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Two out of three people don’t even realise that they’re using AI today!

Authored by Tonie Anne, Associate Vice President - Digital, Gutenberg.

“How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose,” wrote Bill Gates in his book Business @ The Speed of Thought in 1999. Today, 20 years later, I believe his book remains relevant to every business that aims to win in the digital age.

In the twenty first century’s complex ecosystem where businesses are trying to manage the overload of information, stay relevant to the customer and make profits – understanding and staying current with the trends is crucial to an organisation. You may have ignored QR codes while implementing your marketing strategy or neglected to include augmented reality thinking they’re just gimmicks that’ll fade away and bring no real value to the business. But believe it or not in the last ten years the speed at which digital technology has been growing is much larger than what the last 50 years have ever seen. Keeping up with the trends to up your digital marketing game is not just a necessity but a priority. Here are some of the digital trends that I believe are critical for businesses to stay current in their marketing efforts and reach the right audiences.

Artificial Intelligence is going to change the face of business and marketing

Two out of three people don’t even realise that they’re using AI today! And that’s exactly how Google’s Rankbrain, voice assistants and chatbots have gained confidence among users, literally taking over their lives and changing the face of digital marketing. Businesses across the globe can today use AI, machine learning and NLP in myriad ways to tackle marketing challenges and create personalised experiences. Netflix uses AI to suggest content that is of interest based on your individual interests and Washington Post’s AI journalist Heliograph creates hyper-localized content that you read on its platform. And that’s probably AI just barely scratching the surface. The applications of AI and the potential it could unlock for strategic digital marketing and hypertargeting to cater to audience’s specific needs is limitless!

Augmented Reality will push the boundaries of reality

This immersive technology has been making waves for a while now. Though untapped to its full potential, it will be one of the key trends that marketers should watch out for. Customers today want immersive experiences and look to try out products before a purchase. They’re no longer happy with just a verbal or a theoretical sales pitch. They want experiences and that’s where this technology plays the most important part. Brands today use AR in innovative ways—from giving customers a virtual tool of a certain resort to creating a PR stunt, from designing memorable branding materials like brochures or business cards to building simulated worlds for MedTech. Whether it’s for customisation, experiences, storytelling or interactions – AR/VR is a trend that marketers need to watch out for.

Shoppable content – the new trend in ecommerce content

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic,” says Seth Godin. In today’s digital era, content is a key force to drive people’s decisions. But with the advent of shoppable content, it is now a game changer for content marketing and especially the ecommerce industry. People no longer consume content just for information or entertainment, but they can now shorten the buyer journey and satisfy their desires to make an instant purchase thanks to shoppable content. Whether it’s through images, articles or videos—shoppable content is going to help marketers improve conversion rates and increase engagement.

Influencer Marketing & Social Communities continue to thrive

With the overload of data, customers today are wary about the information they receive, fake news and the brands they trust. One of the key drivers to build trust remains tapping into social communities and influencers. The beauty of this marketing tactic lies in the level of personalisation it permits—which can open numerous opportunities for a brand. From celebrities, mega- and macro influencers to nano-influencers, brands can work on customising content narratives and offerings to suit customers. A recent survey report found that 84% of marketing professionals believe that influencer marketing is effective and 42% have already made it an ‘always-on’ strategy. If your marketing strategy does not include this trend, you’re missing on key personalisation that could bring tangible value to your brand.

These trends could be disruptive to marketing strategy, customer personalisation or experience and benefit the ROI. In fact, there’s no ignoring these trends while building out your customer centric marketing plans for 2020. While some of these trends may evolve and newer trends may come up, especially given the pace at which digital marketing and technology is evolving, I recommend that it is essential for businesses to be agile, listen to audiences and create authentic brand experiences. Now these are three trends that I believe will always remain!


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