With audiences around the world getting smarter and smarter, and less prone to be taken in by spurious advertising, the marketing community had to resort to a newer and more effective ways of conducting their business. Gone are the days when you needed to spend a good amount of your time and money on surveys and market research firms.

At present, marketing is increasingly coming under the influence of social media, automated advertising technology and audience analytics, and any brand that wants to be at the top of its game, must necessarily incorporate these invaluable tools into their marketing strategy.

This year, what are some of the latest marketing trends that you can use to your advantage? Here is a list:

Virtual Reality Marketing

Virtual Reality or VR technologies are not only here to stay, they are also certain to occupy an increasingly larger marketing space in the years to come. That is why 75% of the world’s top brands have already opted for VR marketing as a way of coming closer to their audiences by immersing them in a three-dimensional environment.

It is estimated that, by the year 2020, the number of VR headsets sold will reach a staggering 82 million.

Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM)

Optimizing sales requires engaging in exercises such as targeting potential consumers, getting an insight into their behavior patterns and persuading them to buy the product or products in question. The entire process can be made simpler and faster through the use of AI.

In fact, AI is one of the chief ways through which companies can keep pace with the continuously growing demands and expectations of consumers. According to a Salesforce survey, 51% of marketers are already using the technology, and another 27% are scheduled to incorporate it in 2019.

Voice Search

When, in 2014, Google introduced Voice Search, it was perceived to have more of a novelty than a utilitarian value. However, with the improvement of speech recognition technology, times have rapidly changed. Today, 41% of adults and 55% of teenagers use Voice Search every day, and 25% of all Windows 10 desktop searches are made by voice. In other words, Voice Search’s popularity is clearly on the rise.

Beyond doubt, then, it is a technology that enterprising marketers can use greatly to their advantage. One thing that they need to ensure, though, is that the voice providers – whether Google or Microsoft or Apple – are equipped with correct and updated information about their businesses.

Influencer Marketing

A recent study among marketers revealed that 94% of them believed that influencer marketing was a strategy worth pursuing. That’s hardly surprising, considering that, in 2017; influencers played a prominent role in helping brands sell their products and services.

Though highly effective, this form of marketing initially came under legal scrutiny when many influencers created YouTube videos, Instagram posts and the like without disclosing that they were being financially compensated for the promotion. The trick is simply to put #ad or # sponsored in their posts. Other platforms where influencers have been active include Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Interactive Content

In a study, more than 90% of consumers expressed their wish to have more visual and interactive content, and the fact that a recent BuzzFeed quiz contest got more than 22 million views is indicative of the sheer enthusiasm that this kind of marketing can generate. By making participants the potential customers and having them test themselves or compete, interactive content has the capacity to convey information faster and achieve quicker results – so much so that many marketers consider interactive marketing as the future of content.

Honesty

A video from the 2013 Internet Explorer campaign opens with a voice-over saying, “You may not remember us.” This was reflective of the multinational’s sharp and dramatic decline in market share over the past decade, but by acknowledging its shortcomings and following it up with an optimistic vision of its future, it succeeded in creating an image of honesty, trustworthiness and positive intent that would stand it in good stead in times to come.

Traditionally, business houses have not always been associated with fair practices, but, increasingly, honesty is becoming a factor that counts for much in any company’s marketing strategy. After all, effective marketing is all about establishing a firm relationship with your customer, and any good relationship has necessarily to be built on a foundation of trust. Needless to say, there can be no trust without transparency and honesty.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content, images, videos, text and audio that users post on online platforms, is a prime example of the democratization of content production. Thanks to the digital revolution, people now love to share more than they ever did before, and what their family, friends and peers have to say about a particular product plays a vital role in the decisions they themselves finally make regarding it.

If you are a marketer, UGC provides you with a wonderful opportunity to let your customers promote your brand and services for you. A recent survey shows that 60% of people hold that UGC is the most authentic form of content.

Consumer Education

Companies that have no competition may not find it difficult to convince people about the benefits of their products, but those who do not have this advantage may face a hard time explaining why consumers should buy what they are selling. A webpage that is exclusively about the features of a product may not carry conviction; it is important to address the problems that that product will solve. At the same time, content should be easy to understand and locate.

Conclusion

The marketing landscape is an ever-changing one, and what new technologies might enter the scene tomorrow, or how audience tastes might change over the next few years, is  anybody’s guess. But where the year 2019 is concerned, there can be little doubt that implementing the marketing strategies outlined above will pay rich dividends.