According to Qualtrics’ “2021 Global Consumer Trends Post-pandemic: How consumer behavior will continue to change” report, more than 75% of consumers “took a new interest in online activities” in 2020. This affected practically every industry. Twenty-one percent even purchased a product online for the first time.
Businesses must rise to meet the challenges associated with this new demand. That’s why so many organizations across sectors are focusing on their digital marketing efforts. In fact, digital advertising revenue, just one segment of digital marketing, is projected to reach 460 billion USD by 2024.
But like so many technologically driven industries, digital marketing is constantly evolving. That begs the question: What does the future have in store?
According to a survey of global marketers in 2020, content marketing is the activity that has the most commercial impact on business efforts — 17% of respondents identified it as such.
Content is a broad umbrella term describing a huge variety of materials marketers use to promote their business, such as:
• Blog posts
• Case studies
• Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
• Thought leadership articles
The goal is to appeal to your audience by giving them something for free or at a low cost, toward the goal of promoting brand awareness and compelling them to take action — that is, engaging with your business and purchasing your services and products.
Today, businesses are employing an array of approaches to develop and distribute content to attract new consumers and retain existing ones. Thanks to new and emerging technologies, such as AI, there are more and more possibilities for content marketing.
Speaking of AI, it’s proving to be a pivotal technology across marketing efforts. And businesses are quick to take note. A PwC survey of more than 1,000 companies in the U.S. found that more than half have escalated their adoption of AI.
One application of AI is the use of chatbots, a customer service-digital marketing tool that not only frees up time for human representatives but also appeals to consumers’ unique needs. Now, it’s practically impossible to visit a major website or Facebook page without seeing a chatbot popup and asking if it can help you. Businesses can also use them to communicate with consumers, field questions, and resolve issues quickly.
AI is also being used in digital advertising campaigns, assessing how individual campaigns are performing and adjusting the messaging accordingly.
Didn’t think voice assistance technology was a marketing tool? It actually can be — and often is. Now that tools like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are household items and names, businesses are curious about how they can leverage the technology to help consumers find their items. Today, for example, there are targeted ads on voice-operated devices.
SEO strategies are different from voice-based search, too. They depend on unique optimization, and marketing professionals must gear their plans accordingly.
Of course, voice assistants would be nothing without AI, which is why these pivotal tools go hand in hand.
The oldest members of Gen Z are approaching their mid-20s. Meanwhile, the oldest Baby Boomers are solidly in their mid-70s. As audience demographics are changing, businesses are revamping their approaches to target consumers accordingly.
While Boomers and Gen Xers are far from forgotten, today, most businesses are focusing on appealing to Gen Zers and Millennials. These consumers tend to prefer digital marketing efforts that are responsive and focused. Organizations will do well to research the needs and wants of their new target demographics.
Increasingly, consumers are taking note of marketing efforts that are uniquely tailored to them and their interests. SmarterHQ’s Privacy & Personalization report even finds that 72% of survey respondents exclusively engage with messages personalized to them. Using big data, AI, and other tools, marketers can appeal to different segments.
For example, they can target ads on social media to people of different demographics and with specific interests. They can also send emails with personalized greetings and alter their newsletters according to the wants of various segments of their consumer base, including those who have or haven’t engaged with the brand previously.
This leads to a better customer experience overall and more meaningful interactions between the brand and the consumer.
Marketing efforts must appeal to people who have a wide array of backgrounds, ethnicities, races, socioeconomic statuses, genders, sexualities, ages, jobs, and more. It’s extraordinarily important for brands to be inclusive and representative of diverse populations. Retail ads, for instance, should appeal to people with different body types, and many brands are acknowledging this by being body inclusive.
Meanwhile, businesses are also including a variety of content that is representative of minorities and appeals to many different segments of the population — better reflecting the diversity in the real world.
Inclusivity also encompasses accessibility or reaching people with different abilities. For example, marketers are encouraged to use alt tags on images, word descriptions of the content being presented, and uploading captions to videos in content marketing and on social media.
It’s abundantly clear that digital marketing must encompass new methods and practices in order to appeal to today’s consumers. While some strategies of yesterday are now outdated, new ones are taking their place.
Brands across industries must work to revamp their ideas and reach new target populations, recognizing critical trends in the modern landscape. One thing is clear: the digital marketing world is constantly changing, and organizations must be at the forefront of innovation in order to keep up.