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Digital Marketing

The future of digital marketing

Jan. 20, 2020
What does the next decade hold for digital marketing?

Speaking at a recent NationaLease meeting, Dan Golden, president and chief artist at Be Found Online, a performance marketing agency, said that new trends in digital marketing will include the following:

  • The new Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
  • New devices
  • Voice search
  • Voice actions
  • Virtual assistants
  • Voice commerce

Search Engine Results Pages have evolved over the years from a simple list of results with links to a result that includes (in order of appearance) paid ads, organic results, apps, news, local information (often with a map), a knowledge graph and more organic results.

While Google processes trillions of searches each year, still, 15% of searches are those Google has never seen before. Almost half of all people do not click on anything after they perform a search, while about 41% click on organic results to non-Google sites.

E-commerce’s share of total retail sales are expected to continue to increase, with percentages rising from 6% of total retail sales in the United States in 2013 to an estimated 14% by 2021.

New devices, such as smart speakers and other smart appliances (TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, thermostats, etc.) are increasing marketing platforms. No longer is marketing relegated to computers, smart phones and tablets.

“These ‘marketing’ platforms are as much about customer experience as they are about customer acquisition,” said Golden. How can you apply these platforms to your business? Think about what you can automate for your customers — like service reminders or automatic payments. What other inefficient interactions can you enable with technology?

New categories of screens such as Portal from Facebook that integrate Amazon’s Alexa, as well as others from Google, Apple and Amazon, present an opportunity for you to deliver new experiences to your customers, such as:

  • Truck maintenance and availability updates
  • Service reminders
  • Incident management tracking

The possibilities are endless.

And don’t forget about screens on vehicle dashboards. Backup cameras now are standard on most automobiles, requiring screens, and services such as Ford Sync or Toyota Connected are beginning to include integration with voice assistants. Now that ELDs are standard on all trucks, it may not be long before virtual assistants are integrated in those devices as well.

Virtual assistants not only help with voice searches, but they also can complete voice actions. You now can ask a virtual assistant to make an appointment for you. This is achieved through software like Google Duplex. You ask the assistant to make the appointment, and the software makes the phone call to the business and arranges the appointment.

Voice commerce is the emerging area of digital marketing. Seventy percent of Americans — or 7 in 10 — have not yet used a voice assistant to find product information or purchase products. However, Amazon reported that voice shopping tripled during the 2018 holiday season vs. the same period in 2017.

A 2018 projection by OC&C Strategy Consultants predicted that by 2022, voice commerce sales in the United States will total $40 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2017. A 2019 Q2 Voice Survey determined that the top two items consumers feel comfortable purchasing via voice are groceries (31%) and cleaning supplies (24%). It may be a while before people are comfortable buying vehicles through voice commerce, but it is not totally out of the question in the future.

How can you use these trends in your business? Golden said it starts by asking yourself the right questions.

  • What are the most used actions or features?
  • What can we automate?
  • What do loyal customers ask for?
  • How can you promote repeat business behavior?
  • What does my call center/front office waste their time on?

Then, you need to start your research.

  • Start with the questions: What kinds of questions are being asked?
  • Listen to your call center: What tasks can you automate?
  • Optimize your digital assets: Look for best practices to optimize your digital portfolio.
  • Test your structured data: How well do your digital assets work?
  • Integrate connected apps: Determine which connected apps will work for your business.

Plan for the future of digital marketing — the use of voice and visual inputs is only going to increase as technology progresses. Today, 20% of all searches are through voice or visual input; by the end of 2020, that will increase to 50%. Don’t miss the opportunity to cash in on this huge marketing opportunity.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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