By Prasenjit Roy, Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, NTT – Netmagic
Customer Experience is the most defining trend, and every organization is investing huge amounts of money to ensure utmost customer satisfaction. A Walker study for instance has predicted that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Customer value great experiences and every digital business can use technology to create great experiences.
Here is a list of the top marketing trends that will help you grow your digital business:
#Use AI to automate your marketing function
AI will have a huge impact on the way digital businesses do their marketing. For example, it is common today for an AI solution to completely create a personalized webpage in real-time to a customer. This improves the chances of conversion. As the accuracy of AI-based solutions improve, expect AI to completely automate the way the marketing department functions. Gartner believes that AI embedded in analytics and other marketing software will free up more than a third of data analysts in marketing organizations by 2022, enabling them to focus their time on business priorities instead of spending time on manual processes like personalization, lead scoring, anomaly detection, marketing performance management, and reporting.
A 2019 Forrester Study called “Harnessing AI’s Potential”, reveals that 88% of marketers today have adopted—or are in the planning stages of adopting artificial intelligence. Out of respondents who have used AI-driven marketing solutions, 74% of respondents reported using AI-assisted technology, which surfaces insights for marketers to consider during manual decision making.
#Use virtual assistants to improve customer satisfaction
Today, it is common to see virtual assistants on websites as well as mobile platforms. It is common to see chatbots in the banking industry, where customers get instant answers to questions such as ‘What is my account balance?’ or ‘Where is the nearest ATM?’. Not only chatbots provide accurate answers, but they are available on a 24/7 basis and can provide quick answers by combining data from a variety of sources. As bots become more intelligent, they can handle more complex tasks.
For example, Juniper Research found out that many bots are suited to enquiries such as healthcare diagnosis, wherein users can select predefined answers which allow bots to assess health issues and provide a recommended course of action. However, as their capabilities advance, these chatbots will be able to aid in more sophisticated healthcare diagnostics, such as monitoring and analysis of mental health. In another report, Juniper Research found out that chatbot use by retailers can deliver high quality user experiences in a low-resource way, boosting customer retention and satisfaction while reducing operating costs.
Chatbots leveraged for customer service have a strong potential to reduce costs; with deployments realizing annual savings for retailers of $439 million globally by 2023, up from just $7 million in 2019. Gartner estimates that by 2021, 25 percent of digital workers will use a virtual employee assistant on a daily basis.
#Use visual search to improve product discovery and conversion
As competition in the digital space goes up exponentially, marketers are leveraging visual search as a successful medium. Ecommerce websites such as Flipkart and Myntra have introduced the ‘Image Search’ option on their websites. Using this feature, customers can click a picture of a product they like and try to find a product that is visually similar. This helps marketers to makes it easier for customers to discover products they like which improves conversion rates significantly.
#Use voice as a medium to directly connect with customers
The growing adoption of voice enabled devices in addition to smartphones makes voice enabled search an attractive proposition for marketers. Juniper Research has estimated that voice based ad spend could reach $19 billion by 2022. As more voice activated devices like Alexa enter the mainstream, expect voice to play a bigger role in marketing campaigns. Brands can leverage the voice based ecosystems of Alexa, Cortana or Google Home to provide voice based services. Voice enables direct connect to the customer, and changes the way people look for information.
In an age where more websites are accessed via mobile phones, it makes immense sense to redesign websites for voice. Gartner for instance has predicted that companies who redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will see up to a 30 percent increase in digital commerce revenues by 2021. This is supported by a recent report by WATConsult, a digital agency from the house of Dentsu Aegis Network India (DAN), which states that majority of the users in India have considered product/service recommendations from voice assistants and have shopped online.
#Use AR to redefine customer experience
Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. One of the best examples of a brand using AR is Ikea, which has an AR app that allows customers to visualize how a specific piece of furniture will look in their home or office. Famous luxury brand, Gucci, has introduced an AR feature on its app, that lets users try on its sneakers virtually. Users have to just point out their smartphone camera downwards towards their legs, and the app lets the user try out 19 different pairs of sneakers virtually on their own feet. Users can also share an image of how the sneaker will look with their friends on social media or other mediums. AR will be a powerful technology in the quest for engaging in a better way with end customers.