It’s been about two decades since electronic devices became commonplace enough for businesses to start marketing to customers through digital channels. Here’s how these technologies have changed digital marketing:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
As one of the fastest-growing technology trends of the decade, artificial intelligence has had an impact on almost every major industry in the world today. With AI algorithms changing the way users interact with the internet, digital marketing is no exception.
Chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to mimic human interactions and can be powerful tools to offer personalised customer service and engagement. AI-based chatbots can handle multiple customers at the same time, be available 24*7, and keep track of customer data and behaviour patterns to offer customers assistance, information and personalised advertising.
Another discipline of AI is Natural Language Generation (NLG) — a technology that allows computers to automatically generate content. Currently, this is restricted to more data-heavy content, but as computers learn to create more human-sounding content, we can expect to see a surge in AI-generated content.
Businesses are constantly striving to provide users with a highly personalised experience, making present-day marketing highly data-driven. The wide variety of tools and techniques that can process Big Data has enabled businesses to track all sorts of customer characteristics. Using variables like customer identity, location, behaviour and values, businesses can create extremely personalised content — from customised emails and strategic notifications to tailor-made landing pages.
Predictive analytics uses the massive amounts of data that users generate to analyse customer characteristics and anticipate customer behaviour. Methods like propensity modelling allow businesses to predict customer responses and create personalised marketing strategies — a trend that will continue to gain momentum.
Immersive technologies have proven invaluable when it comes to increasing and improving customer engagement and creating a superior experience. While virtual reality has been a buzzword for a few years now, there is so much more that has been brewing in this technology domain.
There is a massive ongoing revolution in the kind of visual experiences that can be created for customers — we have progressed from 360 and VR to augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and extended reality (XR). Where VR can place the users into a virtual world, AR can create digital images on top of the user’s real-world environment, allowing users to easily envision and even virtually ‘try’ products before they buy them.
VR, MR, and XR usually require some dedicated hardware in the form of VR headsets or glasses. AR, on the other hand, can be accessed from a simple smartphone or a tablet. For this reason, AR currently has the highest potential to impact digital marketing.
But as devices are constantly evolving and becoming more accessible, it is only a matter of time before we see all forms of immersive technologies being used to bring brands to life and create even more impactful user experiences.
As the means of reaching out to customers have grown more numerous and changeable, the task for marketers has grown more challenging. Marketing Automation tools and software have become the norm to help marketing professionals keep pace with the industry.
Automation can help marketers in several ways. They can maintain databases of customers and prospects along with their characteristics, interactions and behaviours in order to better segment and target them with personalised content. They can help streamline various marketing processes, test, and improve the quality of communication between brands and customers. They can also help them to measure, analyse and optimise the impact of their campaigns and their ROI.
As with every other industry, technology has revolutionised the advertising industry as well. Programmatic advertising enables online advertising transactions to be automated. It is now possible to target specific audiences and purchase ad space in real-time. This has enabled businesses to significantly improve the impact of their digital marketing efforts and streamline their processes.
Blockchain is an emerging technology that is most often discussed in the context of finance. However, the technology has a much wider scope of application. Essentially, blockchain enables transactions to be completed without requiring any third-party verification, allowing the two transacting parties to remain anonymous.
With rising concerns about data privacy and increasing reservations about large corporations collecting vast amounts of customer data, blockchain has tremendous market potential. By providing increased transparency and authenticity, blockchain will empower customers to be more informed and stay in better control of their data — something that digital marketing will inevitably have to adapt to.