Marketing has rapidly evolved over the past decade. The future of marketing is likely to be defined by trends and technologies more advanced and impressive than what we are using right now. Mobile Marketing has already opened up many new possibilities and it looks like it is only the beginning of the mobile marketing explosion. Technology and consumer behavior has evolved in various ways but it centers on the customer’s experience in relation to a product or service. In fact, it extends to a brand environment that people love to talk about. Today, it is the consumer who is most influential in the world of marketing. Current trends and technologies are set to make this even more significant.
Although not a new concept, relationship marketing has grown in popularity, and this has further intensified with the arrival of mobile marketing. Robert M. Morgan explained Relationship Marketing back in 1994 in the American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing as “establishing, developing, and maintaining successful relational exchanges” between customers and brands.
Because, it is a lot more cost effective for your business to retain your existing customers than the higher marketing spend required to win new customers. Loyal customers will recommend you to new prospects, and as a result, this will reduce the cost of your marketing campaigns. When you consider the umbrella of Relationship Marketing it becomes clear that this trend is growing in credibility, and it is likely to be an essential marketing practice for the foreseeable future.
In order to develop a deep understanding of the buyer’s journey from beginning to end, marketing objectives need to be customized for every business. There is no standard plan of execution anymore. The future of lead generation looks set to become even more sophisticated than it is right now, because of the increasing emphasis on ‘lead qualification’. Just because a lead visits your website it doesn’t make them a qualified lead. The difference between qualified leads and unqualified leads is evident when we consider the difference between customers and prospects. A large majority of prospects never actually become customers. As a business, you need to determine the factors within your organization that represent both unqualified and qualified leads. For example, Hubspot Inbound Methodology defines the difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
Marketing Qualified Lead: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are those leads who are more deeply engaged in your product or service, and not just one-time web visitors. They may have subscribed to your newsletter, or downloaded your content.
Sales Qualified Lead: Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are those leads who are also deeply engaged in your product or service, and they have taken a number of actions online that indicate they are ready for a sales call. When this process is well thought out and refined, the sales rep. could potentially ‘close’ the lead and win a new customer.
By differentiating your lead types, you have greater control over your sales funnel, and more importantly, you have greater control over business revenue. The process of lead generation and lead qualification, and the technologies that influence them will only become more elaborate in the next decade.
Brand Marketing has conventionally involved purposeful storytelling. We have heard many brand stories in the traditional sense through TV, radio and print. Looking ahead, it is the method of delivery such as mobile, and the platforms of delivery such as YouTube and Vimeo which have widened the scope of Brand Marketing options. As mobile marketing captures consumers’ attention wherever they are, brands now have the opportunity to deliver in-the-moment interactive content, and real-time experiences to their audiences. Brands that are leading the mobile marketing upsurge are also leveraging location data and action-oriented behaviors. This valuable information serves to drive more in-person visits to the physical locations where their products are sold. As we’re able to capture more information about our audiences through big data and analytics, integrating personalization experiences for customers based on demographics, preferences, and interactions becomes a whole lot easier. Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays a digital world on top of the real world. Pokémon Go is a prime example, and AR is a clever brand marketing technique that is already being utilized by some of the biggest brands. In the future, it will probably become a lot more cost-effective for SME’s to jump on the AR craze bandwagon.
The future of marketing indicates a rise in the customization and personalization of the customer experience. Marketers will drive the progression of interactive content that provides consumers with greater control and flexibility to shape their experiences, and inspire their stories.