Original article by Jordan Buning in: MediaPost
In a dynamic time for digital marketers, a changing landscape of tools holds the potential to empower your organization in new ways -- but only when used properly. While daunting to some, these tools are among the five most important digital marketing trends to watch for in the new year.
1. Online vs. in-person products/services
The global pandemic forced many organizations to reevaluate what they’re able to do and offer online. Your company’s online practices must adapt to the current state of your industry, and to your customers’ behavior and feedback.
Deciding what can and should be done online rather than in person is a delicate balance that requires constant tweaking. Approach the new year as a chance to step back and learn from your successes and failures in this area.
2. Keeping your online presence current
As digital tools evolve rapidly, it’s tempting to beat the early adopters of your industry in the race to stay current. When the goal is to collect the latest tools, it’s easy to lose focus on the purpose of your organization’s online presence.
Consider how your website functions now compared to when it was built. Which of your recent innovations are improving the user experience for your customers? Which are not? If you aren’t checking in to review your front-facing website on a monthly basis, it probably isn’t often enough.
3. AI, systems integration, and security
For any organization that tracks and stores customer data online, this domain requires the most monitoring. Chat bots, for example, are an increasingly popular AI-powered tool for companies to interface with customers.
For a chat bot to interface properly with your other online channels, it requires seamless back-end integration with your existing data. Be sure someone in your organization fluently understands how your data systems integrate before launching a chat bot.
The same is true for any of the versatile, powerful AI tools you’re tempted to add in 2022. Adding these tools furthers the need to keep your customers’ data encrypted, protected behind a secure firewall, and resistant to advanced data-scraping techniques.
4. Email automation
The appeal of taking your in-person interactions online, and automating common business tasks, truly comes to a head in one place: email. Too often, organizations that implement an automated email marketing campaign run the risk of appearing impersonal. Understand that every customer interacts with your organization online at a different place in their path to making a purchase. These critical data points will inform which emails to send to which customers, and when.
5. Evolving social media strategies
Social media trends are constantly evolving, and organizations need to adopt a more delicate touch as avid users become savvier.
Ask some basic questions: Who is your target customer for each product or service you offer? What is this customer looking for when they engage with your organization online? And which is the best platform on which to interact with them?
Be wise enough to know what the universe of tools looks like, and ask your experts when it’s beneficial to be there.