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What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018?

What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018?

What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018?

Everyone’s asking, “What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018?” Will it be the illustrious AI, the illuminating abilities of augmented reality, or perhaps… chatbots?

With the emergence of all this new tech, marketers are left to base their budget allocation for 2018 on speculation. As a result, I am inclined to believe that without a doubt, 2018 will be somewhat of a plateau for marketing; defined by a knowledge-gap surrounding new avenues for advertising and the deteriorating value of current methods. Here’s why:

Marketing Tech in 2018

What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018?

As we await the true advent of AI, AR, VR and Mixed Reality in the mainstream, contemporary digital advertising is rolling over and dying, with search, social and display ads experiencing a gradual decline in usefulness. Gen-Y and Gen-Z hate ads, and while pervasive multichannel messaging was previously a working strategy, ads are ignored now more than ever… and expansive ad campaigns are annoying customers, damaging brands.

The savior in this scenario was and still is video, which many companies lack the capability or know-how to properly leverage. Many still refuse any attempt to enter the video realm, despite annual marketing reports for the past decade marking video as the most effective channel for sales and brand engagement. Right now, the benefits of video seem to be buffering (pun intended), with numbers stagnating as users look for something new.

As a natural side-effect of the decline in channel efficiency, marketers have turned to big data as the new god to drive vertical engagement. However, many retail marketers lack the experience and/or artificial intelligence applications necessary to make sense of this wealth of data.

Getting a Grip on AI

What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018?
This past year, we’ve seen the launch of some incredible remarketing software in ecommerce, like HiConversion and Rejoiner. Programs so powerful they can replace entire marketing teams that would typically manage the breadth of digital messaging (emails, ads, social, tracking, analytics, etc).

However… because these systems and the technology are so new, we’re combining the adoption curve with a learning curve. While marketers get a grip on machine learning Saas, I expect their true potential will be neither realized, nor their full impact felt in the market this year.

To make matters worse, today’s AI market focuses exclusively on predictive AI, which all-too-soon will be replaced with cognitive AI (Rajesh Sinha, Fulcrum Digital‘s CEO, predicts in the next two years). There’s a chance the change-over could immediately render predictive systems obsolete. On the other hand, retailers and brands can’t sit around waiting for cognitive AI, and those that do could see big-time losses (Hence the dilemma). Overall, what most of the martech world considers “AI” will soon be baked into every major software system available. What matters is how you use them.

Playing the Waiting Game & Winning

What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018?
For now, we have to keep milking the avenues we have available. Optimize performance as much as possible with regard to channel strategy and be diligent. With the current pace of innovation, you might not get a second chance.

Now is the time for companies to start looking into how AR, AI, VR, IoT and other emerging tech can reshape business alongside other digital transformation strategies. While the long-term strategy teams focus on how they will deliver value in 2020 and beyond (when these technologies are expected to have much wider reach), it’s time to bring our websites into the new age. Maximize your site and sales funnels with every possible upgrade, build out content and bulk-up ad spend while we get over this hump. Rethink your strategy for the next four years and think seriously about how you plan to invest all the new martech. If you haven’t already made significant investments in your mobile customer experience, that’s a good place to start.

Some companies will spend a little more on ads to wait this out. Others will buy into expensive (soon-to-be outdated) platforms they’ll be stuck with long after the competition moves on. Unfortunately, the largest group will likely be those who sit on their hands and refuse to innovate. These will be the losers. Instead, find out how much budget you can pack into the time between now and 2020. Focus on your omnichannel experience and unifying your brand strategies with supportive AI products you can afford (for the short term). In addition, bulk up your ad spend, get some videos or podcasts going, and settle in for the long hibernation period ahead.

Final Thoughts

So let’s review. What technology will have the biggest impact on marketing in 2018? You, the human, which should be an empowering, albeit intimidating challenge for marketers. Lastly, remember, there’s no need to be discouraged. Plateaus are part of every high-growth process…

We just happen to be crossing the Rubicon.

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your B2B E-Commerce Platform

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your B2B E-Commerce Platform

Whether your product is bottles of lemonade or festive bikinis for the summer; if you’re new to B2B e-commerce, it’s important to have a plan when selecting the best platform for your business.

The explosion of online shopping popularity projects ecommerce transactions to out-pace in-store sales in the next few years. Nielsen confirms this with research and offers up some of the browse to buy rates for goods & services. Recent trends show B2B customers seeking more of the e-commerce experience as opposed to shopping offline. So who exactly are these customers?

B2B ecommerce has several types of customers, each with their individual requirements for how they define their success. These customer types include B2B consumers (the company plans to resell the product or service to them). Other customer types include wholesalers/distributors who will sell your products and services to other B2B companies and dealers who sometimes resell the company’s product for them.

Knowing your customers, here’s a few things to consider when selecting the best e-commerce platform for your online store.

1. What are your company’s objectives for your B2B e-commerce store?

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your B2B E-Commerce Platform

  • It is important to know what you want to achieve when you’re building an e-commerce store. Choosing the platform with the best deployment method for your store will ensure your business needs and your brand objectives are supported.

2. Is the platform best for B2B e-commerce?

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your B2B E-Commerce Platform

  • The platform you choose should have documented successful experience meeting the demands of e-commerce online stores. Conduct your own research to see what similar online stores are using and if the platforms of their choice have sufficient experience to meet the demands of an e- commerce store such as a high traffic volume, search engine optimization and mobile friendliness. B2B stores operate best on an open source platform such as Magento. The demands of an online B2B store are much greater than that of a B2C. Magento software caters to this need with such benefits as bulk order management and inventory tracking across multiple warehouse locations.

3. Is the platform customizable?

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your B2B E-Commerce Platform

  • For companies like Zoetis, it was important to have an online B2B store that provides a B2C experience for their customers. Catering to the needs of veterinary professionals in over 50 countries 24/7, they needed an e-commerce platform that provided world class customer experience, met the needs of their complex business rules, featured promotions and included 40+ database feeds. The best option for them was to use the Magento Enterprise Edition to implement their online store.

4. Can you integrate any existing software into your new platform?

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your B2B E-Commerce Platform

  • Integration is very important to the success of your online store. Large businesses that are typical users of B2B e-commerce platforms understand that integration of pre-existing software such as your CRM to your back office is critical. Building an IT environment that improves company efficiency is vitally important; if your existing software does not integrate with the new e-commerce platform it will negatively impact your overall result.

5. Does the platform provide the best user experience for your customers?

5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your B2B E-Commerce Platform

  • Today’s customers expect and demand a user experience that is second to none when they visit e-commerce stores. The platform chosen for your store should provide streamlined features like one click purchasing for both software and professional training, providing an easier buyer experience. Staying up to date on how buyers utilize the internet in non B2B environments will enhance your store’s B2B experience. According to Magento, “93 percent of business-to-business buyers prefer to purchase online, with self-serve information, direct from vendors,” so an intuitive experience is key. Learn more about Magento’s B2B module here.

When choosing a B2B e-commerce platform choose a platform with a proven success rate of developing B2B e-commerce stores and can adapt to the changing needs of your company.

Here at Redstage, as a Shopify Plus Partner and Magento Enterprise Partner, we believe one of these great platforms may be the right fit for your B2B store and personally vouch for their abilities. Give us a call anytime for a free consultation on options, features and considerations for each to find the perfect platform for your business.