This is the first blog in a two-part series exploring the latest trends and technologies shaping the digital marketing world. I recently attended the Sales and Marketing Summit to discuss how companies and brands are experimenting with emerging technology to stay ahead of the competition.
The Sales and Marketing Summit is a key event on the international business calendar and focuses on the changes occurring in the interaction between consumers and businesses. This blog provides a summary of the key points from my presentation.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been attracting significant attention in recent years (e.g. IBM Watson) and has the potential to significantly transform digital marketing. Broadly defined as the demonstration of human-like thinking in computers, AI can help digital marketing professionals better understand their customers and run more effective marketing campaigns. Weber Shandwick discovered that over half of global chief marketing officers expect AI to have a greater impact on marketing than social media in the future.
The uses of AI in digital marketing are almost endless. AI can be used to analyse complex consumer data, such as social media conversations, to give insights into audience interests and brand sentiment. Companies are using AI to power chatbots to interact with customers - Bud Light’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger can answer customer questions, remind audiences of upcoming games and even send people beer. Chatbots enable organisations to respond to high volumes of customer queries and generate new sales leads.
Virtual reality (VR) allows audiences to enter a virtual world using headsets or mobile devices. VR experiences range from watching content (e.g. 360-degree video) to more immersive experiences that allow users to move and interact with their environment. While VR has existed since the 1950s, it has recently undergone a resurgence with companies like Facebook, Sony and Samsung putting significant resources into its development.
VR has the ability to revolutionise digital marketing by grabbing a user’s attention and engaging with them emotionally. YuMe and Nielsen suggest that VR has a higher emotional engagement rate than standard 2D screens and this highlights a new avenue which marketers can use to connect with consumers. McDonalds and Topshop are just two examples of organisations using VR to engage with audiences on a deeper level than TV or online video advertising.
In terms of practical marketing applications, Savills and Volvo have both used VR to demonstrate their products and services, while Alibaba launched Buy+ in 2016 which allowed users to virtually visit shops on its ecommerce platform. The technological developments of VR combined with the increasing adoption rate by consumer signifies a new era in digital commerce.
Check back for part 2 of this blog series where we will look at some of the other digital game changers.
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