Marketing is something that has long been characterized by rapid change. Strategies must adapt quickly to changing technological advances, algorithmic updates, new regulations, and customer expectations. This is set to continue, and marketers could well be leveraging brain interface technology, augmented reality, and robotic advertising by 2030. Virtual reality can be so real that people can try before they actually buy. Ads can be fully adapted for cars, and can automatically change their channel for the deaf or blind. The landscape is constantly changing, like sand dunes in the desert, and competition is fierce. And, in this context, integrating the latest technologies into their marketing strategies is considered essential for companies to maintain their edge.
Major Marketing Trends of the Last Five Years
Five years is a long time in marketing, even before considering the effects of COVID-19 on global strategies. Alternative social media platforms, such as TikTok, Twitch and Clubhouse, have emerged to challenge the more experienced, while changing indexes have forced marketers to optimize how they approach search engine optimization (SEO). Beyond such changes in more conservative marketing channels, this time period is long enough to identify several important trends – which will be outlined below. These new trends represent key components of any company-wide strategy, and can be seen as the guiding principles that will enable you to stay relevant online and drive marketing effectiveness.
User Experience (UX) refers to the process of designing products and services with a firm focus on all user interactions – from a brand, usability and functionality perspective. As the digital age develops and competition inevitably increases, UX has become increasingly important in providing that edge and keeping customers coming back.
Ultimately, if the last five years have taught companies anything, it’s that the user experience should be front and center if your comprehensive marketing strategy is to be effective, backed up with research
Capitalizing on Big Data
Thanks to the growing number of smart devices and advances in data collection and management technology, the amount of data available to marketers is greater than ever. Personal data is now the world’s most valuable resource . Today, it can give marketers a level of understanding of their prospects and customers that was unimaginable even a decade ago, and enable them to respond quickly to changes in the market and drive sales .As a result, analytics software – and the technology-based insights that can be drawn from related solutions – have grown in importance to marketers over the past five years. That’s because they are the most effective way to use big data to create better, more personalized marketing campaigns. Today, 97.2% of companies are investing in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
Prioritizing Digital Marketing Methods
The last five years have undoubtedly seen a rise in the importance of digital marketing. Overall, companies must now devote between 10.4% and 13.7% of their revenue to marketing, and effectively managing these limited resources is the key to success in a brutally competitive marketplace. But marketing budgets are sitting at 6.4% of the company’s revenue in 2021 — the lowest level in recorded history.
In this context, the cost-effectiveness, convenience and results-driven nature of digital marketing goes some way to explaining the constant shift in the landscape away from more traditional marketing channels. Research supports this. Globally, advertising spending on traditional formats such as television, newspapers and real-world placements is projected to decline 20.7%, as digital channels receive a greater share of the budget . By comparison, digital advertising is expected to account for over 60% of total spending in 2022 for the first time ever, and exceed 65% by 2024
Standardizing the Privacy-First Approach
In 2018, 3.9 billion people used the Internet globally ( Statista ). This figure has already increased five-fold since 2015, and is still expected to cross the five billion mark in 2022. And, as an increasing proportion of human activity takes place online, so does the importance of Internet security and privacy.
As a result, there has been a rapid increase in the number of national and international data protection laws in the last five years.
It was led by the GDPR five years ago, but the rest of the world is following Europe’s lead, and today, more than 120 countries have introduced legislation to restrict what companies do with Internet users’ data. These changes are forcing companies to adopt data management strategies to ensure legal compliance in a privacy-focused world.
Many more laws are in the pipeline, and existing laws are being amended to fix issues that have so far restricted their effectiveness.
As the burden on marketers has only increased over the last five years, they have focused on using marketing automation to cut costs and increase efficiency across the entire customer journey of data mining and communication. Simply put, this software takes a lot of human involvement from marketing channels – such as email, social media and websites – and enables companies to dedicate employees to the work that will benefit most from the human touch.
A useful automation tool is multi-channel or multi-touch attribution, which enables marketers to track all their different channels at once and assess their effectiveness in collecting leads that convert into sales. Another is dark social media tracking, which gets its name from the difficulty of getting insights from privately sent messages and content. Today, 75% of companies are using at least one marketing automation tool , but half began using only one in the past four years
This rush to automation has been a big trend in many people’s time, and it will only become more important as marketing budgets continue to shrink.
Adapting To Changing Behavior
Marketing strategies have had to be completely restructured over the past five years in response to changes in user expectations, as well as Martec innovations in a shrinking economy and privacy legislation.A major business-to-customer trend is community building – a marketing strategy that brings people together around a topic in a way that is engaging but non-intrusive, and that puts them first.
There has also been a move towards localized and personalized digital marketing, which needs to be seamlessly integrated into the complete customer lifecycle to ensure that they get the best of service.
Business-to-business activity has seen a shift towards account-based marketing (ABM). This approach identifies key decision makers in potential companies, who can then be contacted with personalized messages and content.