It would be interesting to imagine our lives 10 years ago – especially when it comes to digital marketing. Over the past decade, marketing has had to keep up and contend with leaps in technology and our relation to it ever since.
Ten years ago, as marketers entered 2010, they realized the power of digital advertising, joined the battle to be seen and heard in an oversaturated market. To minimize the guesswork, a few updates were popularized, including hashtags and cross-post keyword search. Two implications of these features were the rise of branded campaigns and SEO practices, now givens for digital advertising strategies.
From the invention of the telephone, the rise of television, the first commercially available personal computers to the invention of the Internet, what do these developments mean for the future of marketing?
Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to see what the future holds, but to look forward, we need to look back.
Here, we look at the 4 major developments driven by the advanced technology that have changed the way we look at marketing:
1. Contactless Connectivity
10 years ago, contactless payment may sound impossible to be achieved. But today, contactless card payments are considered the norm. This shift towards a cashless, contactless society has changed the consumer playing field for brands across sectors and in many countries where cash is rarely carried.
The mass consumer uptake in contactless technology has led to developments that resulted in mobile payments including Google Pay and Apple Wallet. In Malaysia itself, other than the “PayWave” feature for credit and debit cards, we also have different kinds of e-wallets like Touch ‘n Go E-Wallet, favepay, GrabPay, Boost and more.
This rise in payment options has prompted notable enhancements in customer experience (CX)—an element of digital marketing that experts predict will be a primary brand differentiator in 2020/2021.
2. Omni-Channel Experiences
No one can ever imagine that businesses will be able to employ a multi-channel approach to connect sales, marketing, and customer service platforms ten years ago. But today, almost all businesses create omnichannel customer experiences that connect customer interactions in multiple channels (e.g. social media, smartphone, chatbots) as part of one unified customer journey. To put it simply, the omnichannel approach enables customers to begin their experience with your brand in one channel and continue it on another channel seamlessly.
Let’s take Starbucks as an example:
Starbucks offers a premium user experience. Customers are rewarded with a free drink after they sign up for a customer loyalty program. When they make a purchase through the Starbucks card, they can reload through the app, website, in-store or by a mobile device—and their total rewards points are updated across all platforms. Customers can also make mobile orders, gift digital Starbucks cards, find stores near their location and tip their baristas without going out of their way.
3. Autonomous Technology
Automation is about using technology to monitor, control and/or operate any process or function with accuracy and efficiency without human intervention. Autonomous technology is about enriching automated systems with sensors, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analytical capabilities so that they could make independent decisions based on the data they collect.
A very simple example of automation are traffic signals. Earlier policemen controlled the flow of traffic, now we have automated traffic lights that change colors at regular intervals to do the same. If we add cameras to these lights, so that they could ‘see’ the real-time traffic conditions and change colors based on the volume of vehicular movement, it would become autonomous.
Another major improvement would be the self-driving car:
This also applies to online search. When people search online, they will notice that the results are much closer to what they’re actually looking for. That’s because search results (SERPS) have changed dramatically over the last decade. The results they see are far more nuanced and based on the context of their search, rather than returning content based very rigidly on the exact key terms you punched into the engine.
4. Voice Command
Voice command is one such technology that has been developed to make almost any task hands-free, meaning people can multitask when they need to the most.
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby and Microsoft’s Cortana are all examples of devices that use voice activation technology to perform simple commands. From setting an alarm and telling you the weather, to switching off the lights downstairs, the potential of voice activation technology is immense. Transforming people’s daily lives, voice command (also known as speech recognition) is set to also make a huge impact in the L&D world, substituting BBC news briefings and novelty ways to electronically control the devices in your home with topical learning content, business updates, recommended reading and more.
After all, it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen in the next decade, but by keeping our finger on the pulse, we’ll be able to evolve with the times, riding the crest of the ever-rewarding technological wave time and time again.