The intersection of tech and marketing is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business sectors today. It seems not a day goes by at present without a new disruptive technology coming along and revolutionizing the way in which brands – and providers of goods and services – are empowered to reach out to, and connect with, prospective customers.
Below we’re taking a look at only the most cutting edge marketing trends we’re seeing taking hold at present. Rest assured, each of these in their own ways will come to define the conversation surrounding innovative marketing in the 2020s going forward.
Augmented Reality Billboards
Augmented Reality has been around for a number of years, with most of us getting our first real taste of it by way of 2016’s mobile gaming sensation, Pokémon Go. Simply put, AR overlays digital information on top of the physical world, most commonly through our phone camera viewfinders, but also through VR and AR devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Apple’s upcoming AR headset.
Recently, we have begun to see its utility for advertising really take hold, especially with respect to live sporting events. Advertising in sports can be challenging due to the many and varied camera positions required to cover an event as it unfolds.
This often results in creative solutions, such as anamorphic projection – when a logo is painted onto a surface skewed, so that from the forced perspective of the TV camera it appears normally shaped.
The next generation solution to this is to recruit AR to do the heavy lifting. This offers a number of advantages. For one, AR can dynamically adjust the shape of the advert as the camera moves so that it always remains in legible. It also opens up the ability to have moving, 3D or changing adverts.
This tech first began to take hold in the NFL, but its most impressive implementation to date comes by way of F1. The world’s premier motorsport poses a unique challenge for advertisers as the cars typically reach speeds in excess of 200 mph.
One of the best solutions available is to collaborate with teams to place your logos within clear view of the fixed onboard cameras. This is precisely the case with popular platform PokerStars, who have renewed their partnership with leading F1 team Oracle Red Bull Racing this year. Their adverts are typically located in the center of the “halo”, a crash protection device installed above the driver cockpit.
Leading the charge of integrating AR into F1 is Zak Brown, team principal and CEO of McLaren Racing Team and head of the world’s largest motorsport marketing agency, JMI.
This year, AR billboards have begun to appear on McLaren’s cars at select races, opening up the opportunity to push high quality legible adverts to TV audiences without the risk of losing visibility.
Targeted adverts represent the single most lucrative and beneficial innovation in the marketing space over the past decade.
By leveraging data collection from leading social media platforms, and utilizing these’ services on-board tools, advertisers have been able to specifically target prospective patrons for their products.
From broad metrics such as gender, to focusing on specific niche interests, targeted advertising has had an enormous impact on facilitating businesses reaching their ideal customer.
Now, with the rise of AI, we are beginning to see this process further improve. By utilizing AI to analyze and provide intelligent contextual feedback on consumer preferences and behaviors, marketers will be empowered to hyper-target future customers with a degree of accuracy previously considered impossible.
Leveraging LLMs in Sales
The impact of increasingly capable AI is a key theme driving next generation marketing trends. Of these, LLMs (Large Language Models) such as Chat GPT-4 stand to make a significant contribution to brand outreach strategies. We have grown increasingly familiar with AI-assistant chatbots over the past few years. They have increased response time for queries and helped trouble-shooting minor problems that would be wasted on recruiting live agents to attend to. This has the added benefit of saving HR for only the tasks befitting their input.
As chatbots grow more sophisticated, we can expect to see them increasingly move into a sales role. An LLM-assisted chatbot on your website could guide a prospective customer through your checkout procedure, selecting and suggesting items or amendments along the way while consistently maneuvering to upsell on existing selections.
This could be akin to dedicating a member of staff to act as personal shopper for every individual visitor to your website.
LLM-assisted chatbots will also be able to speak with other LLMs performing a similar role in a collaborating brand. Such interoperability will result in two brands crafting bespoke deals and sales packages to unique customers, with this entire process capable of being automated.
Integrated Payment Alternatives
In 2023 there are more ways than ever to pay for items online, and brands need to ensure they keep abreast of the latest trends in payment providers in order to ensure they’re always in a position to receive funds from customers through multiple channels.
This naturally increases the percentage of sales conversions for goods and services providers, and increases convenience for consumers.
With the growing popularity of contactless payments and the use of NFC chips in smartphones, it has become increasingly commonplace for people to make payments using e-wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
Additionally, many fintech banks now offer the ability to create limited use digital cards, further accelerating the trend towards payment flexibility.
All of this is without pausing to consider the elephant in the room: cryptocurrencies. While payments using crypto remain relatively rare today, there’s no escaping the fact that the number of people using the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum to redeem ordinary purchases – where possible – is strongly trending upwards.
Controversial figure Elon Musk, who is among other things the CEO of Tesla Automotive, now offers customers the option to pay for a new vehicle using Dogecoin. While this is an outlier, and more of a publicity stunt than a tangible option, it does signal a greater willingness on the part of disruptive brands to incorporate decentralized currencies into their payment profiles.
Keeping one eye on the evolving blockchain space is crucial for brands. While NFTs have broad potential to impact a wide range of marketing approaches, it is crypto that will likely take hold in the mainstream first.