The marketing industry has been around for almost as long as humans. People have always wanted to buy and sell from each other, and for years savvy marketers have been leveraging the latest trends to convince them to do just that.
Today, the global marketing sector is diverse, and growing. With creative industries generating billions every year for the economy alone, and 22.9% of companies across the business landscape having increased their marketing budgets since last year, it’s clear that the future is bright for this dynamic and exciting sector.
However, as consumer habits shift, marketers have had to adapt to keep up. The rise of the Internet, and the digital space, is impacting marketing in new and interesting ways. With the rate of change showing no sign of slowing down any time soon, the biggest question now is: where is marketing headed, and what does it mean for the millions of professionals who work within the sector?
Getting smarter with AI
The advent of the Internet brought about perhaps the biggest change in the marketing industry, but that happened years ago. Today, it’s AI which is causing the biggest splash. Present on our smartphones, in our banks and on our computers, AI is already a part of our daily lives, and marketing is scrambling to keep up. Indeed, 58% of Chief Marketing Officers worldwide believe that companies will have to use AI to compete for business if they want to succeed within the next five years.
AI-driven marketing is already changing everything from the way in which marketers target consumers to the channels on which they do it. With smarter technology at their fingertips, professionals have access to huge amounts of data on customer behaviour, which they can leverage to gain more accurate insights on their target audiences. Marketers can then target customers more efficiently, using this data to get the right message to the right audience at the right time to encourage engagement. They can even measure the effectiveness of certain channels- for instance, email marketing- over that of billboard campaigns, and adjust their spending accordingly to ensure they have maximum impact.
It’s not just data that AI can help with, either: companies are also turning to automation to speed up their internal processes. This allows them to run routine tasks in a matter of seconds, freeing up valuable time to spend on clients, or on innovating their client offering. In the world of AI, being smart is the key to doing better, and digital marketing is definitely improving efficiency, giving rise to a demand for data analysts and software engineers which is only going to grow as this takes off.
How many channels do today’s marketers use to communicate with their target audience? In the fast-moving digital world, integrated digital campaigns that maintain consistent messaging across multiple channels is key to success. Today’s customers are discerning: with a wealth of data at their fingertips, they can flick past today’s adverts just as easily as click on them.
To attract these people, marketers are adopting a much more personalised and dynamic approach to the way in which they convince consumers to buy their products. 64% of millennials value ‘the anticipation and customisation’ of their user experience over privacy concerns, and with the insights gathered from analytics, companies can target their audience via Google or Facebook ads that are tailored specifically to their user interests. Persona-based marketing is now being applied to target people more smartly than ever before, with more accuracy thanks to better software and social media platforms.
On top of this, the demands of running a digital campaign across multiple channels have given rise to an increased interest in the user journey. Digital marketers cannot work in silos any more: now, the brand message needs to be unified, and driven entirely by audience behaviour and browsing history, so the right message can be shown at the right time to entice the user to click. Backed up by dynamic content and videos that can be shared across social media, and the result is a marketing strategy that is sure to entice today’s fast-swiping users.
Looking to the future
People who want to stay ahead in the market need to look to the future to keep up with the changes that digital technology is throwing their way. 55% of teens and 40% of adults use voice search, and many people are predicting that it will become a mainstream trend in the future, having an impact on keyword research and likely increasing the demand for SEO experts in the industry.
At the same time, video is likely to become even more important as a shareable item on social media and as an engaging, stand-out piece of content in a sometimes-crowded online space. Live video in particular is being touted as the next marketing tool, and with Facebook reporting that it was seeing triple the watch time on live videos than curated ones, it’s clear that its popularity is only going to grow.
One thing’s for sure: in an environment where digital is fast becoming king, the need for digitally-savvy marketers, and those specialising in social media and SEO, will soon become the next sought-after jobs.