As the world of marketing becomes increasingly personalised and dynamic, business leaders know that digital technologies hold the potential to transform nearly every aspect of the function. So, what will it take to succeed in 2020 and beyond?
Personalisation has enabled brands like Amazon and Netflix to become the giants they are today. Amazon analyses customer behaviour and promotes products based on past purchases or browsing history. Netflix recommends series and films based on what a subscriber has previously watched. To stand out in 2020, you need to personalise your marketing efforts according to each consumer segment. The next step will be to differentiate unique consumer profiles versus multiple users operating from a single online profile. With the availability of data such as purchase history, consumer behaviour and links clicked, creating customised content has become easier. Running a varied set of social media ads for each individual type of customer is a great place to start. Having said this, the line between intruding and informing is a fine one and needs to be respected.
2 Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is taking over the world. It can analyse consumer behaviour and search patterns and use data from social media platforms and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers find their products and services. Analysts predict that in 2020, AI technologies will become virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service. It will influence businesses and their working style, which in turn could have a significant impact on economies and the labour market.
For example, chatbots and virtual assistants such as Siri or Google Assistant are forms of AI. Many businesses use chatbots on their websites to capitalise on all interactions, including those that happen after office hours. Chatbots can attend to multiple people in real-time without putting them on hold. They save time, are responsive 24/7, give answers promptly and accurately recall a customer’s entire buying history.
3 Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is key to reaching Millennials. It is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on using influencers to drive a brand’s message to a larger market. They can be well-known celebrities, but more often, they are Instagram or YouTube personalities with a huge following. Through their social media channels, they can help spread the word about a business or product directly, while simultaneously highlighting an organisation’s corporate values – something Millennials are interested in knowing before committing to a purchase. Influencer marketing has become a powerful force in business and marketing. Kanwal Ahmed, who set up a Facebook group in 2013 to provide women a safe space to discuss their issues, is a prime example of the power of social media. She now not only has her own online show Conversations With Kanwal, she was one of the two women entrepreneurs selected to represent Pakistan at the Facebook Community Leadership Programme (FCLP) in 2018.
4 Community marketing
Community marketing is a way for brands to drive affinity by creating spaces for people to discuss shared interests, answer common questions and build relationships. Social media groups, meet-ups and online forums are looking for like-minded individuals they can trust. For example, Apple have an official support community, made up entirely of their customers, who help each other to do everything from troubleshooting to setting up new computers or components. For marketers, building a robust community of advocates may be a difficult task, but the effort can also help generate valuable insights about what customers think and how to improve products, services and the business as a whole.
5 Video marketing
An across-the-board uptake in video messaging and marketing is perhaps one of the most important trends today and likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. Videos have the highest engagement rate of all types of content on social media. They break through the thousands of static content clutter that go up online every day, delivering longer brand messages quickly and in an engaging way. Testimonials, product reviews, Vlogs, interviews and animations are all examples of effective video messaging and marketing. The best strategy is to start by understanding your customers and what they want to hear, and comparing it to what your organisation has been saying in the past. Many times, complex or long-form messaging is dropped in favour of simpler selling pitches – however, they are not necessarily what customers want to see. Video messaging enables companies to pick up the right messages and communicate them effectively to their target audience. That said, the three-second rule cannot be forgotten. As the quantum of content rapidly increases, there is a three-second span in which audiences decide if they will invest in the content further or move on to something else. As a result, it is critical to display key information early on in videos – and in a way that is engaging. This is referred to as ‘thumb-stoppers’ – meaning content pieces which instantly convince audiences to engage and then three seconds later, decide to follow through or not.
6 Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics as defined by SaS, is the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. The goal is to go beyond knowing what has happened to providing the best assessment of what may happen. It integrates the correlation between metrics and better business results with advanced strategies to bring more impact across the customer life cycle. Use of predictive analytics is gaining traction in most industries. It is useful for improving segmentation, better lead scoring and creating personas that are more accurate. This results in a higher level of customer loyalty and a declining churn rate.
Above all, 2020 will be about speed. Marketers will have to plan out the year in a way which will empower them to adopt new technologies, act on new learnings and adapt key messaging very quickly. While companies continue to increase their marketing budgets globally, the landscape is starting to fill up – and only those marketing teams who are quick and agile will get to take the prize home.
Sheikh Adil Hussain is General Manager Marketing, Shan Foods.