Pursuing an early adopter strategy in digital marketing is a proven way to seize an advantage.
For example, the early era of Facebook marketing made it possible to get many leads through organic methods. Later, the company changed to emphasize advertising, and lead costs increased. A similar pattern can be observed on Twitter, YouTube, Podcasting, and other platforms.
As a marketing leader, you must keep a pulse on emerging trends. Some will apply to your business goals, and others may become relevant in the future. To gain an edge, explore these five trends. Acting early is easier to lift marketing return on investment.
1) AI-Enabled Marketing Tools & Methods Are Improving
AI and machine learning capabilities have become ubiquitous. In larger companies like Google, AI is directly built into products. In other cases, AI and machine learning are the centers of new products. To seize the AI advantage in your marketing, use these tips.
- Investigate low code/no code capabilities
For years, marketing professionals have faced a skill development challenge. On the one hand, there’s a need to develop the fundamentals like copywriting and graphic design. On the other hand, marketers also need to develop technical skills like analytics. Fortunately, the barrier to developing technical skills is getting lower thanks to the rise of low code and no-code development.
Using tools like Webflow, Bubble.io, and Zapier, almost anyone can create time-saving shortcuts. Even tools like AppSheet make it possible to create simple web applications from a spreadsheet. Encouraging your staff to learn these tools could save hours each week.
- Enhance personalization with AI
Vanguard, one of the largest investment firms, has leveraged Persado, an AI tool, to add personalization at scale. As a result, the company has lifted conversion rates by 15%. Higher conversion rates are likely to pay off significantly for a company that already manages $7 trillion in assets.
- Leverage GPT-3 AI and Apps
In addition, look into GPT-3. This AI platform, released in 2020, is already being used in creative ways to create new apps. OpenAI created the original GPT-3. The real value of this breakthrough comes from app companies building on the technology. It’s loosely analogous to the creation of the world wide web at CERN in 1989, which paved the way for the dot com boom of the 1990s.
In addition, reach out to your current technology vendors and media providers to see what they offer. For example, programmatic media buying increasingly relies on AI to match advertisers and publishers.
2) Advertising on Streaming Services
Streaming services once positioned themselves as an advertising-free experience. That’s starting to change thanks to several factors, including increased competition and market saturation.
Right now, advertising on streaming services is relatively tricky. Some services like Hulu and HBO offer an ad-supported tier. However, larger platforms like Disney+ and Netflix have not emphasized ads in the past. That means that marketers had to rely on more time-consuming strategies like producing placements to succeed on the platform.
A few platforms like Hulu directly offer ads. In 2022, there is increasing speculation that Netflix will introduce an advertising tier. According to May 2022 article in the New York Times, Netflix may introduce advertising by the end of 2022.
Unlike traditional broadcast television, streaming services have far richer user data. They can tell, minute by minute, which content resonates with consumers. This is a significant advance over older methods that relied on surveys under consumer preferences.
3) Deepening Engagement With Metaverse Experiences
Call it the metaverse or virtual reality; this trend will be significant in the 2020s. Gartner predicts that 25% of people will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026. Even more exciting, Bloomberg forecasts that the metaverse could be worth over $700 billion this decade.
Today, most metaverse experiences come from gaming and entertainment companies. Don’t write off the metaverse if your company is outside the gaming industry, though!
Marketers who move to experiment with metaverse technology early have a few advantages. First, you have the opportunity to connect with early adopters, a valuable segment open to new ideas. Second, using the metaverse early increased PR and media attention opportunities.
Developing a whole metaverse experience from scratch is relatively tricky at this point. Fortunately, there are two alternatives to entering the metaverse as a marketer.
- Metaverse events and confex
Several brands have already successfully launched short-term metaverse experiences through events. For example, Unilever participated in a metaverse marathon event. In 2021, Nike launched “Nikeland” which has attracted over six million visitors.
To discover more about what’s possible in the metaverse, look at the speakers and themes covered in events like Metaverse Global Congress and the Augmented Enterprise Summit.
- Establishing a presence in an open metaverse world
Another option to join the metaverse is to join a current virtual world rather than attempting to build your own. For example, Moncler, a fashion brand, partnered with Fortnite to create digital fashions for users. With over 80 million active users, Fortnite is one of the most popular virtual worlds.
4) Live content, streaming, and social commerce
While the metaverse is exciting, some brands might feel too cutting edge. If you want an emerging marketing brand to drive conversions today, look at live content. Known as live streaming, live shopping, or simply streaming, live content is a proven way to connect with consumers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, live shopping usage grew by 76%, according to Statista. In 2021 alone, livestream e-commerce was already estimated to be worth $11 billion (i.e., 1.2% of the total US e-commerce market). The top platforms for live shopping include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and TikTok.
Use these tips to get involved in leveraging live streaming for your consumer marketing campaigns.
- Seek out live streaming talent
Some of the most successful live streaming events focus on working with influencers to show and demonstrate products. Multi-million dollar budgets are not needed to get started either. Smaller influencers with 10,000 to 1000,000 followers can be relatively affordable. Using affiliate links makes it easier to track the performance of these events.
- Connect live streaming events to existing marketing campaigns and seasons
Once you have found live stream talent, live shopping events tend to perform best when connected to current campaigns. For example, the ‘618 shopping event’ in China has grown thanks significantly to live streaming. Business Insider reports that 10% of Chinese e-commerce revenue is driven by live streaming. Connecting live streaming to Events like Black Friday, back to school, and other times when consumers are primed to spend.
5) Grow Your Brand With Video Platforms
Consumer preferences are increasingly favoring video content, especially on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Some brands have been slow to adopt these platforms for a few reasons. Management might be concerned about the effort required to create video content. Others wonder if video platforms can reach the right audiences.
Video platforms are the most market-tested of the five emerging marketing trends covered here. For example, YouTube video advertising has sophisticated advertising targeting options, including age, estimated household income, geography, and exclusions. TikTok, on the other hand, is a fast-growing platform that still offers significant organic reach.
Even if you have limited resources, video platforms offer a few ways to get started.
- Sponsor content creators
Sponsoring a video on YouTube or TikTok is a tried and tested way to gain audience access. This type of advertising has two advantages over the paid advertising platform. Since the ad is delivered by the content creator personally, the ad is likely to be seen as more credible. Second, content creator ad reads are not skippable in the same way as traditional video ads.
- Repurpose existing content into video platforms
Work with your time to identify high-performing content and look for ways to repurpose your content. For example, you might have a handful of highly successful LinkedIn posts that have sparked engagement. Consider reworking those posts into a video.
The Key To Leveraging Emerging Marketing Trends
Leaping to put emerging marketing trends into action isn’t for everyone. Junior marketing staff may not feel empowered to take these risks effectively. Long-tenured marketing leaders may also be wary. If your organization is keen to pursue these trends, bringing in new marketing leadership is one of the best approaches. Reach out to Apex today to explore your options to hire a new CMO, VP of marketing, or other marketing leaders.
Please read our insights and see how your next CMO is right round the corner!