Digital Marketing trends to watch in 2018

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Creativity at the fore
By Ruth Bailey, contributor. 16 January, 2018
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In 2018, finance brands are encouraged to explore new service offerings, customer experiences and content streams with the goal of attaining new customers and retaining current ones. What this means for finance marketers is that 2018 is a year to be creative and fluid with brand stories. We unpack three creative tactics that have the potential to provide uplift for finance brands.

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Trend one: Artificial intelligence (AI) applications integrated with voice recognition software

In 2018, retail finance brands will increasingly embrace AI and chatbot technologies because of the savings they can deliver. Identifying efficiencies, cutting customer wait times on calls, streamlining online processes and removing an overall need for human interaction is now possible thanks to companies like IBM developing technologies to eliminate this ‘wastage’.

One company that has already embraced this trend is UBank, who introduced IBM Watson AI software in 2017 to help automate home loan applications. Using data-driven insights, the super-computer known as Robochat has been successful in achieving this. UBank’s Chief Digital Officer, Jeremy Hubbard says the next step the chatbot will take however is to integrate voice recognition software so that an entire home loan application can be completed on behalf of the customer. IT News reports that the customer's mood and an ability to adjust answers is also scheduled for development, which will enable the technology to recognise when to transfer a frustrated customer to a human being. While technology and AI will certainly play a role in 2018, it’s equally important that brands don’t lose sight of the personal needs of their customers.

Trend two: Original episodic video content will dominate: Youtube vs Facebook Goliath battles

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of his ambition to be a ‘video-first’ company, along with the 2017 US launch of their bespoke content channel ‘Watch’ shows Facebook is angling to rival YouTube in original content-series options. And it appears YouTube is ready to take up the fight, with CEO Susan Wojcicki indicating to Fast Company that their transformation is far from slowing down. “our goal, really, is to take this amazing technology, continue to grow it, make it available to all people around the globe, across all platforms, and for all creators.” The opportunities for finance brands to join the mix exist in both the content and the profitable pre-roll ad space.

Trend three: Ephemeral content to hook the next generation

In 2018, finance brands should look beyond millennials and reach for the next generation – Generation Z. Born 1995-2012, this is a group that has grown up with technology at their fingertips, but who have also seen their parents endure the financial burden of recession. As a result, they’re drawn to authenticity and seek answers for themselves, aided by the internet and Internet of Things (IOT). To converse with Gen Z, brands will need to adapt their content approach so that it fits the platforms Generation Z prefers to use.

The ‘loss of a paper trail’ and the ability to leave ‘no trace’ or photo evidence is part of the increasing demand for ephemeral content among Gen Z.

According to Social Media Week, compared to millennials who spend an average of six to seven hours per week on social media, 44% of Gen Z in the US check their social media hourly. They also report that the ‘loss of a paper trail’ and the ability to leave ‘no trace’ or photo evidence is part of the increasing demand for ephemeral content (content which only lasts a short amount of time), which visual platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat work to satisfy. Daring to employ the ephemeral content functions that these social channels offer will serve brands looking to acquire and retain this generation of customers well. If you fit this category, read our tips on how finance brands can best leverage Instagram here.

Food for thought as you kick-start the year.

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Ruth studied journalism via QUT, and from there, the art of storytelling quickly morphed into an ability to develop integrated marketing strategies, with a predominant leaning towards content marketing. Ruth has practised marketing and communications in some form or another for over 13 years, working with software, arts, government, and digital organisations to tell their brand stories and share their work in creative executions.