Series: Digital Marketing 101 – Part 2 Future Trends in Digital and Online Marketing


YBT's series of articles that helps you understand different aspects of modern day digital marketing. By Maryam Shaikh.

As rapid technological advancement continues to accelerate the rate of innovation online, it is critical to stay on top of the more immediate and upcoming trends in digital marketing. Here is a look at some trends that are on the way to becoming digital marketing norms in India.


Convergence Technology

Convergence technology – or the amalgamation of several independent technologies into one – is a major trend not just in online marketing, but for overall internet functionality. The most common and popular among convergence techs are the smartphones. They integrate your average call making cell phone with a host of other technologies such as camera, music player, personal computer, video player, GPS, and a host of other services through downloadable applications. Electronic giants LG and Samsung have launched smart refrigerators that can keep a track of the items placed inside them to develop a grocery list for you and also recommend recipes using ingredients that are about to expire. The next level of these smart refrigerators is to be the capability of placing online orders for grocery items to be delivered at times pre-defined by the user. Now, consider the online marketing potential  considering the growing dependence of human being on technology and the increasing intelligence and independence of such technologies to make selective purchase decisions. The opportunities can endless!


Greater Control to Consumers

The advent of the internet has altered the media-consumer relationship forever. While traditional media methods such as television, print and radio were predominantly used to broadcast a fixed message to a wide range of passive recipients, modern day internet messages are far more targeted. In thisconsumers have taken control many senders to many receivers scenario, the interaction is tremendous as well, with consumers having the ability to instantaneously respond to company policies, products, services, and social activities. This ability has already lent great power to the consumers who can now quickly demolish the goodwill and brand image of an erring company, not just within an impacted geography, but globally as well. For example, in 2013, fast food giant Burger King’s reputation took a major shock when it was discovered that its Irish outlets were supplying burgers that included horse meat in them. While the controversy was limited to Ireland, the word quickly spread across the international community through social media and the fast food chains global sales took several setbacks (Source: The Guardian). With consumers already holding a lot of control, their power is only expected to grow. It has been predicted that, in the near future, consumers will become interactive to the point of creating marketing content for brands that they trust, with marketers only playing the role of mediators acting from the ring side.


On the Go Consumers

In the last decade or so, technology has increasingly focused on portability. Whether it be portable video games, music players, or video players, the idea has predominantly been to be able to provide services anytime, anywhere. If you think about it, within this decade, desktop PCs moved to smaller laptop versions, provided the same functionality through smartphones, enhanced viewing through tablets, and you can now access PC-like functions in the form of a wristwatch! This trend for portability has been driven by a growing consumer demand to be able to access information on the go. Eventually, consumers began demanding not just accessing information, but the ability to process it and use it for different functions. As such, devices not only grew smaller, but they became much more useful than ever imagined. We have already discussed the advent of media convergence – this too has been spurred by the ‘on-the-go-consumer’. In such a scenario, online marketers have to adapt quickly to the changing technology landscape and make sure that they are able to reach consumer wherever they are and have information ready to be viewed at any time of the day – or night! Marketing experts will also have more avenues to find out the demographics of their consumers as they become all the more open to sharing personal information to access customized information. Devices with active GPS can be used to track demographics of people in a crowd at, let’s say Times Square, to identify the most prominent group and use this information to display ads that would be relevant to the maximum number of people present at the square at any given time. Now, that would be smart marketing!


The Advent of Web 3.0

The dawn of web 3.0 has been much spoken about – what will it be like? What changes will it bring? Has it started already? Since web 2.0 proved to be revolutionary, it is expected that web 3.0 will bring about as massive an onslaught of technological advancements. The prospects are thrilling. The commonly agreed concept of web 3.0 is that of an absolute semantic internet. This basically means that it will be an age where the web will be able to intelligently understanding, perceive and respond to consumer requirements – much like artificial intelligence. The infiltration of technology into day to day functioning of the society will be so absolute that it will become as difficult for people to function without the web as it is difficult for present day society to function without electricity. Whether it be at home, in educational institutions, workplaces or public spaces, the use of web-based technology will become an imperative. And this technology will not be a two way interaction consisting of the reading and writing of data, but also the understanding  of information and putting it to use by the web. This smart web will provide users with information even before they ask for it – hence, acting as shepherd of decision making. Marketing in such an age will be highly competitive, requiring the highest degrees of personalization to ‘convince’ the web to steer consumer towards a product – a concept similar to SEO marketing, except infinitely more complex.


With these major trends driving a host of innovations in the digital marketing field, online marketers need to think out of the box to develop digital marketing strategies that work.


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