Technology creates dynamic changes in every aspect of commerce that it touches. It drives the market, influences customer behaviors and provides businesses with tools to meet customers’ needs. Technology also made digital marketing possible, which has slowly eaten away at both the practice and benefits of more traditional marketing applications, such as cable TV ads and sponsored pages in newspapers. Industrial marketing is becoming more popular in recent years. Here are several trends that industrial marketers are looking toward.
Sales from Social Media
Forbes estimates that 72% of Instagram users have bought a product or service via sponsored posts on the app. Similarly, 70% of Pinterest users rely on the platform to identify products or services that might pique their interest. Facebook, YouTube and even Twitter also have shoppable post features through their ad services. Not all social media platforms are on board with this, but marketing experts believe it will become more widespread in years to come.
Beyond the Funnel
One of the major changes in marketing over the past few years is a greater focus on qualitative aspects of the business instead of just numbers. This includes focusing on the quality of the customer experience and changing the tone companies use to engage with customers. Inc. believes that this should make the old marketing funnel strategy obsolete over time. Traditional funneling strategies focus on turning people into customers. The new process aims to turn customers into quantifiable leads.
One of the ways companies aim to go beyond the old marketing funnel strategy is through conversational marketing. Modern customers like brands they can engage with and those that engage with them. This involves not just customer service, but also interactions that have nothing to do with the bottom line. For example, some companies mail out handwritten notes or cards during the holidays to send seasons’ greetings with no mention of sales, promotions or any events.
Founded on the same premise as conversational marketing, this offers the same benefit but from a different angle. Companies have learned over the years that customers prefer each other’s opinions over what the company has to say about itself. Forums have existed for this purpose for years but will become more popular. Millennials and Gen Zs now dominate the market and will rely more on online social groups to make purchase decisions, especially when it comes to new and emerging products.
Amazon and Google successfully brought smart home technology into people’s homes, offices and cars with simple commands. By 2021, half of all searches will come from voice commands. This creates changes in the way companies need to optimize for better search rankings. Voice searches affect the length of keywords and the phrasing. For example, when typing, someone may search for “weather Joshua Tree.” When using voice commands, that might change to, “What’s the weather like today in Joshua Tree?”
Chatbots are becoming more intuitive. They cannot replace human interaction, but they do help to provide answers to simpler queries. Some bots point customers to FAQs, quote responses from the FAQs to answer certain questions or even share links to tutorial and troubleshooting videos. Companies also use them in a similar way to how phone trees work when calling customer service lines.
Internet generations require a more personal touch from companies to engage. They ignore generic mass emails and report out-of-touch newsletters as spam. Companies need to improve their personalization to reach this segment of the market. This requires more than just calling people by name. Going forward, marketers need to rely on segmentation to ensure the right message reaches the right people.
Stronger SEO Competition
For years, most companies felt content to land on the first page of search results for queries. More elite companies or those that had carved out their niche focused on the top three spots. Now, companies want what some marketers refer to as “SERP Position ZERO.” This is a snippet above the search results highlighting the best answer. Voice search also relies on snippets to give an immediate answer to some types of queries.
Seeing is believing; seeing also provides a stronger level of temptation for customers looking for solutions. Augmented reality allows customers to envision what a specific item may look like in the home, office or yard with accuracy. Both IKEA and Amazon have launched this to boost the online shopping experience with great success. This feature is mostly used on home improvement items. When it works its way into fashion is when it might see the greatest level of success.
Multiple Funding Opportunities
Technology leveled the marketing playing field when digital marketing took off. However, large companies still have more working capital and can afford bigger ads and overall marketing budgets. Smaller companies may now have access to more credit line options to boost marketing and bring in more sales. Credit card companies, loan providers and others in the financial field offer smaller loans for businesses with fewer restrictions and obstacles.
The Bottom Line
Marketing is a rapidly changing field. This can make it difficult for companies to keep up with market changes on their own. As a result, more companies have made the decision to outsource marketing so that they can focus on what they do best.