There’s no doubt that it’s a new era for digital marketing. The irruption of new technologies in the form of automation, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools and big data analytics has changed the marketing landscape.
In fact, I can’t recall a more favorable moment for marketing in my 10-plus years managing my software-focused IT company. With the aid of software development and new technological advancements, companies of all sizes can redefine their marketing strategies and boost their marketing team’s performance. However, doing so requires a shift in the understanding of what digital marketing is and can be, as well as a careful approach to incorporating new technologies.
Understanding Modern Marketing Trends
Knowing what modern marketing trends can bring to the table will help you determine whether they’ll work for your company. I think all of these will somewhat impact your brand in the near future, so it’s good to learn about them now to see what you can expect.
• Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is all over the place now and for a reason. With its aid, you can analyze consumer behavior and identify patterns through the use of data coming from social media and your website.
Working with AI software also allows you and your marketing team to make more informed decisions when it comes to defining the best channels for your communications, your sales outreach and the influence of your digital advertising.
A good example of AI supporting marketing happened when Samsung launched its S8 model. The South Korean company used social listening tools to monitor the reactions to the device by scanning words, hashtags and phrases of interest. The AI then explored the sentiment surrounding them and pulled actionable insights.
• Automation: Marketing automation is something you’ve surely heard about. It refers to software that helps you prioritize and do your marketing-related tasks more efficiently, saving time.
Automation can make a difference when it comes to communicating with your customers. Delivering predefined actions such as emails and offers based on specific behaviors can enhance your relationship with clients.
• Big data analytics: Modern marketing software allows you to delve into the data you gather through all channels. You can gain insight into your customers’ thoughts and behavior. It also provides a centralized platform where all of your data is collected, aggregated and stored for quick access for team members. That way, you can adjust your overall strategy to offer a more personalized experience.
Efficient software can monitor key performance indicators (such as unique visitors, leads, generation costs and return on investment (ROI)) and identify patterns and potential growth opportunities. Take H&M as an example. The fashion retailer uses data insights to improve its supply chain, while detecting trends that impact its inventory and defining prices. It also uses big data to tailor the merchandise for its stores.
• Personalization: Another big player in today’s marketing world, personalization through custom software lets you use all your available data to address each customer in a more tailored way.
You’ve surely had an experience with personalized marketing by now: special offers based on your purchase history, deals tied to your specific location and recommendations in accordance with your preferences. The possibilities for delivering personalized actions are endless.
Making The Shift To Marketing Based On Software
Simply being informed about the trends that are available isn’t enough, though. It is important to decide which ones will work for your particular needs. Not just that — you also have to manage your expectations around these trends and consider your own timing to ultimately decide if you are ready to embrace them.
• Understand your overall strategy and goals: One of the things I think every marketing team should do once in a while is to review its overall strategy and objectives to check if there’s a need to adjust them. For instance, you might feel tempted to automate marketing tasks, from email marketing to lead generation. However, this can possibly lead you to actions that won’t fit with your target audience.
• Think about how marketing software impacts your audience:Though your goals might be to get more leads, make more sales or improve internal tasks, you have to consider how marketing software can impact your customers. There might be a gap between what the software can give you and what your clients want.
• Be certain about what these trends can offer: Time and time again, I’ve spoken with people who were disappointed with one of these new trends that felt like the next big thing. Believing that automating marketing, gathering large datasets or personalizing your experience will boost your sales or increase your brand awareness just because you’re using them is plain wrong. Implementing these technologies into your marketing requires hard work, analysis and continuing adjustments for them to deliver on their promises.
• Analyze where you are standing right now: Another thing many advocates of these trends try to instill in everyone who’s listening is a sense of urgency. “You need to embrace these tech solutions for your marketing right now!” they cry, and many believe them — even if they aren’t ready for the switch. Don’t get caught up in a false sense of urgency.
Some Final Words
Using automated tools, AI-powered solutions, big data analytics and a personalized approach provide marketing teams with a variety of benefits. More efficient time-management, easier data control and access, deep insights available for decision-making and more autonomy for the team are just some of them.
However, all of these benefits are promises that are only fulfilled for companies that implement those tools with careful attention at the right time. Understanding what they can give you is only half of the journey — you need to devise how these trends will fit in your overall marketing strategy and how they will impact the way you do things.
Don’t rush into this new age of digital marketing simply because you don’t want to be “left behind.” It takes a lot of hard work and effort to truly understand the new landscape and how can you fit in it.