According to market experts, the digital landscape is shifting dramatically. Research by Forrester indicates that professional services may see 49% of their revenue coming through digital channels or products by 2020. And according to the third edition of Digital Australia: State of the Nation, the Australian consumer base is already a ripe landscape for these coming changes. Their report states that 88% of Australians own a smartphone and 35% own a smart TV — both figures up by 7 and 6 percentage points respectively. Additionally, 35% of Australians conduct online research for a product even while they are in store, and 40% of customers would abandon businesses that don’t offer a quality digital experience. However, with all this growth and optimism comes concern: 64% of respondents were worried about their privacy and corporations’ use of their personal information and digital behaviour and 22% think they spend too much on digital technologies. There is much to be concerned about.
The digital future is an earthquake that will change everything
The next 5 years will see huge changes across the world, as new and existing technologies become more powerful, affordable and widespread. These are some of the major disruptions to the digital landscape:
1- Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things and wearables
These new technologies — as well as other conversational interfaces — mean that everything around us could be digitised. We’ve already spoken about how VR and AR are changing the property game, but a world in which everything can be viewed, explored or accessed is one with monumental opportunity for digital sales and services. Imagine being able to access and buy any service, anywhere, and neither time nor distance was an obstacle?
2- Product as a service, APIs, Open Source and microservices
This is an interesting schism. One the one hand, companies are increasingly pursuing customisable products linked to constant company updates and service. Gone are the days of using a standalone word processor program; instead, companies are shifting to subscription models that allow users to have a frequently patched suite of programs that cater to varied needs. But on the other hand, Application Programmer Interfaces (API) and Open Source technology are threatening the monopoly of closed or monolithic software. Customers don’t want segmented experiences with no control over the services they use. APIs and Open Source modifications are increasingly empowering consumers to create useful applications that go beyond the scope of the companies that found them. Whichever camp you find yourself in, it’s clear that traditional ways of doing things are set for a bumpy ride.
3- Digital transformation revolutionises contemporary marketing
Dedicated marketing departments that have no involvement in other departments are becoming a thing of the past. Instead, everything about a company falls under the far-reaching umbrella of “customer experience”. Customers, whether in-store or online, no longer see divisions between a company’s services, its social media presence and its on-site staff. Instead, it’s all combined under one collective banner. Companies that fail to adopt a strong and consistent message across their business identity and policies will suffer in a world where your services are perceived in light of your latest Tweets.
4- Artificial intelligence and new online tools
Blockchain technology has created millionaires worldwide; at the same time, smarter AI, chat programs and bots that ease repetitive or tiresome tasks (such as the bot that has helped 160 000 people fight unpaid parking fines) are revolutionising long-established industries. This level of technological advancement is only set to continue. Thus, future business will be able to offer increasingly complex services, or fully automate once-high-end services. Even the most basic chat bots now — through neural nets and machine learning — could soon be indistinguishable from outsourced human customer support agents.
5 – Vertical competition is surpassing horizontal competition.
Here’s a scary fact: in 2017, 63.1% of all advertising in the US was spent on Google and Facebook. Even in Australia, conservative estimates put this duopoly’s market share at 40% of the $7.6 billion advertising industry. As tech companies extend their reach through their acquisitions of platforms like YouTube and Instagram, and more people get connected, we are seeing the emergence of effective monopolies where instead of competing against rival companies, you compete up a ladder. At the same time, an erosion of Net Neutrality in the US indicates a scary future where traffic could be driven through and by preferred providers. For example, a customer with a data provider plan with Verizon might be forced to use Yahoo as their default search engine, as Verizon owns it. Both of these developments signal a fundamental shift in how companies in this hierarchy have to compete for attention and value.
Making digital disruption work for you
Despite these disruptions, a world of opportunity awaits those who employ smart digital marketing strategies to cope with the coming changes. While there are many strategies to choose from, it all boils down to two things: generating leads and acquiring new customers.
At the very foundation of digital marketing is content. Companies need to stay relevant. By producing articles about contemporary issues facing your industry, you’re able to demonstrate your awareness of current challenges and proactively address them. Coupled with a funnel marketing design and a Customer Relationship Management tool, this approach can both widen your active audience and generate strong client leads from your followers.
Content is nothing if it blends into the internet noise, however. Whatever you produce, it should be highly specialised or display industry expertise and show how much better equipped you are than your competitors to deal with niche issues. However, a common pitfall in media strategies is resistance to new technology or different media formats, such as video, mobile applications or purely entertaining content. While these may lack the ‘staunch professionalism’ that some businesses crave, changes to online advertising standards and Google’s ad specifications mean that highly engaging and personalised content lends a far keener edge than dry fact sheets.
We at Inboda know how the coming disruptions are going to change the ways we do business on a fundamental level. If you fail to prepare for the future, you’re preparing to fail. That’s why we specialise in proactive digital marketing, strategic inbounding marketing and client-specific solutions that ensure that you’ll not just survive, but thrive when the digital tsunami hits.
If you want to find out how Inboda’s unique brand of digital marketing and creative solutions will fully equip you to survive whatever comes your way, sign up now for a free, no-commitment assessment.