2017 is nearing it’s end and the internet is blowing up this week with every major publication posting their predictions for marketing trends in 2018. From Forbes, to the Harvard Business Review, 2018 is shaping up to be a pretty futuristic year.
This year we saw major advancements in technology and social media. Artificial Intelligence is on the tip of everyones tongues. Virtual reality can purchased on Amazon. We’re on the cusp of very major changes. Companies will have to operate with more and more agility as the landscape of marketing continues to change. Businesses have so much more data at their fingertips than in decades past. Companies will have to start learning to integrate Big Data, Artificial intelligence, and virtual reality into their marketing strategies. Our prediction? Direct mail advertising will continue to be a major player as digital and direct mail advertising becomes more and more integrated.
So whats all the hype about AI?
Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that’s sometimes known as machine learning. AI allows computers to process large amounts of data, learn, and adapt to trends or patterns. Scientists can train AI machines to perform traditionally human tasks such as speech recognition, problem solving, and planning. You’re probably interacting with AI machines on a daily basis without even realizing it. Have you ever been to a website and a little chat box pops up on the bottom of your screen? “Hi my name’s Angie! What can I help you with today?” These virtual assistants allow companies to streamline the process of customer service.
The Harvard Business Review recently reported, “Epson America was getting 40,000 to 60,000 leads per year from trade shows, direct mail advertising, email marketing, social media, print and online advertising, and a successful brand awareness campaign. The leads would pour in, and whether they were good, bad, qualified or not, they would all be turned over to salespeople whose availability to follow up was inconsistent. After implementing the AI assistant, Epson’s leads are now followed up promptly and persistently until their AI assistant gets a response. After a lead is passed to one of Epson’s partners, the AI assistant follows up to make sure the customer was satisfied.”
What Does this Mean for Direct Mail?
This is huge news. If AI assistants can follow up with leads generated through direct mail more efficiently, it could potentially lead to a higher ROI and response rate for direct mail marketers.
Target Marketing Magazine recently interviewed Nick Edwards, CEO and co-founder of Boomtrain, a marketing platform that uses AI technology. Edwards stated, “Every company needs to be proactive when it comes to investing in AI technology in order to better understand each individual consumer or viewer of their content. Using data to understand who is consuming your content creates a 1-to-1 relationship with consumers.”
Video Marketing in 2018
Forbes reported that video marketing will make up almost 90% of internet traffic in 2018. Video embedded brochures and advertisements have actually been around since early 2013. However, with the rise of popularity of video marketing, consumers should expect to see a significant increase in video embedded direct mail and brochures.
Connection of Offline and Online Marketing
The integration of digital and direct mail advertising will increase in 2018 in other ways as well. There are companies that have already been piloting experimental programs for several years. Victoria Secret has historically sent postcards to their customers on their birthdays, usually for a coupon or small gift. In 2014, the company began including special codes on the postcard for customers to scan into the Victoria Secret app. The code allows the user access to special content or promotions. They essentially created a pipeline to connect their direct marketing efforts with their online content. Whoa.
So bring it on 2018! We’re ready for ya.