We work in a cutting edge industry and every new year affords us the chance to take a peek at what's in store for the next 12 months. Below are some of the trends that will need to be taken seriously, very soon.
"I'll send it to you by email," I said.
"OMG you're so old," she replied.
Email is the new snail mail. WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat have taken over and are actively used among the younger generations... and they're increasingly adopted by the older ones too. Companies need to find out how to use messaging apps and groups in the most unobtrusive and user-friendly way possible. People will soon only know how to send a link via WhatsApp, and we need to make that happen for them.
Voice searching and AI
Poor Alexa, our office assistant, she sits in her corner playing our music and has to understand and distinguish between about ten different accents asking for various things. She orders our lunches, puts heaters on, and lets us know what the traffic is like for our journeys home. The thing is, she can understand us all; we are a massively mixed group, and the accuracy with which she can process requests is astonishing. From a marketing point of view, this is important. Voice recognition is now so good that it will become the norm soon, and we think that in 2020 we all need to be ready. Voice and text requests are not the same, and we can't rely on the same SEO that we have been working with and evolving up until know. We have to learn how people make voice requests and update ourselves accordingly.
Many tools can now even recognize sentiments such as cheerfulness or irony, and we can take note of this. Companies can learn from users on a scale never seen before.
Mindful marketing, or conscious marketing, is potentially the trend that will affect the most extensive range of people. We need to start with putting the planet first. If it doesn't bother you, it will bother your clients. People are going green, and you should follow them.
Brands with eco-friendly incentives, brands with philanthropical schemes and brands that look after the planet and the people on it are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve. Brands that don't will have to change if they want to keep up.
UGC: User generated content
The customer isn't necessarily always right...
Every single customer and user and human that you come into contact with is now a micro-influencer with a reach of literally millions.
Unpaid contributors will be huge for all companies. Whether they want world peace or just some attention, we need to make sure we do our very best to treat everybody amazingly. Blogs, webpages, photos, social media posts, and testimonials can pop up about your company without you even knowing. And they may well go viral. Marketers must use this to their advantage. Look at Coca Cola's genius personalized can and bottle campaign. It became the "share a coke" campaign, and it went all over the world. So what does Coca-Cola do to take this even further? They got customers to upload pictures of themselves sharing a coke. The campaign went viral, and the customers were doing all the advertising.
Ok, so social media is nothing new, but it is developing. Facebook (and Instagram) have more than 500 criteria to help define an audience. That can give you more precision than has ever been heard of. This is hyper-targeting, and it could allow you to sell ice to that one Eskimo who has run out.
Adverts that shout from the rooftops about how great a product is; adverts that get in peoples faces when they shouldn't; ads we get used to; and ads we get annoyed by - they're all in their last days. The consumer has changed, is changing, and will continue to change. People want an experience, a representation of values, but above all, people want to feel valued. And the data is there for it to be done. It's up to the best marketers to decide how t do it.
If you think you need some help identifying what can push your company forward in 2020, or if you are a little cautious of being left behind, do get in touch.