After a year of innovation and technological developments, 2016 is going to be a tough one to beat. Sure, we’re dealing with the aftermath of the EU Referendum, the outcome of the US Presidential election, and mourning countless dead celebrities, but we also saw incredible developments in technology, including crazy new features for our beloved smartphones and connected tech.
Consumers in 2017 will continue to be surrounded by devices – with news, social media, products and services at our fingertips – but how will digital marketers work with new and upcoming technologies to harness their potential in an increasingly flooded market? By keeping the consumers’ needs at heart. It’s all about the UX.
All tech, all the time
AR, VR, wearable tech; there have been some major developments in technology in 2016, and we should expect these to carry into 2017. Pokémon Go set the standard for Augmented Reality’s role in marketing, and while people aren’t going quite so crazy over it now, marketers certainly saw its potential with the app earning $10million a day in revenue at its peak. There will surely be more AR games on the horizon.
Smart watches, fitness trackers, head gear and smart clothing ensure we remain connected to the world of digital. GPS paves the way for “hyperlocal marketing”, which targets people in store with relevant notifications; short form content will make a comeback as brands strive to deliver poignant, succinct messages; marketers may even be able to use health data such as heart rate to determine a person’s feelings toward certain communications – spooky, right?
Blending the lines between online and offline marketing activities inevitably means more data. The Internet of Things will continue to add to this stream of real-time information and so as not to be overwhelmed, marketers will turn more to data visualisation tools to help interpret it: who’s buying, what they’re buying, when they’re buying it and why.
Up close and personal
Personalised marketing means content is tailored not only to fit the chosen channel, but also the specific customer. Millions of businesses are born every year, and as such, more and more brands are scrambling for the attention of consumers. Using aaallllll that data, brands will need to build buyer personas to map key touch points in a buyer’s journey to conversion. That way, content marketing and social media efforts can evolve to target smaller, more specific audiences with niche campaigns.
A whizzy CRM, a dynamic website, and highly specific landing pages are key to effective personalised marketing. Writers with niche expertise will better appeal to a more narrow demographic on a personal level, encouraging a positive reaction from customers at each of their touch points, balancing precariously between convenient relevance and intrusive stalkerism! People are coming round to the idea that surrendering parts of their privacy will result in a better user experience. Expect to see more from “personalised marketing innovators” in 2017.
Content is (still) king
Sorry. Such a cliché now, isn’t it? But yeah, with these changes in the rate and method we are consuming content, marketers’ discussions in 2017 will turn to getting the quality/quantity ratios right in content marketing for serious ROI.
Sadly, attention spans are pretty short these days and so although studies show that long-form content resonates better in the B2B sphere, brands will have to consider succinct snippets of content to make themselves heard. In a time of skim reading and sharing articles based on the headline alone, every word counts.
Video is, more and more, becoming the preferred way to consume media. Product or demo videos, about us videos, testimonials – they all help show consumers that a brand understands how to reach its audience. Video ads have been all over YouTube and Facebook for yonks, but it has now exploded into marketing in a big way. As we become more accepting of video ads, we’ll start to see different forms of video advertising cropping up online.
Live video, for example, will really take off in 2017. Super internet speeds and mobile usage have paved the way for our favourite platforms to offer live streaming, and consumers are loving it. Forbes recently revealed Facebook’s most watched live video, but with the Olympics in Rio, Apple’s iPhone 7 launch, and the funeral of rock God, Lemmy Kilmister, it seems the possibilities are endless!
Conversion Rate Optimisation
We’ve had some great successes with our CRO service at Browser Media this year, and although it’s gaining in popularity through the industry, it’s definitely the relative new kid on the block when it comes to core digital marketing activities.
For the uninitiated, conversion rate optimisation helps identify the parts of your site that are hindering conversions. Based on user behaviour, marketers can improve or remove these sticking points in the conversion journey through analysis, research and testing. Instead of pumping more money into getting more traffic, CRO instead works with existing traffic.
2017’s inbound marketing trends: The year for customer experience
All these inbound marketing trends point to improving user experience. Not a new concept by any means, but the way in which we go about it as marketers looks set to change considerably with new technologies, new demands and new focus. In the new year, be inspired by the innovation and success stories of 2016. Listen to your audience, reach out to them when it counts, and make the customer feel like number one.
Also published on Medium.