With customers increasingly expecting businesses to communicate in a more personalised way, building engagement and trust through transparency will be one of the biggest challenges faced by marketers in 2018.
Personalisation and authentic engagement were the key themes for marketing in 2017, with innovations like artificial intelligence and chatbots driving new forms of customer interactions. As we enter 2018, the onus is on marketers to pre-emptively adapt to emerging technologies and to holistically integrate them into their existing marketing strategies.
Yet while technology is constantly revolutionising the mediums in which marketers interact with customers, the core fundamentals of marketing will always remain the same. Before jumping onto the latest hype, make sure to get the basics right by laying solid foundations.
In the face of such rapid technological growth, marketers will have to grapple with the ever-increasing amount of data at their fingertips. Disparate data continues to be one of the biggest issues faced by the industry; reinforcing the importance of data segmentation and automation.
With this in mind, here are three key trends that could possibly be leveraged as we progress through 2018.
With the popularity of voice-controlled devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, it’s evident that voice technology may become one of the biggest influencers in 2018. These devices are rising in popularity as the technology offers a new and unique experience for customers. For marketers, it’s an innovative way to reach consumers.
Even in the scenario that a company chooses not to engage with voice technology, it will still have significant impact on search results and a company’s SEO strategy. According to ComScore, 50 percent of all searches will be via voice by 2020. With voice commands, customers will no longer see a long list of results as most voice results will only come up with one answer.
Hence it’s now more important than ever that companies differentiate themselves by engaging with customers through authentic conversations. As voice technology becomes increasingly mainstream, the chances of someone “stumbling” onto your page becomes slim; building on your customer’s loyalty and retention is now more important than ever.
While archaic forms of email blasting may no longer have a place in today’s digital personalised era, email marketing still plays a valuable role in encouraging customer engagement. In fact, a recent survey found that over 80 percent of retail professionals linked email marketing with increased customer acquisition and retention.
Triggered emails are the future of email marketing, with the likes of abandoned carts, post-purchase reviews, and birthday emails proving to be extremely effective. In fact, according to DMA, 77 percent of ROI is derived from segmented, targeted, and triggered email campaigns. By identifying the ideal opportunities to interact with customers via email, recipients will respond positively. Furthermore, they may also view these kinds of triggered emails as a sign of the company valuing them; effectively making them more inclined to shop with your brand.
Historically speaking, word of mouth is and will remain the most effective form of communication. With customers increasingly expecting businesses to communicate in a more personalised way, building engagement and trust through transparency will be one of the biggest challenges faced by marketers in 2018.
Consequently, user-generated content like reviews posted on the company website or social media will prove to be crucial. These, for example, should be leveraged through email marketing campaigns. Reviews from other customers will have a tone of authenticity that will resonate far more than any other form of communication ever could. Consider sending an email sometime after a purchase to ask for a customer’s input.
The effect of this approach is two-fold; the company will receive an increased number of reviews that promote a high level of trust and transparency whilst customers will see that their opinion and feedback is highly valued. Another option is to offer a discount or product to customers that have left a review.
While 2018 is definitely looking an exciting year with many changes on the horizon, the first step to a successful customer relationship will always remain the same. Relevance will set your brand apart from competitors and ensure that customers are getting information and offers that are relevant to them. With technology providing more avenues for data acquisition, the focus should remain on data segmentation and automation.