Digital marketing is rapidly evolving. While conventional outbound marketing has been fairly static in recent decades, inbound marketing has become increasingly dynamic. Take your eye off the industry, and it’ll change, rendering you competitively disadvantaged unless you reflect and adjust accordingly. Fret not, as I’ve kept my finger on the pulse of digital marketing developments. Here’s a quick look at how digital marketing is changing as we transition into ’22.
Digital marketing is becoming much more personalized. Simply presenting a broad-based digital ad or piece of content with mass appeal to a generalized audience now tends to be ineffective. The most successful businesses and marketing professionals understand that digital marketing works much better when personalized for the target audience. Thanks to data tracking and metrics, it is now possible to personally tailor ads to specific buyer personas.
Businesses that invest the time and effort necessary to understand the specific platforms their audience uses, how those platforms are used and what, exactly, target customers’ desire allow for the personalization of messages for specific demographics. This hyper-focused approach is highly effective at transmitting messages to the target audience in a manner that encourages them to move through the sales funnel for conversion into paying clients or customers. Ad personalization maximizes the value of every penny spent on the advertising campaign, boosts customer loyalty and sets the stage for success for posterity in the form of loyal clients. Your marketing team or outsourced marketing partner can help you achieve this through the use of various tools, campaign breakdowns and effective customer flow strategic planning.
Meta Becoming Ubiquitous
Facebook changed its name to Meta as ’21 wound down. While roughly half of consumers think the name change was a response to the company’s public relations challenges, it was also a strategic semantic marketing move, as Facebook pivots toward a virtual reality community in which individuals interact with one another as digital avatars in a non-physical world.
Digital advertising is also making the transition to Meta’s Metaverse, games and virtual reality experiences. It might not be long until everyday people spend hours in the metaverse on a daily basis. The virtual escape presents businesses and marketers with a golden opportunity to build a rapport with target customers in the form of virtual ads. Keep in mind that Facebook, now Meta, reaches 3.6 billion people every single month with no sign of slowing down regardless of how we may feel about them, meaning it is prudent to begin preparing ads for the metaverse that will soon be seen by coveted prospective customers.
Marketing is becoming less formal. This conversational marketing is characterized by quality interactions with the target audience. Think of it like an in-person conversation: You wouldn’t lead by shouting, “Buy my stuff!” Though not a breakthrough in the context of the overall industry, conversational marketing in the form of chatbots and social media is rapidly evolving and growing more popular.
The spike in the use of conversational marketing is partially due to shifts in consumer behaviors, which have been expedited in recent years by the influx of tech innovation. More and more businesses are directly interacting with target customers in real time through direct and indirect messages, with chatbots playing a more significant role in interactions with target customers. Such conversations will inevitably scale upward and become more seamless as the year unfolds.
Chatbots and social media conversational marketing will become increasingly important as interactions between target customers and businesses continue to be redefined in ’22 and beyond. To the surprise of some, customers respond positively to the use of chatbots and, in my company’s experience, conversational marketing in general in a digital context. Such a marketing strategy enhances the relatability of the brand, ultimately providing the customer with fulfilling dialogue that heightens the chances of timely conversions.
Conversational Searches And The Continued Rise Of AI
Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize digital marketing in the years ahead. As an example, conversational searches make it easy for an individual to verbalize a question and sort through the results in the form of a dialogue. Instead of “Pick from these topics,” we’re now seeing “Ask me a question, and I’ll find the answer.” Though the vast majority of people do not yet interact with conversational AI on a daily basis, a growing number of individuals are engaging with tech tools to obtain information. Websites and other components of online footprints optimized for such searches enjoy a competitive advantage in the content marketing battle.
Search engines like Google are advanced to the point that they can listen to verbalized queries, process them and transmit the requested information using text or an automated voice. The AI powering voice search technology is improving with each passing day, meaning it will soon reach a mainstream tipping point at which it is socially normative to search for content, products, services and just about everything else through verbal interactions with machines.
These are just a few of the massive developments for digital marketing we saw in ’21. These and many others will continue to grow exponentially in use and return in ’22. I’m excited to see how current technology will impact existing marketing and even more excited to see what new technologies are developed that will continue to change the marketing landscape.
by Bob McIntosh