These trends tend to impact on bigger brands in the consumer world first - but here's how companies in the business to business arena could learn and benefit from these predictions.

 
 

2018 digital trends - and the SME

If you attended the Buy Yorkshire business event in Leeds this month you may have heard the digital trends presentation by global marketing agency Ogilvy.

These trends tend to impact on bigger brands in the consumer world first - but it got us thinking about how smaller companies in the business to business arena could learn and benefit from these predictions.
Here's what we think

The five trends are:
  1. Augmented reality gets real
  2. The end of typing
  3. The tragedy of the commons in influencer marketing
  4. The Amazon Awakening
  5. Seriously Serious
Augmented reality gets real
Augmented reality has been around for some time but the technology is now more accessible to make this into a growing opportunity for small businesses.

Augmented reality is a way to use existing technology, like mobile devices and headsets, to augment elements of our real-world environments. (This is different from virtual reality technology, which replaces the real world with a simulated one).

The user looks at his or her real-life surroundings through the lens of a device like a smartphone, and that device adds computer-generated sensory input like sounds, videos, or graphics to add to the experience.

For example, a small business could give customers a virtual tour of their factory or showroom without stepping foot out of the office, allowing those customers a more comprehensive view than what they'd get from static photos on a computer screen. It’s also a great way to deliver training or educational messages.

The end of typing
ComScore says that 50% of searches will be done by voice by 2020. More people are using voice assistants, both on smartphones and on dedicated speaker units such as Amazon Echo, Google Home and Cortana.  The technology is becoming more accurate and is being embraced by users who prefer to talk rather than type.

Have you tested what happens when you search for your business by voice, or search for some of the common issues surrounding your product or service? This puts a whole new angle on SEO, SEM and website content – and it will be worth your while taking voice search into consideration now rather than later.

The tragedy of the commons in influencer marketing
The message here is to be authentic and co-create with influencer marketers such as bloggers and celebrities – make sure they have an affinity with your brand, rather then having a purely paid-for and contractual relationship. This way it will be more believable to your customers. A great example is our own interaction this month between York City Knights and York Mind http://www.partners-group.co.uk/News/News-Page/News/A-knight-to-remember where a sports team that places high value on physical and mental health-being could genuinely support a mental health charity that shared its values.

The Amazon Awakening
“Amazon will be the most important emerging platform for digital advertising in 2018”.  If you’re not selling on Amazon at the moment, then this won’t affect you. But you should know that Amazon is setting out to challenge Google and Facebook, and take some of their advertising market; so, it’s a channel you may wish to consider in the future.

Seriously Serious
The 2018 Digital Trends report was put together before the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data scandal. So it’s interesting that the threat to data security mainly via ransomware attacks and hacking is on the list. And more importantly the need for greater legislation and security, which is certainly evident with the introduction of GDPR.  There is also more pressure on social media channels to crack down on fake news.

For small businesses GDPR may seem burdensome but we’d suggest you see it as a marketing opportunity to really engage with customers, listen to their needs and respond with creativity and passion.
 
See the full 2018 Digital Trends presentation here.
 
 
    
 
The Partners Group

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