According to writer and biographer Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs was a fan of Bob Dylan’s classic song “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. That should come as no surprise: Jobs understood the changing times he was living through, and helped to usher them in.
Only fifteen years ago, smartphones did not exist. But since the invention of the iPhone, more than half of Internet traffic has shifted to mobile devices. Times are still changing in the world of technology, and whenever they do, the times change for marketers as well.
For a simple example, look no further than SEO: at one point, keyword stuffing was a great way to rank an article on Google. But then the company shifted to “intent based” search results, and marketers were left scrambling to change their strategies in response.
Technology and Marketing
As technology trends advance, the marketing stack is constantly shifting, and the pace of change can be difficult to keep up with. But what can marketers expect in the near future? In this article, we’ll share 5 examples of the way marketing tools and techniques are changing with technology in 2022.
1. AI-Assisted Marketing
Thanks to key neural network breakthroughs in the 2010s, artificial intelligence (AI) and its subfield machine learning (ML) have made steady progress as technologies with a radically transformative potential for business. Even today, many of the tools that marketers depend on are driven by some form of AI.
Among other applications, AI powers smarter chatbots and virtual assistants; it aids decision making through data-backed predictions and intelligent forecasts; it helps search marketers to identify high-ranking keywords, and automates social media posting.
81% of employees say that AI improves their job performance, and – with a high rate of attrition in the post-pandemic economy – its greatest potential in 2022 may lie in process automation, which will help marketers to produce better quality work while saving time on repetitive tasks.
2. New Forms of Content
Content is a key pillar of every digital marketing strategy, with research showing that 82% of B2B customers view at least 5 pieces of content before they engage with a sales team. However, while blogs, eBooks and other text-based content formats are far from dead, others have arisen to challenge their position of dominance.
In 2022, video is expected to compromise 82% of all consumer Internet traffic, rising to the most consumed form of content on the Web. At the same time, Hubspot research has found that 76% of marketers who leveraged video in 2021 believed it was their most effective content format.
As a subset of video content, marketers are also finding success with livestreams, which earn 27% more watch time than pre-recorded videos. This has contributed to the “social shopping” trend, which mimics livestream sales that are already highly popular in China, and will likely continue to gain a foothold in the West.
3. Prioritizing Privacy
There’s no surer sign that the times are changing than Google’s decision to eliminate third-party tracking functionality from the Chrome web browser in 2022. For years, Google has led the industry in targeted advertising and user tracking – and now, it is killing one of the key technologies that made it all possible.
But in the face of emerging data privacy legislation like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), such a move was inevitable: consumers don’t like being tracked, and they don’t like their data being shared with third parties.
Moving forward, marketers will need to be proactive in protecting the privacy of their target audience. With the death of third-party tracking cookies right around the corner, many have shifted to context-based advertising, and the creation of personalized experiences through first-party data. These are promising directions that herald the arrival of a safer and less invasive Internet for everyone.
4. Conversational Marketing
As time goes by, businesses are increasingly using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to communicate with their prospects and provide customer support. This trend is likely to continue, thanks to the consumer demand for immediacy – especially among Gen-Z.
According to Hubspot research, more than half of all customers expect a response to any marketing or sales query within ten minutes. Depending on the number of incoming requests and customer representatives, this can be a difficult bar to clear – but it’s much easier with the help of chatbots.
Thanks to advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP), today’s chatbots are surprisingly good at understanding simple queries – consumers even prefer them for that purpose. Best of all, they can decrease handling time by 77%, leaving support staff with more time to handle conversations that need a human touch.
5. NFTs, Crypto and Web3
A recent survey found that “Web3” is one of the most hotly anticipated technology trends among marketers. Although the definition of Web3 is still taking shape, it usually refers to a cluster of emerging technologies based on blockchain which could fundamentally change the way we do business, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain are hardly new – but they have yet to gain widespread adoption among marketers or businesses. But with the arrival of Web3, that may change: Meta (formerly Facebook) has announced that it will support NFTs and cryptocurrency in its upcoming metaverse; meanwhile, brands like Nike, Adidas and Visa have experimented with NFTs.
If Web3 does catch on (there is good reason to be skeptical), it will generate new models for business and investment that leverage the blockchain – it will further blur the line between digital and physical ownership – and most of all, it will provide brand new ways to market products and connect with consumers.
Staying with the Times
The times are still a-changin’, and keeping up with them can feel like a full-time job. That’s because it is, and organizations who try to take marketing upon themselves often bite off more than they can chew.
Ultimately, the best way your business can stay abreast of disruptions in the world of AdTech, MarTech and consumer technology is to outsource your marketing efforts and trust specialists. Not only does this ensure that you stay with the times – it also leaves you with more time to do what you do best.
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