There’s one word that describes all customers of today’s world – connected. Connected customers follow their favorite brands and have access to all the brands’ moves. If their favorite brand does one wrong move, they immediately go on to the next one. Every interaction needs to be relevant and engaging. If you’re not following all the technology trends, you’ve lost the customer.
Moreover, it’s not just the product quality that matters. It’s the entire brand image and the experience the brand provides. The website, its responsiveness, the mobile app, Facebook page, response time, and even the politeness of the sellers in the physical store – it all needs to be perfectly combined to give the best experience.
That’s why customers expect brands to have a deep understanding of their behavior and their needs. And in the era of connectivity, it’s never been easier to understand them, if you follow the right analytics.
However, even digital times are changing. Trends come and go every year, and marketing remains reshaped by every one of them. Some have more influence than others.
Here are the most relevant technology trends that will reshape marketing in 2020:
Artificial intelligence & machine learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been on the rise for quite some time now. The combination of the two technologies brings companies very thorough data analysis, which allows marketers to know exactly who their customers are. There are no more excuses for a lack of personalization if you follow these technology trends.
Companies should use AI to analyze the content their target customers like and create according to the data. Adopting this technology will bring us more dynamic and more quality content that will be present throughout the entire customer journey. This will bring a higher level of personalization and more satisfied customers.
Using AI should make things easier for marketers. The levels of testing will be brought to a minimum due to the accurate data they will receive. They won’t have to try to create different experiences and test them – they will know which techniques will be the best. On the other hand, it will require more effort. More data will bring to more different customer personalities, and each personality requires a different experience.
The use of this technology is expected to rise especially among millennials, who are leading its adoption and expecting nothing less than a unique experience.
Google, Apple, and Amazon have already started using AI in their assistant devices that make people’s lives easier every day. Moreover, Amazon has been personalizing its shopping experience for a long time, now better than ever. Past purchases, similar products, and browsing history are only some of the data elements the shopping giant uses to personalize the customer experience.
The company even opened physical stores that require no checkout in some of the largest US cities. These stores have sensors and cameras that work on an AI basis, tracking the items the customers have taken and charging them digitally when they leave the store through the Amazon Go app.
AR & VR
Another way to create awesome content is to use Augmented and Virtual Reality. While Augmented Reality means adding digital experience to the real world, usually through the camera of a smartphone, Virtual Reality completely covers the field of vision of a person.
It seems like AR and VR are going big lately. Statista estimates that by 2020, the economic impact of VR and AR reality will reach $29.5 billion. Some of the predictions for their future use in marketing include helping companies convert easier, creating interactive experiences, and inventing entirely new experiences for users.
This type of experience is like an advanced form of video. But, in this case, the user has control over it – which makes it a hundred times more exciting. This way, marketers can engage an entire set of human emotions and actions.
Adidas had a great campaign in 2017, following the adventures of two athletes who were climbing the mountain of Delicatessen. The sportswear retailer gave its audience a 360-degree view of Ben Rueck and Delaney Miller rock climbing. The two athletes had VR headsets and sensory remote controls to record the whole atmosphere, giving viewers the feeling they were actually participating. The purpose of the campaign was to advertise TERREX, Adidas’s line of outdoor gear.
Technology has brought us countless marketing channels and endless possibilities for clever targeting. Now, all these channels can be integrated and customers can be tracked in real-time.
However, this is hard to achieve. Customers are everywhere. Everyone has at least two or three social media profiles, visits websites, watches videos, and plays games. It’s tricky for a company to provide a seamless experience through all of these channels.
Some companies have done it perfectly, choosing wisely that not all the channels are the right ones. The Starbucks rewards app is one of the best examples. The app allows coffee lovers to get a free rewards card whenever they buy something at Starbucks ‘ physical locations. And, here’s where the omnichannel magic starts as one of the most important technology trends.
The coffee giant has enabled its customers to check or reload their cards through their phones, on the website, through the app, or simply, in the stores. Every change is updated through all the channels.
And the engagement possibilities don’t end here. Users can pay ahead of time, create their own Spotify playlists, choose personalized beverage and food offers, check the menu, and get free in-store refills. That’s why almost 50% of users who use smartphone loyalty apps use Starbucks’s app, which makes it the most regularly used loyalty app in the US.
Things keep changing from year to year. The increasing number of new tools may be making reaching customers much easier, but customer retention becomes harder to achieve due to the harsh competition.
Marketers shouldn’t rely completely on their digital tools. They should always be trying to find new clever ways to get to their target customers, and it seems like now, personalized and unique content is the best way to get there.