New marketing tactics are emerging every year as Millennials enter the consumer market. Retailers are finding that traditional methods just don’t work on a generation that grew up with the internet. Between skipping the commercials on TiVo and Adblockers to avoid ads on the web, what’s a marketer supposed to do? Fortunately, lots of folks are figuring out creative and new ways to market their products and services. Here’s a look at some marketing trends we’re seeing in 2018.
1. You’ll Probably Talk to a Bot This Year (Without Realizing It)
Chatbots have been around for a few years now, initially on Facebook and then quickly adopted by 1-800-Flowers. More and more retailers will be using bots nowadays, though, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) programming gets more sophisticated. Bots can chat with customers and sell your products, and in many cases the buyer is not quite sure whether they’re chatting with a real person or not.
Chatbots can also conduct research, personalize the user experience on your site and qualify leads. They can also be used to increase customer engagement; for example, a bot can get a customer talking and while it is “conversing” with the customer, an alert is sent to a live customer support person to come on and talk with the customer. Chatbots are getting more and more sophisticated every year, so more retailers are jumping on board to use them.
2. Fake Outrage Over Facebook (While Increasing Data Gathering)
Have you noticed how everyone is super-mad at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, and all sorts of apps and companies are distancing themselves from the dastardly social media platform because it was *gasp* tracking everyone’s activities online? Yeah, that’s all fake, because everyone has known for years that this was Facebook’s primary business model.
Every company that has a mobile app is using those apps to track customer behavior in some way. The more data that is gathered on customers, the better companies can market products to those customers. As this data gathering increases, companies can determine the optimal time and place to market themselves to customers, rather than using the “shotgun” approach and trying to be everywhere on all channels all the time. Once the faux outrage dies down, companies will go right back to data acquisition like nothing ever happened.
3. Influencer Marketing Will Get Even Bigger
Paying YouTube celebrities and other social media “influencers” will continue to grow through 2018 and beyond. Given that video testimonials have proven to be the best method of marketing to Millennials, this won’t be going away anytime soon. The ability of a Kardashian or a retired NBA star to reach millions of people at once is too irresistible for companies to pass up, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of the #ad hashtag as time goes on.