There’s no doubt about it, 2016 has been an interesting year for marketers around the world. With advances in technology creating an ever shifting landscape for marketers and where having the right information at the right time has become crucial for effective decision making and staying ahead of your competitors. In light of this we have rounded up 6 ‘key trends’ that are likely to be big in 2017.
- From Big Data to Smart Data: Growth in Data Visualization Tools and Dashboards
Marketers love data and technology is allowing ever increasing amounts. Data can help you understand your customers and deepen your customer connections and relationships. However more data is not necessarily better data and sifting through vast of amounts of raw data can be complex not to mention time consuming. Smart marketers are increasingly turning to data visualization tools and sophisticated dashboards. These tools are not new but in 2017 there will be a proliferation of these tools as smart data becomes key.
- The Rise of AI: Machine Learning and Automation will increase its presence across Marketing Automation Solutions
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can significantly benefit marketers by scaling personalised customer experiences in real-time. The technology learns from and responds to, huge amounts of information and can act autonomously, reducing many of the manual tasks typically facing marketers. As the algorithms grow in complexity and efficiency, so will their integration with marketing automation solutions.
- Messaging Apps become Marketing Engagement Platforms
Messaging apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Line will continue to grow in popularity as a daily communication channel between individuals and groups. As these platforms develop further we expect to see new ways for using messaging apps within omni-channel and targeted database marketing strategies. However there are still considerable challenges, as these apps have traditionally committed to facilitate growth by ad free platforms and limited user data collection. A key challenge for marketers in 2017 will be how to deal with the monetization of these apps.
- Increasing popularity of Chatbots
Improvements in AI and ML have led to a surge in chatbot usage with Apple’s Siri among the most well-known. Chatbots interact with customers learning individual preferences and habits, offering tailored suggestions – all within the application. Chatbots are a rapidly rising trend and will become an essential tool for customer engagement and data collection in 2017.
- Location and Geo-Targeted Marketing
More customers, especially millennials, read product reviews and browse offers online and in-store using their smartphones. In response, marketers are using technology to offer location based deals. For example, when a customer signs up to a store’s app they can be geo-targeted by in-store beacons that offer real-time localised offers. A combination of GPS data, in-store wifi, beacons and triangulation, allow for a broad scope of marketing options.
Marketers are finally trying to leverage the mobile-assisted shopping technology trend by looking into communicating relevant offers in real-time and this will continue to evolve in 2017.
- The merge of Loyalty Programs and Mobile Wallets
Mobile payments by customers continue to rise, as NFC technology is now built into nearly every new mobile and portable device. Services such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet have led to a surge in digital payments and rise in places where NFC mobile chips can be used. There has been a move away from traditional stand-alone loyalty programs to a situation where multiple brands merge together to simplify the consumer experience. The conditions for marketers to integrate mobile wallet services and loyalty programs into their future digital strategies will be optimal in 2017.
While technological advances will continue to challenge the digital marketer, they can also be a boon. Engagement strategies that embrace these developments will be at a considerable advantage, whether it is for gathering data or optimising customer interaction. Marketers that fail to adapt and innovate will inevitably fall behind.