The rules of the game are changing.
Marketing will displace core product as the key differentiator for success.
It is likely that marketing guys will rightfully sit at the top of the table in the boardroom.
Because the marketing narrative is about to change.
Let’s begin with the customer.
Today’s customer is different.
This is completely “connected generation (CG)”
They believe that everything can be researched.
Earlier, only high-value consumer durables were researched like TV, washing machines, mobiles etc.
Now even a toothpaste is researched.
CG has higher expectations.
And they want to buy everything on their own terms.
Instant gratification is the new mantra.
Hotel booking or restaurant reservations or anything else.
- I see following trends for 2018:
1)Traditional media (TV, press, radio etc) will stop impacting results.
This media will not die, but you cannot make big brands by old marketing methods.
2)Content will be King
- If you have to choose one single marketing activity, which will give disproportionate results-it will have to be content.
- Successful companies will know where and how to distribute this content across various digital platforms because, 30 hours is the total lifespan of any content -real or fake.
McKinsey, Forbes and Paperboat dish out intelligent and entertaining content on a regular basis resulting in huge follower base.
Old marketing says that you need to identify your customer, find what he wants and sell the product to him. You are allowed to use all the dirty tricks to make the sale.
You are always seeking the customer. Day in and Day out. Reverse marketing is opposite to this. Here, the customer seeks the brand. The company does not tell the customer that their product is better than the competition. But it creates an image of being an awesome company in terms of social responsibility (Tata’s); in terms of innovation (apple); in terms of touching people’s lives (Airtel, Google).
In research, it came out that 80 % of the customers prefer to buy products from companies who were socially responsible.
Today’s CG (connected generation) hates hard sell. They are looking for personal engagement with brands as they are not buying products, they are buying experience.
Starbucks doesn’t market the coffee, they market the experience.
Today’s CG is looking for 3 things:
-Access to information
-The speed of getting it
-At their own terms
Airlines are used to giving below average service and transport you to your destination. They believe that their job is done.
Tomorrow, the customer will demand additional service-hassle free ticket booking, alarm service, booking an Uber, flight status, your choice of meals.
All brands will need to make buying a personal experience to remember.
5)Art of Storytelling
Mercedes Benz is a powerhouse of marketing. They tell people why their cars are better and why they should buy them. They spend $ 296 per car on advertising.
Tesla spends $ 6 per car on advertising i.e 1/190th of what Mercedes Benz spends. They sold 3x cars than Mercedes. They don’t tell that their cars are better. They start a conversation about Fossil fuel free. They talk about new technology which will dramatically change peoples life. People love them and buy their cars. We will see companies with better stories winning the brand game.
6)Voice search on the rise
- We shall see at least 50 % searches being done by voice in 2018.
- Due to the new mobile technology available through smartphones, voice search will become the preferred mode to make life better.
Video is not going anywhere.
Monthly 6 Billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube. More than 60 million unique users in India with users spending over 48 hours a monthly viewing video content.
Over 70% of YouTube viewers in India are aged below 35, female users’ accounts for 38% and Male users are 62% on YouTube.
When compared to last year, YouTube in India is up by 90% while the watch-time has grown by 80% in 2016.
1/3 of Internet users use YouTube.
6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV.
2018 will be the year of video.
If you are in the branding game, and you are not using video marketing-you are not very smart.
- In past, marketing automation only took place across two main channels- email and your website.
- At that time, there was limited data sources (CRM, Website, MAP) and one point of execution, the marketing automation platform.
- In India, marketing automation has not become the strategic initiatives for most of the companies, particularly in SME segment and medium-sized organizations.
- This is about to change in 2018.
- Companies will look seriously at this marketing tool to push their marketing agenda. At a global level, the best marketing organizations are developing marketing automation across a hyper-connected network of apps, tools, and data.
9)Rise of Chatbot
We need to expand the idea of communication beyond emails and social media.85 % of the people prefer engaging through messaging apps. Future of social engagement will be via chatting.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface.
The service could be any number of things, ranging from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Text Messages, etc.).
An example to make it simple.
Suppose, you wanted to buy shoes from Nike online, you would go to their website, look around until you find the shoes you wanted, and then you would purchase them.
If Nike makes a bot, which I’m sure they will, you would simply be able to message Nike on Facebook. It would ask you what you’re looking for and you would simply… tell it.
Instead of browsing a website, you will have a conversation with the Nike bot, mirroring the type of experience you would get when you go into their retail store.
I expect this new way of communicating to become a rage in next 12 months-globally and in India.
10) Artificial Intelligence(AI)
AI is easily the most revolutionary technology since computing.
AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems.
These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction.
AI can have tremendous application in marketing and I believe that we shall soon see companies embracing AI in a big way.
How can AI help in marketing?
AI can help by using historical data to identify gaps in our focussed targeting process. A sharply defined target can yield better results.
b. Placement of ads-
AI can use historical data to identify the best placement for your ad.It can exactly tell you that placing your ad in the left-hand corner of page 7th will give you the best shot at talking to our target segment.
AI can dynamically generate creatives and banners for your campaign using images and text from your website.It can run tests and select the best creatives looking at past data about customer engagement. At present, we spend a huge amount of time in conducting A/B tests. In short, it can create thousands of creatives for any URL in less than a minute. The very thought of these awesome possibilities can make you numb with anticipation.
It can do cost optimization to give marketers an unfair advantage.
In a search campaign, it can adjust bids depending on the quality of traffic across multiple channels.
AI can send personalized E-mails to your most relevant target audience by looking at their past track record and their interest in the product.
Coca-Cola uses AI and chatbots to drive success.
I have left out two very interesting technologies, which will redefine marketing success in the future, as I believe that it will take some more time for them to come in mainstream marketing.
Namely Big data and Augmented reality (AR).I believe that this is the most exciting time for marketers to change the Branding landscape.
Wishing you a very happy & successful 2018.
To your success,