In 2019, it's safe to say that no business can survive without the aid of technology. Regardless of enterprise size, innovations and advancements are important for your company to reach the next level.
According to a study by Corona, 70 percent of small businesses fail on its 10th year, while half falter on their fifth year. The study also created an outline on the top reasons why these businesses fail, with cash flow problems cited 82% of the time.
The 21st-century business is often faced with challenges that equate to finding more creative ways of creating revenue streams. Luckily, there are automation programs, technological upgrades and innovative solutions that could make any company a globally-competent and profit-generating venture.
Here are 8 marketing technology innovations and their possible applications on your business so you can decide which one you should be using:
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a developed program or system that attempts to mimic human intelligence. AI is a broad term for numerous applications that include generating automatic computations of repeating variables, creating algorithms from multiple trends and predicting possible outcomes by analyzing past information.
Here are some ways you can use AI for your business:
- Develop algorithms based on user preferences, which can be used to suggest content, present effective ads, provide smarter search results, among others
- Analyze information quicker
- Email campaign automation (content creation, list segmentation)
- Predict what products buyers might be interested in
AI can also improve customer experience by using relevant data to make sure that the products function according to how customers would use it. A simple example of AI in action is the algorithm that Netflix uses to predict the kind of shows that a user would be interested in watching. For example, if the user is fond of watching Korean dramas and shows, Netflix would suggest other dramas from a similar sub-genre.
As AI continues to improve its ability to penetrate repositories of data, it will arm businesses with the ability to make progressively smarter marketing decisions. And as the tech becomes increasingly accessible to more and more businesses, it will not only lead to a more competitive field, but also to better products and services for the consumers.
2. Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that creates a composite perception of the user's actual view of the real world, combined with computer-generated images and/or sounds. A popular example of how AR is used by businesses to generate audience interest is by creating filters for social media cameras like those found in Snapchat, Messenger and Instagram.
AR can be used as an interactive tool for your customers, and entice participation which might eventually lead to purchase. An example of this is Amazon’s use of patented AR technology to allow customers to try on clothes or check if certain furniture matches their living space. By simply pointing the app camera on a space, users can superimpose products, allowing them to visualize how it would look in real life.
Virtual Reality (VR), for its part, is an interactive computer-generated three-dimensional world that can be accessed with the use of goggles, gears and other electronic equipment. The introduction of 360-degree video technology allows businesses to give a sneak peek to customers on what they are going to experience. For example, you could provide a 360-degree video walkthrough of your new store on your website, so that customers will know exactly what to expect.
Lowe, for example, uses VR in its shop to teach customers how to use certain products or how to do repairs. The Holoroom How To VR experience is a part of their enhanced customer experience service that helps users know what the products are for and how they are applied in a DIY setting. With Lowe’s core audience being people who are into DIY house repairs, it’s a great tool for educating customers and demonstrating how their products can help.
In 2019, it’s predicted that AR and VR market size worldwide would reach $20.4 billion, and this number is expected to skyrocket to $192.7 billion by 2020. With 360-degree videos becoming more accessible through Youtube and social media, it’s only a matter of time before AR and VR become the standard of video marketing experiences.
Chatbots are applications designed to automatically engage in conversation with users. These chatbots can be found on websites and social media platforms like Facebook. They are used by businesses to provide quick responses to customers at any time of the day.
Here are some of the reasons why chatbots are being used by companies:
- Seamless live chat
- Round-the-clock customer service
- Responds to as many inquiries as possible
- Aid businesses in conveying messages easily
- A more interactive way to ask for feedback
Travel planning app Hipmunk is a great example of an intuitive chatbot. It uses the customer’s location to determine where they’re traveling from, and sends the best deals available from that location. It takes away the need to gather information from multiple sites, putting all the resources all within the Messenger app.
Apart from being extremely user-friendly, the Hipmunk bot uses a conversational tone, which almost makes you forget you’re interacting with a bot.
Apart from Messenger, there are other platforms like Acquire, which allow you to build your own chatbot for your website.
With an estimated 165 billion customer requests per year requiring businesses to spend nearly $1.3 trillion to service those requests, using chatbots can help businesses save up to 30% of those costs. This is why by 2020, 85% of customer interactions is expected to be handled without an agent. And by 2022, companies will save around $8 billion by using chatbots.
4. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
If you’re starting your e-commerce website, then you should consider optimizing it by using Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) or Progressive web applications (PWA).
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a project that was initiated by Google to enhance the performance of websites on mobile devices. AMP pages load in less than 0.5 seconds, leading to lower bounce rates. And with about 60% of the search traffic on Google coming from mobile devices, there are now more than 4 billion AMP pages on the web.
The advantages of AMP:
- Better emphasis on ads and analytics. AMP boasts higher viewability rates because it already creates an outline of the ads and simultaneously loads them with the website content. Your customers can quickly see the ads on your website, improving analytics.
- Quicker loading time. AMP is designed to make websites load faster by organizing codes to prioritize the content that load faster. Most users prefer a website that loads quickly so you can enhance your customer experience by enhancing your website with AMP.
- Enhanced search engine optimization. The bounce rate is one of the big factors that search engines look for in ranking a website down; so if your website loads within 3 seconds, Google will consider it a good website. Having a high rank in SEO will enable your website to be found by customers.
- Mobile-friendly. People often browse the internet on their mobile devices so it’s important that your website is good for mobile viewing.
Progressive web applications (PWA), meanwhile, are web-based applications that act like regular websites but have app characteristics like offline mode, push notifications and other functions that are often available to apps.
The advantages of PWA:
- Low data requirement. There are countries that have high data costs, so having a website that is made by PWA will only be sized at 500KB compared to the 10MB as a native app. Customers coming from places with limited internet speeds will appreciate your website being easy on their data plans.
- Updates are not required. Since PWA is automatically updated as webpages are, you can easily get the latest version upon use instead of updating it regularly like an app.
- Easier to share online. Since a PWA is inherently a website, it can be shared online with the use of links.
Online publications like The Verge, The Washington Post, Gizmodo, and the Guardian are using AMP to improve their website load times. Forbes, a website that’s known for its slow load time and ads, has upgraded to PWA that loads under a second compared to previous load times of around 3 to 12 seconds on mobile.
With users demanding faster load times and Google prioritizing sites that have such, you would benefit it making sure your products are within their reach the moment customers decide they want it.
5. Email and Marketing Automation
Automation is the ability to use relevant information to trigger intelligent marketing actions. Automation is important in making sure that campaigns are delivered to the right audience and at the right times. Even a simple distinction between your male and female customers could greatly improve your email campaigns. And as personalization continues to increase in importance, using automation to help you provide more personalized experiences is of the essence.
Spotify’s 2018 Wrapped campaign is a great example of marketing personalization done right. Basically, esers received an email with a glance of their 2018 listening habits on the platform along with a CTA to access a custom microsite. By drawing users in with a look back at their past year in music, they did a great job of re-engaging users.
Users were then given a story-like overview of their Spotify use in 2018, providing highly-personalized and interactive tidbits like how much time they spent listening to music, and what kind of artists they tuned in to.
As smaller enterprises get access to more data, they’ll be able to provide similar experiences to their customers, ultimately leading to better user experiences for more people.
6. Voice Search
Voice search is a technology that enables a user to search through speech recognition by saying the words out loud instead of typing words into a search engine. People often use voice search during instances that they are unable to type, like while they’re driving or cooking. The development of voice recognition technology has led to the popularity of products like Amazon Echo and Google Home and other devices with voice assistants.
According to Google, 52% of smart speaker owners use their devices to get information about deals and promotions, while 39% use it to look for business information. This means that in 2019, you’ll need to optimize your website by going beyond sort-tail keywords and addressing user intent.
So instead of optimizing for “spa treatment in Los Angeles,” you should also accompany it with “where can I get a massage near me?”
As well, if you can land in the answer box/featured snippet section on the top of SERPs, then you have it made.
Searching via voice is already normal for the 25-49-year-old demographic, and as it becomes even more prominent in the coming years, businesses will have to adapt their digital assets around the tech.
7. Web Analytic Tools
Web analytics is a method for web traffic measurement and it can also be for automation, marketing, and business research. Web analytics is a good tool for assessing and improving website performance. In effect, these numbers can let you know which device the traffic is coming from (whether from mobile or desktop users), which part of the world the visitor is accessing the website from, and what parts of the website are often accessed, among other relevant info. You can even pinpoint things like the nationality of the people who are interested in your products.
There are also other analytics tools such as heat mapping, visitor replay, and others, which can be used to enhance your website’s marketability. For example, your heat mapping analytics tells you which part of the website is popular and which parts are often overlooked. When you use web analytics tools, you will be able to know which parts you have to focus on and make more accurate predictions on the behavior of your customers.
Here are some ways that your web analytics for your business:
- To set goals and measure your progress
- To understand issues and problems in the website
- To optimize user experience
In the coming years, analytics is expected to evolve and target even more specific information. With the help of AI and other automation tools, businesses can only accurately measure specifics about their target consumers and web traffic, they’ll know exactly what to do with the data presented to them.
Geolocation is a method of finding out the geographical location of a device or user by using digital information like GPS or IP address as it is processed on the internet. Geolocation is one of the most innovative ways to market your brand by using improved targeting methods.
For example, by marking out an area on a map that’s close to your store, you can send push notifications of special discounts for people entering that area. Alternatively, you can even send out the same offer to those approaching your competitor’s store, drawing them to your own instead.
Apart from pushing sales, you can even use it to improve UX. By simply sending a personalized and relevant message to users in a particular location, you can create positive associations for your brand.
It is also currently one of the most important marketing technology innovations used by advertisers online. Google search engine uses geolocation to determine what kind of ads, content, and brands you would be interested in. Other global platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube also use geolocation to know the videos and content you would be interested in watching.
You can use geolocation for the following:
- Marketing based on location
- Micro-moment marketing
- Mobile ads that are geo-targeted
- Relevant geolocation-based customer experience
In the next years, geolocation will be crucial to your search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, with Google taking priority on geolocation in crafting relevant results for its user.
No two businesses are alike. Every company is affected by various factors such as funding, location, access to technology, operations, processes and the like. The good news is that there is a marketing technology tool for every business, which allows the company to get the best results in reaching their audience.
If you want your business to compete and do well in the digital plane, you need to make the most out of every opportunity by using the most innovative and updated solutions for your needs. You should be able to find the right martech tools, whether that solution is in the form of AI, AR/VR, chatbots, AMP/PWA, email and marketing automation, voice search, web analytics tools or geolocation.
Which of these tools do you think you can use for your business? Let us know in the comments section.
Bhaskin is a content marketing strategist and has considerable experience with customer service in the Philippines. He likes to share his knowledge and expertise through writing.