The IAB South Africa, an independent non-profit organisation that focuses on supporting and growing the digital industry in the country, has released its latest digital marketing trends for the remainder of 2017. Below is our pick of the digital trends mentioned in the research, and a few of our own we would like to see more often.
1. AI – Artificial Intelligence
Still the buzzword of the year, AI is still in its infancy in the country, with few internet companies capitalizing on its potential. The AI debate is still a hot controversial topic among CTOs and marketers. It’s mostly playing overseas, with Elon Musk advancing the doomsday scenario (read: robots taking over humanity without proper regulations in place), and Mark Zuckerberg declaring itself optimistic about the future (read: robots are cool).
2. VR – Virtual Reality
Ok, this was not on IAB’s list, but we think it should get a worthy mention. If your company has not yet added VR in the marketing mix, now would be the best time to take it to the next level. VR is probably still in its infancy on the local business scene, but seasoned marketers know that VR is the most potent weapon in the marketing arsenal to engage customers and provide tangible experiences. To see how VR can benefit your business, read more here. (note: link to VR articles)
3. Content and Context
Content marketing is still the king, but context is perhaps the most important variable in the digital marketing landscape. Marketers should actively focus on understanding the client’s context, by listening and adjusting communication after the feedback received from the market. Not doing so would miss the point. Luckily there are ways to understand and automate the marketing process relevant to the client: customer-centered communication, meaningful social conversations, engaging content, prompt message delivery at the right time, in the right place, to the right target, on the right device.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
4. Programmatic Ad Spend
The rise of technology to analyse the value of digital advertising placements, as well as the increase in private marketplaces and direct buys has doubled in media spend last year (a seemingly lack of transparency also helped). Agencies and brands benefiting from this trend have access to data rich audiences across multiple devices and platforms. For example, Spotify has now a full suite programmatic offerings, from display, video to most recently, audio. More agencies and companies will follow, using programmatic spend to target specific customer segments on multiple channels.
5. Personalised CRM and Overlapping Target Markets
More brands are inclined to use personalised marketing experience, connecting with the customer through one-on-one messaging and smart market segmentation. The rise of data intelligence also means new opportunities for the digital marketer to combine clients’ digital assets, trade and cross-sell audiences. It can be done for retargeting purposes and reach a wider audience with non-competitive brands. The challenge for digital marketers remains to pin down the effective customer journey at the right time using the right channels.
6. Digital Filters
Brand integrity is important in the digital eco-system. The introduction of ad filters will benefit digital marketers and advertising agencies and counteract the widespread effect of fake news and fraudulent or misleading digital communication.
7. Growth (Virtual) Teams
CEOs, executives and human resources worldwide agree on one thing: growth is the nirvana of every organisation, and the notion of growth teams, physical and virtual, is still going strong. Digital companies provide the best mix of marketing and technology. If you want to move forward with your digital marketing efforts, for example, you could make use of a diverse team with a combination of skills from marketing and media to IT and business development.
Note: The IAB SA represents the South African digital industry to all sectors, including the marketing community, the media, the South African government and the public. IAB South Africa is comprised of online publishers, brands, and educational institutions, as well as creative, media and digital agencies.