It would be hard to argue that digital marketing hasn’t disrupted how businesses communicate with customers.
Not only has it created a more even playing field for businesses of different sizes – a playing field less predicated on wealth – but it’s also changed the directness with which businesses can engage.
The changes brought about by digital marketing don’t exist in a vacuum, and the rise of both 5G and the increasingly prevalent “internet of things” will force digital marketers to make new changes or fall behind the competition.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you evolve your digital marketing strategy.
#1 A More Nuanced Understanding of The Customer
The touchpoints that customers use to interact with their computers and mobile devices already offer a huge wealth of information to a savvy marketer, but the increased expansion of the IoT will only expand these points of connectivity exponentially.
Browsing information can tell us how customers interact with the internet directly, but the metrics gathered by more diverse points of contact can tell us how they interact with their lives in a more organic way.
Wearables like smartwatches can tell us more about individual fitness habits.
Tablets or apps integrated with taxi services can reveal plenty more about their shopping and entertainment experiences.
And that’s just scratching the surface of the data that IoT will eventually produce.
With everything from TVs to coffee makers to security systems getting connected to the internet, the pool of customer data available is expanding exponentially both in-depth and breadth.
This information doesn’t account for much in a vacuum, so we can only expect big data analysis to become a more critical necessity for digital marketers.
Whether you’re looking to figure out an automated method for engaging directly with customers in a one-on-one basis or analyze more general trends among one of your most important demographics, this data will become even more crucial than it already is.
On the one hand, that will mean that digital marketers will have a lot more data at their fingertips. If you aren’t already making big data analysis a central part of your digital marketing plan, work hard to play catchup.
Even smaller companies will have to learn how to tap into the information available to their customers and make the most of it succeed as IoT becomes more tightly integrated into our everyday lives.
#2 Higher Expectations of Instant Gratification
One of the greatest challenges that the internet has created for businesses and marketing teams are the expectations it sets for customers.
Convenience is a bigger expectation than it’s ever been, and with corporate giants like Amazon strip out the bottom line and offer services like free shipping and same-day delivery, the attitudes of what customers see as good business are changing.
Delivering a high-quality product or service will still be the most important thing for a business, but you now have to consider the demand for instant gratification that so many customers will have.
Fortunately, the data analysis that the Internet of Things facilitates can assist with this.
Companies are already beginning to automate the ordering process for customers using the metrics available to them.
Printer companies like Epson automatically track your ink usage and allow you to automate the process or ordering new ink cartridges when levels get low.
Amazon offers one-touch buttons that customers can use to place orders with a slap of their palm.
Marketing is more and more going to become about proving to the customer how convenient you can make their life and how quickly they can get in touch with you.
A customer who’s already invested in a recurring subscription plan is one that you don’t have to continue reaching out to for business.
Similarly, being able to predict what prospective customers want before they know it will become a crucial means of reaching out to your preferred demographics.
Here’s another situation where those big analytics can become nicely integrated into an existing marketing plan.
A customer’s interaction with a restaurant reservation app can let you know how and when to send them coupons to local eateries, or a hypothetical smart car’s computer monitoring information can be used by a mechanic to send check-up reminders.
#3 Broader Opportunities For Outreach
The expansion of the Internet of Things will ensure that you have far more data points to compare and to draw information from, but it also means that there are going to be far more points of interactivity that you can use to directly reach your existing and prospective customers.
The current model in which we handle advertising through a company’s site, a proprietary app, and advertisements targeted towards specific demographics in their internet browsers will become more expansive as there’s a flood of new platforms that marketers can use for outreach.
For bigger companies, this is a model where vertical integration will become far more possible.
Smart refrigerators can tailor suggested shopping options to brands associated with the manufacturer, while smart TVs can similarly favor media from the brand’s streaming networks.
Platforms like Alexa and Siri naturally steer consumers directly to the storefronts of their host companies.
But for smaller brands, it’s important to look at smart devices that are a natural fit for your products and services.
The ability to transform a customer’s appliance into what’s essentially a salesman within their home is too promising a prospect to miss out on.
But this will also change how you advertise on the web.
As customers are integrating smart assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa into their lives, search queries on Google are becoming more sophisticated and naturalistic.
That will have a seismic impact on how SEO content is processed.
As customers communicate in more human ways with the internet, businesses are going to have to communicate back more humanely with them.
The traditional model of keyword-driven SEO will fall by the wayside, and the marketers that really succeed will be those that can provide informative and useful content that’s eminently persuasive.
In a way, it signifies a shift back to traditional models of marketing and advertising.