First, with the advent of the internet and then the social media, Digital marketing has changed rapidly in the last two decade.  Largely spurred by technology, a report indicates that there are ~1,876 marketing technology vendors out there today, and 60% of marketers expect their companies to increase investments in technology this year. By examining the marketing trends and tools today, we can piece together an exciting new future for digital marketing. Below are few trends we believe will change the marketing landscape by 2020.

Augmented Reality (AR) – The capability of products such as AR apps, smart glasses, are increasing exponentially, and soon will be able to provide the customers with immersive experiences. This will have a strong impact on how products are branded and marketed worldwide. By allowing customers to see the future benefits of a product or a service very clearly TODAY itself, sales teams will be able to close deals faster, while enhancing the overall buying experience for the customer. AR offers an array of other benefits- from highly personalized solutions, real-time interactions to a ‘gamified’ shopping experience and a real-time way to track ROI. For example, IKEA’s VR experience enables a customer to walk into a fully furnished kitchen, open cabinet doors and even cook!

Influencer marketing – Many brands have already leveraged influence marketing – and this trend will adapt itself to the world of micro-influencers who have a stronger, more personalized touch with their  audience. Individual personalities (including your average everyday customers) with expertise in niche areas and those who can connect at a personal level, will be most sought after by marketers. An example of this is the ‘Chewbacca Mom’ whose online live review of retail chain Kohl’s Chewbacca face mask garnered millions of views online. Subsequently, a video of Kohl’s employees showing up at the lady’s house with appreciative gift cards netted another 30 million views from viewers who connected personally with this ‘influencer’. We will hear more and more such stories as we head to 2020.

Marketing Automation– Technology specialists and SMEs will use automation software and virtual assistants to manage all the data and content flowing across digital and offline consumer touch points. With big data becoming more mainstream by 2020, digital marketing firms will be able to formulate better strategies through predictive analytics. Easy access to Cloud-based statistical models will provide digital marketers with precise information to provide personalized marketing campaigns. This, in turn, will enable them to precisely target their potential customers. For example, instead of directly marketing activewear, a firm could directly target fitness enthusiasts in gyms after they subscribe for a membership and are on the lookout for new active wear.

Video Dominance – Combining a winning combination of storytelling and technology, videos with great narratives and music, especially live video and 360 video will be in demand more than ever and the favored choice when it comes to presenting your content to an audience. Reputed companies like Southwest Airlines have been leveraging the live video tool extensively. When more than 4000 flights were canceled over several days, Southwest Airline’s CEO took to Facebook Live to provide an update on the issue. With over 6000 likes and less than 1000 angry or sad emoji responses, the company was able to minimize potential serious damage to the brand.

As Seth Godwin has said “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” Keeping customers as their focus and incorporating some of these trends into the marketing strategy early on will result in winning marketing initiatives ahead of the digital marketing innovation curve.

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