Technology is constantly changing how we communicate and has brought new and innovative opportunities to engage with customers.

But it has also brought problems of over-targeting and over-frequency. Today’s consumers are bombarded with marketing messages across a multitude of channels and there’s little suggestion these volumes will be reduced as we move into the next decade

This blizzard of messages sent globally every day includes:

  • 293 billion emails
  • 23 billion text messages
  • 65 billion WhatsApp messages

Not to mention the plethora of messages delivered over longer-established channels. There’s even been research into ‘adverts in space’ in the past year – which could eclipse any billboard seen on earth.

1. AN EMPHASIS ON LONG-TERM BRAND BUILDING

As a result digital ad-spend has soared over the last two-decades, with the latest predictions from GroupM showing that digital will account for 66% spent on advertising in 2020 - rising to 73% by 2024.

But brands are aware of the downside of over-investment in digital. The global media director of Adidas recently admitted the brand had put too much emphasis on “efficiency rather than effectiveness”, which led it to over-focus on ROI and over-invest in performance and digital at the expense of long-term brand building.

2. PROVIDING A GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Customer experience is everything. How it feels to use your product, the way customer service teams respond, the actual content within messages and every channel you use to communicate. Every touchpoint with which your customers interact shapes their perception of your brand.

This is nothing new. But as digital channels and platforms have proliferated and helped transform business models – from taxis to banking – customer expectations have risen and the need to provide an optimal customer experience has become a global phenomenon. Spend on enhancing the customer experience has increased by 50% since 2015.

According to research, customer experience is set to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator for consumers. With this in mind, marketers should ensure every marketing interaction adds value – or creates a sense of being valued.

3. CRACKING DATA PRIVACY AND TRUST

The rising anxiety over ‘fake news’, combined with marketing that makes over-claims and irrelevant, over-frequent and ill-targeted messages, serves to undermine consumer trust.

According to a report 70% of UK consumers are uncomfortable with how brands use their data. Regaining trust and maintaining credibility should be of paramount importance to brands and marketers.

In 2020 we’ll see a key focus on trust as brands recognise that they need to respect the privacy of consumers and ensure that they are authentic. Communications that consumers perceive as untrustworthy are likely to be ignored – while GDPR means that brands could face damaging fines or reputational damage for inappropriate targeting.

4. A MOVE TO MORE CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS

Conscious consumerism will be a dominant theme for brands in 2020, symbolised by the high media profile of campaigners.

Research is starting to show that consumers will reward brands for taking positive action on their environmental footprints - and we can see how brands are taking notice.

For many years now, we’ve been told by a variety of businesses; banks, utility companies and telco providers to “Go paperless, save trees”, and your company email signature might be accompanied by the line, "Please consider the environment before printing this email.“ It’s all well-intentioned, but is it really that simple?

In short, no. We all rely upon both print and digital products in our everyday lives - but it’s important to remember that digital media still relies on energy to power it. Media decision-makers need all the facts and to think about consumer perception.

Constant change driven by technology effects both marketer and consumer behaviours. Consumers are more conscious of their privacy and the environment than ever before – whilst marketers are increasingly aware of the importance of leveraging emotion and ensuring the right balance is found between long- and short-term brand building. As we move into a new decade of communication, having a clear understanding of the defining trends in technology and society is critical to delivering success.

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