Written by Elena Cirligeanu
During the past years, marketers have seen a considerable increase in the amount of data generated daily and noticed that digital technologies have grown to be omnipresent in people’s lives. Before 1989 when digital marketing was just a concept, traditional marketing campaigns required a lot of time to develop and were mainly created around previous campaigns (IDM, 2019). Nowadays, with the help of technology, you can monitor campaigns live, and you can examine the engagement generated afterwards.
As the technologies evolve, trends are changing, and the predictions for 2020 are developing around the idea of automation, virtual and augmented reality, voice search and lastly, videos.
In this article, WBC will further explain the trends for 2020 and what marketers will be required to do to stay relevant to their customers in the everchanging world.
Automation can be described as the process in which manual, repetitive tasks are replaced by software platforms and personalised technologies to make marketing more efficient across digital channels (IDM, 2019). Every business wishes to stay relevant to customers’ needs and with the help of automation, they will also have the chance to respond to them at the right time.
Furthermore, PPC (Pay per Click) and email are two great examples of automated marketing. Firstly, in PPC, every phrase the customer is likely to use when searching for a product is strictly acknowledged. On top of that, the ads are produced beforehand to be triggered by customer activity. Secondly, automated email campaigns allow businesses to generate more appropriate communications and to boost engagement rates, as well as creating more sales opportunities (IDM, 2019).
According to a research conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute, almost half of the marketing leaders believe that marketing automation skills will be crucial in 2020 and should be considered in the recruitment process. Along with automation skills, mobile and website design & optimisation skills are growing in popularity (C. O’Brien, 2019).
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The concept of Virtual and Augmented Reality is not as modern as people may think, in fact, the research on these technologies dated from the 1990s when several authors tried to define and unite the real world with the virtual world. Furthermore, virtual and augmented realities are changing the customer experience, and are predicted to influence marketing and the way businesses operate.
In spite of everything, one thing that needs to be completed and troubles researchers are the lines between physical and virtual realities.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is defined as ‘a fully immersive experience where a user leaves the real-world environment behind to enter a fully digital environment via VR headsets’(Forbes, 2019).
How does it work? The consumer begins by putting on a VR headset, and then their brains are tricked into believing that they are moving virtual objects on a screen. In general, the VR headset is connected to a computer or a console.
VR tools are starting to become a big part of our society and are predicted to be even more present during the following years. Virtual reality is helping surgeons plan operations, customers experience a travel destination before they book a flight or a hotel, and soldiers prepare for battle scenarios (Forbes, 2019).
Augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality is defined as ‘An experience where virtual objects are superimposed onto the real-world environment via smartphones, tablets, heads-up displays, or AR glasses’(Forbes, 2019). Recent researches imply that AR will be vital to consumption and marketing.
Customers will live in a world dominated by virtual content, and marketers will need to discover methods in which the VR and AR tools will play a big part in their marketing strategies. The ‘Pokémon Go’ mobile app is the most well-known form of augmented reality, and recently, brands like ASOS, GUCCI, Amazon, Adidas and many more started to create AR-based experiences.
ASOS launched an experimental augmented reality feature in June 2019, making the experience more personalised for customers when they click the ‘AR’ button: the user will see models wearing the products. Another example of a powerful AR experience is managed by Adidas that collaborated with Snapchat in 2018 to design AR lens for customers ‘to virtually preview its new Ultraboost 19 running shoes.’
Furthermore, VR and AR tools will become so complex that customers will be able to virtually try on makeup, try prescription glasses and much more. Also, the market size worldwide for virtual and augmented reality is estimated to grow from $16.8 billion in 2019 to $160 billion in 2023, according to Statista.
Devices that eliminate the necessity for buttons and computers while making possible for consumers to verbally ask for details, make reservations, call relatives, listen to music and control their homes will fastly become common and will change the way consumers shop, according to the Institute of Data and Marketing.
At the moment, the voice of a brand is brought to life through design, text and images. In the near future, it is likely to ‘describe an actual voice that imbues all the values of a brand’(IDM, 2019).
On top of that, as the demand for voice-based, AI devices increases (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant), huge growth is anticipated in the voice search advertising for marketers. The number of voice searches is increasing every minute and is expected to be a major trend by 2020.
With the help of short videos and daily vlogs, consumers are learning about the world through quick fire-video. The constant and effective use of videos, recorded webinars and live streaming has increased customer engagement and has become an indispensable thing for businesses (IDM, 2019).
In the research conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute4, 31% of marketers stated that video content is ‘extremely important to their strategy’, while 41% considered it to be essential. Moreover, consumers are more predisposed to react and engage with videos than images or articles and specialists predict that, in three years, the preponderance of internet consumption (80%) will be video.
Undoubtedly, businesses that incorporate video content into their marketing strategies grow their revenue 49% faster than the ones that ignore it. Also, videos can be shared easily on all channels and can go viral, creating brand exposure and opportunities.
Conclusion: Digital Marketers & Trends
Each and everyday marketing systems become more intelligent, and digital technologies are growing to be commonplace, pressuring digital marketers to adapt and gain new skills. In this century, digital marketers need to have the right skills and hire the best people to be able to work with all existing and future channels.
Consequently, businesses need to spend more resources in instructing current employees simultaneously with those joining the workforce to form a team that holds the necessary skills for growing and for remaining competitive. Moreover, an internal analysis of the business needs to be undertaken together with an acknowledgement of the strongest points to understand the lacking skills a company has (DMA, 2019).
The Institute of Data and Marketing. (2019). The future of digital. Available: https://www.theidm.com/.
Venugopal HG. (2019). How to be really good at Digital Marketing in 2020. Available: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/327284
Clodagh O’Brien. (2019). The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation. Available: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-gb/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-marketing-automation.
Digital Marketing Institute. (2019). 2020 Predictions. Available: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-gb/campaign/business/20-20-vision-a-marketing-leaders-view-of-digitals-future.
S.M.C. Loureiro, J. Guerreiro, S. Eloy, D. Langaro, P. Panchapakesan. (2019). Understanding the use of Virtual Reality in Marketing: A text mining-based review. Journal of Business Research. 100 (10), 513-530.
C. Flavián, S. Sánchez, C. Orús. (2019). The impact of virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies on the customer experience. Journal of Business Research. 100 (10), 547-560.
Bernard Marr. (2019). The Important Difference Between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/07/19/the-important-difference-between-virtual-reality-augmented-reality-and-mixed-reality/#618828d335d3.
Nikki Gilliland . (2019). 10 of the latest examples of augmented reality brand experiences. Available: https://econsultancy.com/10-innovative-ar-augmented-reality-marketing-examples/.
Shanhong Liu. (2019). Forecast augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market size worldwide from 2016 to 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars).Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/591181/global-augmented-virtual-reality-market-size/.