2016 has been a great year for marketing with lots of developments in how marketers are implementing plans for their clients; the increased rise in mobile marketing, virtual reality and the launch of live content across social media. But as 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to look at what to expect from 2017. There will undoubtedly be some major developments which will impact your brands, so here’s a quick look at what we’re expecting.
Growth of AI for mundane tasks and improving sales
We’ll see a huge move towards artificial intelligence in 2017 as more and more marketers begin to embrace the change, rather than fear it. The ‘front of house’ tasks like designing and conversations with clients will continue to be led by human interaction, whilst the more mundane, data crunching tasks like updating your CRM, will be led by AI. Bots will be working in the background as virtual assistants and will be a support to get things done more efficiently.
A big change will be the development of machine learning. Sales software will have the ability to do things without being told by its user and as a result, content recommendations will become more advanced. Darmesh Shah, Founder of HubSpot called it ‘Match.com for leads’ at this year’s Inbound Conference – AI will automatically be able to route sales leads to the right sales person based on analysis of the data from each party.
It’s not new and it’s been used for years in an attempt to get ‘natural’ placement of products in front of consumers. But we’ll see a lot more of this in 2017 as consumers start to resist or ignore normal advertising. Expect sneaky. Expect online. Expect the unexpected.
The public are now starting to accept Augmented Reality (AR) as a regular way of life and moving away from just iPhones and laptop screens to ingest marketing. AR and Virtual Reality (VR) will offer immersive experiences, allowing users to live the moment. We’ll see brands offering this technology to give their customers the best experience and really live the brand to make them feel they are part of something bigger. A recent example is the immersive experience offered by John Lewis to launch their in-store activation.
Chatbots will become a focus
2017 will see the rise in chatbots becoming a regular feature of everyday life. China (see Katie’s recent blog on this) has been leading the way here and really shown how brands can use them to connect with their consumers via the social media platform WeChat. The Chinese use it for everything from getting a cab, booking a doctor’s appointment to online banking. We’re starting to see similar services with Facebook, as they invest in offering businesses the tools to create their own bots within the platform but it’s a slow process as the technology is not quite up to speed just yet. We’ve seen a couple of brands have a go this year. Check out Amazon, Dominos Pizza and Microsoft but it’s still pretty slow, making it frustrating for consumers. But as AI improves, chatbots will get better and start to become a regular way of life.
Rise in video content
Research shows that 85% of users find visual user generated content more influential than brand photos or videos. We are going to see a real move towards this type of content as we enter 2017. There is going to be more pressure for video to be really engaging, with platforms like Snapchat and Instagram offering ‘stories.’ Companies will really need to think about how to create engaging content on an ongoing basis; something that needs planning for. We will also see a rise in brands creating video content for themselves rather than high production content.
Live video is really going to take off
We’ve seen this begin this year, with lots of brands testing Facebook Live to engage with their community, but next year we’ll see it grow even more. Expect the movement towards using video as more of a broadcasting channel with regular weekly features. An example could be a weekly cooking show from a food brand. Investment will be put towards creating a really high spec show to create regular followings with exclusive online content.
Making it stand out
As we continue to scroll through our endless social media platforms and infinite news feeds, attention spans will start to reduce. The need to skim will become greater so as marketers we need to ensure that the content we create really stands out. More brands and more individuals will be sharing content to appear in newsfeeds so keep headlines snappy to draw people in further. Otherwise you’ll lose them at this point and be doomed to white noise.
Let’s see what comes from 2017!