Marketing in recent years has evolved to embrace everything from voice search and chatbots to augmented reality, virtual reality, AI, machine learning technology, non fungible tokens, decentralised autonomous organisations, the blockchain and cryptocurrency. But with every new technology trend, brands must ask themselves the question — is this helping my end customer?

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Artificial Intelligence, AR, VR, Chatbots, the Metaverse, NFTs, livestreaming, IoT — brands have experimented with every new trend, investing millions of dollars pursuing the latest marketing or technology gimmick to drive marketing results. Businesses have emerged with questions: Does this new technology get past novelty and entertainment value to provide real value to customers and businesses? Does it change the way customers evaluate my brand? Do the sales or customer engagement justify the investment? We’re looking at three common pitfalls to avoid along the way.

The Age of Assistance: Is your technology making the brand experience more helpful?

Google research shows that being helpful has a positive impact on purchase and recommendation, yet less than one-third of brand experiences are described as helpful. The challenge we face as an industry is shifting the focus from our brand to putting the customer at the center of our strategy, and committing to measuring our marketing based on the true value our customers have on our business.
Google’s recent campaign for Search aimed to increase app usage and drive new downloads. To achieve their marketing goals, the team at Google surfaced different creatives based on where you were and what you were likely to be interested in. Experimenting with 150 variations, the ads reached more than 80 million consumers and achieved an 85% increase in app usage, which was six times more efficient than standard ads.

For marketers, the learning is simple, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using AR or VR or chatbots or NFTs. We need better data on what consumers need, and find a way to use this data to create a personalised brand experience that’s actually helpful to end customers.

Loyalty, not views: Is your new marketing tech focused on improving loyalty, not views?

For modern marketers enticed by the promise of big numbers — millions if not billions of views, more engagement begs the question — does any of this result in more business? Recent experiments from publishers, especially when it came to video proved that millions of views didn’t always translate to new business. Viral content that hit all the metrics for optimisation, with billions of people consuming videos, often had negligible impact on actual conversions for the brand.

Recovering from the pressure of creating endless SEO-optimised content for bots, not people, news bigwigs like NBC and MSNBC have shifted focus to creating better content — whether or not the social algorithm likes it. Building for loyalty and engagement is not an easy road, nor a short one. But they’ve committed to a strategy of doing what they believe is important in the long-run, to build audience loyalty. For companies this means committing drive and resources to dream big and think longer term. The pursuit of loyalty as the foundation for building and scaling a good business, and create engagement for every potential customer.

The Age of Martech: Is your technology chasing the wrong data or shiny objects?

Martech is a $122 billion industry that’s growing by 22% year over year; 70% of CMOs are increasing their investments in it. The industry is overwhelmed by a bevy of marketing companies selling new technology to understand their customers better or to create user profiles or generate new leads, or platforms to extract customer insights. Before jumping on the bandwagon, brands must consider whether the data or answers that emerge from new technologies actually alter their decisions? And if so, whether the benefits exceed the cost of implementing new technologies? The shiny new object syndrome impacts businesses that sign on for new intriguing third-party technology, regardless of whether those tools will resolve brand challenges. From new customer segmentation applications (commonly called customer profiles or personas), machine learning and AI tools, performance can vary widely across uses, industries, and even time, making the actual results hard to quantify.

In the age of over-saturated social media, experience suggests that for any new tech-based marketing initiative, brands that shift focus towards creating a helpful, loyalty-driven experience along with the organisational structure to deploy and nurture their campaign from idea to fruition are likely to deliver more lasting impact.

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