Whether you are a Baby Boomer, a Millennial, Generation X, or any of the other LMNOP generations, it has been obvious that there has been an evolving marketing trend for consumer driven businesses. This is mostly due to the fast advance of technology in the common market place- almost everyone in the U.S., consumers and business owners alike, have the opportunity to use technology on an everyday basis. While we aren’t quite up to floating ads that follow you around (as seen in the Jetsons), we participate in a two-way feedback loop with businesses every day, even without knowing it. Whether it is done by your searches being catalogued by an artificial intelligence or by sharing a post to a friend’s wall because you think it will get a laugh, technological communication is on the rise. To adapt for this, many B2C’s have been adjusting their marketing trends for the upcoming year of tomorrow. Following are the top 4 predicted market trends for B2C in 2018.
Artificial Intelligence is a system of connected platforms and devices that can be used as a form of data collection to learn and adapt to consumer’s actions. While we aren’t quiet at the level of artificial intelligence seen in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with craving-sensing robots, our modern day AI has become more adaptable and accessible than ever, bringing the opportunity of cognitive interfaces to both business and consumers. To put it in layman’s terms, machine learning technology has become so advanced and accessible that nearly all businesses have the opportunity to use AI to their advantage. Many B2C vendors, such as Amazon and Ebay, have claimed that they have already embedded components of cognitive computing into their websites in order to create a more personalized consumer experience with the higher probability of individual purchases. AI has been giving businesses insights to what their consumers want, and will want, based on purchase history, browsing history, social media, and more. This gives businesses the ability to create a personalized experience for each individual consumer, thus increasing their ability to reach a target audience and make a sale.
Ad-itorials (also known as “native advertising”) is when material is published to look like editorial content but is actually payed for by an advertiser that is wanting to promote their services, albeit subliminally. According to Business Insider, native advertising will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021. With publications adapting to the modernity of social media (such as editorial content from magazines being accessible through Snap Chat) native advertising becomes a less obtrusive form of advertising that the consumer seeks out themselves. 2018 is sure to see a spike in native advertising content.
Visual Content Marketing
Visual content is any visual piece that is able to communicate information. According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 74% of marketers used visual assets in their 2017 social media marketing and it is expected this will show an increase in 2018. In addition to this, The Nielson Group reported that eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay closer attention to information-carrying images than pure editorial content. Expect to see an increase in infographics, live feeds, and photo based advertising in 2018.
Customer Loyalty Initiatives
With the wonderful world of the internet, consumers have the ability to pick between hundreds of different brands at the click of a button. With so many companies carrying similar products, customer loyalty has become essential amongst B2C businesses. One of the most popular ways of generating customer loyalty has been through social responsibility. A recent study done by Forbes Magazine found that 81% of millennials expect companies to go beyond generating a profit and demonstrate social responsibility. Companies such as Tom Shoes have already displayed customer loyalty efforts with their famous “One for One” campaign to donate a pair of shoes for every pair bought.
Okay, so not all market trends are “new and improved”, like artificial intelligence. But still, old tricks have new ways of evolving and becoming even more distributable to the common public- who knows, maybe Vans will instantly donate a pair of shoes via drone next time you buy a pair. Keep an eye out for these marketing trends for 2018!