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As we’ve come to the close of 2018, it’s a great time to do an inventory of past campaigns which worked, and which didn’t. In our playbook, there are no failures – only lessons. If you are currently planning your digital marketing strategy for the new year, allow us to share our sentiments on the market trends.

Omnichannel Approach for E-Commerce

In 2019, we predict that more companies would adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy – an integration of all physical channels (offline) and digital channels (online) to unify and improve customer experience. Marketing, sales and customer support creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience, no matter how or where a customer reaches out. It is imperative to distinguish the difference between an omnichannel experience from a multichannel – it boils down to the depth of the integration. You can have a stellar mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns and a well-designed website. But if they don’t work together, it’s not omnichannel. A study conducted showed that e-commerce is now a driving force in the B2B space¹. B2B companies are increasingly looking to digital means to boost sales. In 2015, Google found that close to half of B2B buyers are millennials.

Mobile Optimization

The number of smartphone users is expected to grow from 2.1 billion in 2016 to about 2.5 billion in 2019, with an increasing smartphone penetration rate as well². This statistic calls for better mobile optimization across all digital channels. We’re not just referring to the superficial consumer experience that is limited to user-friendly and responsive mobile interfaces but rather, the holistic experience in a customer’s buying journey. Greater reliance on smartphones also changes the dynamics on how purchasing decisions are made. A research that was commissioned between Google and Forrester Consulting showed that mobile has fundamentally transformed consumers behaviour and expectations – we act on our needs in ‘micro-moments’³. These micro-moments are categorized into I-Want-to-Know, I-Want-to-Go, I-Want-to-Do and I-Want-to-Buy moments as illustrated below. These intent-rich moments offer pockets of opportunity for brands to win consumers, but the research showed that many companies aren’t ‘moments-ready’. Why is this awareness important for your company? Because people are more loyal to their needs than any brands. To win in these micro-moments – you’ve got to anticipate and be there for users in your industry, be tolerant to their needs and connect them to the answers they’re looking for. Last but not least, to provide them with a seamless mobile experience.

Leverage on the Increasing Popularity of Podcasts

It is not surprising that South Korea tops the global rankings, with 58% of its population listening to a podcast in the last month4. Podcasts are slowly but surely gaining popularity in countries with high smartphone ownership and internet penetration. While the marketplace is still fragmented, companies should not overlook the advertising potential that podcast platforms could offer. Here are the reasons why:

  • Listeners are less likely to skip an ad read because they do not want to miss any parts of the podcast. With 40% of people listening to entire podcasts and 45% listening to most of the podcasts, that gives you ample opportunities to make an impression8.
  • Listeners tend to feel a connection with their podcast hosts. Hence, when the ads are read, it feels more like a genuine ‘word-of-mouth’, not a hard sell. The ads come across as a recommendation from a trusted friend whose opinion you value instead.
  • And these are not mere sentiments but also backed by data. A study of 11,123 podcast listeners found that 80% could recall at least one brand advertised in an episode, 67% could recall a specific product feature or promotion and 51% were more likely to buy from the target brand8.

Artificial Intelligence

Whether you like it or not, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way companies handle their businesses and it is here to stay. A McKinsey survey showed that companies have tripled their AI investment since 20136. Early adopters are already creating competitive advantages and the gap with the laggards looks set to grow. AI-driven innovation will be a new source of productivity and help companies to outsize their financial performances. Amazon’s acquisition of Kiva (a robotics company that automates picking and packing) help to reduce operating costs to 20%, giving the company an ROI of close to 40%. Netflix achieved impressive results from the algorithm which personalizes show recommendations to its subscribers. Through quick loading and better search results, it avoids cancelled subscription that reduces the revenue by 1 billion annually. This goes to show that AI can create value with accurate projection and forecasting – by anticipating sales trends, optimizing pricing, personalize promotions and tailor website displays in real time. Marketers can leverage on AI to create a better user experience and insights through collection of data and scaling content to meet with consumers preferences, locations and past purchasing behaviours. The use of chatbots have been improving customer services for businesses. In 2019, chatbots will become even more advanced and ‘human’ than before with natural language programming – you no longer will have stiff conversations. Making your customers feel special and welcome is one way to foster loyalty. Having said that, AI adoption is still at an infancy stage and is very costly at present. While AI can deliver significant competitive advantages, technology is a tool and in itself, does not deliver improvements. Workforce need to be reskilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it.

Psychographics vs Demographics

Lead generation, sales and lead nurturing are the top three organizational objectives for content marketing7. To drive more traffic and sales, a targeted marketing strategy is required. It is not enough to know ‘who’ your consumers are but more importantly, you need to know ‘why’ consumers purchase. By analysing the demographics stats alone, you’re only able to breakdown surface-level information about your audience, such as their location, age group, income levels and ethnicity. To understand purchasing motives, companies need to delve into the psychographics of the consumers. Go deeper to find about their interests, values, beliefs, psychology and lifestyles. Then address their motives accordingly. You can tie-in your brand’s purpose to that of your target audience and craft an emotive content that resonates with them. Marketing with a sense of clarity on your consumers’ motivations and aligning them with a purpose-driven content allows you to:

  • Increase brand awareness as the content gets shared with others via social platforms, in agreement with your company’s values.
  • Create more productive and authentic interactions that gives greater insights into their lives.
  • Improve customer loyalty as they’re able to emotionally connect with your brand.

We hope that you find this article insightful, as well as relevant for the upcoming year. Here’s to a fabulous and productive 2019!

References:

1. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/b2b-ecommerce-trends/#the-b2b-buyer-is-changing
2.https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/
3. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/micro-moments/mobile-moments-mind-set-new-research-details-benefits-for-brands/
4. https://www.statista.com/chart/14306/podcast-adoption/
5. https://backyardmedia.us/blog/2018/2/10/why-people-listen-to-podcasts
6.https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Advanced%20Electronics/Our%20Insights/How%20artificial%20intelligence%20can%20deliver%20real%20value%20to%20companies/MGI-Artificial-Intelligence-Discussion-paper.ashx
7. https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics
8. https://www.greenlanemarketing.com/blog/podcast-ads-2018-marketing-plan/

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