2016 is developing into a somewhat similar year, in many ways, as 2015. If you thought marketing and commerce were migrating online, you were right. In 2016, it’s even more of the same. It’s now looking likely—in the foreseeable future, that is—that virtual reality by way of Oculus Rift will soon become part of the Facebook social sharing experience.
Moreover, social spheres are increasingly merging into sales and marketing spheres; of course, this is due to the presence of cookies and the increased mingling of the personal and the public spheres, when it comes to advertising and targeted sales markets. However, it’s still important to focus on linkable assets for your customers—as well as your competitors—to find as impetus to visit your site. A happy balance includes a mix of both timely, clickbait-worthy assets and evergreen resources that never go out of style.
One possibility for a technologically up-to-date feature for your company website is a video stream that is constantly being updated with relevant and timely content. Video is the constant that I kept coming across in my research on the future of marketing, and video will work across various devices and mediums.
Even if you don’t create the video yourself, considering streaming video from elsewhere. According to a study by ComScore, the use of video increases the time a user spends on a site by two minutes!
There’s also a little something called marketing automation that is rumored to be an enormously handy tool. It used to be understood as limited to email marketing. However, now it refers to targeting potential customers across all possible channels: email, social media, strategically-placed ads, etc.
Of course, as Search Engine Journal stresses, marketing automation is nothing new; however, “marketers have clearly come to understand the importance of utilizing automation to save time and improve productivity. In addition to sending automated emails, social media gets updated, content on the website is developed, and contacts are segmented, allowing the humans to concentrate on more detailed, nuanced interactions with customers already farther along in the purchasing process, as well as proposals and marketing projects to attract new potential customers.
Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things
The appearance of virtual reality is connected to a general increase in interactive, participatory marketing. Facebook, for example, lends more weight to material that is clicked, shared, and viewed, as opposed to merely ‘liked.’ In the future, Facebook apparently intends to be ‘plugged in’ to the Internet of Things in order to facilitate easy and efficient Internet sales, for example.
This movement toward more active marketing that is essentially co-created is the way of the future: think YouTube and Instagram, platforms that allow users to upload their own content. It can only benefit your company to encourage user participation and interaction via social media sites. Beyond virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming the norm. The future is encroaching into our present moment. Also, wearable “smart” devices are predicted to start to gain more traction in 2016—for example, the Apple Watch.
Grab your audience’s attention
Apparently, humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish: eight seconds for people, versus nine seconds for goldfish. That’s sobering news. What it means for you, as a marketer, is straightforward: you need to capture your audience’s attention, and fast, then reel them in even faster.
In a way, this information makes your job easy. Beyond grabbing your audience’s attention, be creative about how to keep their attention long enough to deliver a pitch. Rather than delivering a cleverer-than-thou marketing hook, today’s consumers are deeper than that—so to speak. Try to have something on offer that’s a little deeper than just the hook. For example, a white paper, an evergreen asset—something that will actually help your audience, regardless of whether they buy your product or not.
Beyond Google, search engines are now connected to social media in order to enable personalized advertising. Also, though, ads have fused with status updates, via social media, in order to make advertising feel more like socialization. And, really, it’s not entirely easy to tell the difference.
Cookies and Ads
Businesses can create events in order to make social functions into sales and marketing opportunities. Cookies have transformed everything, changing the possibilities entirely. Do you ever feel as if you’re being followed? Well, you are. We don’t happen upon ads anymore; now, they find us. Before you get too creeped out, it’s all automated, so there isn’t really someone following us around, spying on us. The Internet takes care of that for us.
Take, for an example, a good ghost-imitator: the new Amazon Echo, which works with smart home devices, such as lights and switches, that you can control using only your voice. It might behoove you to tap into the market for the Internet of Things, which—as you can see from the substantial list of compatible devices—is growing as we speak.
Perhaps look into creating an app that communicates with the Echo—apparently, it’s now possible! It’s in your best interest to do so, considering that the Internet of Things is the way of the future. However, as Daniel Davies argues, we’re only at the beginning of realizing this technology’s capability—and it has a tremendous potential with quite a way to go before it is truly compatible with all our various systems, equipment, and smart objects.
Lastly, remember, everything is mobile, now. This means your marketing efforts need to follow suit. Everything from 360-degree video to location-based marketing to mobile phone payment systems will become easier through the use of smartphones.
Take location-based marketing: the iBeacon, for example, is a small, inexpensive Bluetooth transmitter that works with apps installed on your iPhone to listen for the signal transmitted by these beacons and respond accordingly when the phone comes into range. Beacons or no beacons, however, the bottom line is that mobile-first will become the norm, so be sure your website and all your marketing materials are mobile-friendly! You’ve been warned.
So, in conclusion, think mobile, video, and personalized marketing. The future is coming, and it wants to connect you to everything!
Images “ Marketing Trends Online Digital Concepts / Shutterstock.com“
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