The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. In fact, it has changed more in the last five years than it has in the last five decades. Today, the more visible your business is online, the more successful it is considered.

As Brian Solis states:

“Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate. Every business is threatened.”

So, if your business wants to remain competitive in today’s online world, it must adapt to the rapidly evolving changes in digital marketing.

Thrive in this age of innovation by understanding these five key digital marketing trends.

“Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate. Every business is threatened.”

BRIAN SOLIS

01. AI-powered chatbots

Chatbots have been talked about for a few years now, and the big-name brands have certainly jumped on board. But the real impact of AI-powered chatbots is only just beginning. New technology breathes new life into chatbots, making them more sophisticated than before and restructuring the way businesses communicate with their customers.

As chatbots continue to get smarter and more sophisticated, more industries are using them to automate their business processes and reduce costs across various functions. Businesses choosing to adopt chatbots in 2020 will benefit from reduced staffing costs, accelerated growth and an edge over competition. Consider these convincing statistics:

Why would a consumer prefer interacting with a robotic automated system? Some of the benefits of chatbots include 24/7 responsiveness, promptly answered questions and instantly recalled conversations. Moreover, they offer accurate customer service, meet customers’ expectations and automate repetitive tasks. For a business, this means employees can focus on more important tasks – especially those more difficult to automate.

When it comes to consumer brands, the opportunities that chatbots present are countless. Brands can use them to accurately filter content, provide technical product support, capture contact information and nurture leads. And all without any human involvement. When you factor in AI integration, chatbots opens up opportunities for automated personalisation at scale.

Canon Promotion Chatbot

02. RCS messaging

When you consider the most widely used service on mobile phones, it’s hard to top text messaging. Its reliability, ease of use and availability on all devices make it a universal channel that everyone can use to communicate. It’s hard to believe the first text message was sent over 25 years ago, and amazingly the technology, its capabilities, and its limitations have remained the same. Until now.

There’s a new kid on the block and her name is RCS (Rich Communication Services). This new marketing platform is revolutionising messaging as we know it, and opening up a new world of ways for brands to connect with their audiences. RCS delivers a deeper messaging experience with its richest benefits revolving around business-to-consumer engagement. Rich features such as high-resolution photos and videos, in-message online shopping and payments, reservation tools, suggested replies, customer care, delivery tracking, and form completion are just some of the engaging capabilities brands can take advantage of to create a truly amplified user experience. Moreover, machine-learning-based and Ai-enabled chatbots can be integrated with RCS to provide personalised experiences. These customised, branded interactions that RCS facilitates businesses to have with customers encourage deeper brand loyalty and connection.

In a recent report:

“Almost 90% of marketers surveyed were excited about using RCS, if being able to incorporate a branded text experience meant they would have better conversations and engagement levels with customers.” – Forbes.

So it’s official: the next generation of mobile messaging is here.

RCS Messaging for Business

03. Conversational marketing

There’s a problem with the way we have learned to market and sell — it no longer matches how people buy things. Today’s buyers expect to find what they’re looking for now, not later. They expect to have two-way conversations with brands, when and where it is convenient for them. These expectations have forced businesses to be available across a broad spectrum of channels and to communicate the way people prefer to communicate. They are having to meet customers on their terms: on the devices, platforms and time schedules that suit them.

Conversational marketing facilitates this demand for real-time connections with businesses and is the fastest way to move buyers through the funnel. Compared to traditional marketing strategies, conversational marketing relies on multiple channels meeting customers how, when and where they want. This approach builds relationships and creates authentic experiences with customers and buyers. Conversational marketing uses targeted messaging and intelligent chatbots to make it easier for people to engage with a brand.

Think about it — when you’re not talking to someone face-to-face, where do most of your conversations happen? People mainly communicate via messaging apps. It’s convenient, simple, and still feels like a conversation. So it’s not surprising that 90% of consumers prefer to communicate with businesses in this same way. But most businesses still force people to jump through hoops before allowing a conversation to take place.

What would happen if these same businesses gave people ways to instantly start a conversation instead of forcing them to complete a form first, for example? For most, it would lead to higher conversion rates, more opportunities, and more personal experiences. It’s still possible to ask the same questions asked on a form using a chatbot to ask the questions in a conversational manner. Bots can guide leads to pieces of content or collateral that will answer their questions or suggest personal solutions. Conversational marketing builds relationships and creates authentic experiences with customers and buyers.

04. Personalisation

Because we encounter hundreds of brands every day, we have become extremely good at disregarding generic ads and giving more attention to brands that are putting in the effort to connect with us on a personal level. As a result, generic advertising has become much less effective.

Content tailored to the individual has proven to significantly increase customer engagement. In a survey of 1,000 people, 80% admitted they would be more likely to transact with a company that offered them a personalised experience. If brands want to stand out in 2020, they need to personalise their marketing – this means their content, products, emails, etc.

Consider these personalisation stats:

  • 63% of consumers state generic advertising blasts annoy them
  • 80% say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalised experiences
  • 90% claim they find personalisation appealing

Let’s look at some companies that are successfully using personalisation today:

  • EasyJet launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to build personalised stories, which then suggest where they might like to travel next. They sent around 12.5 million unique emails, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalised emails.
  • Cadburys created a personalised video campaign that matches a Dairy Milk flavor with users based on data from their Facebook profile, including age, interest and location. The campaign generated a 65% click-through rate and a 33.6% conversion rate, proving that the personal touch works.
  • Netflix and Amazon are the kings of personalisation when it comes to their suggestions and recommendations based on user behaviour.

Even though 72% of buyers expect businesses to personalise communications and 69% willing to pay more for a personalised experience, many marketers are yet to embrace the possibilities of personalisation. We need only look through our emails to find “slightly better than generic” efforts at communications that represents personalisation today.

With the gap between where we are now and best practices, personalisation is a huge opportunity for brands to improve customer acquisition and retention in 2020.

Personalisation Using Artificial Intelligence

05. Voice search

The increased adoption of voice search has led to many brands including it as part of their digital marketing strategies to deliver value-based content effectively to their customers. Adopting a voice strategy helps brands to create an optimised experience for customers and build brand loyalty.

Consider these numbers:

  • 50% of all searches will be via voice by the end of 2020
  • 55% of American homes will own a smart speaker by 2022
  • 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that they use their devices as part of their daily routines
  • Voice shopping is set to jump to $40 billion in 2022, up from $2 billion today
  • Google Assistant has 2,000 “actions” and Alexa has 30,000 “skills”. These functions allow voice assistants to react very specifically to user commands and queries.

Optimising for voice search is a great way to spread brand awareness through writing in conversational tones, focusing on getting featured snippets on Google, and thinking about the keywords people will speak rather than type.

2020 will see more businesses experimenting with new ways to use smart speakers as a lucrative channel for driving sales. To do this, businesses must develop a unique approach to consumer interaction and include voice as part of a broader, more connected brand experience.