Current Trends and Predictions in Interactive Marketing
The rate of change in interactive marketing is astounding. And there's certainly plenty more change on the horizon. Here are some current trends and predictions on how this industry will change over the next few years:
Convergence of online and offline information.
Marketers will find more ways to easily converge online and offline data. This trend can be attributed to the following:
- Growth of mobile. Mobile devices will help marketers attain a single relationship with each customer, and mobile marketing’s unique customer numbers will ease the linking of interactions for a single customer view.
- Consolidation of data. Marketing analytics processes will be based on the centralized storage of website traffic data, social conversation history, e-commerce transactions and offline CRM repositories. Marketing technology service providers may need to support all of these functions in order to thrive.
- Synchronization of marketing. In an effort to synchronize offline/online marketing and customer conversations, some marketers will attempt to develop their own internal versions of marketing/advertising/PR agencies. One of their largest obstacles will be dealing with the detailed nature and immediacy of modern media acquisition.
Impact of search automation
The automation of search eventually will replace human intervention in search optimization with the following:
- tools that reduce labor by continually monitoring and optimizing pay-per-click performance; and
- tools that optimize organic search by providing suggested keywords, referral links, etc.
Downloaded mobile applications
There will be fluctuations in the growth of downloaded applications for mobile devices for the following reasons:
- an increase in the number of smartphones;
- the reduced cost of mobile applications created on new software development platforms that support multiple mobile operating systems;
- higher wireless coverage availability, causing less need for offline applications to achieve 100 percent application uptime;
- common applications being gradually integrated into mobile operating systems; and
- consumer frustration with the need to “maintain” mobile devices each time an application is updated.
Targeted display ads
We’ll see some resurgence in all forms of interactive display advertising due to advances in behavioral, demographic and day part targeting. Yet in the near future, the performance of display advertising will typically not compare to that of search engine marketing.
Personalized consumer privacy
Our industry will have an increased need to target consumers based on their unique values in the privacy versus personalization continuum. Most consumers don’t have a black and white view; instead, they desire high privacy in some personal matters and high personalization elsewhere. Most importantly, each consumer has unique expectations, and we’ll need standardized industry methods to support these individual expectations, including self-managed user profiles.
Consolidation of inbox technologies
Consumers will seek consolidation via technology-oriented tools such as Yahoo Mail and socially-oriented tools such as Facebook Connect or “Sign in with Twitter." Either way, we’ll see consumers try to manage fewer interfaces. This means that extraneous marketing feeds, such as RSS, will be viewed through multipurpose inbox tools in the future. We may even see consumers replace their RSS feeds with opt-in emails after they focus on using filters to manage single inbox locations.
Widgets for the elderly
Social enabling tools will help the elderly bridge the gap between PC and mobile experiences on smartphones. If this doesn’t occur, limitations in manual dexterity and farsightedness will be constant obstacles for the elderly's adoption of advanced mobile devices. To overcome these obstacles, we’ll see more voice translation options, simplified user input and visual enhancement widgets.
The role of corporate community managers in social media will continue to evolve on the fly. Some companies — and their legal counsels — will trust “anyone but their own employees” and outsource this function. High-end call-center operations will attempt to cost effectively fill this niche. Engagement management tools such as Radian6 could even include automated “response suggestion” engines in order to reduce labor expenses.