There's something that's becoming increasingly important in today's day in age. We are living in a technology age, and the pace at which things are moving is incredible. It really is a fantastic time for marketers, and one that should be wholly embraced. That being said, it doesn't mean that every 'new thing' should be invested in, as more often than not, there is usually more hype around the product or service than there is credible evidence that it is worthwhile within the market.
With this in mind, it's worth pointing out where marketers are looking to focus their efforts for 2015 with regards to technology trends. We recently conducted some research with 100 marketing decision-makers to find out what they think will take off this year and thus where they think it's important to focus.
Before we delve into where marketer's attention will be centred, it's worth seeing where everyone is today. It's becoming increasingly more important to ensure websites are mobile-friendly, especially with the recent Google algorithm update announcement, so you'd think that a lot of effort has been put into optimising sites for various mobile devices. Well, not really. We found that more than half of marketers are personalising the customer experience on their websites, rather than on mobile or in-app. This is quite interesting, especially when you consider that one quarter of all search is done on a mobile device, yet specific personalisation and targeting may not be set to capture the swaths of people who will be coming in through mobile devices.
Right here, right now
More than 30% of marketers are yet to optimise their website for mobile devices, so we know that there's still a fair amount of work to be done if marketers want to be as visible as possible and offer a smooth user journey in the form of having a mobile-friendly site. That being said, there is a clear agenda for where marketers plan to invest in 2015: apps. We found that nearly one third plan to invest in mobile messaging apps, and one fifth are looking to create a live-streaming video app. The app market is still booming, notably because it adds to the way in which we can interact with our users on a daily basis and offers a more streamline experience than a website can. That companies are looking in this direction for 2015 is a positive plan of action, especially if their goal is to increase engagement, brand perception and loyalty. However, we found that 63% of marketers invest in technology with the goal of increasing sales, a factor which is not the top outcome of creating an app (they are notoriously expensive to build and maintain, and more often than not provide a free service). But for the 50% of marketers who want to increase brand awareness and the 35% who want to improve user experience, they are certainly on the right track.
This bodes well in light of all the new technologies which have recently emerged, and goes to prove our belief that it's best not to believe the hype around novelty products or services until they're a proven success.
What does the future look like?
It's looking bright. The majority of marketers envisage that in the next five years they'll invest in technology such as speech recognition, big data, and the internet of things amongst others. Though these technologies are still being studied and re-worked today, they are making a strong presence within the marketplace, and are looking to grow in relevance and importance in upcoming years.
And what's being avoided?
This plays into our recent blog which states that 70% of marketers believe that wearables and smartwatches are overhyped at the moment, and thus few plan to invest in creating an app for this technology. Of all the technologies which marketers think are overhyped at the moment, this one far outweighs the others stated, perhaps because this is the most recent and thus it has received the most column inches this year, predominantly accorded to the release of the Apple Watch. However, the next few technologies which are making marketers' eyes roll are cryptocurrencies (36%), virtual reality (27%) and beacons and geo-fencing (24%).
These findings provide some interesting food for thought, but most of all outline that marketers are veering towards technologies which have been tried and tested, and thus have clear potential within the market. Therefore, the areas of focus for 2015 should be centred around having a mobile-friendly website, ensuring any apps offer a sleek experience, and if there's some time and money left over, look towards the internet of things and big data if you are able to embrace more technology. Above all, it's key that any decision to invest in technology is backed with proof that this makes sense for your market and that it really will take off within that cluster. If not, don't bother and focus on the tried and tested areas that require your attention, otherwise you risk your credibility, reputation and your loyal client base.