With 2018 just around the corner it’s time to think about the world of marketing and what we can expect to see in the year ahead. 

Here are some trends predicted to boom in 2018:

1. Advancements in voice

As the world becomes more automated, so will marketing, which is why using virtual assistants like voice search is set to become popular in 2018.

Speech recognition technology creates a sense of ease and speed for users. For example say you wanted to know what the weather was in Perth, instead of googling and searching for a site yourself, you can just speak into your phone and with the help of voice recognition it will pull up a webpage with Perth weather.

Voice assistants also work in reverse for example, giving information back to users through voice. Take a look at Siri, you can ask questions and get a direct answer with voice, almost like having a conversation.

There is now continual interaction between consumers and businesses from heavy usage of mobile phones, so we can expect to see advancements in voice become more integrated into our lives. People are starting to expect information, products, services and more; delivered on demand. Voice search allows users to do this which is why we will see it make its way into 2018.

We can start to see voice advancements work into various social media platforms too. For example, Facebook and Snapchat now allow users to send voice messages to avoid the hassle of typing. Google itself has reported one in five search inquiries on mobile are now done with voice recognition.

2. Influencer marketing

The popularity of influencer marketing runs from the idea that people follow people rather than brands. Who you are as an individual can determine if clients want to be involved with a business.

People also trust what others say over what a business tells them. For example, most people will check out customer reviews before making a purchase because previous customers are more reliable then what the business advertises about themselves.

Also influencer marketing is demonstrated on social media platforms, in particular Instagram, we see a rise in people with a strong follower base promoting products or services not only to reach a wider audience but to target followers who aspire to be like them meaning they are likely to buy the products or services promoted.

Having an individual’s opinion contribute to the purchasing intent for potential customers is something to be very mindful of in the future. 

The proven effectiveness of influencer marketing suggests businesses will continue to adopt an influencer marketing strategy to engage potential customers on social media. 

3. Live chat

When entering a website are you often greeted with a pop up chat box asking if you need any help like the image above?

In 2018, we are most likely going to see more businesses catch onto this trend and start using live chat as a way to not only deliver instant assistance, but also reach customers outside of working hours.

The value of implementing a live chat box on your website is that it can enhance customer satisfaction by having customer’s questions answered straight away without the stress of finding a phone number and calling up. 

They improve a customer’s experience and journey with the business by making the overall process easier. Say you were buying a product and had a promotion code, then at the checkout stage the code didn’t work, this would be frustrating for the customer. So having a live chat can help the issue be solved quickly while reducing the negative impact caused. 

In the year ahead it’s predicted the use of instant messaging chats will be able to use customer data to create more personalised messages. Having these live messaging chats will improve overall customer support and the customer journey process.

4. Micro Moments

In today’s society when people want an answer they can simply pull out their mobile and search it that second. People are constantly checking their smartphones for new information which is why offering consumers the right information at any time or location is vital.

These ‘micro-moments’ can affect a consumer’s decision so it is important to gather insights into what your target audience is searching and responding to – be relevant, useful and engaging!

Consumers expect businesses to provide relevant details to solve their needs at any time of the day. This is why creating lots of micro content rather than just, say, one long video can generate a heap of little topics that not only keep an audience engaged but provide the exact information needed and nothing more.

To understand what a consumer wants falls into creating personalised and customer-centric content. Say a new customer is checking out your website, you can encourage them to make a purchase by showing your latest promotions, whereas an existing customer would be marketed to differently by, for example, sending a personalised message showing new products similar to what they’ve previously purchased.

5. Customer Experience

In the year ahead we are set to see a rise in consumer expectations. This is because businesses are getting more innovative and offering things like same day delivery, voice assistants, pay after delivery, free shipping, after sales service – things that make the overall service that little bit better! 

The speed of mobile sites is one of the most important aspects of a customer’s experience. It’s predicted the speed will improve due to consumers expecting things at a faster rate. For example, reducing the time it takes to click through a website and make a purchase.

Marketers will need to find solutions to provide customers with instant service. Google believes if a site takes more than three seconds to load, people will click off. 

As we can already see the influential effect of customer data on firms at the moment we can only expect this to increase. Not only will using customer data become more popular but the data itself will become more accurate and integrated into businesses to improve the overall customer journey and provide a more personalised experience.

2018 is set to be a big year for the marketing world! Have you thought about what to expect in the new year? Are you ready to take on these new trends?