Melbourne Consultant Luke Lazarus has made a career in helping struggling businesses. His professional path began almost twenty years ago after he graduated with an Executive MBA from Melbourne University at twenty four years old. By age thirty-three, he had already founded and sold four thriving companies. Now, nearly a decade later, he credits his success as a consultant to his ability of identifying emerging startups and applying marketing techniques that are relevant to today’s digital age. It’s these innovative techniques, and his experiences, that influence his insightful market predictions for the approaching new year.
Instagram will continue to dominate social media according to Luke Lazarus. The platform is owned by Facebook and boasts a billion global users. Their IGTV, an app that was introduced in 2018, allows businesses to advertise for longer times as opposed to the typical fifteen to thirty seconds allotted by other media platforms, such as Youtube. The fact that the app is still growing also presents an opportunity for smaller enterprises that usually have limited advertising budgets. Furthermore, influencer advertising is a new, profitable trend where social media personalities (Instagrammers, for example) collaborate with brands to promote their products and services via unboxing videos and reviews, to name a couple.
Another apparent trend is companies turning to chatboxes to improve customer communication. SquareUp, a financial service provider, estimates that about a billion and a half people interact with chateboxes each year. The benefits of using the automated software includes 24 hour service (most notably), instant responses and answers to simple questions, rapid complaint resolution, and easy communication. This growing focus also falls under the next trend of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. The technology, which encompasses things from social media sentiment analysis to the aforementioned chatboxes, is applied to businesses for smoother operations. Cost reduction is another benefit. AIs are supposed to emulate human intelligence and take on the computational tasks of data analysis and information retrieval. As the machine learning software takes on more of the analytic elements, marketers are left with more time to focus on the creative aspects of their operations.
Mobile pay is the next growing trend. More and more people are using mobile may in lieu of cash and credit cards. The peer to peer industry of Apple Pay and Google Pay are projected to grow in excess of $700 million by next year. As the number of mobile pay users increases, the number of major businesses that accept this form of payment also grows.
Brands are usually looking to engage with consumers in new, exciting ways. In comes 360 degree videos and virtual reality software. These state-of-the-art videos allows users to view a space in it’s entirety in the first person point of view, putting them at the center and letting them choose where to look. There’s more interaction, thus more engagement, with the video content when compared to traditional two dimensional displays.
Building consumer profiles to optimize customer experiences is the next trend. As long as their online behavior and information is used to cater to their shopping needs, the majority of customers say that they are okay with being tracked. The gathering of this data leads to personalized shopping experiences and relevant product recommendations. Luke Lazarus also predicts that beacon technology, software similar to GPS, will grow in use. It allows businesses to target customers, most notably, those who are in store. Mobile apps track customer locations and use push notifications to notify potential customers of certain merchandise. Through this intimate tracking, the app learns the likes and dislikes of the consumer. This trend is especially prominent throughout younger demographics.