Just a few decades ago, we were still doing marketing by going door to door and leaving leaflets all over the place. After a few more years, we started to rely on spamming e-mails and cold calling.
That, as every marketer knows, was an absolute nightmare. The method itself was inefficient and drove more prospects away than it turned into faithful customers. It was a waste of time, too.
With the internet nowadays, marketing is a fairly easy thing to do. You’re basically clicking your way through your campaigns. However, don’t get too comfortable. It won’t take long until everything you do today and are able to call “successful marketing” will be rendered obsolete.
What makes this so is the ever-changing nature of technology. It will continue to revolutionize the marketing landscape faster than you’ll be able to adjust.
There are three major tech trends for 2018 that are already starting to cause a paradigm shift in marketing. If you want to keep up with the competition, you must familiarize yourself with them.
The Implementation of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is not a thing of the future anymore. It is here now and it’s actually being used everywhere. Unlike how popular literature portrays it, though, AI isn’t all about robots. AI, in marketing, for example, is used to analyze, predict, and process astonishing amounts of data (e.g., customers’ data) with an infallible rate of accuracy.
With the use of AI as a tech trend for 2018 and beyond, you won’t need to spend your time creating ads that might or might not attract customers. AI will create them in concordance with the profiles of your customers and make them in such a way that it will be unobtrusive and more importantly, effective.
Ad targeting, too, will be much more efficient, since AI will go through and analyze your customer’s data (e.g., demographics, purchase history), and present recommendations to customers that are related to their interests and preferences.
This predictive behavior by AI will produce highly targeted ads that have proven effective for companies, e.g., Amazon. Humans will never be capable of that.
Moreover, you can also use AI to generate content for your websites for marketing purposes. Last year alone, an excess of 1 billion of articles and other forms of content were written by an AI software called WordSmith.
When it comes to making websites, artificial intelligence is also creating a huge impact. Unlike before, when website creation required a web designer, thousands of dollars, and several weeks of work, it only takes a few minutes nowadays.
With Bookmark website builder, for example, you can create a website for your company without any pre-existing knowledge of design. It does not take months, but minutes, and it is personalized to your industry.
The future is indeed now, and AI is already making a lot of furor in marketing.
The Internet of Things + In-Built Devices
The concept of The Internet of Things refers to the capability of any device that can be turned on and off to connect to either the internet, to another device, or to both at the same time. Of course, this means that in the future, any device could be connected to the internet.
In time, everything will collect, process, and exchange digital data, even your toaster (but not your toast). This will eventually become such a huge trend that everything around us could be called a “smart world.”
Today, you’re doing this from your smartphone, laptop or PC, tablet, and so on. In just a couple of years, everything could be interactive. You’ll be able to connect your alarm, for example, to your coffee maker, so that once your alarm sounds, your coffee will start brewing.
In time, the Internet of Things will produce a giant network of connected things and people, so that the relationship will be people-people, people-things, and things-things.
This will have a huge implication not only on marketing but also on the daily lives of people.
As a marketing example, say you go to the mall and pass by a store in which you see a gorgeous jacket.
As you approach the store, the music in your headphones suddenly stops and you get a voice message that lets you know the same jacket could be bought cheaper in another store. That’s futuristic marketing right there. That’s how the Internet of Things and its adjacent space will work.
It might not be as widely used now, but it will definitely be in the future.
Virtual and/or Augmented Reality
Virtual and augmented reality are already being used and has been for quite some time now. If you want to keep up with the trend, just accept the fact that VR or AR will change the face of marketing forever.
Video marketing, for instance, is one innovative thing implemented by virtual reality. Just look at these stats here and you’ll see that the companies that used this marketing technique got an improved return on investment.
Once holograms hit the market as mass-produced devices, you can really say goodbye to traditional marketing. This will affect any aspect of marketing you might think of.
Instead of carrying a huge binder with you when you pitch something, for example, you will be able to store all the products of your company in a watch and project them against the wall. The same thing goes for company presentations.
Think of a PowerPoint that goes out from your watch or anything else if the Internet of Things actually picks up. Branding and advertising, too, will be done through VR devices that will connect to each other, consequently leading to success in a matter of seconds.
Written content could also be obliterated by its visual counterpart. Ideally, they would go hand in hand. The visual side will be able to immerse the customer in a 3D experience that written content will never be able to do.
As you can see, Virtual Reality has a lot to offer to marketing. Because of that, researchers won’t stop until all these things that now seem to have been taken out of an Asimov novel will become the reality around us. Just take a look at the Oculus Rift. Even though it has been designed for use in gaming, not marketing, it serves as proof that the future is now and that virtual marketing is fast approaching.
As much as these technologies seem too futuristic, it will only take a few years before they become mainstream. Technology is constantly evolving, and it does so at a very fast pace.
As marketers, what we need to do is to prepare ourselves for these technologies. They’re here to stay, and if we want to keep ahead of our competition, we should make sure to understand how they work and use them to our advantage.
Note: This is a guest contribution by David Kosmayer, CEO and Founder of Bookmark, an AI-powered website builder disrupting the web design industry. David created his first company at 22 just coming out of college. Marketing Extensions Inc., an online affiliate and marketing agency, was born from the basement of his parent’s home. This company grew under his leadership into a 55-person team, topping $60M in revenue in less than a decade. David is highly focused, dedicated and passionate about building successful companies.