“Change is the only constant in life.”
So philosophized Heraclitus of ancient Greece long ago. However, the wisdom of this popular adage hasn’t dulled with time, as any business professional attempting to keep up with modern digital marketing trends and technologies can attest.
Apple is working on its 22nd iteration of the iPhone, AI-driven chatbots are taking over customer service, and Google continues to update its search algorithm thousands (yes, thousands) of times every year.
So how are you supposed to keep your business up to speed in this ever-evolving environment of new trends, new devices and new applications all jockeying for your attention – and your marketing budget?
The answer is simple: You’re not.
If you’re trying to keep up with it all, you’re setting yourself up for a fast, migraine-inducing burnout.
Instead, at Jennasis & Associates, we keep our ear to the ground to pick up what’s buzzing in the industry – and focus our energies on those digital transformation trends and technologies shown to have the most benefit for our diverse client base. We emphasize strategy as the starting point of any marketing initiative or investment, and we’re here to help you leverage this approach in your own business.
How to narrow your focus
To keep up with constantly-evolving digital marketing trends and ensure you’re getting the most out of your solution investments, you need to approach your marketing strategy in a systematic and efficient way.
The first question we ask our clients before developing any strategy is: What are you looking to accomplish, and/or what problem are you trying to solve?
Often, the primary goal for a marketing investment comes down to driving leads and, ultimately, revenue. Other common priorities include improving customer service and satisfaction, promoting brand awareness, and streamlining inefficiencies in current processes.
Whatever your priorities are, identifying your needs and goals gives you your strategy’s end destination. After all, if you don’t know where you want your marketing roadmap to take you, how can you determine a route to get there?
With your destination in mind, you and your marketing partner can then analyze the current people, processes and technology in place within your organization to determine:
Are they helping you reach that destination?
If not, can they be readjusted or complemented with another solution to reach it?
Or are they hindering your progress altogether?
By understanding what resources you have to work with, and where there are gaps and inefficiencies in your operation, you can better strategize as to where you need to focus your investment in technology solutions to improve, complement or replace them.
Applying that insight to your existing infrastructure with your end goals in mind, your marketing partner can then help you evaluate the variety of digital marketing tools and technologies available to build out a strategy that meets your needs.
Top 3 digital marketing trends to watch in 2019
While the digital marketing tools and technologies Jennasis & Associates builds into strategies vary by client based on their needs, there are certainly frontrunners among the various digital trends emerging as we enter into the new year.
The easiest place to start?
We recommend you catch up on the ongoing development of three top growing digital marketing trends and technologies – and evaluate how they can complement or improve your own marketing efforts!
1. Micro Influencers
Social Media influencers were a hot topic throughout 2018. Rather than relying on traditional advertisements like TV commercials or magazine ads, more and more businesses have turned to movie stars, beauty bloggers, fitness junkies, foodies and fashionistas to promote images and video on social media with their products on display.
However, as social media juggernauts saturate their platforms with endorsements of questionable quality and quantity – and costs continue to climb for businesses wishing to work with them – we’ve seen the rise of an appealing alternative: the micro influencer.
Unlike 2018’s most popular influencers, who boast millions of followers, 2019 is set to embrace social media influencers with a smaller following, often limited to a niche or region.
Smaller advocates are typically more discerning in their endorsements, taking pride in quality and corporate responsibility when choosing their business partners. As such, micro influencers come across as more approachable and relatable to consumers, earning themselves an immensely dedicated following, writes Michael Tasner for Forbes.
Tasner argues that engagement is increasingly more important than follower count to an influencer’s ultimate success when it comes to commercial viability. Micro influencers’ value, therefore, is measured by the interaction between influencers and their audiences through likes, comments and the ultimate trust followers have in the influencers they are following.
At Jennasis, we’ve seen firsthand the power local influencers can have in helping promote brand awareness and events for our clients. In addition to being more approachable to their followers, we’ve also found micro influencers to be more approachable budget-wise for companies ranging from small to middle market.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
Marketing applications for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are also on the rise – including within the Influencer space, with AI-driven platforms such as Influential helping brands match up with social media influencers in their space.
Able to analyze audience behavior and search patterns, these technologies can help businesses understand customer personas to a new depth – from standard demographic information to how, why and when customers are searching for products and services. This helps inform marketing efforts for improved campaigns, from conception to deployment.
However, where AI and Machine Learning technology is really positioned to shine in 2019 isn’t just in gathering and analyzing consumer data behind the scenes – but in coming out from behind the curtain to engage with customers directly.
Chatbot technology, which can simulate a conversation via phone, text, website or mobile app, continues to evolve through Machine Learning. These bots are using increasingly natural language that can learn and adapt to users’ tones and communication preferences to interact more personably in the ways consumers prefer, when they prefer, via the platforms they prefer.
In 2017, less than 2 percent of customer service operations were using chatbot technology. However that number is expected to jump to 25 percent by 2020 – with chatbots projected to save businesses $8 billion per annum by 2022.
If your business collects consumer data or interacts with consumers in any way, you need to keep your eye on the developments coming out of this space!
3. Voice Search
Arguably the most widely known Chatbot in use today is Amazon’s Alexa. Along with popular voice assistants like Siri, Cortana and Google, these technologies have contributed to the rise of another digital marketing trend companies can’t afford to ignore: voice search.
Available on a diverse array of platforms – such as smartphones, smartwatches and smart TVs – voice search continues to improve as AI and Machine Learning do. As platforms get smarter and reduce errors, more and more users are turning to voice search-enabled devices to do everything from turning on and off lights to checking the news and ordering pizza.
In fact, 50 percent of all searches are projected to be voice-based by 2020.
What does this mean for SEO-minded businesses? (Ahem, this means you!)
Sure, just as we saw video marketing soar throughout 2018, trend-savvy companies will create more audio content in 2019 to cater to consumers and expand their reach. (Think thought leadership podcasts, audio advertisements within apps such as Spotify, and retail shopping integrations with voice assistants.) But what voice search really impacts is your website content.
Statistics show that 46 percent of voice search users look for a local business daily, and that 27 percent of voice search users visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search. So even if you don’t think your business has an offering that works well with audio efforts, your audience is likely still looking for you in their web browser through a verbal inquiry.
That means if you want to be top of Google’s mind when it returns their results, your site needs to be voice optimized. Key among your website content updates should be the incorporation of conversation search queries and specific, long-tail keywords.
Translation? Speak naturally!
Evolving your digital marketing strategy and beyond starts today!
Innovative technologies are driving digital marketing transformations across every industry, with a primary emphasis on improving consumer engagement, whether engaging through influencers, through AI-driven platforms and chatbots, or through voice search.
If your marketing strategy doesn’t currently address these growing trends, you’re likely to fall behind in 2019 – and certainly beyond.
So get ahead of the curve on these top trends and more before February hits. Reach out to our team today to discover how Jennasis & Associates can help your business evolve its digital marketing strategy and continue to grow!
Jessica is a seasoned account manager and writer with a passion for helping brands craft words that attract, engage and convert prospects. With professional experience rooted in marketing, journalism and project management, she can handle just about any writing style for both print and web. She lives in the Brooklyn area of Cleveland with her husband. Fun Fact: She enjoys reading, gardening, board game nights, and an ongoing search for the city's best cheesecake.