There are no shortage of articles on the Top Marketing Trends for 2018 and most of them are, in my opinion, pretty bang on. But what do these changes mean for you, the marketer? Is automation going to put you out of a job, will you need to learn some new skills, or will you be able to coast through 2018 unscathed?
The Rise of Automation
More and more of your platforms are being automated and you might not even realize it. AdWords, I’m looking at you on this one. To keep doing a great job in your role, you will need to make sure you keep up-to-date with platform innovations so you know exactly what is being automated by each platform and can manage them appropriately. Follow the platforms you use on social media and read their blogs on the regular so you know all of their automated feature releases.
More Conversational Interpretation
Google searches have increased in length and one of the key reasons is the rise in voice searches. People are lazy readers, lazy typers, but when it comes to talking we just. won't. stop. Forbes recently had an article on this discussing search queries on voice search vs typed searches. The real key here isn't just that Google, Alexa, Siri and other voice searches are transcribing your search terms into long keyword search strings, they're also trying to interpret what you say to what you really mean (your intent). Search engines, AI, bots and other tools have made incredible advancements in taking your conversations and deciphering your search intent.
Voice Searches Increase
The big search stat in 2016 was that voice search is 20% of all mobile searches. 2018 will blow that out of the water. As mentioned above 👆 the key to voice search is to think about the conversation—what questions are people asking their devices?
Facebook is Listening to You
It's a bit unnerving when Facebook starts showing you ads for things you've only ever discussed in a face-to-face conversation and the fact that so many people are freaked out about Facebook's spot-on targeting should have your attention. Facebook ads can be targeted to an unnerving degree and if you are developing your buyer personas and know your audience well, you too can super creepy and uncomfortably personal ads. Run some tests, do some micro-targeting, and see how close to the line you can get to drive conversions without making people uneasy.
I should mention here that the official stance is that Facebook probably isn't listening to you, but the amount of personal information people share on Facebook and through all their apps makes it easy for advertisers to target very granularly.
Everybody is Listening to You
Your call may be recorded for quality assurance, and for keyword analysis and lead scoring. There are many great tools that can do the conversational interpretation of your sales and support calls which can provide you with a great amount of data (we use CallRail). This data is incredibly valuable to your internal team and you should be using it.
Chatbots, Messenger Bots, Shopping Bots, etc.
Chatbots are changing sales, marketing and customer service in a big way. Social Media Examiner has a great article on some of them here and you've probably already interacted with them in your own day-to-day. In fact, some of the best customer service you've recently received online was likely down to a chatbot.
You'll Use Facebook Differently
That sweet organic reach you've worked hard to cultivate is now less accessible and Facebook feels more and more like a pay-to-play platform for brands. However, the ability to integrate Facebook Messenger into your website as a chat function offers a new way to leverage website chat functionality, messenger bots, and to further engage with your social media audience outside of the platform. You can also take it to the next level and re-market to your Facebook Messenger audience.
How Your Marketing Job Will Change
Assuming that people are going to find your site from a keyword search, then browse your site to find the information they are looking for, and then emailing/filling out a form/or waiting for your business hours to call you is naive. Your audience is going to find you through a myriad of ways (voice search included) and they'll want to cut to the chase and message you for a quick response. Your job is to be ready for them.