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Consumers own the world of marketing. And here is why:
So, what does all of this mean?
It means that brands must find new and unique ways of engaging their target audiences or be left in the dust by competitors who are doing this.
Technology to the Rescue
Technology has brought a lot of opportunity for brands to reach out to their audiences in engaging ways.
Consider, for example, the use of chatbots, interactive video, and AR/VR and their uses for marketing. Consumers can be given great experiences as they interact with brands, via these technologies. They entertain, provide information in easily digestible fashion, and often cause consumers to share those experiences with others. This, in turn, spreads brand visibility, which of course every brand marketer wants.
Let’s take a look at some brands that are currently using newer technologies in their content marketing. Chances are, you can get some ideas for your own content marketing efforts and gain a competitive edge in your niche market place.
Philips Razor – Interactive Video
When Philips wanted to promote its new electric razor, which was seriously lacking in sales to the millennial population, it began a marketing campaign to engage that demographic more. This interactive video of “the morning after” allowed visitors to choose the facial hair style, and each of the choices had a different story about what had gone on the night before. These types of marketing pieces were quite a hit, and sales did increase significantly.
America’s Best Eyewear – Virtual Try-On Experience
This brand understood that customers can have anxiety and frustration trying to select eyeglass frames in the store. To mitigate that situation, customers can now get online and virtually try on frames, making their decisions before they arrive for their exams and make their purchases.
Ikea – Augmented Reality
Ikea understands that furniture is a major purchase. And going to a showroom or selecting items online is not ideal. How will the furniture actually look in a customer’s room?
It decided to develop “room planners,” using augmented reality. Consumers can go through the online catalogue, and, when they find a piece they like, they hover their phone or tablet over it, getting a 3-D image that they can then place into their room. The image automatically scales to the space.
“Try before you buy” is a concept that has now become reality for online marketing. A number of e-commerce brands are using it, engaging consumers and seeing sales increase.
Treasury Wine Estates -Telling Its Story Through Augmented Reality
This wine maker has targeted its audience through a great interactive experience. On each of its wine labels, it has embedded the story of that wine’s production. Via a smartphone, customers can scan the label and receive this story in video form. The app is called “living Label” and it can be downloaded free for both Android and iPhone users.
Chatbots with AI/ML– Taco Bot and Poncho
Personal assistants are fully commonplace now. Alexa is in many homes, as are Siri and Google on our smart phones. We can make requests, ask questions, etc. and get the responses we need. Further, these “assistants” are programmed to learn as they go through natural language processing and machine learning that enables them to store their learning for future use.
But personal assistance has now crossed into content marketing, and businesses are discovering great ways to use it and providing service to customers as they seek information and/or consider purchases. And with natural language processing, consumers can use voice rather than text to communicate.
Taco Bell has a “taco bot” that will take orders, make suggestions for changes or additions, and then finalize the order with the price. Orders will then be ready for pickup.
Poncho is a hugely popular weather bot, also programmed for AI and ML. He will provide the weather forecast for any place in the world. But he also programmed for many other things as well. He will offer to provide a user with a daily horoscope, for example, as well as engage users with plenty of humorous conversations.
Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular, and are more than likely to dominate customer service in coming years. It’s just a matter of downloading an app on a phone and using voice to communicate. It’s fast, convenient, and super easy for consumers on the go.
Making them engaging enough, though, will be what gives companies the real competitive edge. It won’t be enough to just use a bot to answer questions or provide product descriptions. The initial script will have to be creatively written, providing entertainment and/or inspiration. Marketers often use creative writing services, such as those offered by FlashEssay, to craft these initial scripts from which those bots can learn and grow based upon programming.
Muy ‘Ono – Virtual Reality Tours
This resort is simply one of many that provide virtual reality experiences for consumers considering it as a travel destination. They simply open the mobile app and don either of the two viewing device options.
What better way to market a destination than for a potential customer to place himself in the actual environment and experience all of the amenities “first-hand?”
Technology is exploding. And the new consumer is embracing it all with gusto. And with that embrace, he is demanding a lot more from brands who want to capture his attention and engage him with their content.
Interactivity, AR, VR, AI, and ML are relatively young in the hundreds of years of advertising and marketing. But they are here to stay, will only become more advanced, and will also point techies in new directions. Content marketers must stay on top of these disruptions and adapt quickly.