Someone recently told me that we are living in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 era where technological advancements have led to disruptive trends in almost all industries, including marketing. Companies – both big and small – are reinventing strategies to get ahead in the marketing game in this digital era.

This may sound like you’ve heard all before, because the industry goes through changes on a regular basis. However, just like every other industry in the world, the rate of change is growing at a break neck pace.

Here’s what I mean.

Companies are on social for everything

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So social media may not exactly be completely new on the marketing scene, but it’s still a relevant tool that should be used to its full potential. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the best way to integrate it into their strategy.  While there are dozens of social media platforms to choose from, the key is picking the ones that make the most sense for your target audience and marketing goals. For example, Instagram might be all the rage, but it’s only really suitable for marketing if you have a lot of great visual content to share – if you don’t, you should probably focus your efforts elsewhere.  

Here is a two-part series on how to identify which social media platform to use for your business – part 1 and part 2

You might be running a B2B enterprise where something like LinkedIn is much more likely to generate new business. By working on the right platforms, you can easily reach your target audience and make the most of their targeted advertising services.

Content is still king and evolving

Ever since the digital marketing powerhouse, Hubspot, introduced the industry to inbound marketing, more and more businesses have come to realize the importance of producing regular, high-quality content.  This could be blogs, whitepapers, e-books and guides, digital reports or infographics – the main takeaway is that providing great content portrays you as an expert in your field to potential customers while giving them a reason to continue engaging with you.

Here are some content marketing tips for your startup

By monitoring who engages with what, it can make it a lot easier for your sales team to qualify leads and target them with specific products and services – not only does this increase your conversion rate and revenue, but it also gives the customer a much more enjoyable buying journey, increasing the chances of them buying from you again.

Chatbots are changing communication

While Artificial Intelligence and machine learning still have a long way to go before they catch up with Hollywood’s imagination, they’re already being utilized to great effect as a 21st-century marketing tool.  While it’s always beneficial to have a real person available in the form of customer support, this isn’t always possible – you might be a one-person operation without enough time to field every customer inquiry immediately, or you could have so many clients that it’s just not cost-effective to employ enough staff for the role. This is where chatbots come in, with their ability to emulate conversation and guide customers in the right direction based on the keywords and phrases they recognize.

The capabilities of today’s chatbots are varied, ranging from those that simply point customers to the right troubleshooting guide or help section to those that provide an eerily human interaction.  What’s for sure is that this technology and its application as a marketing tool are only going to grow in the years to come, so it’s worth taking a look at how you could benefit from it.

Big data is more relevant than ever before

Today, we have access to more data than ever before, but the more we have, the harder it can be to process it into something useful. This is why the field of big data has emerged – because we needed better ways to analyze the vast amount of information available to us and turn it into something we can act upon and use to generate more profits.

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Using big data to your advantage means allocating resources to finding out what data you should be gathering, which analytical tools you should using, and how to turn that data from raw information into insights, and from insights into impactful, measurable marketing strategies. But what sort of insights do we hope to gain from pursuing big data?

Firstly, big data will boost our ability to successfully engage with customers; we won’t just know who they are, but also what they want, where they are, and how they’d prefer to be contacted.  We can also discover what it is that influences our customers’ loyalty, building on it to ensure repeat business time and time again. Lastly, big data can help us figure out how to spend our marketing budget across different channels to maximize our ROI and consistently target the right people, as well as allowing us to continuously optimize our marketing strategy based on testing and analysis.

Automation is the best path forward

As with almost every industry, automation is viewed as the key to increasing productivity and accuracy while reducing costs, and many insiders see marketing automation as the next big piece of technology to really change the game.  CRO (conversion rate optimization) and SEO (search engine optimization) are both processes that can be streamlined with automation and, when combined with AI and machine learning, will see new tools that only become more powerful in the future.  On a more fundamental level, you can automate almost every part of your marketing campaigns to your own specifications – sending emails automatically when potential customers engage with you in a certain way or presenting customers with specific deals or posts based of their purchase or browsing history.

For smaller businesses that don’t have the money to invest in all-in-one CRM and marketing systems, automated integrations make it easier than ever to utilize various business software, giving you high functionality and flexibility without the massive price tag.

The 4.0 era is upon us and, when it comes to technology-driven marketing strategies, it’s adapt or die; while not every one of these will be an all-in-one solution to your business’ needs, they’re all worth spending the time researching to see how they can help you compete and grow in the future.

This article was contributed by Terng Shing Chen, CEO of SYNC PR.

About the author

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Terng Shing is the Founder and CEO of SYNC PR, a PR and content marketing startup that uses technology to reduce time wasting and administrative tasks in delivering results. Based in Singapore, Terng Shing has been focused on helping startups and SMEs build their brand story through media and content.

His experience includes a decade of work in PR and communications agencies, managing top-tier fortune 500 companies to the leading startups in Southeast Asia. Terng Shing has a passion for innovative communications and is convinced that PR is the next great industry to see positive disruption.