As technology advances, so does marketing. Let’s admit it, that’s pretty quick.

As a business, you must be where your customers are. There is no point trying to change habits for purely financial reasons. It won’t work.

Strategy is important for success and forecasting and acting upon marketing trends offer an unlimited potential for profit. If you can predict where people are going to be in 3, 5, or 10 years, you can be the first to be there and the first to be seen.

So, where exactly is marketing heading?

I’ve presented my predictions without any timeline in mind. But, if my predictions don’t happen or at least start to happen within the next 5 years, I would be very surprised. Unless I’m completely wrong. There is that…

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has finally found practical application in the real world. Look at these! As people are going to start wearing them 24/7 as the uses develop, marketers are going to start sneaking their way in. It is going to be subtle and personal to each individual user. For example:

You and your friend are walking down the street together. You’re on a group video chat with your friend in another country. You look at a convenience store and both of you see a promotion. Each promotion is different and tailored to your previous purchasing history. For example, you see an offer on biscuits, whilst your friend sees an offer on crisps. You go on and purchase your biscuits using the glasses by looking at the machine for more than 5 seconds and confirming by voice. The promotion is applied and you leave the store.

Hey, with Amazon’s latest cashier-less supermarket, you might be able to walk in, grab what you want and walk out with your account being charged in accordance with what you took.

Influencers

People buy from people.

Millenials and Generation Z are especially taking that to heart. These big corporations that hide behind branding are not personal enough for these young consumers. Today, we rely on individuals to help us make decisions. Individuals who we trust or at least recognise as an expert.

These individuals are influencers.

Influencers set themselves up as an expert on a certain topic. It could be fashion, beauty, IT, marketing, or something really niche like Dark Age sword combat techniques in Britain. Whatever it is, they create a community around that with their knowledge and more importantly, their personality.

There are big influencers out there such as Zoella, KSI, and Gary Vee. But, it is the micro-influencers that matter now and will matter in the future.

Micro-influencers are individuals with a small following between 10,000 – 100,000. Their engagement rate is ROCKET HIGH and that is what makes them extremely attractive to businesses. With a constantly engaged community, getting an influencer to suggest your product or service can convert more customers than any other method.

For marketers, they are a dream! Influencers have done most of the hard work already by identifying a niche and creating a list of prospects for you. No need to spend time, effort, and money finding out what your customer wants when the influencer already knows! Besides, influencers are extremely cheap at the moment, so get on board before big companies realise their value.

Tougher laws on data protection and collection

Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook.

There’s going to be implications.

Facebook has already announced a thorough investigation in how to prevent data abuse. Whilst the large majority of us do not abuse data, there will be new regulations that we will have to adhere to. It may restrict how e gather, handle, and use data.

I don’t know how it will pan out, but it is important to stay alert to the consequences of this abuse.

Pull marketing rather than push

No one likes to be sold.

Sales are pretty much a game between the salesperson and the consumer. Who can trick each other into thinking they’ve won? In the end, either no one wins or they both do. It’s a mess, but an effective mess that currently generates money. That’s why I leave it to the sales team to do the work.

For marketers like me, especially in the future, we need people to come to us rather than us go to them. We need prospects to come to us on their own will or at least thinking so.

Content is the answer to this (yes, I’m biased being a content marketer!). With content, you can become the Uncle who knows about *insert product here*. He isn’t your father or mother, but he is family and you trust him.

Become your lead’s uncle before your competitor does.

Voice

Amazon Echo.

Google Home.

Apple HomePod (has anyone actually bought this?).

They are all revolutionizing the way we interact with the world around us. Even more so than the smartphone, which was really just a computer on a smaller, touch-sensitive screen. Voice, on the other hand, is radically changing our habits.

Right now, we can hands-free search a simply query, order a takeaway, skip the current track, or dim the lights. But imagine this:

You are sitting at the family dining table having your Sunday roast. You decide you want to go on holiday. Using Alexa, you search for “popular beaches across Europe”. She lists them off, but does not list places you’ve already been to. You pick three locations and Alexa gives you a quick tourist guide to each location. You pick Barcelona, Spain and Alexa find a suitable package for the dates you want. You say “Alexa, book that holiday” and there: without getting your smartphone out, you booked your next holiday whilst eating your evening meal.

Marketing for voice in the future is unpredictable as it is such a new technology. However, for now, focus on SEO for your websites and software. Alexa and other voice systems are basically a search engine and you want to make sure you’re their number one choice to offer the users.

More value to the customer

We’ve touched on this throughout this post, but I really want to nail this trend home: customers will expect more value for their buck, and not in just a financial sense.

Traditionally, the price charged is the cost of the product or service plus profit. Today, we add another component to the equation: the non-monetary value known as identity or culture.

Gary Vaynerchuk is excellent at this. Through his vlogs and other mediums, he has provided so much guidance, advice, and motivation to youngsters that he has actually changed the lives of many. As he has provided so much, these youngsters do not fret at the idea of buying his book or trainers.

The book will provide them with even more advice that will help them. The trainers, on the other hand, are an identity for the consumers. Wearing the trainers is putting it out to the world that you are part of the Gary Vee community. And everyone loves to be part of a community. After all, humans are social beings.

Gary Vee has created a culture that people associate with. Apple created the cool hipster culture with their products, which people are willing to over-pay to have access to the culture.

It is prevalent that creating a culture around your product makes a difference now. For the future, it will be mandatory.

What do you think?

Those are my predictions on where marketing is going in the future. I could be completely wrong or completely right. Time will tell.

Do you agree with me? Or have I got it drastically wrong?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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