Using technology in business helps business owners become more efficient than they can be without the tools that technology gives us. Sometimes it seems that just as we adapt to a new tool, technology develops another tool that we need. However, once you wade through the hype, you can find the best tools for your business, tools that will add to your bottom line instead of detract from it. As you consider ways of upgrading your sales and marketing process, you should look at how new technology can help expand your marketing reach without wasting your already limited time. Technology is an investment and it should bring you the ROI you expect. To get an idea of what to look for around the corner, here are some of the technological trends that may affect your business.
1. Augmented Reality
The best example of this technology is the explosive mobile game Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go adds a layer of virtual reality on top of the real world. It is an exciting development because it gets people, including kids and teens, out from behind their computer or gaming device and into the real world. In fact, the best place to find Pokémon in the game is away from your own home and instead at parks, fields, and community centers. This type of augmented reality offers businesses a chance to have their customers come to their brick-and-mortar locations reversing the trend to shop for everything online.
2. AI Assistants
We have seen the beginning of this trend with Cortana, Alexa, and Siri. While these two assistants are not yet ready to tackle real needs in a business sense, you can see why it would be helpful to have AI assistants that could. If you could cut down your computer time by having the computer do some functions with verbal commands, you have more time to meet with customers and prospects.
3. Algorithms that Learn
Most businesses are familiar with Google's algorithms and how they affect search. Google has been developing learning algorithms including RankBrain, an algorithm that can learn to better understand search queries and match them to better search results. The possibility of this type of technology is endless, although the complexity means that it needs more time to come to fruition. How could your business run more efficiently with a learning algorithm?
4. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation has become a highly-effective tool for helping marketers prioritize and nurture their leads, prospects, and customers. As these tools develop, they are capable of writing content, contacting people, and allowing sales and marketing teams to spend their time focusing on the people who are ready to buy right now.
5. Mobile Optimization
This trend is in full force as more businesses realize that mobile technology is the future of how people do business. More and more websites are becoming mobile-friendly, easier to access from smartphones and tablets.
6. Big Data Analytics
With the ability to gather more data comes the need for analysis. There are several directions analysis can take from creating usable graphs for marketers to prioritizing trends from the data collected. Data visualization is something that can help marketers see where they need to focus their attention, but it can also simplify analytics too much.
7. In-App Marketing
As the use of mobile technology increases, marketing from within apps becomes a more viable way to reach customers for repeat business. While an app itself may be free, they often have add-ons that cost money or require an exchange of data before they can be accessed.