The first thing I do when waking up in the morning is hit snooze on my iPhone’s screen. Then, 5 or 10 snooze cycles later, I check my emails, Facebook and text messages. I can usually smell the coffee that the computer chip in my coffee maker told it to start brewing. As I sip on my freshly brewed coffee, I read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad.
By my count, in less than 30 minutes from waking up, I’ve interacted with six different forms of technology. Business is much the same. What used to be an office full of filing cabinets is an email server. The interview with a publicist or industry magazine has been replaced by LinkedIn and corporate social media accounts. When it comes to marketing, there are very few ways we interact with customers that isn’t directly reliant on tech.
1. Google Analytics and the World of SEO
Virtually every customer interaction involves Google at some stage. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard a client say that they Googled me or my company prior to engaging us. Google is the world’s most sophisticated phone book. But, where a phone book was limited to giving us information about a company’s name, address and phone number, Google can answer virtually any question we pose to it.
The Customer’s Journey for a Solution
Beyond Googling someone’s reputation or internet presence, the way that most traffic reaches my site is through answering the questions that Google’s users have. This is part of the ever evolving, self-guided journey that online client acquisition has become. Customers are generally more educated about a purchasing decision than ever before. Much of this has to do with the way technology has empowered virtually anyone to find information quickly.
Search engines have completely transformed the marketing industry. It is now mandatory that SEO becomes part of the marketing strategy if a business wants their shot at becoming the destination for the more than 40,000 search queries Google processes every second.
2. Hardware Reliability and Security is Impacting Customer Trust
As more and more businesses conduct commerce online (e-commerce), the importance of reliability and security is now falling under the umbrella of marketing. Consider how you would react if a website or cloud-based platform you wanted to utilize in your life was unreliable, or insecure. If you knew that there was a potential for a site to crash regularly, or the information you share to be intercepted, would you trust it?
In many cases, server hardware and communication protocols are at the core of how reliably a business operates online. Server reliability is improved by utilizing the following, according to Prosyn an experienced, knowledgeable IT consultancy:
- Two-Factor Authentication: Utilizing one-time pass codes delivered via email to SMS text when logging in dramatically decreases the likelihood of an unauthorized party using stolen credentials to access information, or bring down a site.
- DDoS Protection:When bad actors want to take down a site, it’s possible to use slave devices to generate an overwhelming number of requests for connections and information. This can overwhelm server resources and crash a site.
- 256-bit SSL Encryption: The information in-transit between the devices your customers and team utilize, and the server can be intercepted by bad actors. Encryption makes the information transmitted virtually unintelligible to unauthorized data monitors. The data is encrypted prior to transmission, and then decoded by the authorized devices using the key generated during each transaction.
With the average US firm suffering a total loss of over $15 million annually at the hands of cyber attackers, it’s more than just customer trust on the line.Technology is impacting virtually every aspect of marketing to an increasingly tech-savvy consumer. Your company needs to consider all of the marketing pros and cons associated with any tech upgrade or downgrade.
3. Social Media Has Both Changed Engagement and Web Design
The age of social media began when Facebook was founded in 2004. YouTube was founded in 2005 and Twitter was launched a year later.
Skeptics believed that these social media sites were a fad. A year after YouTube was founded, Gawker editors predicted that it would be bankrupt in the very near future.
“The buzz after YouTube’s CEO vacationed with media moguls like Rupert Murdoch was that the video sharing company was about to cash in by selling to an industry giant. But no word of a deal has come down the tubes. In fact, the video giant is about to go down the tubes.”
None of these expectations have come to pass. Social media has continued to captivate the minds and lives of people all over the world for the past decade. This has changed the way people engage with each other and the way brands connect with them.
Here are some implications of social media:
- Brands have refocused their content to appeal to more impulsive user behavior. People find a lot of their content through Facebook and other social media sites. Since their viewing experience is somewhat disrupted, brands must be concise and use stronger language and images to engage with them.
- Website styles are changed around new social networks. When Pinterest and Instagram became popular, brands shifted their focus towards visual content. They invested much more heavily in infographics and other visual media, which was more likely to go viral on image-sharing sites. This has reinforced user behavior, since users also became more concerned with visual content.
- People spend much more of their time on social media and engaging with their friends. Rather than drawing their own conclusions about a brand, they rely heavily on the feedback of their friends on social media.
Social media is not going away anytime soon. It will continue to change the way people use the Internet for years to come.