For marketers in 2019, everything and nothing will change.
Ultimately, our businesses will still need to sell stuff. And that will surely be true again in 2020, even 2030, and every decade after that.
But, oh, will the how be different next year and beyond.
Rest assured, this isn’t another one of those predictions pieces that promises revolution and absolutes. No, cash won’t entirely go away in 2019. Voice won’t replace desktop or mobile search in 100 percent of the cases. Penetration of wearables won’t reach 100 percent despite increased interest in monitoring health as well as package delivery times.
Here are seven ways that emerging technology will affect how we market, sell, and live our lives.
The mobile phone and app will continue to be a linchpin and actually start to provide more information to other devices. For instance, with an iPhone and a HomePod, you can now turn on personal requests to your device. And because you don’t have to log in again, it’s a “next level of mobile device” value.
Key stat: Nearly one in five U.S. adults today have access to a smart speaker (Voicebot). You would be hard-pressed to find any study that offers a prediction of maturity in the market, or one that says that masses will stop using their smartphones. Use of both will be more prevalent in 2019 (TechCrunch).
For innovation areas such as augmented reality, brands will have success without having to go all-in. Some proof of concepts will take only one person and three days.
Key stat: Augmented reality experiences will be noticed and resonate with at least some consumers: 38 percent hope to see improved experiences in stores, while 35 percent want improved customer service based on individual needs, and another 35 percent seek improved ways to find and compare different products (GfK).
The most elaborate of experiences created for customers will only succeed if they are viewed as personal, or at least relevant.
Key stat: 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand. (Marketo)
Brick and mortar, combined with mobile and digital experiences, will differentiate. Why? It’s what pure online commerce cannot match.
Key stat: 71 percent of millennials believe a significantly enhanced retail experience would increase their in-store visits and purchases (Roth Capital).
Voice interfaces will continue to gain share, but for many products in shopping categories, many will need to see as well as hear.
Key Stat: Voice commerce alone is not enough for most consumers: 89 percent said they’d like to see the product on a screen before a voice assistant orders it (Salmon).
While virtual reality won’t go mass in 2019, brands taking measured steps forward will see value by way of earned media, social mentions, and relevant articles.
Key stat: While no one can credibly argue that VR has gone mass, efforts tied to Oculus, Magic Leap, and others have seen considerable earned media and social media focus while spending relatively little on paid media.
Machine learning will lead to happier customers if used to keep shelves stocked with desired merchandise.
Key stat: 75% of enterprises using AI and machine learning enhance customer satisfaction by more than 10% (Capgemini).
I’ll close with a couple more pieces of advice. Review your 2018 marketing playbook (you have one, right?) and take note of what went as planned and what veered at least somewhat off the mark. For all the reasons mentioned above, by no means rinse and repeat your 2018 playbook for 2019.
Finally, the model of having a playbook for a full year is increasingly foolhardy. The world is moving that fast. Create your plan, then revisit it at least every quarter and make any necessary changes.
Just as your consumers are doing with their devices and behaviors.