What is the future of the marketing industry?

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We are living in an ever-increasingly digital age. We’ve got robot dogs walking and opening doors, and that’s only scratching the surface. The marketing industry is also looking quite futuristic, with a number of marketing trends advancing the methods we use to communicate with our prospects. AI is the buzzword of the marketing industry, and your brand needs to get savvy to stand a chance of survival in the digital era. 

Washington Direct Mail, a leading UK mailing house, are sharing what the future holds for traditional marketing methods - especially with the rise in AI. 

Traditional mediums 

In a world where we are ‘switched on’ at all times, direct mail is a passage to a much simpler time - hence its popularity. Direct mail is a potential boon for many industries - and will continue to be in the near future - due to the ability to, literally, hold onto the marketing message, improving customer’s recall and engagement. Similarly, you can choose to retain the message - with good direct mail kept for, an average, of 17 days in the home - and even pass on to friends, neighbours and the like. Direct mail marketing has the authority digital advertising has not quite yet reached. Online ads, often, don’t promise what they deliver, which causes many to ignore sales emails, Facebook advertising and for the company to lose revenue. 

Direct mail marketing is also experiencing somewhat of a surge with generation Z. The first true ‘digital generation’ are actively searching for ways to ‘unplug’. MNI even reported that a staggering 83% of generation Z turn to print for trusted information. 

While capitalising on offline marketing could be critical to brand awareness, you cannot solely rely on this medium. Your company must still adapt to the ever-changing marketplace - hence the introduction of integrated marketing. Combine both direct mail and email marketing to expand your customer base and boost your profile. For example, deliver initial brand awareness campaigns to high-value consumers, with specific QR codes and landing pages. Once your visitors are on the landing page, track their journey around your site and even ask them to sign up for your newsletter. Not only are you gaining more traffic and subscribers, but doing so fully GDPR compliant. 

Augmented reality

We have discussed augmented reality previously, and we still believe this to be the future for marketing. The AR world is beginning to become more commonplace, with accessible brands turning towards the augmented movement. Snapchat is just one of the many pioneers, regularly partnering with brands - such as Fanta - to offer users unique filters when scanning particular QR codes. 

In 2020, it’s estimated there will be one billion users of augmented reality, and your brand must be savvy when adopting the trend. Ikea and Estee Lauder are communicating with their audience via exciting new mediums, with the latter even allowing prospects to ‘try before their buy’. Albeit virtually. Augmented reality, certainly, does not need to break the budget for many corporations. While there is no place for banner ads with AR, think outside of the box and promote and share your brand story with your consumers. Provide them with QR codes they can scan for an illustration - perhaps of the latest product - and track the number of scans and visitors due to the advertising technique. If there’s one thing we can say about the future, it’s that you cannot solely rely on one medium. 

Video 

Video has long been a brilliant marketing method, with more than 81% of businesses using video today. Producing videos is an easy, quick and popular process - and can significantly boost your reach across social media and encourage visitors to stay on your website, and even explore further. 

Video content can take a number of formats, from behind-the-scenes videos to 360 office views and even live streams. The fashion world has opened their once very secret doors to the general public with live streams, enabling fans to watch catwalks as they happen live. Part in parcel with this increased accessibility is a rejuvenation of the brand and, of course, sales. 

With more consumers moving towards mobile and viewing content through their device, incorporating video will prove invaluable for all industries. 

3D printing

Again, 3D printing has proved a critical marketing tool for many years, but we are still yet to see 3D as part of our everyday life. However, that is expected to change with 3D printing revolutionising many industries. The automotive industry is another sector benefitting from the rise of the trend, with the first ever 3D printed car set for release on the roads in 2019… Moving back to marketing, however, and it’s a similar story (without the car). For example, 3D could change the scope of dimensional mail - reducing the number of plastic parts etc. but also creating exciting mail pieces that replicate the products you are advertising. 

Another great opportunity for direct mail in the 3D arena is personalised direct mail. You could vary the colour, size, logo or even style of the item for particular demographics, tailoring the campaign to their specific wants, needs and requirements. Likewise, you could incorporate 3D printing into your email marketing, delivering an email stating there is a surprise on the way, with the dimensional attachment delivered through their door. Ultimately, your brands need to utilise these trends to engage with prospects, especially in hyper-competitive industries. 

Marketing technology and, in fact, the industry, as a whole, changes daily. The future may be moving towards digital, but you must attempt to incorporate other mediums into your strategy. You must adapt and interact for a boost in your return of investment. Companies that do will always be one step ahead of your brand, gaining a foothold in your marketing. You can even start simple with integrated marketing, moving onto the likes of AR and VR once the brand awareness expands. Think big, and your business will succeed.  

Jason Sullock, Marketing Manager at Washington Direct Mail 

Image Credit: SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock