One thing you can count on in the field of marketing is that, sooner or later, everything is going to change.
Perhaps that’s an overstatement. The underlying theory and goals remain pretty constant in the field, but the tactics for influencing consumer behavior are changing more and more rapidly. In this article, we’ll explore insights from a late 2019 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Researchers covered several emerging areas to predict what will become more important in the coming years.
Not to be mistaken for a mere buzzword, artificial intelligence (AI) is driving real advancement in the field of marketing. This technology has the potential to achieve context-awareness in the longer term. This means that AI can “learn to learn” and go beyond its initial programming. Using adaptive, context-specific responses to different problems, AI can provide solutions without being specifically programmed to do so. Such solutions include combined analyses of numbers, text, voice, faces, and images.
To reach this state of AI advancement, we need constantly-updated insights. AI programs are only as good as the data they are fed, and they require a huge amount of it. For marketers working with AI, there exists a variety of ways to get this data. Thanks to the internet of things (IoT), AI and marketing campaigns can integrate information gathered across household appliances, robotic assistants, biometric sensors, and real-time usage of other devices across the digital ecosystem.
Current studies show that many consumers are unaware of the true value of their personal data and will offer it at no cost. Even those who are more privacy-aware are typically willing to exchange privacy for personalized offerings, if they trust the marketer. While tech companies like Apple are making it more difficult to get ahold of granular consumer data, consumers appear to be less concerned by this personalization-privacy paradox.
Many dealerships already make use of a chatbot on their websites. Such tools have become popular as they help businesses manage the volume of customer requests while providing a more personalized experience for the customer. When combined with the AI advances mentioned above, these tools have the potential to drive even more customer action.
Studies show that chatbots make it easier for consumers to access data, evaluate information, and take action. By easing the friction, chatbots can nudge consumers to share more personal data, leading to better-performing marketing campaigns.
Advances in marketing technology won’t just live on the back end. Experts forecast that in-store marketing tech will only continue to grow as a way to provide customers with a smoother transaction and influence their behavior. In-store technologies that rank high in both customer convenience and social presence include augmented reality, virtual reality, embodied robots, avatars, and smart display.
Sephora and Rebecca Minkoff are two stores that allow customers to try on products using augmented reality and smart mirrors. Customers can then post photos of themselves directly from the devices. Because these technologies enhance the vividness of available products and the customer experience, they likely influence and encourage shopping behaviors.
In the automotive realm, dealerships could begin using in-store tech to let customers virtually preview different vehicle customizations and trim levels that might not be physically on the lot.
All in all, the future of marketing technology is moving toward a more intuitive, personalized experience aimed at removing friction from the shopping experience. These changes will benefit both businesses and consumers, providing opportunities for greater revenue and connecting customers with the products that benefit them most.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive Merchandising.