According to a survey, half of the German marketing professionals see the continuing digitalisation push as the greatest opportunity in the current situation. For example, they are increasingly relying on online measures; according to a survey by the Bundesverband Industrie Kommunikation (bvik), the importance of advertising via social media, among other things, increased in 2020 in two out of three of the German companies.
Over 90% of them believe that virtual events will continue to supplement traditional trade fairs and events for a long time to come. In the T-Systems Virtual Innovation Center, for example, customers can take part in interactive workshops as 3D avatars for realistic interaction experiences despite social distancing. This not only impacts sales, customer and event communications, it is also driving the spread of technologies such as AR, AI and digital signage.
You may think that digitalization has made everyone a marketing expert – and anyone who has ordered a product from Amazon knows how e-commerce works. But it’s not that simple, because the marketing landscape is becoming increasingly diverse and specialized. There are more than 8000 martech solutions according to ChiefMarTec’s figures for 2020. That’s up 13.6% over the previous year and an impressive 5233% over the past ten years (2011: 150).
Targeting and marketing automation solutions, as well as the AR/VR apps or 3D worlds, are becoming increasingly user friendly, the latter in particular are associated with a comparatively high resource expenditure. This poses a challenge in times of cost-optimized marketing budgets. A Dmexco survey reveals that German enterprises are planning higher investments in digital channels in 2021, especially in search engines, social media, audio/video platforms and editorial websites.
There are many opportunities to merge the real and digital worlds. Smartphones can interact with digital signage at local retailers to display personalized live product advertisements based on Google or Amazon data combined with gender, body shape or clothing style recognition technology. AR marketing tools are also gaining in popularity. They show smartphone users live information or 3D maps to help them find their way around the local shops. Soon we’ll be seeing AR ads, like Google View 3D ads, on a more regular basis. They provide customers with a 3D experience of products in their current environment, using smartphones as AR viewers.
At some time in the future, we will be able to project products in front of our eyes with AR goggles and lenses. When you factor nanorobotics and computer-brain interfacing into the equation, these visionary concepts take on an entirely new dimension. Perhaps one day it will even be possible to stream music straight into our brains or take a dream holiday while we sleep.
Let’s come back to the present day and consider the solutions that marketers are already using to get ready for the future. Around two-thirds of them are investing their time in search engine marketing (SEM). One of the goals should be to deliver specific answers to specific questions – also for Alexa and other smart speakers, because households of the future will all have AI-supported smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa or Telekom’s Hello Magenta. Customers generally only ask them questions that they want an immediate answer to.
It makes sense to aim for something like Google’s ‘position zero’. This is a featured snippet, and the information that Google offers at the very top of the search results above the organic ones . In the case of ‘traditional’ (corporate) websites the focus isn’t on key words such as product names, but on customer benefits or the value proposition. Context is King and the new approaches will be all the more significant because even the best online advertising isn’t immune to ad blockers.
Although we have experienced a shift towards digital channels triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, we still face the challenge of how to effectively manage the ever-growing volume of data and content.
Marketing professionals are the people who have to analyse and make use of this information density. And, as there are several million cyber attacks in Germany every day, professional cybersecurity protection is also essential.
It is also becoming more difficult to make products, brands and companies stand out in the mass of information and, as a result, marketing campaigns have to be even more impressive to capture the attention of the target audience. Also, the ‘new normal’ can soon become ‘yesterday’s news’. The goal in the ‘epic marketing’ sense should be to enhance the quality and visibility of all marketing measures – and to stay receptive to new ideas.