As marketing technology continues to rapidly evolve, so must marketers stay on top of the trends to keep up with their competition.
That’s especially true for those whose work involves tracking calls and evaluating the related data, as a number of influencers are boosting the sophistication, effectiveness and variety of tools used for such functions. Analysts predict, for example, that ROI will become even more closely tracked within PPC campaigns after marketers combine their proprietary data with more widely available third-party data to understand their customers even better.
“Thanks to software that can report and consolidate the everyday deluge of data points, 2017 will likely be the year digital marketing data collection finally comes into its own,” writes Matt Mansfield on news site Shift.newco.co, pointing to predictions of more marketing spend in that regard.
A few other advancements slated to affect the call tracking industry this year:
*Optimization of AI, chatbots and voice assistance to replace human tasks: As the number of channels, tools and data used in such marketing efforts continues to spiral, automation will become increasingly crucial to assembling information into meaningful forms within manageable time frames. That’s where robotics and AI step up. For example, chatbots combine AI and machine learning to create the real-time personalization and highly targeted offers increasingly expected by consumers. And consider how voice-assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo allow users to effortlessly stream music and control household devices.
*More use of FaceTime and Android video calls to close sales and optimize customer service. Marketers are increasingly aware that phone calls convert 10 to 15 times more often than online leads, and with skyrocketing use of mobile devices, live face time via video is the next natural step. Certain customers consistently prefer talking to a human being rather than a machine, and FaceTime is a great compromise in this digital age. “It’s those face-to-face meetings that foster trust and lead to solid, long-term relationships and partnerships, some of the most important factors to growing any business,” writes Katherine Duncan in Entrepreneur. She points to a Constant Contact survey in which 48 percent of respondents named meetings as the most effective driver of business, surpassing websites and emails.
*Optimization of the cloud to include predictive analytics and automation: The cloud will continue to help marketers consolidate all their data and review insights and results across the entire customer lifecycle. Gartner expects overall adoption of the cloud to hit $250 billion this year.
*Increased use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to promote brands: Many consumers are still unfamiliar with these technologies, and many marketers are only now realizing their capabilities. VR (a term sometimes used to encompass AR as well) allows the user a simulated physical presence so he can take certain actions within the real world or imaginary world, often via a head-mounted display. McDonald’s made news last year when it served up Happy Meal boxes that could turn into virtual reality headsets. AR gained notoriety through Pokemon Go; in simple terms, it allows the user to collect environmental information in real time via sound, video or graphics, then augments that input with computer-generated data to create new results. For example, a user might point a camera at a book to instantly translate a passage into another language or perhaps solve a written math problem. The virtual reality market is expected to grow from $1.37 billion in 2015 to $33.9 billion by 2022, according to researcher Markets and Markets.
“(VR) is where the industry is getting excited right now,” advises a recent article from U.K.-based tech company The Foundry. “The market here is hot, hot, hot and the media is full of news about launches. Second only to excitement about headsets is excitement about cameras. Similarly, augmented reality is also on the rise, with the immersive technology enabling anyone with a smartphone to take part in new branded experiences.”
*More live streaming on social media: While few consumers now watch live-streaming commercials, analysts say the http://intranet.brandpoint.com/ara.adminsite/ItemCalendar.aspxpopularity of Facebook Live and other channels will soon prompt marketers to pay more attention. EMarketer determined in August that nearly 20 percent of decision makers in the U.S. media planned to spend more on live-stream video in the six months following.
*Ad blockers force different marketing strategies: The marketing world is increasingly motivated to incorporate useful content into Internet ads to counter consumers’ growing use of tools that simply cancel out their ads. EMarketer predicts some 86.6 million people in the U.S. will use ad-blocking technology this year, a 24 percent jump from 2016. As of last year, 26 percent of all Internet users in the U.S. used an ad blocked at least monthly. “Ad blocking is a detriment to the entire advertising ecosystem, affecting mostly publishers but also marketers, agencies and others whose businesses depend on ad revenue,” advises eMarketer Senior Analyst Paul Verna. “The best way for the industry to tackle this problem is to deliver compelling ad experiences consumers won’t want to block.”
In short, there never seems to be a dull moment in the marketing industry, and 2017 will be no exception.
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