From AI to voice search, how new-age innovations are defining the future of digital marketing – Times of India

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CEO, Big Trunk Communications
The advent of 4G, introduction of smartphones and an increased internet penetration heralded the early signs of transition in the Indian retail ecosystem. But, even as technology changed the buying behavior of the customers, many operating firms still remained skeptical about undergoing a digital transformation.
It eventually took a global pandemic for brands to trust and truly harness the power of the internet. As lockdown protocols saw a drastic change in our way of life, the need for businesses to adapt became imperative. Struggling to entice consumers, companies realized that archaic marketing methods alone weren’t enough to facilitate growth. Thus, a greater emphasis was laid on digital marketing as an essential tool to negate challenges.
While the basic tenets (product, price, place and promotion) of marketing remain the same, the digital innovations have not only opened up more channels but also continue to change how marketers approach these decade-old principles. Today, technological advancements have gone on to become an intrinsic part of digital marketing strategies which, in turn, continues to improve the way modern-day brands market themselves.
Digital Innovations Defining Marketing
Harnessing The Power Of AI & Automation: For long, artificial intelligence has struggled to find practical application in the marketing world. But, what once looked like a science fiction has now become a science fact as new-age brands are making the most of AI technology in a wide range of marketing tasks. AI in retail is key to converting consumer data into insights which can bolster firms to position their products in the market. The modern-day brands, at the behest of AI, are automating marketing activities and using predictive analysis to identify customers who’re likely to buy certain products. The application of AI in retail is credited for creating a more convenient, personalized and enjoyable buying experience for customers. Furthermore, AI plays an integral role in helping a brand improve demand forecasting, make pricing decisions and optimize product placement. To sum it up, enterprise businesses, by harnessing the power of AI, can gain crucial insights and subsequently formulate strategies to market themselves and their products better.
Wooing Customers With Personalization: Gone were the days when using your consumer’s first name in the email was enough to make them feel valued. The modern-day customers have a very short attention span which is why companies must find ways to personalize content as part of their digital marketing strategies. By collecting customer data at every step of their buying journey, brands must promote a personalized user experience to stand apart. More importantly, marketers need to send the right message at the right time to the right audience in a bid to capture the attention of prospective buyers and retain existing customers. On the other hand, personalization goes a long way in humanizing a brand, making it more relatable. By personalizing marketing content, say a birthday mail or a thank-you note, enterprise businesses can strengthen their relationship with consumers which can be a catalyst to increased conversions.
Weaving The Magic Of Voice Search & SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has always been key in enabling brands to retain their digital presence. Creating competitive SEO strategies in a bid to rank higher allows firms to stay ahead of the latest optimization trends and stay relevant in their respective industries. But, with a growing dependence on smartphones and other mobile devices, the use of voice search has had an immense impact on digital marketing, especially SEO. Digital marketers need to understand the search intent of potential customers and optimize content for conversational keywords. Those doing voice searches don’t use short phrases to conduct fast searches as they can now interact with search engines without looking at screens or typing. That’s exactly why digital marketers need to change the way they target and optimize for keywords. Since the majority of voice searches include phrases like “near me” or “open now”, there is also a greater need to incorporate local content and optimize it for local keywords. Also, by providing valuable tips, using relevant questions, making informative lists and including stats, brands have a better chance of getting featured in the answer boxes displayed by search engines to a specific query.
Driving Engagement With AR & VR: In the ever-growing world of technological advancements, operating businesses need to keep up with new technology in order to elevate user experiences. In recent times, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have had a major impact on shopping patterns and behaviors. Thus, there is a growing need for digital marketers to incorporate AR and VR technology to enhance their storytelling strategy, making it more vivid and personal. The most common example is a 360-degree video, often used by automobile and fashion brands, which allows a firm to demonstrate the quality and look of its products in a more immersive and engaging manner. The creation of games and apps via AR and VR can also help brands in engaging customers. There is nothing like an exciting treasure hunt, where users can be asked to solve mysteries to eventually find products of a brand, to entice customers and create brand awareness.
Sprucing Up With Short Videos: Back in the day, television was the simplest and easiest medium for brands to reach as many people as possible by demanding just one look at the screen. But, times have changed. People often have the tendency of hitting the mute button whenever an advertisement appears on the TV screen. Thus, modern-day marketers need to resort to innovative solutions to engage potential customers. This is where the role of short, engaging videos comes to the fore. Arguably still the most engaging form of content; high-quality marketing videos can help brands in improving conversions. Offering versatility and shareability, short videos can allow firms to reach more people on more devices and at a perfect time. Think about all those people who are looking for short, crisp content while commuting or taking a break. With convenience and mobility at the forefront, short marketing videos have emerged as a great way to convey brand’s messages to customers in one of the most engaging manner. The likes of Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts are a classic case of how short videos are changing the way new-age marketers carry out digital operations. Furthermore, the modern-day brands are also heavily investing in influencer marketing through short videos to enhance their reach. Today, more and more firms are deploying marketing strategies with the short-video content at the helm of affairs to entice potential customers which has turned the tide in their favor.  
Summing Up
In a world, where technology continues to influence consumer behavior and buying experience, the future of marketing continues to be heavily influenced by the new and upcoming digital innovations. Whether it’s about harnessing the power of AI to automate complex tasks or using SEO tools to stay competitive, brands are molding their digital marketing strategies to accomplish business goals in a more efficient manner.
Going forward, the onus will be on modern-day marketers to build an integrated strategy with a greater emphasis on immersive, omnichannel user experiences. While they need to be wary of siloed organizational structure, if implemented carefully, marketing strategies derived from digital innovations will be critical for growth and subsequent success for new-age business owners.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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