While it’s true trends come and go, it’s never been so important for marketers to stay up to date with all that’s generating buzz in the marketing world.
Particularly when it comes to martech – a word used to encompass the fusion of marketing and technology – it’s essential that marketers stay on top of trends in order to remain competitive, relevant, and cutting-edge.
2018 has presented a number of trends which deal with both how customers are choosing to engage with companies, and how companies are choosing to engage with customers.
With so much talk about new ways of combining marketing and technology, and the subsequent abandonment of convention marketing methods, it can be hard to know which martech trends are truly worth paying attention to.
Just read the following list of martech trends, which puts a spotlight on 3 trends everyone is talking about. We highlight the trends you should start paying attention to and consider implementing in your own company.
1. Voice Search
Long gone are the days when internet search queries were only typed. Rapid advances in voice search technologies have led to an increasing number of internet users using voice search technology to search for internet content and find answers.
If you thought voice search was just a passing trend, look at these numbers:
- Google has stated that between 20-25% of searches its mobile app and on Android devices were voice searches.
- ComScore predicts 50% of internet searches will be voice searches by 2020.
- Virtual assistant devices became the fastest selling consumer technology in 2017, a 103% increase from 2016.
- Amazon’s Alexa has seen an exponential growth in skills, currently boasting more than 7,000 skills.
- The accuracy rate for voice command word recognition is increasing across all major platforms, with Baidu currently at a 95%+ accuracy rate and Google at 90%+.
Voice search is evidently here to stay – so you need to start considering how you can better support the increasing popularity of voice search with your company’s marketing approach.
For example, voice search queries tend to be longer than written queries, and generally follow a common pattern – which Head of Evangelism for Search at Microsoft, Christi Olson, describes as, “three-to-five keywords in length, and they tend to explicitly ask a question, characterized by words like who, how, what, where, why and when, with the expectation that the search engines will provide an answer back.”
The question is, does your company’s content adequately support voice queries? You need to start optimizing your content for natural language search to make sure you are also capturing the growing market of people using voice search. Remember, unlike the keyword-focused approach of SEO, voice search is, as Olson says, “about semantic search and building the context related to answering a question.”
Voice search will also have an impact on social media, with Facebook already starting to implement options for voice messages. It’s likely that Facebook and other social media will further expand their voice search scope, so it will be integral for “brands to anticipate this shift and find a way to secure their own role within this discussion.”
One thing that’s clear is that it’s never been so important to stay up to date with any voice search developments and research. Knowledge combined with a willingness to embrace voice search technology with your marketing approaches will ensure your company fairs well in the voice search revolution.
2. Marketing Automation
In recent years, buzz about marketing automation has not waned. In fact, it has continued to reach new heights, with marketing automation a constant topic of discussion in the marketing world.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, marketing automation is defined as “software and tools that streamline, automate, and measure sales and marketing actions.”
Arguably, the marketing automation trend where the bulk of the chatter falls is in regards to its increasingly sophisticated relationship with artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a relationship that marketing expert Chad Pollitt believes will have the biggest impact this year for B2B marketers using automation.
Pollitt highlights that the greater integration of AI with marketing automation will affect three major areas:
- Lead scoring: AI will make it easier to prioritize and segment contacts who are more likely to convert.
- Predictive consumer engagement: AI will become better at working in combination with marketing automation to use “predicted behavior to segment, trigger custom buyers journeys, personalize messages, and more.”
- Day-parting: AI will allow for more effective deciphering of not only the right message to send to engage customers, but also the ideal time to do so.
The key takeaway is that particularly with advancements in AI, marketing automation solutions will only become more crucial for marketers to adopt. Notably, there is still considerable resistance to embracing marketing automation, with only 51% of companies currently using marketing automation.
If you want to become an industry leading company, you need to use industry leading tools. Don’t be the 49% of companies who fall behind because they fail to realize the power of marketing automation combined with AI.
Chatbots are a technology which have only recently underwent a makeover of sorts. In the past, chatbots were seen as clunky, intrusive, and unintuitive. Many companies avoided them for fear of scaring off customers.
But developments in chatbot technology have seen a resurgence in adoption which has converted many past naysayers. Considering the market is projected to reach USD 1.25 billion by 2025, and is growing at a CAGR of 24.3%, the use of chatbots is only going to become more ubiquitous.
Although many of us think that chatbots only come in one form – the usual question and answer mechanism which appears on websites to answer simple queries – the chatbots of today (and the future) have so much more potential than that.
There are numerous case studies of companies yielding the power of chatbots to deliver substantial ROI. Almost every industry can benefit from chatbot technology, with the hospitality, banking/financial, retail, service businesses, and publishing industries identified by Inc. as having the most to gain from chatbots.
In order to rethink your own chatbot strategy, use these real-life examples to inspire you to start thinking innovatively about how chatbot technology can most effectively serve the needs of your particular customers.
It’s no longer an excuse to blame stilted chatbot technology on your company’s underperforming chatbot. Considering that your chatbot is a representative of your company and brand in general – an investment in more sophisticated chatbot technology will likely prove well worthwhile.