As we come into February many of us are gearing up for the start of the new financial year. Needless to say, the only question on everyone’s lips is: “What are you going to focus your marketing budget on?”
Lucky for us, marketing methods are like the products with “best before” dates that you can still use the next day. They aren’t as effective as they would have been earlier but they’ll still work.
Of course, what we really want to be doing, is reaching to the back of the milk shelf and making use of the tools, techniques and strategies that are nowhere near their use by date.
So, without further ado, here are the top three marketing activities that marketers believe will have the greatest impact on business in 2018.
In a survey carried out by Smart Insights, the top three marketing activities that marketers across business sectors around the globe feel will have the largest impact in 2018 are:
1. Content Marketing
2. Big Data
3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Content marketing is not a new marketing activity by any means.
However, it has evolved and what once started as regular blogging has now turned into a collection of tools and products such as: Social media posts; blogs and articles; email marketing; visual media; videos; live feeds; white papers; e-books; podcasts; and knowledge sharing.
With the rapid adoption of technologies such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, content can also be a voice service and launched by customers in their living room simply by saying: “Alexa, what’s new in the world of marketing?”
Great content gets your prospect’s attention at the top of the funnel and then converts him or her into a client. Of the 850 marketers who participated in the Smart Insights survey, 20 percent said that content marketing would have a large impact in 2018 putting it at the top of the list.
Following closely in second and third place with 14 percent each are Big Data and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
The list of data and collection tools available to marketers today is immense. Marketers have access to everything from website analytics to customer profiles, purchase histories, geographic and census information, and other internal and external data sources such as local and global financial and weather data, to name a few.
Big data allows businesses to find knowledge that is often hidden within the data. Businesses can then use this knowledge for a variety of reasons such as the personalisation of the marketing and sales approach.
One of the most sensational things big data allows us to do is to predict the future. Through the clever analysis of the data available about customers, combined with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning we can predict customer behaviour.
So, you could, for example, predict that there is going to be a 20 percent rise in the demand for barbecue products in a specific area of the country five days from today.
Or that John and Jane have recently had a baby and could really use a bigger car. Combining Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning we can find connections between seemingly unconnected entities and identify behavioural patterns and trends. Then we can use this information to improve advertisement targeting and dynamically change product pricing accordingly.
In 2018 marketing is going to get smarter. From the generation of the content to the method used for delivery and engagement with the customer; it’s going to get personal.