While marketers are finding themselves overwhelmed by the pace of technology innovation and disruption, it’s quite surprising to see martech adoption surging!
Gartner’s latest Marketing Technology Survey revealed that “Marketing leaders are aggressively adding to their marketing technology stack as they seek to deliver more relevant customer experiences and gain control over their digital advertising activities.”
Ambitious marketing goals and growth initiatives are driving CMOs and marketing leaders to use new technologies that will help them adapt their operations to the energetic and ever-changing digital space.
But it can sometimes feel like guesswork to find the marketing strategy and technology that works for your business and helps you attract, convert and serve your customers better.
We decided to look at the game-changing technologies that will shape marketing and e-commerce in 2019 and have the potential for a significant and rapid increase in return on investment.
1) Intelligence-Driven Engagement
In a 2010 interview, Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, shared the following remarks, addressing how companies can stay in touch with their customers and succeed in the digital space:
“People no longer want to be sold to; they want companies to help them find an informed way to buy the right product or service at the right price […]”
This statement is just as accurate today as it was then. The only thing that has changed is that sophisticated technology now allows marketers to understand a customer’s context and intent so that they can engage and guide them to the right products and services.
In 2019, intelligence-driven, personalized engagement and contextually relevant recommendations will further separate top-performers from the rest.
So how are brands responding?
Let’s have a look at Nespresso.
They know how important intelligent engagement is, which is why they used AI to drive their very own highly visual product recommendation solution, taking them a step ahead in providing an exceptional experience for their customers.
To determine which system is right for the shopper, the solution selects and asks the right questions in the right moment, such as “How much coffee do you drink per day?”
In the end, it analyzes interaction behavior and other data points so that it can recommend the type of machine that would suit the customer the best, such as “Vertuo.”
The benefit of this dialogue-based engagement is that Nespresso can show customers that they are their “trusted advisor” who gets them and is interested in helping them find an informed way to buy the right product.
It comes with chat integration, and by analyzing behavior and engagement data, it’s not only able to provide the right recommendation or next-best action in the right moment, but it’s also using machine learning to know how to ask the right questions so as to keep your visitors engaged.
2) AI Chatbots
In 2019, artificial intelligence will really take precedence. Not only to sell more effectively but also to help businesses finally implement the customer service strategy customers expect.
The truth is that a great product means very little if your customer service is lacking. Your e-commerce business hinges on the quality of your customer support.
As consumers are starting to feel more comfortable with conversational interactions with digital assistants and chatbots, brands, big and small, will be implementing this technology to have intelligent conversations and create an open dialogue, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
However, it will be more important than ever to blend the human element as part of AI.
Nike’s StyleBot is an interesting example of an AI e-commerce bot that was created so that Nike could pursue a conversational marketing strategy for retail.
Customers were able to access the bot via the Messenger app to style their own shoes, mix-and-match, or browse for inspiration by genre and style. It supported natural queries and responded with interactive buttons, pictures, and gifs to create a more personal experience.
By the end of the campaign, Nike could toast to some impressive results: the average CTR was 12.5X higher than Nike’s other campaigns. And conversions, too, received a huge boost. They were 4X higher than the brand average.
Sophisticated AI chatbots not only point your customers in the right direction or answer their questions, but they’re also able “learn” from customer behavior and train themselves to become smarter, offering more personalized, more sympathetic and accurate responses.
3) Predictive Analytics: Sales and Marketing
Why does your e-commerce store need predictive sales? According to studies, businesses with accurate sales forecasts are 10X more likely to grow their year-on-year revenue.
This is essential in 2019 as competition steadily increases.
Predictive analytics uses big data and algorithms to discover patterns and trends that allow you to make a better forecast of future activities and predict probabilities with greater accuracy, such as the best time to:
- Launch new products
- Offer product discounts
- Discontinue legacy products
Angoss is a predictive analytics platform that helps you to reduce risk while boosting your marketing and sales performance. It predicts your best leads and opportunities and informs you on how to attract new customers while also increasing their loyalty.
Exacaster is a predictive sales tool worth checking out. It uses machine-learning algorithms to address important sales and marketing challenges, and it helps you to target the right customers with your up-sells. It also helps you to maximize your profits by optimizing your prices.
4) AI-Powered CRM
In 2019, customers will be more vocal than ever. Their voices can already be heard across multiple channels, including social media.
The key to establishing a great relationship with your customers in 2019 is using a powerful CRM tool.
If you already have a customer relationship management (CRM) system, your customer’s data is neatly stored in one place. This includes their previous interactions and transactions with your business, as well as their social media, email and phone details.
The issue is that traditional CRMs aren’t able to process the massive amounts of data from multiple sources that are being created every day. Collecting customer intelligence is necessary to create a 360° view of your customers in order to deliver better experiences.
Salesforce Einstein “is the first comprehensive AI for CRM” that allows you to collect a mountain of automated data and run machine learning, predictive analytics algorithms, and NLP so that you and your team can understand your customers better. It anticipates opportunities, tells you when a customer is a lead or not and can help you personalize the customer journey.
5) Intelligent Retargeting
Retargeting is a concept that almost everyone who uses the internet has experienced; People who have visited a website and then left will see tailored ads of the previous site when they open other websites. This is a highly cost-effective practice to bring visitors back into the game, which has proven to be immensely successful.
In 2019, however, intelligent retargeting takes this process a step further.
With the added advantage of machine learning to learn user preference and access expert insights into consumer behavior, marketers can generate better results.
Crucially, AI helps you retarget your customers at the time and place when they are most likely to engage. This increases the possibility of a visitor turning into a customer by making a purchase.
Microsoft launched the Microsoft Audience Network earlier this year. It uses LinkedIn and Bing Search AI to power AI driven marketing solutions, helping marketers reach their ideal customers across various online properties including MSN.com, Outlook.com, Microsoft’s Edge browser, and select high-quality partner sites. It is said to optimize ad relevancy, ad selection and improve conversion predictions.
Rik van der Kooi, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Advertising, explains, “It also offers the convenience and power of a unified platform with Bing Ads, building on our search intelligence with a familiar experience, all to help deliver a great ROI.”
These were some of the technologies you should consider adding to your marketing stack in 2019.
Emerging technologies have always played an integral role in the growth of marketing. They offer exciting new ways for brands to communicate with customers and grow relationships, helping you transform the challenges in this rapidly changing world into opportunities. Marketers that push boundaries, innovate, and leverage the marketing solutions of today and tomorrow, are the ones that are going to win.