We’re nearly a quarter of the way through 2019 and the biggest trends of the year have settled upon their thrones to reign over the digital marketing landscape. Some trends have been slowly building and will come as no surprise, while others seem to have come out of nowhere. Platforms are rising, concepts are gaining footholds, and new technology abounds.
We’ve created a two-part list with a few of our favorite marketing developments so far this year, broken out into categories.
Strategy: The Flywheel
The days of the funnel have come and gone, and loyal readers of the Advantage Marketing Blog will know that the Demand Generation Waterfall was the next logical step. A number of other versions of the customer journey have been proposed, but Hubspot’s new Flywheel is by far the most interesting. What makes it stand out is a simple but genuine fact: it’s customer-centric.
The flywheel’s most valuable aspect is that it brings us as marketers and sellers back to the true root of our cause - the customer. They’re the ones we should always be focused on, and the flywheel helps us do just that. In Hubspot’s own words, “Companies that choose to use the flywheel model over the typical funnel have a huge advantage because they aren’t the only ones helping their business grow — their customers are helping them grow as well.” Now that’s something we can toast to!
Dev/Tech: AMP & PWA
We all know that the first few moments that a user spends on our pages are vital. If too many of those moments are wasted on loading, we run the risk of losing a prospect. In fact, at 40% of users drop off if a page doesn’t load in three seconds (Neil Patel, 2017). Most of us have been battling this statistic, and that number has actually decreased from 50% back in 2015. But we’ve still got a long way to go.
Apologies, dear reader, but I request a brief sidebar: In a former role, I was the sole administrator of a Live Chat platform on an eCommerce site. I have a lot of opinions about the value of chatbots in saving the sanity and lives of many, but I’ll try to reign it in. For those who know this pain, I salute you. For the rest of you - please don’t assume it’s a bot and always be kind!
ANYHOW… chatbots are at the epicenter of a moralistic debate about AI and the future of technology. With the rise of Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, we’ve started the great transition toward chatbot-based customer service. Rather than jump into the ethical trenches, we’re here to say that chatbots will continue to play a growing role in successful marketing campaigns.
In a world inundated by apps, most consumers are steering away from platforms that require app downloads to retrieve simple information. So what does that mean for marketers? Now, more than ever, we have to meet consumers where they are. We can’t just continue to ask them to download, download, download. Instead, let’s meet them where they are: in messaging apps, on social, and on the run. What’s the easiest way to do this (without staying up for 72 hours straight)? Chatbots. Chatbots mean that we marketers can sleep at night, knowing prospects are still getting the information they need even as we dream away on the other side of the city or the planet.
The key to making the most of chatbots is the same as any marketing strategy: planning. Making sure that chatbots are targeted, trained, and ready to truly help your customers can guarantee an uptick in sales and loyalty in the long term.
Tune in next week for the second half of our list, in which we wax poetic on the future of video, personalization, and Snapchat.