As someone who’s been involved with technology platforms for the better part of my adult life, I’ve seen a lot of change in the past two decades. From downloaded software to one footprint on a single computer, to entire networks running completely in the cloud, we’ve come a long way. The first trade show or “industry conference” I attended was specific to Senior Housing and we were promoting a 100% online (i.e.”hosted”) CRM solution. This was 2006 and that was our biggest selling point - that the program could be accessed online from anywhere on any device with the internet! Amazing to think of how far we’ve come since then.
But let’s talk a little bit about the future. It’s sometimes scary, certainly interesting, and can even be fun to ponder on how things will change and what our world will look like in say the year 2050.
From a technology and digital marketing perspective, thinking about what the future holds is more intriguing than ever before given the period we’ve just gone through. It’s hard enough trying to predict what will happen next month or next quarter, let alone 20 or 30 years from now.
We can recognize certain elements that will most likely stay the same, such as the need for basic life sustaining technology to clothe, feed and house the world’s population. But then also take into consideration what trends and shifts we see happening now and relate them to where we’re headed.
What are some future trends and shifts in digital technology?
Emergence of specialized roles: Companies are now hiring marketing automation specialists, brand partnership experts, digital communication specialists, and you're seeing individuals join teams with different backgrounds that can change the way organizations think. These people are dedicated to optimizing your company's digital presence in the marketplace and return on investment and resources awarded to their projects.
Information technology or info on demand: Online buyer’s expect to be accommodated with fast answers to their questions and easy information gathering. Digital marketing is directly correlated with speed and accuracy of information delivered.
The change of search behavior and centralization: Search (Google, Bing, yahoo etc.) remains a massive opportunity and most likely will be for several years to come. There are opportunities to go up-funnel with search and even better compete with paid internet lead sources. Enhanced centralization with online search will pull different resources, information, and data into one place for the online consumer, from the company’s own website to all of their other social and online channels.
Now consider your own company’s online presence. Getting visitors to your site is hard (and expensive), which begs a follow up question, how do you keep visitors on your site in order to engage with them and find out who they are and what they’re interested in? One great method of maintaining visitor engagement is to utilize available technologies that will proactively greet visitors and present them with relevant content.
In Senior Living for example, Digital Marketers should be asking, does our website provide the best and fastest answers for our site visitor’s questions? Are we optimizing our SEO? - which is basically giving the best answer for the searcher’s question. If you’re not, you're losing valuable revenue because your online consumer will get this information elsewhere. Think about what your digital buyer wants and implement strategies to deliver.
One massive opportunity to increase site visitor engagement is the use of a Virtual Assistant
By 2024, consumer retail spend via chatbots worldwide will reach $142 billion—up from just $2.8 billion in 2019, according to Juniper Research.
Online buyers are demanding 24/7, 365 service for assistance in nearly all areas of business. Nearly 40% of internet shoppers worldwide prefer interacting with a virtual assistant rather than a live person and this number increases to over 50% with users interacting on their mobile devices.
And because virtual assistants can simulate human agents using AI and natural language processing (NLP), each interaction and additional piece of customer data collected improves their ability to understand a user’s intent inturn helping them make better marketing decisions.. And companies should take note that the most successful virtual assistants are the ones that are able to drive a good conversational experience.
What are a few major benefits of implementing digital technologies like a Virtual Assistant:
Predicting specific events is easy, what’s hard is being right about what you predict. But one thing that is certain is there will be new, unique opportunities presented to us as technologies continuously evolve.
And one of the best parts is sometimes you can try out these platforms, see if they perform and then make an informed decision before actually making a purchase. FURTHER’s Virtual Sales Assistant is a great way to test drive conversational AI chat technology on your own website and experience the benefits first-hand while proactively engaging with your digital customers.
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