It’s that time of year when the media is full of predictions about what’s to come, with experts (either self-proclaimed or genuine thought leaders) positing their views on the top trends to watch out for and capitalise on in 2018. To save you trawling through the coverage yourself, here’s a quick summary of some of the key 2018 digital marketing trends you need to be aware of, according to the great and the good.
- Customer experience
Customer experience has long been a cornerstone of digital marketing, but now it’s really cranking up a notch. Thanks to AI, tailoring and personalising the customer experience has never been easier or more important, and consumers now expect an individualised approach. As Christelle Dhrif recently wrote in Digital Marketing Magazine, “Shorter contents, [which are] more personalized and instantaneous, like video or infographics, are favored. In 2018, the individual and its scope for action will be emphasized.”
- Messaging goes mainstream
Messaging has blazed onto the digital marketing scene in the past year or so, whether in the form of live chat as a customer service tool or brands getting involved in campaigns on Facebook Messenger or other messaging apps. The statistics for messenger usage are enormous (1.3 billion users of Facebook Messenger alone), so it’s inevitable that marketing campaigns would expand to take advantage of this trend, but 2018 looks to be the year when it becomes a mainstream digital marketing tool.
Having attended the Inbound 2017 Conference, Bob Carver unequivocally asserts in Social Media Today, “Let me just state it clearly – you need to be integrating website chat, and messaging channel engagement into your marketing, sales, and customer service plans. And you need to do it now.”
- Marketing automation
Marketing automation is frequently bandied about as the next big revolution and is often described as ‘software that does your marketing for you’. Yes, automation has huge potential, but must be used with care as part of a wider digital marketing mix, rather than treated as the silver bullet on which your sales growth is riding. Hubspot has lots of useful advice for marketers looking to increase their use of marketing automation and the view from Smart Insights is that a “smart marketing automation plan…delivers top content. This creates a unique experience for the customer that matches their specific needs and preferences.”
- The rise of the chatbots
Chatbots are just one example of marketing automation which can transform your digital marketing processes, and their rise in popularity is directly linked to the opening up of API on a number of platforms such as Facebook Messenger.
Far from ‘taking our jobs’, the use of chatbots is largely heralded as a neat solution to adding personalisation to the day-to-day customer service experience, enhancing human-to-human interactions and freeing up employees’ time to concentrate on the more nuanced and challenging aspects of customer care. The fact that chatbots operate in real-time, on any device, means that customers feel they have your brand’s undivided attention when and where they need it, and not just when your office or call centre is open.
Digital Marketing Magazine explains that artificial intelligence is already being replaced with “artificial empathy” and predicts, “Chatbots will soon be in symbiosis with customer expectations and automate recurrent tasks to enable humans to focus on customer operations holding strong added value.”
Since these are just some of the digital marketing trends which are hurtling down the highway for 2018, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little like a rabbit in the headlights. The pace of change and speed of adoption of new technology is unlike anything we’ve seen before, so why not give us a call or drop us an email to discuss your challenges and find out how we might be able to help you make the most of opportunities out there?