Technology is racing ahead—almost every year, technology trends change wildly, impacting how businesses and marketers use them to reach audiences.
2020 is set to see big changes to the kinds of technology that will become available to companies, as well as how businesses can utilize them to adapt to evolving marketing trends.
We look at the biggest technology trends of the year that marketers need to follow.
Emergence of 5G
5G networks have already become a mainstay in certain parts of the world—though they are still a bit more expensive than the average user can afford.
However, in 2020, 5G is set to become more available and affordable, and brands will be able to tailor their marketing efforts for the high-efficient network.
The reason why the prospect of 5G is so exciting for marketers is because of the incredible speeds it promises—think 4G but 100x times the speed for uploads and downloads.
This means being able to route large amounts of data to control systems and devices, better than ever before.
Marketers could essentially use 5G networks to connect with their audience almost at real-time—data could be processed quickly enough to deliver a personalized experience on the go.
Live streaming on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch will also become faster even when you aren’t connected to a home network.
The possibilities are endless with such high-speed internet, so marketers should be prepared for a major rollout in 2020.
AI Customer Experiences
Artificial intelligence has left the realm of science-fiction and is set to become an essential tool for marketers.
This is particularly true when trying to improve customer experience—AI is now being used to create sophisticated software, such as chatbots, to handle customer queries in real-time.
With the machine-learning capabilities of new AI-powered systems, chatbots are now able to generate responses that mimic human interaction.
From their conversational tone to the amount of data they are able to process to give sophisticated responses to customer queries, AI has improved in leaps and bounds.
Marketers will also find themselves using AI to power data-analytics software—the AI we are now privy to can collate, segment, and analyze data faster and more efficiently than before.
The kind of AI software we are discussing isn’t yet widely available. However, as 2020 wears on, broader versions of this software will become accessible to marketers.
Speaking of AI, sophisticated automated software systems are also becoming the norm in 2020.
Marketing automation has brought massive benefits to businesses, but this technology is only going to get better.
Alongside AI, current automation systems will also be employing robotic process automation—that automates routine, labour-intensive tasks—to make work more streamlined.
This will also help to create more effective job roles within businesses—from manufacturing to HR, a number of tasks will be commandeered by automated systems, thus freeing up employees to take care of more important tasks and decisions.
Even in decision-making, automation is set to play a large part—with the current state of AI only set to improve, software and systems will also be able to participate in decision-making.
Having said that, machines and software are programmed by humans, which means human biases against race, gender, and abilities can influence them.
To create truly sophisticated automated software, you need to ensure that the behind-the-scenes team is as diverse as you want your company to be.
Ecommerce Goes Mobile
The rise of mobile phones has been unprecedented, though, with the increasing capabilities of smartphones, it really isn’t much of a surprise.
People can do almost anything and everything via their phones, which is exactly what they are doing—right down to conducting e-commerce purchases.
But it isn’t just the ability to scan items and make purchases that have gone mobile—payment methods are becoming far more mobile-friendly.
If you haven’t tailored your e-commerce app for Apple Pay or Google Wallet, 2020 is the year you should be doing so. Because customers are relying on these apps now.
And Apple is all set to introduce its very own credit card, so that is another payment system that e-commerce businesses need to be cognizant of.
We are quickly speeding past a cashless world, to one where even cards are obsolete—and we are seeing those changes come into effect in 2020. Can e-commerce companies keep up?
Most marketers associate omnichannel communications with social media, web, and e-commerce email marketing.
But in 2020, omnichannel isn’t going to be focusing only on how you send messages—marketing will have to focus on the experiences customers have.
Marketers need to think about how to engage their audience at multiple touchpoints and across multiple senses.
It won’t simply be enough for businesses to create apps that share information and allow customers to make purchases—it’s about giving them a wholesome experience.
This means reaching out to your audience through conversational messaging apps (the chatbots we mentioned earlier), as well as augmented or virtual reality.
Some businesses have gone against the tech trend to create offline experiences such as self-driving cars and table-top games.
Marketers need to realize that customers aren’t a money-in-product-out segment of society—they are people who want additional value if they are to support a brand.
Businesses will need to be innovative in this area—and this doesn’t mean investing in one-off gimmicks. They may have their value, but they won’t bring in a loyal customer base.
Start working on a multi-experience marketing plan as soon as possible in 2020—it will make a massive difference to your audience engagement and bottom line.
Importance of Transparency
Technology has been used to violate the ethical rights of customers—and this is becoming a matter of concern for marketers, who increasingly need more data from their audience to create personalized and memorable experiences.
Transparency is no longer a luxury afforded to businesses—in 2020, it is a necessity.
Organizations need to let consumers know why, how, and where they are gathering data from and how they plan to use it.
And be prepared to answer when consumers ask these questions—especially on public platforms like social media.
In 2020, transparency will be going hand-in-hand with accountability—the companies that can be as transparent as possible will also be the ones cultivating a dedicated customer base.
The above six technology trends will have a strong impact on marketing strategies in 2020.
Marketers need to be prepared to adopt these technologies and adapt to their new circumstances—that is how they will achieve their 2020 goals and generate more revenue.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, an infographic and design platform. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, sharing productivity tips, examining pop culture, and championing the need for representation.
Also published on Medium.