2016 is on its way out the door. Did you blink? Did you miss it?
Worry not, because next year is almost certain to bring as many new possibilities to grow your business through more effective marketing. Before we get it started, though, I wanted to quickly discuss just a few of the marketing trends on my radar that I think we will see a lot more of in 2017.
You may or may not have heard of chatbots before, but they are quickly becoming the “it” thing for technology-focused companies. And they come with some pretty exciting possibilities for marketers and small business owners across a wide variety of industries.
Essentially, a chatbot is a service that allows a user to “chat” with a company in order to accomplish something, using a messenger service like Facebook Messenger, Slack, or SMS. But the company does not have a human on the other end, instead it’s all powered by simple AI. It is programmed to recognize patterns of text and respond in certain ways.
Already, you can order a pizza or book a flight with chatbots. The smartest companies are investing in bringing this technology only rapidly and training consumers on how to take advantage of the ease they create in customer service or purchasing.
Virtual reality and augmented reality have arrived. From Facebook to Samsung, the hardware is available and getting cheaper as the technology advances. Currently, the primary use for VR and AR technology is in the gaming field. But that will change soon.
Already, companies are exploring with delivering “real world” experiences in VR. For example, in the tourism space, it would be great to see what it would be like to “be somewhere”. VR makes that possible.
We will see virtual shopping, virtual “try before you buy”, and the like take off next year. We will see product placements in gaming and new ways for companies to interact with consumers in these virtual worlds.
We have gone from mass marketing to experiences that are more targeted. And where we are headed are completely personalized marketing campaigns. Advertising and experiences created for an individual person, at scale.
Technology makes this possible, and eventually it will make this less expensive. Right now, only very large companies have the ability to come close to anything like this.
But areas like addressable TV ads, where companies can target commercials to individual households, are already disrupting the marketplace.
Pushback on Mobile and Social
Mobile and social are not going anywhere. More and more web traffic is coming from mobile devices, Facebook and Pinterest continue to grow, and those trend are not likely to change.
But the businesses who have spent the last few years throwing every strategy at the wall, hoping some would stick, are going to stop. Call me crazy, but I expect that 2017 will be the year most companies begin to recognize what works, and what doesn’t. And they’ll pull back in those areas that don’t work.
The old, “we have to be mobile” and “we have to be on social” will give way to real strategies and level headedness.
What do you think? Am I right? Did I miss any?