Marketing trends in 2018 were heavily focused on the new options created through updated technology, and this will continue to shape the industry through 2019. New opportunities in hardware have changed the way that brands interact with consumers and vice versa. By connecting with early adopters of these innovations, brands can better establish themselves in the market as it changes.
For brands, online reputation management is going to be critical for success. Rather than working with prominent social media personalities, brands will target smaller, more genuine connections with micro-influencers, for example. These smaller connections are established through marketing strategies that grab consumer attention and gets them to talk about the brand. By leveraging options like image recognition, artificial intelligence, and smart speaker technology, brands can capitalize on the marketing trends of 2018 and gain an edge with their year-end marketing ideas.
How Hardware Updates Impacted Marketing Trends in 2018
The internet of things (IoT) is continuously delivering devices that change the way consumers shop. In 2018, the hot-ticket IoT item was the smart speaker. As consumers became more familiar with the device, adoption of new shopping behaviors increased. Smart speakers were the primary driver of voice ordering in 2018. While reports from Amazon indicate only 2% of users of their voice-enabled tech make a purchase, it’s important to remember we’re still in the early adopter phase. Even 2% could account for billions in sales once the smart speaker reaches full market saturation.
Additionally, we’ve seen some significant strides in smartphone technology. A critical area for marketers to focus on is the camera and improvements in its capture ability. Initially, manufacturers concentrated on pixels, in that the more pixels an image contained, the higher resolution it appeared. However, they soon shifted focus to shutter speed and sensors. Such innovations paved the way for the cameras we use today, which are capable of taking high-definition photos even from the simplest of phones. As more and more consumers purchase and use smartphones, marketers will increasingly seek out ways to incorporate those phones into their campaigns. These marketing strategies include:
- User-generated content: Camera phones play a critical part in the development of user-generated content campaigns designed to get consumers talking about a brand. Encouraging consumers to take images of products or locations and use branded hashtags drives awareness and engagement.
- Rewards collection: Utilizing cameras in the store can play a critical role in priming users for purchase. Rewards programs, like Shopkick, allow consumers to scan barcodes with their cameras to receive rewards points. This strategy encourages consumers to physically handle the item which increases purchase likelihood.
- Image-based shopping: Cameras can be used to turn the entire world into a digital shopping aisle by allowing consumers to take photos of items they see and purchase them online. We’ve already seen such programs created through strategic partnerships, with Amazon and Snapchat being the most recent.
Hardware developments have positively impacted marketing trends in 2018, as consumers have access to higher tech equipment at a lower cost. However, as we enter into 2019, it’s likely we’ll see marketing trends driven not by hardware, but by the machine processes going on behind the scenes.
Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on 2019 Marketing Trends
Both voice and retail image recognition are in an early growth stage. High-tech devices may be able to deliver these experiences, but they still think like machines. They don’t understand context. A consumer may take a picture of another individual wearing a purse they like, but then receive image search return information on the gloves the person is wearing instead. A consumer may tell their smart speaker they need “powder”—meaning baby powder— but may instead get a result for powdered laundry detergent.
The goal of AI search algorithms in image and voice is simple. It is to return the most relevant results based on the consumer’s desire. Prior purchase data of that specific product can be used to make these predictions, as can consumer reviews and product keywords. Relevant descriptions of products help translate these items to new mediums like voice and search. Meanwhile, consumer reviews indicate quality and usefulness.
These mediums will continue to grow over the coming year, as more intelligent programs allow consumers to shop by voice and image recognition.
Brands need to focus on product reputation and descriptions to use future AI search algorithms to their best advantage. They should cultivate relationships with micro-influencers who leave reviews of products on popular platforms. As these products gain positive online reviews, their relevance increases for text-, image-, and voice-based search.
The marketing trends of 2018 centered on using new hardware options like smart speakers and improved camera phones. These mediums will continue to grow over the coming year, as more intelligent programs allow consumers to shop by voice and image recognition. Brands should position themselves with a mobile-first marketing strategy to improve brand awareness and market share through 2019.
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