thanks to Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant. In fact, research shows that almost half of all searches done in 2020 will have come from a voice search, and companies that enable their customers to purchase through voice search alone are sure to be ahead of the pack.
Several other pieces of tech will play an important role in digital marketing moving forward: 5G technology, chatbots, and connected TVs and OTT to name a few.
- Going to the video:
Throughout the past few years, there has been an emphasis on the importance of content and how it can drive sales. But, as powerful as the written word may be, true power resides in the video.
We are visual creatures, and videos appeal to that nature. This is not to mention that videos can be an easy medium to consume, requiring little to no effort from the viewer. And, with streaming capabilities improving with time, marketers are going to leverage this medium to reach their customers.
There are several ways marketers can use video within their marketing campaigns. For one thing, vlogging has been taking off lately, helping vloggers connect personally with their viewers. Marketers looking to create a personal connection with their customer base can emulate other successful vloggers. Along with vlogging, marketers will invest more in video streaming and live videos.
- Personalization will become king:
One of the main benefits of digital marketing has been its ability to create personal connections with each customer separately. And, with the introduction of AI into the marketing mix, this ability to tailor each interaction according to the customer has only increased. This trend is only going to increase with time.
Moreover, over the next few years, Gen Z will acquire more purchasing power, which means that companies will have to learn how to talk to this generation, a generation accustomed to hyper-personalized interactions. Other values that Gen Z cherishes include authenticity, privacy, diversity, and having a sense of humor. Companies will have to learn to infuse these values within their culture if they want to have successful interactions with this up and coming group.
Remembering what marketing is all about:
At the end of the day, marketing is about communicating with consumers and establishing a meaningful relationship with them. Modern technology has raised the bar for what this relationship should look like, and customers have adapted to this new standard. Any brand that offers its customers subpar experiences will fall by the wayside and get replaced by one of its more competent competitors. So, the question is what kind of brand do you want to be?