With a new year comes new trends.  As a full-service marketing, communications, branding and digital agency, it is critical we stay up-to-date on the latest trends to offer our clients the best strategies possible to help their businesses succeed. Today, we are looking at four digital marketing trends we think will play a large role in the industry this year!

AI-Based Automation

It’s 2020 and more people prefer to communicate via online messaging than to pick up a phone and call a business, which is why we predict artificial intelligence (AI) will really take off in 2020, especially in the area of chatbots. When a chatbot is incorporated into a company website, users can reach the company 24/7 to have their questions answered, eliminating regular business hours and allowing customers to reach out at any time. Plus, it has also eliminated the need to provide an email address to receive customer support.

Two common approaches to chatbot development are retrieval based versus generative based. Let’s take a closer look at both:

  • Retrieval based – when developers train the chatbots to rank the appropriate response based on a predefined list. For example, if someone asked the question “what are your store hours?”, the chatbot would pull the best response, “We are open 9 am to 5 pm” from a list of existing answers.
  • Generative based – Better for more in-depth conversations with users, generative based chatbots are not built with preexisting responses. Instead, previous conversations are used to train the chatbot how to properly respond to questions.

The team at GRIT has implemented chatbots into many client websites in different industries. AI is helping these clients learn more about their audience while enabling them to personalize the customer experience. Businesses that have implemented AI have seen increased engagement with customers, conversions and increased revenue. However, it is important to remember, while AI-based automation will play a larger role in 2020, human interaction and relationships are still a very important aspect to marketing and AI should be used to enhance these experiences.

Voice Search

It should not be a surprise that voice search made this list. With voice assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, this area of digital technology will continue to evolve for years to come. Even if your business does not use voice search, it is important that your content is optimized for consumers who may use this digital technology.

Consumers use voice search differently than text search. When searching for something with your voice, it is a longer, more conversational tone. However, when using text search, the queries are shorter and more to the point. To increase your company’s SEO ranking, look at tailoring content to voice search and even answer specific questions directly to increase search visibility.

Live Video

According to Marketing Insider Group, the live video industry is expected to be worth over $70 billion by 2021. In fact, consumers will spend three times longer watching a live video than a pre-recorded video, which is why live video will continue to be a trend in 2020.

If you’re not doing it already, GRIT recommends incorporating live video content into your social media calendars. Consumers like to see behind-the-scenes content, so incorporating these types of live videos will help individuals learn more about your company, products and services, and will be more likely to engage consumers.

Customer Experience

In 2020, brands will continue to focus on providing a remarkable experience for their customers to retain them and keep them coming back for more. Since users are going out and doing their own research, it is important to offer something more than just information. According to Marketing Insider Group, 73 percent of consumers say that customer experience is an important factor in their buying decisions, but currently only 49 percent of consumers in the United States believe brands provide a good experience.

Think about aspects such as convenience, personalization, efficiency and brand image when considering the customer experience. Is your website mobile friendly? Do you offer online payment options? Do you have friendly customer service representatives? These will all matter when it comes to the customer’s experience. The interaction that your prospective and current clients have with your brand should be positive and if it’s not, something needs to change. Doing an audit of your digital footprint from the user experience is a good first step to making sure your customers stay engaged.

Need help in any one of these areas?  Reach out to our team at [email protected] or (717) 885-0014 to start a conversation today!