By Sachin Karweer, Business Head, Hinduja Global Solutions Interactive (HGSi)
The digital space this year has witnessed a great number of mega trends, making it an excitable time to be a part of the industry. The internet won over the world of business globally, and customer experience established it self as the basis of digital marketing. Since technology is evolving at break neck speeds,its critical to identify areas of growth and opportunities, changing needs,trends and most importantly, to progress and keep up with the ever-changing tech ecosystem.
The Importance of Omni- Channel Marketing:
Omni-Channel CRM is one of the most essential trends and the centre of all marketing activities. It provides a holistic overview of all communications across a brands multitude of channels, both online and offline. This is all done in real-time so a customer is never more than a click away from reaching out to a business. This is why its critical that retailers provide these channels as these interactions and feed back can be a mine of wealth for any brand.
The end goal is to deliver a seamless customer experience across channels.12 Indian companies transacted $1.31 billion and grew 75.6 percent in 2015, making it the fastest growing market in Asia Pacific, according to Asia 500.By 2018, the Indian retail sector is likely to grow at a CAGR of 13 percent to reach $950 billion.
Account Based Marketing:
ABM is a strategic approach at coordinating personalized marketing and sales efforts across an organization. 92 percent of B2B marketers world wide consider ABM extremely important to their over all marketing efforts. Its now a popular marketing method, thanks to bloggers, vendors and market research firms, who are making it easier for companies to find potential clients. I believe that ABM will definitely be among the three top trends, along with Digital CRM in the coming year.
VR Takes Centre Stage:
This year, virtual experiences were in the lime light with the biggest tech companies focusing on it. I expect that it will impact digital marketing in a huge way, through tours,virtual shopping,demos, advertising and more.
In India, VR investment rose by 85 percent in the first half of 2016. Googles accessible VR Cardboard dominated and there was huge surge in VR apps. Sony launched its VR head set and Samsung witnessed a growth in its sales by packaging their Gear VR free with their flagship devices.
TATA Motors launched a new car with VR. The IPL 'Pune Super giants' shot their practice session using VR last year.
Internationally, companies like Mind Maze took VR into the health sector, offering VR for stroke patients.
Gaming Welcomes Augmented Reality:
Pokémon Go was not the first game to foray into AR, but was a huge hit in 2016, with Ingress and Geocaching already achieving gaming success.
In merely three months of its launch, Pokémon Go was down loaded over 500 million times globally, making an estimated $600 million.
Accelerating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)Innovation:
Several industries associated with Customer Service, e-Commerce and Finance made wide use of AI and ML. IBM Watson opened up Blue mix and with a bunch of ready to use APIs from Watson, Cognitive Learning became popular. According to Gartner, around 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed with out a human by 2020. This does not look too good for lower end BPO jobs and Indias service providers need to up grade skills across their workforce to face the job challenges put forth by Thailand, China and other APAC countries.
The Rise of Self-Serve and Chat Bots:
Several companies engaged customers with self-service; a few examples are Facebook’s Messenger, Slack and Googles Allo. Chat bots were also noted as an area of growing interest in customer service. AI helps businesses to better serve their customers online - especially where cost to serve initiatives have taken precedence.
The Growth of Programmatic Advertising:
Programmatic media buying is a steadily growing trend here. It has embraced automated tech, enhancing the future of online advertising. How ever its a double edged sword with massive chances of ad fraud. According to the WFA its believed that by 2025, click fraud will cross $50 billion.
Finance Meets Technology in India:
Fin Tech is rapidly growing in the IFS sector. Pioneers already saw impressive numbers with Paytm crossing a user-base of 122 million last year. Fin tech skyrocketed owing to demonetization, resulting in a five-fold increase in Paytm's over all traffic. Mobi Kwik saw a 40+ percent increase in downloads in less than 18 hours of demonetization.
Content is Still King:
The previous year saw a few content marketing trends, like an increase in interactive content and a decline of social media organic reach. For example, Facebook admitted that organic reach of brand posts were falling short, unless they paid for advertising.
In the U.S., it was consistent messaging and content relevancy that allegedly tilted the vote bank towards Donald Trump, as ‘Make America Great Again’s truck a chord with the audience. The current trend of ‘fake news’is a double edged sword and needs to be handled sensitively to avoid censorship.
Snapchat – Leaving a Lasting Impression:
Snap chat has evolved and how. Today, it boasts massive brands like Coca Cola, Mc Donalds, mega-celebrities and even the White House. Currently, it has a user base of 150 million daily active users and played a huge role in the 2016 U.S.elections with both candidates buying ads in six-figures.
To conclude its essential that we stay ahead of the curve as no doubt,these trends will continue to evolve and give rise to the next mega trends of tomorrow.