A lot has happened in the first half of 2020 — but there’s definitely one thing that stands out, and you guessed it, it’s the COVID-19 pandemic. It has upended every aspect of our lives, personal and professional, and impacted businesses in multiple ways — marketing being one. Of course, with lockdown and social distancing, it’s a given that brands have had to go online to talk to their customers — so digital marketing has never been more important. And here, I want to talk about the trends I’ve seen emerge over the last few months. Read on:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) has been on the cusp of greatness for years, and with COVID, it’s really come into the spotlight. At a time when businesses are largely under-staffed/have employees working remotely, AI-powered chatbots are playing an increasingly essential role. These communicate with customers in real-time, answering domain-specific queries and FAQs with no personnel support. Even in the midst of this crisis, these chatbots are being used to engage sales prospects and generate leads. Another way in which brands are using this technology is through AI-enabled sales suits that allow multiple campaigns to be run simultaneously through a single platform, without the physical presence of marketing personnel.
- Pandemic or no pandemic, marketing is all about making an impact in the shortest possible time. It’s no wonder then that social media stories — that disappear in 24 hours — are only rising in popularity. One brand that’s been acing the story game since day 1 is millennial makeup and skincare brand, Glossier. Their stories regularly feature product Q&As, tutorials, polls, and even music playlists and quizzes. They also often link to longer pieces on their website, driving audiences there effectively. Another unlikely standout is Google Maps. Yes, the utilitarian app posts user-submitted shots of exotic locations tagged with #OnGoogleMaps. Followers can swipe up to save locations to their own Google Maps account for some #wanderlust inspiration.
- Content remains king. It’s always been the cornerstone of an effective digital marketing strategy, and with everything happening this year, content’s role is only amplified. B2B gaming engine brand Unity Technologies realized this quickly, and acted on it effectively. It offered three months worth of premium ‘Unity Learn’ content for free to developers. The initiative offers instructional content for those who want to build games using the company’s technology. Great, isn’t it?
That’s my take on digital marketing trends in the first half of the year — a half that’s been tumultuous, to say the least. That being said, it’s been wonderful to see the way in which brands have adapted to never-before-seen challenges. What does the latter half of 2020 have in store? We’ll have to wait and watch!
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