Marketing Technologies That Revolutionised The DecadePosted by Alessia Marrapodi on Dec 21, 2019. Reading time: 13 mins
10 years ago we were all watching prime time TV daily, playing Angry Birds on our first-generation iPads and downloading Limewire music to our MP3 players. The world has since gotten much more complex with new devices, technologies, networks and products being released every year.
The number of internet users has quadrupled in the last 10 years and eCommerce sales account for the majority of retail sales across the board. It’s fair to say that kids these days aren’t putting on their best graphic tees, Nike high tops and tightest skinny jeans to walk around Westfield for 3 hours. They’re sitting at home in front of Netflix and adding items to their carts on iPhone 11's.
The way people shop today has presented some major hurdles for businesses and marketing agencies. So, let’s review some of the biggest changes that have forsaken the marketing world over the last decade; for better and for worse.
Social Media Advertising And Influencers
We’ll get the most obvious one out of the way first. In the early years of the 10’s, most people would use social media platforms like MySpace and MSN on their computers. The closest we got to an “influencer” was a celebrity in a TV commercial and maybe some cool kids on MySpace. Back then, YouTube was just starting to build a community of creators who got regular views (most of whom are now millionaires) which paved the way for advertising on the platform.
Nowadays, people are spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes online each day and there are 3.2 billion smartphone users across the globe. It can be scary to think about how much has changed in such a short time, but there have been many positives that have come out of this decade. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube now dominate the social media scene and we’ve seen many other platforms die in their wake.
Social media has made advertising easier than ever. You can set your own budgets, ad types and audience specifications to suit your business needs, no matter what they are. Not to mention that the results are measurable and it’s easy to stop running an ad if it’s not giving you the results you desire.
There are no crazy upfront costs like we had when we sent off direct mail campaigns, or paid our Yellow Pages up front. There are almost endless ad types to play with, which we can change or split test near real time.
Influencer marketing helped grow many ‘early adapting’ brands from around 2014. It was especially popular in the eCommerce space and can still be very useful. Having a trustworthy source that already has a captivated audience plugging your products is a great way to build awareness and get those conversions.
Can we also just mention that there is such a thing as “virtual influencers”. These are digitised (basically cartoon) people with fake social media profiles who get paid to promote products. We are living in the future!?
In recent years, influencer marketing has become more of a gamble as it’s hard to measure direct results. With new policies in place, many influencers have to disclose when they are promoting a product. This takes away the ‘organic trust’ they’ve built with their audience and it’s extremely obvious what is a paid ad and what is genuine.
This is not a concept born in the last decade, in fact, is was born almost 3 decades before; but it’s fair to say it got much better with age. Websites have become the pinnacle of any business. As a millennial, I know if I can’t find a menu on a restaurant’s website or check if a product is in stock before visiting a store, I will most likely take my business elsewhere.
People don’t have to waste time driving from store to store to find what they want anymore, they just have to Google it. That is why it is so important to have a fully functional, well designed, search engine optimised site. If a person is searching for something relevant to your business, you want your website to be at the forefront of search results.
The potential to achieve more conversions with a good site is monumental. If you’re reading this and thinking, “crap, my website hasn’t been updated since 2004!” you need a web developer. Stat! Thankfully, the Refuel team can help with that, so you can book a meeting with us, here.
Possibly the biggest website trend over the last 10 years has been the shift to mobile. In the early 10’s, most of your traffic would have come from someone on a desktop. So, we moved to mobile sites and then responsive websites, to cater for these users.
Thanks to those pesky new smartphone users, Google also moved to a mobile-first search index, now ranking your site based on how it appears on a mobile.
However, there are a few key concepts that have emerged in the last 10 years that have made websites what they are today.
No, we’re not talking about literal robots that talk to you. Chatbots are little messenger boxes that can be programmed to pop up on your website at a certain time when someone visits your website. You can pick what you want to say or what kind of information you want to capture and it can reply to your visitors in real-time, or notify you to jump in on the conversation. This trend gained major traction when it became easier to implement chatbots with software like Drift.
This grew into the “conversational marketing” movement, designed to add a personal touch to the online space and make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. Kind of like a digital retail or service assistant.
This is still a fairly fresh concept but it's really quite simple. Instead of having information spread across a bunch of different pages all over your site, you write one medium to long piece of text. You incorporate a bunch of subtopics into your pillar page, otherwise known as “cluster content”, and then link to other site pages that expand on those topics.
Pillar pages are great for your SEO and are basically designed to showcase your authority in a subject to both visitors and Google.
Facebook reviews, Amazon reviews, Google reviews, Yelp, Tripadvisor, Yellowpages, Foursquare… the list goes on. These are all review-based websites which give consumers the power to rate you or write reviews about you.
Some of these concepts have been around for longer than a decade, but definitely gained popularity with the rise of the smartphone. It’s so easy to whip out your phone and go on an angry Yelp rant about how your local barista gave you soy milk instead of almond in your skinny iced matcha latte.
This shapes the way consumers view businesses online and moulds the perception of whether or not they can be trusted. If someone saw a rat in your restaurant, you bet it's gonna be online for the world to see in a matter of minutes. This can be detrimental to business, but it’s not all bad. Many people also leave positive reviews which is a great way to get virtual word-of-mouth marketing on a third party site that does all the hard work for you.
CRM’s, EDM’s, CMS, SEO, PPC, B2B, B2C, GDD… all the acronyms of good marketing software. If you’re a consistent reader of our blogs, you’d know that we’re Gold HubSpot Partners because they are our marketing software of choice.
However, we also use software like SEMRush, Drift, Accelo, Wordstream, Databox and more to keep on top of our marketing efforts. You can now automate your entire marketing process to the point where you just have to give the software the instructions and it will do the rest. I won’t get into specifics, but marketing software has evolved significantly in the last 10 years. It sure as hell is a lot easier to market with them now than it was back in 2010.
You can collect and analyse data, send marketing emails, post blogs, organise client information, build subscriber lists, advertise and so, SO much more. We can complain about technology as much as we want but we can’t say it doesn’t make our lives easier.
Following the invention of Siri in 2011, many modern households now have a voice-activated AI device. It is predicted that 50% of all online searches will be via a voice-activated device by 2020. This is still a very new concept and in many ways, an uncharted territory when it comes to marketing.
There are AI SEO software providers available to make it easier for your web content to be found through devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa or just the humble smartphone. However, it’s hard to say how this method will progress in the next few years and what is the best way to market through voice search.
We can’t say for sure what will come about in the decades to come, but it’s only a matter of time before we get hover cars, right? If you’re not sure where your business is heading in 2020, be sure to book an exploratory call with us to see what we can do for you! It’s our job to stay ahead of the trends and you can rely on us to keep your business thriving in the new decade!
Alessia is Refuel's Marketing Content Writer.