Digital marketing is constantly evolving, so those of us who work within the industry need to keep updating our knowledge and skills.

Identifying emerging and future trends is a key factor in building a successful marketing campaign, so at Brookstone we like to keep our ear to the ground.  We’ve identified three recent trends that are currently making waves in the marketing world – they won’t all be appropriate for your own particular needs, but it’s worth considering whether your marketing strategy might benefit from adopting one or more of them.

Chatbots

Cheaper and easier than employing customer service personnel, chatbots are on hand 24/7 to answer customer enquiries.  Some of our clients worry that the technology won’t be acceptable to their customers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth – according to a recent survey, out of 5,000 people questioned about their online chatbot experiences, one third were positive about the technology, almost 50% were completely indifferent as to whether they interacted with a human or AI, and fewer than 20% reported any negative feelings.

Industry insiders predict that chatbots will handle well over 80% of all online customer interactions within the next two years, so why not get ahead of your competitors and implement the technology now?  Customer satisfaction is absolutely paramount in promoting brands nowadays, and the use of a chatbot has been proven to significantly increase the likelihood of personal recommendations, endorsements and testimonials.

Voice search

It may have seemed unlikely, when Amazon introduced its Echo home speaker voiced by ‘Alexa’, but the idea of talking to your tech, and having it respond to your query, has rapidly gained ground.  Quickly joined by Google Home and now the Apple HomePod, smart speakers have been a massive hit with the general public, with over 65% of owners reporting that they would find it difficult to cope without their online voice-controlled assistants.

Prior to 2008, voice search was barely a blip on the radar, but within just eight years there had been a 35-fold increase in its use, with around 40% of people using the technology on a regular basis.  And it’s not likely to stop any time soon either – the general consensus is that over half of all searches will be voice-based within the next two years.

Where technology leads, the adverts soon follow, so it’s only a matter of time before home speakers start promoting and advertising products and services.  Planning to include voice search as part of your digital marketing strategy could significantly increase your visitor and conversion rates for your business, so start thinking about how you could best use the technology to promote your brand.

Social media channels

With over three billion users every day, social media platforms are big business.  The massive rise in smartphone use has helped to fuel this trend, and now people can keep up to date with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest no matter where they happen to be.  This represents a great opportunity for any business with products and services to promote, as positive engagements with brands soon lead to recommendations amongst friends, family and followers.

A word of caution, though – don’t be tempted to rush in headlong without crafting a well-thought out advertising campaign.  What goes online stays online for ever, so mistakes live on for everyone to see, potentially harming your business.  This is where you really do need the help and support of digital marketing experts who understand exactly what’s needed to achieve the desired effects.  But with the help of the right team, there’s no reason why your digital marketing campaign shouldn’t present a significant return on your investment.