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Each year, Gartner makes predictions about the factors that will become critical in the face of constantly evolving technological advances – including how organizations should be prepared to adapt to new trends. Several of his predictions are directly related to digital marketing.

It should be noted in particular that, more than any other recent year, 2021 will require organizations to find non-traditional ways to move forward due to the COVID-19 crisis. To bounce back, organizations will need to embrace innovation and efficiency in digital marketing.

Gartner’s forecasts that will impact digital marketing in 2021 and beyond include:

  1. Internet of behavior
  2. AI-powered ads
  3. Customer analysis
  4. Monitoring for malicious content
  5. Subscription e-commerce

Prediction 1: The Internet of Behavior will Connect People and Actions

By 2023, individual activities will be digitally tracked by the Internet of Behavior to influence, benefit and serve 40% of the world’s people.

You’ve heard of the Internet of Things (IoT), but what about the Internet of Behavior (IoB)? The concept simply means that businesses can learn a lot about a person from data collected from connected devices, including their interests, likes and dislikes, and how they make purchases. They can then use that information to influence behaviors, such as lead activation and engagement, content personalization, and testing campaign effectiveness.

Ideas for using IoB

  • Understand the customer journey from the moment a prospect is interested in a product to the point of purchase.
  • Improve the buyer’s journey, adding more touchpoints for positive customer interactions.
  • Find new ways to connect with prospects to bond with the brand early in the journey.

Prediction 2: AI will help create emotional ads

By 2024, AI-based identification of consumer emotions will influence more than half of online ads.

During the 2010s, the marketing industry gained a deeper understanding of the role that emotions play in consumer actions. Now, advances in biometrics and AI make it possible to detect emotions and use that information strategically. In this way, AI-based advertising is poised to become the next frontier in consumer understanding and engagement.

Emotion detection and recognition works through a combination of facial recognition, voice models and deep learning analysis technologies – which are still in early stages of development. However, they are poised for rapid growth. By 2024, the global market is expected to be worth nearly $ 25 billion.

Companies such as Amazon, IBM, and Walmart are already looking for ways to combine biosensors with artificial emotional intelligence (AEI) to detect feelings that could influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. Editors like ESPN, The New York Times and USA today develop and distribute advertising tools to match advertisements to consumers’ moods.

Ideas for using AI in advertising

  • When a consumer purchases a product or service, artificial intelligence could, in theory, track their facial expressions, body movements and comments online, in order to gauge their interest in receiving a related ad.
  • AI tools could help marketers avoid insensitive promotions, such as sending customers an upbeat personalized ad when they might be sad.
  • AI could be deployed to help brands detect and respond when customers appear irritated by some aspect of their shopping experience.

Prediction 3: Customer analytics will deliver insights at scale

By 2021, over 40% of all data and analytics projects will focus on customer experience.

Customer analysis includes a range of tools that extract information from customer data to improve customer experiences and achieve business goals. Considering the large amount of data processed by digital commerce platforms and the short window of opportunity to convert buyers, customer analytics plays a vital role in digital commerce.

These metrics offer several uses. For example, they can be used to define the rationale for previous investments, validate whether improvements have been made, set goals for future improvements, and intervene when corrective action is needed.

The main metrics to capture customer analysis

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT): CSATs are the most traditional metric. They may involve either capturing explicit information such as consumer satisfaction survey questions, or implicit information such as ratings of product reviews, speed of delivery, or mystery shopper scores.
  • Customer loyalty, retention and churn rate: These metrics include factors such as purchase frequency, channel usage, average order size, and return rates. They can be used retrospectively, like time to buy, or more predictively, like to determine the likelihood that a customer will remain a customer.
  • Advocacy, reputation and brand: These metrics include calculating the willingness of customers to recommend a brand or endorse the product. Good examples include trust scores, price sensitivity, attending events, and sentiment scores on social media.
  • Quality and operation: These measure which customers are affected by a bad product or service experience, regardless of what actions an organization takes to resolve the problem.

Prediction 4: Brands will neutralize malicious user-generated content

By 2024, content moderation services for user-generated content will be a top priority for 30% of large businesses.

User Generated Content (UGC) has been a holy grail of sorts in the marketing world. As part of the whole new era of self-expression on online platforms, UGC has been seen as a virtual word-of-mouth opportunity to share positive user feedback on brands. According to Adweek, 93% of consumers said they found UGC useful in making purchasing decisions.

However, as social media has matured, UGC has at times become more controversial, with consumers sharing malicious comments on blog comments, videos, live feeds, and social media. Additionally, crooks insert malicious content to advance their agendas.

Today, any organization that has an online presence faces the challenge of knowing how to deal with malicious content, including harmful links, explicit material, targeted harassment, and scams. Marketers need to find ways to neutralize polarizing content to avoid a tarnished image. This often involves investing in content moderation services.

Examples of moderating malicious content

  • Pre-Post Moderation: Hand-choose what content you allow for posting, making sure all content posted on your platforms meets your brand’s standards and goals.
  • Real-time moderation: Monitor user comments for any malicious content posted. Remove content and block fraudulent accounts.
  • AI moderation: algorithms programmed to find malicious content. Currently, they are available in two options, generic or customized for an organization.
  • Full-time human moderation: Employ a well-trained live moderator who will understand the context, be able to read all types of content, and interact with content owners as needed.

Prediction 5: More and more organizations will embrace subscription-based e-commerce

By 2023, 75% of organizations selling direct to consumers will offer subscription services, but only 20% will be successful in increasing customer retention.

If you’re like most people, you have a recurring billing account for multiple items on your credit card, including everything from Netflix to dog food delivery. Organizations benefit from recurring subscription-based e-commerce payments with repeatable and predictable revenue. Customers appreciate the convenience and cost savings.

Another benefit for businesses is being able to predict the lifetime value (LTV) of customers, as subscriptions help them to retain customers and predict future business potential. In addition, marketers get a more accurate view of the customers who purchase subscription services.

Best Practices for Subscription-Based Ecommerce

  • Create a subscription marketing strategy: A successful subscription model needs to stand out from other marketing strategies, including social media and email marketing campaigns.
  • Create buyer personas: It will help you promote what customers need, not what you are selling.
  • Highlight your unique qualities: To commit to regular payments, consumers need to understand what sets you apart from your competition. So demonstrate what makes your brand different.

Prepare for the future of digital marketing

In addition to providing cutting-edge information, Gartner predictions also give businesses the ability to see into the future and lead the pack on the next big marketing development. Taking a leadership position on the latest and greatest marketing development offers its own unique value proposition.

Download How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy



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