There is no denying that trends in technology move at an incredible speed. It can be mind-boggling to keep up with the ever-changing online world and ensure you stay ahead of the game. As the internet and tech introduces new ways to manage your business, it also alters the habits of your customers. Although this can bring a herd of new customers and clients to your digital door, it also increases the competition and alters how users find your products or services. Keeping up with industry trends can benefit you and your business in many ways, allowing you to make the most of them before something else comes along.
Thinking about the year ahead can help you set goals and strategies, beat the competitors, and put your best foot forward. With the arrival of 2018, I’ve researched and narrowed down five top trends set to take off this year.
1. Personalised Marketing
As technology becomes more personalised, so should your business strategy, especially in an already overcrowded market. Interactive marketing is a great way to build a community of loyal customers. One way to do this is through social media. You can reach out to your customers, encourage them to interact with you, and share their experience of your brand or service. Ask yourself what problems you can solve for your customers and the anticipated results of your service. The Internet of Things (IoT) is also set to enhance this style of marketing. By connecting our home devices to the internet, IoT reveals more information about us, which can allow campaigns to become customer specific and focus on personal solutions. Helpful or creepy?
2. Video & Live Streaming
When using social media to market your business or services, both live streaming and pre-recorded video is having the greatest impact on users. It can accurately showcase your services or products and give customers a first-hand insight into the way your company works. The trick is to create attractive and interesting content in a short time space, for consumers who are probably on a platform that already offers so much content. It has to be something that stops them mid-scroll and grabs their curiosity. Tastemade is a brilliant example of a brand that utilises both pre-recorded and live video to attract users and inspire appetites. Their live streamed Tiny Kitchen series has attracted over 3 million viewers.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is set to be another way to create personalised marketing. From customer service and conversational AI, to processing large amounts of data, it can help deliver a more customised content to each individual. You have probably come across it already whilst surfing the web in the form of ad targeting and SEO clickbait headlines. Websites will present you with ads for products you viewed, but did not purchase (sneaky) and once you’ve binged one series, Netflix will present you with another you might like. AI can be beneficial in many other ways such as digital learning. The language learning app, Duolingo, now uses Chatbots and virtual tutors power by AI to prepare learners for real-life conversations.
4. Cyber Security
A downside to personalised tech and marketing is an increased risk of cyber security. All of these devices tracking our every move, managing online transactions, and collecting our search histories is bound to make us vulnerable to hackers and security risks. Banking entirely online and our smartphones essentially becoming our wallets, is a more convenient way to manage money in an increasingly digital world, but the more of us using it, the easier it is for hackers to access information. There has never been a better time to refine your cyber security and consider the available safety measures. One of our members, David Ollerhead, is the Business Development Manager at DigitalXRAID. David recently wrote a blog post on the value of a full security assessment using both White and Black Box testing: ‘Only when bundling together White Box with rigorous Black Box testing can an organisation achieve a holistic view of its applications, networks and people, how likely it is that attackers will find them, and what it will take to fix the vulnerabilities.’
5. Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
2017 was a monumental year for cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. Both are set to grow in popularity and value as more consumers and companies get involved. The best example to use here is Colu and the launch of the Liverpool Local Pound. Colu is an Israeli-based startup who launched an app-based service with transaction records on the Bitcoin blockchain network. Put in simple terms, blockchain removes the middleman and allows one Internet user to securely transfer a unique piece of digital property (such as cryptocurrency) to another Internet user. Colu allows consumers to directly support small businesses and Liverpool’s local economy using a virtual wallet that keeps banks and extra fees out of the loop. The more people and industries who use and accept digital currencies, the more value it has for everyone who uses it.
Words by Jessica Greenall