This year I had the opportunity of attending DX3 – Canada’s Biggest Retail Marketing & Technology Event, and my main objective was to capture the main “talking points” and share them with you. There were over 3800+ in attendance, 80+ speakers, with 40+ exhibitors that offered interactive and provocative content to captivate the imagination. I was greeted by an A.I. robot that hovered around and danced, flashy lights and colours beaming in all directions that rivaled even the greatest rave experiences. Despite this excitement, this wasn’t the real reason I was lured to the event; what I truly wanted to find out was: What is the present and future of Digital Marketing?
Alas, these are the most important strategies among top executives:
- Ad Goals: It is imperative to get the right message across, and connect with your customers. Storytelling and Creative are what big companies spend the biggest amount of time on. A successful campaign evokes emotions and feelings, which leads to going viral (word of mouth). Good campaigns optimize your leads based on your budget, however, great campaigns will generate “free leads” based on social promotion and sharing of content. One of the ways companies focused on this initiative is through adoption of creative ad videos that allowed users to click and interact with objects that were sponsored or promoted. Google has noted that video and voice search will be one of the biggest trends of 2019 and beyond, as implementation of A.I. and “ease-of-use” continues to define the way search is conducted, particularly with the growth of smart devices.
- Data Investment: Knowing your customer’s journey across digital, the entire interaction funnel from initial to end purchase has become one of the most valuable assets. This helps you optimize the user experience and “trim the fat” so that you can increase conversions. Companies are using business data to make the customer journey and the ability to engage easier than ever before. Products and services need to be convenient and tailored to the individual wants and needs.
- Pillars of successful Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): Research, Hypothesis, Prioritize, Test, Measure and Learn.
- Using heat-maps on your website to understand WHY you are missing out on potential conversions. Featuring relevant information above the fold was the number one strategy to increase conversions and sales. This is because you want to prevent (as much as possible) the customer from scrolling and reading to get to the relevant information.
- Digital Marketing: Now considered to be the biggest and most important aspect of all the business going forward. Digital is how you create value in any company.It needs to be agile, and coordinate with every level of the organization. The idea here is that time is the most valuable commodity, and all work-flows need to be in line with the marketing efforts. Think and be Agile on every level in order to maximize ROI. Learn to partner with competitors in the same space rather than deal with disruptions (i.e. McDonalds teaming up with Uber for food deliveries).
- Building an A.I. & Data Team– Hiring and team assembly should be done based on skills and aptitude assessments. Be aware that knowledge shifts quickly and on a regular basis, therefore the team should contentiously learn and attend the best conference to stay atop industry standards. Data scientists are expensive and highly sought after, however it is an investment that provides a very high ROI over time, particularly if the team learns to blend their tactics with overall company strategy.
- Goldfish vs. Human Dilemma– It’s long been a topic of folklore on how a goldfish has a 20 second attention span, and how us humans rival that when our mind skips a beat. Fast forward to 2019, and according to many published studies the human attention span when reading advertisements or making purchase decisions is no more than 8 seconds; yes, 8 seconds. Streamlining your digital presence to make it as simple as possible is the new fad. Is it multi-screen accessible? Are there A.I. chat bots that can interact with users? Does the website have text-to-speech enabled and integration for smart devices?
- Educational Content– This is by far and large the the most valuable asset to all companies’ digital presence. Articles, info-graphics, blogs, videos, may not convert right away, but if done correctly will lead to a dramatic increase in leads. It is important to Think Long Term for your brand health, and with the recent Google Rank Brain updates, all companies need to have a content calendar moving forward. The gold standard here is now 1000+ words, containing informative pictures, videos, multiple sizing on text and titles, font colours, to name a few. Expert and technical content pieces now rank as the highest value in search, and Google has rewarded companies by dramatically increasing their ranks this past year; this trend will likely continue to hold into the future. Visual is much more effective at evoking feelings and emotions than text, and should now be a part of any content you produce.
To summarize, the Digital Landscape is now an obsession with creating a seamless Customer Journey focusing on ease of use, adaptability and comfort. Digital is how you are going to create value in any company, and has trumped into the single most important factor for any business to succeed.
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