Impact of Digital Marketing on Business

Impact of Digital Marketing on Business

The positives of digital marketing far outweigh any negatives that exist.

This is how the benefits far outweigh the negatives when it comes to the impact of digital marketing on business.

The impact of digital marketing on traditional marketing has been profound, and rightfully so. The world of digital marketing opens doors that offer a potential client the opportunity to feel as if he or she is connected with a business, as if the client is a part of it, simply because one sees content from that business online on a regular basis. These types of things entice potential buyers to give products and services a try that they once wouldn’t have even known about. The benefits of digital marketing for the business world are vast and easily outweigh any potential negatives.

Impact of Digital Marketing on Businesses

  • More affordable methods of reaching a wider audience. Advertising online is less expensive than print advertising, and more people see it. It’s that simple. Hundreds, or even thousands, of people can be reached via sponsored posts on various social media sites for a few dollars a pop. It can take several hundred dollars to run a single print ad in a newspaper, and then consideration must be given to whether or not the target demographic is even seeing the ad.
  • More of a variety of easily accessible marketing outlets. Digital marketing opens a whole new world of opportunities. There are social media, email campaigns, content marketing, Search Engine Optimization, banner ads, and so much more. All of these functions can easily be taken care of online as well, making the process smoother.
  • Everyone’s online, so more people are seeing your ads. Again, it’s that simple. These days, people get everything from their news, their weather, the gossip on Bessie’s latest affair, and even their groceries, all with a few clicks of a mouse or swipes of a finger.

Negative Impact of Digital Marketing

While the benefits are easy to see, another important consideration when going digital with your marketing plan is the negative impact of digital marketing. It’s easy to think, “What could possibly go wrong with online advertising?” Well, when more people are viewing marketing content, there’s always the fear (or there should be) that the wrong message could be perceived. If marketers aren’t conscious of what’s going on around them, it’s easy to put out a message that can be misinterpreted. For example, consider the #metoo movement.

If a marketer was unaware of the movement (perhaps they’ve been hiding under a rock) and ran a banner ad on Facebook with some humor about something that could even slightly, in some far-off universe, be considered sexist, it could be the death of that company. While that might sound severe, consider the line, “Once it’s been on the internet, it’s out there forever.” Once an ad has run that can be affiliated with a company and is interpreted in an offensive manner, it’s out there, never to be retracted. It’s often death by digital suicide for the company behind the message.

While there are always negatives with any marketing strategy, the impact of digital marketing on businesses has, overall, been a positive one. With more access to a broader audience, digital marketing illuminates businesses in ways that were once impossible, saving businesses time, money, and bringing in new customers like never before.

What is a Chatbot and How to Use It for Your Business

What is a Chatbot and How to Use It for Your Business

The evolution of artificial intelligence is now in full swing and chatbots are only a faint splash on a huge wave of progress. Today the number of users of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Slack, Skype and their analogs is skyrocketing, Facebook Messenger alone has more than 1.2 billion monthly users. With the spread of messengers, virtual chatterbots that imitate human conversations for solving various tasks are becoming increasingly in demand. Chinese WeChat bots can already set medical appointments, call a taxi, send money to friends, check in for a flight and many many other.

Online chatbots save time and efforts by automating customer support. Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human. However, the opportunites provided by chatbot systems go far beyond giving responses to customers’ inquiries. They are also used for other business tasks, like collecting information about users, helping to organize meetings and reducing overhead costs. There is no wonder that size of the chatbot market is growing exponentially.

Of course, it is not so simple to create an interactive agent that the user will really trust. That’s why IM bots have not replaced all the couriers, doctors and the author of these lines. In this article, instead of talking about the future of chatbots, we will give you a short excursion into the topic of chatbots, how they work, how they can be employed and how difficult it is to create one yourself.

What is chatbot and what is it for?

According to Oxford Dictionaries, a chatbot is

“A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”

It is an assistant that communicates with us through text messages, a virtual companion that integrates into websites, applications or instant messengers and helps entrepreneurs to get closer to customers. Such a bot is an automated system of communication with users.

Why does a business need chatbots? There are reasons for that like getting rid of routine tasks and simultaneous processing of multiple requests from users. Besides, a tremendous speed of processing users’ requests with chatbots helps gaining customers’ loyalty.

Consumers also benefit from chatbots and they are getting increasingly interested in this technology. A study presented at the 4th International Conference on Internet Science in November, 2017 identified reasons why people choose to interact with chatbots. According to this research, the main factors that motivate people to use chatbots are:

  • Productivity. Chatbots provide the assistance or access to information quickly and efficiently.
  • Entertainment. Chatbots amuse people by giving them funny tips, they also help killing time when users have nothing to do.
  • Social and relational factors. Chatbots fuel conversions and enhance social experiences. Chatting with bots also helps to avoid lonliness, gives a chance to talk without being judged and improves conversational skills.
  • Curiosity. The novelty of chatbots sparks curiosity. People want to explore their abilities and to try something new.

Take a look into the history of chatbots

And we will find that the first conversational bot was written in the USA in 1966. It was implemented by Joseph Weizenbaum, computer scientist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was named Eliza. The chatbot misled people, so authentic the communication with it was.

In the early 90’s, the Turing test, which allows determining the possibility of thinking by computers, was developed. It consists in the following. A person talks to both the person and the computer. The goal is to find out who his interlocutor is — a person or a machine. This test is carried out in our days and many conversational programs have coped with it successfully.

As for types of chatbots

Depending on how the specific bots were programmed, we can divide them into two large groups: working according to pre-prepared commands (simple chatbot) and trained (smart or advanced chatbot).

Simple chatbots work based on pre-written keywords that they understand. Each of these commands must be written by the developer separately using regular expressions or other forms of string analysis. If the user has asked a question without using a single keyword, the robot can not understand it and, as a rule, responds with messages like “sorry, I did not understand”.

Smart chatbots rely on artificial intelligence when they communicate with users. Instead of pre-prepared answers, the robot responds with adequate suggestions on the topic. In addition, all the words said by the customers are recorded for later processing. However, the Forrester report “The State of Chatbots” points out that artificial intelligence is not a magic and is not yet ready to produce marvelous experiences for users on its own. On the contrary, it requires a huge work:

“Chat developers and designers are the gardeners: they have to tend to the chatbots and coach their growth through continuous, yet gentle, correction. these designers must also beg, coerce, and incent customers to put up with subpar experiences during the process: the learning is really slow.”

The most popular chatbot

There are various search engines for bots, such as Chatbottle, Botlist and Thereisabotforthat, for example, helping developers to inform users about the launch of new talkbots. These sites also provide a ranking of bots by various parameters: the number of votes, user statistics, platforms, categories (travel, productivity, social interaction, e-commerce, entertainment, news, etc.). They feature more than three and a half thousand bots for Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype and Kik.

Through the chatbot search engines, you can find an interesting application in each category, e.g. the best chatbot for Facebook Messenger is Poncho. It sends you personal weather forecasts with jokes or funny memes and, thus, looks more like a meteorologist friend than a soulless weather reporting service.

What can chatbots do?

“I think chatbots are the future of engagement between a fan and a brand or celebrity.” ~ Christina Milian

Both startups and savvy companies are now incorporating interactive agents into their daily operations, communication with customers and sales processes. Chatbots can help to:

Improve customer service. It is the best option for those who don’t want their customers to:

  • Wait for operator’s answer — “Stay on the line, your call is very important to us” is always annoying, isn’t it?
  • Search for an answer in the FAQ — as a rule users don’t have time for scrolling dozens of pages with instructions.

Streamline the shopping process. It only takes to write what you want to the chatbot and the bot will send the information to the sales department. You don’t need to repeat several times “I need the same, but with metal buttons”. Besides, the chatbot remembers your preferences and uses this information when you return.

Personalize communication. A chatbot answers the specific questions of visitors instead of displaying a long list of information. The more attention a customer gets the greater his desire to buy something.

Improve a response rate. About 90% of questions sent from Facebook business pages remain unanswered. Chatbot responds to 100% of messages and converts more visitors into buyers.

Automate repetitive tasks. Most customers want to get answers on the same questions — When do you work? What is your location? Do you make deliveries? In order not to write the same answers every time, make a chatbot. It reduces your employees’ workload.

How to build a chatbot

If we managed to inspire you to create your own chatbot, here are some tips to help you get started. There are 4 main stages:

1. Define the goals. What should your chatbot do? Clearly indicate the list of functions your chatbot needs to perform. 
2. Choose a channel to interact with your customers. Be where your clients prefer to communicate — your website, mobile app, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or other messaging platform. 
3. Choose the way of creation. There are two of them: using readymade chat bot software or building a custom bot from scratch. 
4. Create, customize and launch. Describe the algorithm of its actions, develop a database of answers and test the work of the chatbot. Double check everything before showing your creation to potential customers.

Now let’s look closer at 2 approaches to building chatbots:

Creating from scratch. If you are not a programmer yourself, you will need to hire a software development company as this method requires work with code, manual integration with messengers and customization. Among the advantages of this approach are:

  • full compliance with your needs,
  • control over data the bot receives,
  • the possibility to make corrections easily,
  • best for a customer-facing chatbots.

This method may require significant financial and time investments.

Using chatbot builder platforms. You can create a chatbot with the help of services providing all the necessary features and integrations. It can be a good choice for an in-house chatbot serving your team. This option is associated with some disadvantages, including the limited configuration and the dependence on the service. Some popular platforms for building chatbots are:

  • Chatfuel,
  • Beep Boop,
  • ChattyPeople,
  • Botsify,
  • Smooch.io.

The challenge of creating chatbots

The main challenge is in teaching a chatbot to understand the language of your customers. In every business, customers express themselves differently and each group of a target audience speaks its own way. The language is influenced by advertising campaigns on the market, the political situation in the country, releases of new services and products from Google, Apple and Pepsi among others. The way people speak depends on their city, mood, weather and moon phase. An important role in the communication of the business with customers may have the release of the film Star Wars, for example. That’s why training a chatbot to understand correctly everything the user types requires a lot of efforts.

Remember:

  • There are simple and advanced bots.
  • An advanced chatbot is an artificial intelligence that communicates with a human.
  • Conversational bots are useful both for business and customers.
  • It is necessary to understand the language of a target audience.

Conclusion. What to do?

Many business owners are just beginning to understand what benefits chatbots can bring to them. This technology is still in an early stage, its capabilities continue increasing and the best chatbots have yet to be created.

Invest in building a chatbot for your business and be at the forefront of innovation!

THE IMPORTANCE OF WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

THE IMPORTANCE OF WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

Nearly half of users – 48%! – say that if a business has an unresponsive site, they take it as an indication that the business doesn’t care. Your website should reflect your business philosophy. It should support you in growing revenues and attracting new customers while reinforcing your credibility and expertise. Why are websites so important now? Why do people care so much about how they look and if they work properly? We’re going to review the importance of website design and development and how it can benefit your business.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

“They” say not to judge a book by its cover. Ignore this advice. Your website is the digital face of your business, and it’s where web users (which, in the 21st century, means everyone) go to learn about you. Consider a company that offers excellent customer service and operates a somewhat successful business. They can’t show others their success as well as they’d like to and they’re not convinced it’s necessary since they’ve operated via word-of-mouth for years.

When people arrive at their website, or find that there is no website at all, it leaves a bad first impression. The 48% of users who think you don’t care have already moved on to search your competitors and you’ve lost business. A bad first impression can cost you customers, which is why it’s crucial to grab prospects the second they land on your site. This hypothetical business owner can rely on customers to spread wonderful testimonials about them, or they can take control of their own image.

STAND OUT, EXCEL, AND COMPETE

You want to stand out among your competitors so customers will want to work with you. An unresponsive site or one that looks outdated will sap your chances with savvy new customers. Customers want to work with companies that can demonstrate their success and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. Your website design is the attracting element and you want to draw users in so they can learn more about your company and decide if you have what they need. If you stand out and excel on your website, you can compete.

COMPANY CREDIBILITY

A sharp, updated website helps to establish your credibility as a business. It’s usually clear if you’ve invested time, energy, and money into your site. Customers will notice that, too. It’s easy to distinguish outdated sites from advanced ones. They usually have text thrown all over the place (usually too much of it) and don’t contain appealing images or buttons that will inspire a customer to act. Ordinary websites don’t help a company and can hurt you in the long run. A professional and strong website demonstrates to your audience that you’re in control and you’re ready to help them. They also probably aren’t looking to do business with a company that makes them do more work than they need to. Your website should make it effortless for them to find the information they’re looking for and facilitate exploration throughout the site.

PRICE AND VALUE

Have you ever bought something expensive? A car, a home, even a flat screen television? Think about the cost of the item you have in mind. How many times did you end up using it? If you bought that fancy flat screen and use it every day, then we’d say you’re getting your money’s worth. The same holds true for websites. They’re not cheap, but they’re worth it. You want to invest money in website development because the value matches its price. One of the goals of a strong website is to increase revenue, so putting money into your website will generate more out of it.

MAKE A CONNECTION

A website also allows you to connect with your customers. Depending on your business, there are plenty of tools and widgets web developers can add to your site to create an interactive experience for visitors. These tools can keep users on your site longer and turn them into returning, long-term customers. One of your goals, next to making money, should be to connect with your customers and develop a positive relationship with them. You can easily achieve this by connecting with them on your website.

IOT: YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW

IOT: YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW

A look at the evolution of IoT and how businesses have used, are using and will be using it to their advantage.

The notion of Smart Manufacturing or Industry 4.0 became a popular topic after the international CeBIT fair of 2011, a mere six years ago but a lifetime in terms of technology maturation. By now, most of us understand, at least intuitively, what the Internet of Things (IoT) means. But in an industrial setting, what are some of the useful things we can do with the data being produced and transmitted by smart devices? That seems to be the predominant question asked by most of the customers that I encounter today. So, I feel it’s about time we discuss how to hone that competitive edge into something that’s really compelling.

IOT YESTERDAY

A year or two ago I spoke at an IoT event about the use of data from smart devices for monitoring not only operational performance of production systems but determining how the business as a whole is impacted when your production systems or other processes fail. It was essentially a story about asset performance management and enterprise business process management.

At the time, the story did not resonate very well with my audience. Yes, there were or few who understood, but the attendees were predominately star-struck with in-memory databases and big data solutions that could deal with the deluge of data that the onset of IoT was expected to generate. IoT was solidly in the labs at the time, with hardware and software engineers demonstrating potential applications.

IOT TODAY

This year I went to that same IoT event and I was pleasantly surprised to see that IFS wasn’t the only company focusing on outcomes. In his keynote speech, Jerry Lee, Director of Product Marketing for Microsoft in the Netherlands, talked about how Microsoft is focused on companies being able to act on analytics. Other speakers at this event represented the construction company, BAM, greenhouse system builder, Hortilux and electronics firm, Philips, all of which have well-defined business cases for applying IoT technology where things are done better and at a lower cost.

Another example of a solid business case is one of our own customers, Anticimex, where connected rat traps enable more efficient routing of service engineers and the prediction of battery replacement. IoT is solidly out of the lab and the business has clearly taken ownership, coming up with practical applications.

There is also a lot of talk about the Industrial Internet of Things (i.e. manufacturing), but as mentioned, I’m seeing business cases in pest control, construction, agriculture and other managed services, too. Even though not all applications are equally advanced, the system of systems is starting to work; connecting data to analytics to business systems and starting to deliver real value.

IOT TOMORROW

Now that business at the operational level has come to grips with IoT, it’s time for the C-level to step up and drive transformation. Without a doubt, there is merit in reducing cost and being more efficient, but what will really move the needle in terms of top-line growth is the adoption of new products and services.

The notion of a product company starting to sell its products as a service is easy to understand, but the execution of this idea is by no means trivial. Technically, you need to understand the product, predict its failures and be confident that you can turn a profit by providing it as a service.

Financially, you’ll also need to re-engineer the balance sheet, as all these products now become your own assets. Plus, you’ll have to report on SLA compliance with your customers. If you’re not a product company but a service company, you’ll be in a position to learn about leading indicators to failure modes, the effects of climate and supplier performance for spare parts. All of these things are valuable and marketable, but they need more than the operations team to take them to market.

Digital Marketing Trends That Will Own 2019

Digital Marketing Trends That Will Own 2019

2018 has been a year of improving and building off of 2017’s social media trends. So far, we’ve seen a continued uptick in augmented reality, video content, and influencer marketing. But now that 2018 is one-third of the way over, you may find yourself wondering: “what does 2019 have in store for us?”

We can’t be sure yet, but we have a few predictions for the upcoming New Year. We’ll discuss our predictions in this article and give you a look at how the ever-changing digital marketing landscape may look in just a few months.

The Rise of Smart Speakers

This one may be strange to see on a digital marketing trends list, but hear (pun intended) us out. Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod have made waves in the consumer technology market over the past couple of years. And consumers love them: 65% of smart speaker owners say they wouldn’t want to go back to life without their voice-controlled assistant.

So how does this tie in with digital marketing? We will likely see more and more online publications embrace voice and publish audio content to these devices. They’ll do this in hopes of landing a sport on listener’s “Flash Briefing”, encouraging their followers to follow daily.

Furthermore, we expect to see more ads on these platforms—after all, publications need to monetize content. Amazon, Google, and Apple may very well launch their own advertising platforms for this, making it easier for companies to buy and sell ad space. Think Adwords but for your Google Home.

Internet Will Catch Up To Television

Research shows that internet will catch up to television in 2019 in terms of hours watched. According to the study, people will spend 2.6 hours a day online and 2.7 hours a day watching the tube in 2019. 45 minutes of an average person’s internet time will be spent watching mobile video.

Because of this, we that predict companies will spend less money on television ads and more money on web video, social media, and web ads in the New Year. Will your company do the same?

Social Media Will Be More Deeply Integrated Into Other Services

Social media companies will continue to integrate their services into third-party applications. For example, like how Facebook and LinkedIn allow users to sign up for third-party services with their accounts and share data with third-party services.

We expect this trend to continue and for social platforms to become even more integrated with other services. Social media apps may start to share more user data with their audiences and create a more seamless experience across third-party apps. This helps social media companies retain their dominance, gain more info about users, and provide better services for smaller websites and apps.

Live Video Will Keep Growing

It’s no secret that YouTube, Facebook and Instagram’s live video services made waves in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In fact, in 2016 more than 80% of internet users watched more live video than the year prior—likely due to the rise of more modern streaming services.

Don’t let your brand be late to the live video bandwagon. 67% of live viewers say they are more likely to purchase a concert ticket to see a band or attend an event if they’ve seen a live stream of a similar event online.

Further, 45% of live audiences would pay to see a favorite athlete, team, or performer on an online stream. Check out Facebook’s recent Facebook Live infographic for more information on live video’s growth.

Video (And Video Ads) Will Keep Growing, Too

Like live video, traditional video will keep growing too. Studies expect video to account for a whopping 85% of total internet traffic by 2019. Further, 54% of internet users already watch video on a social media platform monthly, and that number will only grow over the coming years.

Video ads are on the rise too. 65% of ad impressions on Instagram were the result of video content, and we’re expecting that number to grow even further.

Marketers should consider adding video for their 2019 social media strategy. Some ways of doing this are by running video ads on YouTube and Instagram, creating video content in-house, or partnering with an influencer for paid product placement or endorsement in their videos.

Chatbots Will Become A Normal Thing

We expect chatbots to continue growing in 2019—and they’ll likely see become more “normal” in the eyes of consumers. In other words: the novelty will fade but we will see them become more widespread and usable.

By 2019 we expect chatbots to be the first place someone goes to order a pizza, choose a mobile plan, or even book a hotel room. Chatbots enable your users to do all of this without the hassle of downloading a native app.

Data says chatbots will dominate too. According to a study out of LivePerson, only 19% of the 5,000 people surveyed had a negative perception of chatbots. Further, 33% had a positive view and 48% were indifferent so long as their problems were resolved.

Stay ahead of the curve and develop a chatbot for your brand. They’re relatively easy to develop and may make the difference between closing a quick sale or losing a customer to a service with an easy-to-use chatbot—especially for food delivery.

The Rise of The Social CEO

In an era of fake news, it’s important for CEOs and other top executives to be social. This boosts your company’s reputation, helps build trust with your users, and even makes your company more appealing to job applicants.

According to data from OkToPost, in 2016 only 40% of CEOs were active on social media. Of those users, 70% only used LinkedIn. However, we expect this number to grow as distrust in the media continues, making people want to hear news right from the source.

There are a number of ways that a CEOs can have his or her voice heard. A few of the best ways are by posting to the company blog, writing on Medium, Tweeting from a personal account, or writing blog posts on LinkedIn.