Global Marketing Trends: Constant Connections

Technologies powered by artificial intelligence will make customers’ lives—and their ability to spend— easier than ever before.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will really come to the fore in 2019 and be embraced by both small businesses and large enterprises that are keen to improve efficiency, increase productivity and boost customer satisfaction.

Deloitte has announced that, by the end of 2016, 80% of the world’s largest companies had incorporated some kind of cognitive technology into their products. And where AI has really thrived is in the Internet of Things (IoT), which is expanding rapidly – according to Statistica, there will be almost 80 billion connected devices globally by 2025.

This technology has gained massive traction in areas such as healthcare, banking, retail manufacturing and consumer goods, and as a result businesses all over the world are looking for possible applications of IoT. After all, smart objects give major industries the vital data they need to track inventory, manage machines, increase efficiency, save costs and—potentially—save lives.

Industry gets smart with IoT tech

Healthcare—portable health monitoring and electronic record-keeping. In addition, the logical next step in drug supply chain management will be to improve pharmaceutical safeguards by embedding track-and-trace technology into the medication itself.

Manufacturing—real-time analytics of supply chains, equipment that can report when a part needs replacing and automatically schedule a service to carry out repairs, robotic machinery.

Retail—seamless smartphone purchasing and the ability to deep- dive into the analytics of consumer choices. Smart mirrors that allow customers to virtually ‘try on’ clothing and RFID solutions to track inventory as it moves through the supply chain.

Proactive Purchasing

It sounds like something from a sci-fi film, but it’s actually a reality that more and more people are experiencing on a daily basis. The washing machine asks your voice- activated assistant to order more detergent when it knows you are about to run out, you turn on your heating via a smartphone app so that the house is warm when you get home from work, you check you locked the door to your office via a remote security system and a smart feeder ensures your four-legged friend has something to eat, even if you are running late.

And it’s not just phones and homes that are getting smarter— it’s estimated that by 2022 nearly 90% of new cars will offer voice- recognition capabilities, allowing drivers to check the contents of their fridge while sitting behind the wheel.

The IoT is all about automating everyday tasks and making things easier and more efficient. And that’s great when it comes to ensuring brand loyalty and repeat custom.

Thanks to integrated payment methods and virtual assistants that know a customer’s shopping history, items can be repurchased in an instant—for example, with Amazon Dash customers can reorder certain items at the touch of a button.

The trend for automatic replenishment is catching on. Late last year, Walmart announced plans to open an Intelligent Retail Lab in one of its New York stores. The idea is that the AI-powered lab keeps track of stock levels, identifies when a product has been placed on the wrong shelf and spots spills as and when they occur—the company already has a similar system in place at it some of its warehouses.

Getting to Know You

The proliferation of IoT-enabled and smart devices means that 1.7 megabytes of new information will be generated every second for every person on earth by 2020, and AI can ensure that data is interrogated, not wasted.

Understanding consumer behaviour is the key to effectively tailoring marketing campaigns to people’s needs. What products do they interact with? When do they make purchases? What kind of content do they access and where are they when they perform voice searches? AI has the answers— by combing through masses of data and gleaning valuable insights. Those insights can then be used to target audiences with increased precision and efficiency. Put simply, the more data, the more personalised the customer experience. And with the smart clothes and wearables devices markets set to grow at an exponential rate, there are even more opportunities to gather information.

Businesses looking to get the most out of the IoT can use smart algorithms to analyse the real-time performance of campaigns and carry out automated A/B testing — all the while looking for ways to improve and optimise their targeted marketing messages. AI can also help businesses reap internal benefits—for example, by automating digital and physical tasks such as administrative and financial activities.

However, privacy will be a cause for concern, especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it will be interesting to see how IoT devices and the data they gather will be regulated in the future.

IoT + AI = Marketing Magic

Businesses looking to get the most out of the IoT can use smart algorithms to analyse the real-time performance of campaigns and carry out automated A/B testing— all the while looking for ways to improve and optimise their marketing messages.

However, privacy will be a cause for concern, especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it will be interesting to see how IoT devices and the data they gather will be regulated in the future.

To find out more, download our full Global Marketing Report 2019 here.

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Hannah Anast
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