As we rush to prepare our budgets for 2019, it’s important to focus a bit on new technologies as well. Most companies downplay the importance of technology in aid of their Consumer Marketing efforts.
They, probably, don’t see around the bend just yet, until it hits them. Some of these new technologies have not crept into the mass market just yet. They are however, slowly making their way through some partnerships and collaborations. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain are some key technologies that will impact the way we do our Consumer Marketing in 2019. How is this so?
AI, in relation to marketing, is a technology used to analyze and make use of customer data to anticipate your customers’ next move, with the purpose of improving the customers’ user journey and satisfaction.
Imagine if you could use this technology to influence your customer to buy certain products through recommendations. Those that are tailored to individual customers based on past products that they have purchased or browsed.
Most e-commerce sites like Amazon, AliExpress and Lazada are already doing this and it has helped boost their sales by miles. Artificial intelligence also uses customer data to predict upcoming trends by looking into what’s trending on social media, latest purchasing trends and new products in the market.
Finery, a wardrobe management app, claims that it can predict what’s already in their customer’s wardrobe. It does this by using artificial intelligence and complex algorithms to crunch customer data. Subsequently, it would suggest looks using the user’s existing pieces, and clothing recommendations that could match the user’s current style.
It recommends clothes that the user doesn’t already have, in a style that the user loves. With the right data and correct “use of this data”, artificial intelligence helps us see patterns. Those that we normally wouldn’t see and you could say, predict the future, in a sense.
AR is a bit of a new fad in recent years, which actually started with the movie and gaming industries. Now, the retail industry is starting to sniff this out. Augmented reality is the ability to visualize data into a real-time, immersive experience.
Take Polish company Lemon & Orange for example, who create augmented reality experiences for retail brands. One of their biggest success stories was with clothing brand Timberland, where they collaborated to create a virtual fitting room. Household giant Home Depot uses augmented reality to allow its customers to view paint colours in real-time before purchasing them. Amikasa, a 3D room designer company, allows their customers to have a virtual tour of their floorplan to determine if they like the concept that was created for them.
Augmented reality creates an avenue for customers to experience a product or service before deciding on their purchase. Sellers can use this to their advantage by designing and personalizing experiences that touch their customer’s heart, as opposed to just their minds.
Blockchain is often mistaken as digital currency or cryptocurrency. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, digital currency is just one of its use cases. Blockchain is a technology which is as explosive as their Internet itself.
A blockchain is merely a distributed collection of records that cannot be overwritten or erased. As confusing as that may sound to the layperson, blockchain is increasing in demand in the Consumer Marketing space. BitClave provides a search engine which allows advertisers to reach their target audiences more effectively.
The platform rewards consumers with tokens in exchange for providing some personal information about their preferences and also for visiting brands on this platform. Advertisers on this platform pay BitClave to get them in front of the consumers that match their criteria. All this happens while ensuring that consumer identities are private and protected.
OpenBazaar is a blockchain based decentralized e-Commerce platform which allows vendors to sell their items directly to customers without needing to pay third-party platform fees. It also has a built-in Bitcoin wallet that helps vendors and customers to pay and earn in cryptocurrency. Safe to say, Blockchain in this instance is a lot like online dating, it allows us to gather intimate knowledge about our customers without actually knowing their real identity.
So What’s In Store For 2019?
Technology and proper use of it, in the context of marking, will be the “make or break” for many businesses. Like it or not, the war will be fought on the customer experience front. We have to adapt from the mindset of dictating what the customer would want, to actually handing over the keys to the customers themselves and tagging along for the ride. Having said that, we have to be prepared to embrace that change by adopting new technologies and tools for our business.