The realm of digital marketing implies the marketing of goods and services via advanced digital technologies, namely the Internet, mobile phones, and graphic advertising. The evolution of digital marketing began at the turn of the century when the information and communication technologies (ICTs) started developing at an immense pace. Businesses have embraced new opportunities and integrated new means of communication with customers into their frameworks. The implementation of digital technologies has considerably changed the utilization of technology to market products and services. With the wide introduction of digital platforms into commercial and private contexts, when digital environment has become an alternative to brick-and-mortar stores, digital marketing has obtained the major distribution in the national and global markets (Dahlen 36). Digital marketing implements the methods of content marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, e-commerce, social media marketing, gaming, and data-driven marketing (Arthur). The proliferation of digital marketing to other non-Internet related spheres, including mobile phones services, demonstrates its success in the market.
Therefore, digital technologies along with the pivotal technology of the Internet have transformed the very phenomenon of marketing and introduced the benefits and drawbacks for every notion of the conventional marketing mix. It is difficult to overestimate the role of digital technologies for businesses. Companies need digital marketing to manage effective communication with their customers and become more customer-oriented (Setia et al. 565). In this context, the future of digital marketing is reliant upon customers’ preferences as well as social, economic, and cultural trends that predetermine proliferation of digital marketing technologies in the market.
Current and Future Ways of Digital Marketing Development
Nowadays, technology development has been experiencing a shift in evolutionary trends. The transformation from traditional advertising to digital marketing has been successful and profitable for organizations (Nerurkar 186). While previously the stages of new digital marketing tool approximately followed the established scheme of the integration of the innovation application, currently the scheme of integration can change significantly.
The first stage is the introduction of the new technology to the market (Ryan 4). The second stage implies the establishment of the technology to make it more popular and stronger in the market (Ryan 4). The third stage involves the attraction of the innovative marketers who take advantage of the opportunity to implement this technology in order to associate with their target audience (Ryan 4). Eventually, the technology closes the cycle at becoming the mainstream and makes a shift from innovative to common marketing strategy with the standard practice of marketing implementation (Ryan 4). However, the recent tendencies in the establishment of the digital technologies in the market and their further implementation demonstrate that with the ever-increasing growth of the consumers of digital marketing, new trends of the marketing technology introduction appear.
Social trends and governmental control have become the power that dictates the popularity of a service or product. This tendency is likely to persist in the future since videos that go viral, crowdfunding events, and other social enterprises occur due to the communication channels offered by digital world and maintenance of the people (Yang 742). For instance, the researchers have not predicted the success of digital advertising during online games to the extent, to which it occurred in Asian countries, especially in South Korea (Jin and Schneider 8) and China (Wallis 407). The integration of new ICTs practices in China has been significantly reliant on social trends. However, the market of online games and gaming advertising in South Korea grew rapidly and more intensively than in China. This tendency entails an implication for the future since it implies governmental interference in the digital market context. The government has slowed the expansion of new digital market technologies in China due to the desire to monitor the new media, while people wanted free communication (Wallis 408). Consequently, this led to the separation of the government from the new media means and the social change in the country (Wallis 407). Therefore, the excessive governmental control can endanger the future of digital technology and digital marketing in the countries with strong government participation such as China, and this could influence social perception of the new media and the people’s desire to use it. On the contrary, countries where governments do not evidently control the performance of the new media prosper and develop more rapidly.
The recent trends related to social aspect of digital technology imply a shift from customer-oriented to company-oriented marketing (Tiago, and Verissimo 704). In fact, this may be necessary since company-generated content positively affects the customer’s spending (Kumar et al., 9). Moreover, this will require the retraining of digital marketers in order to inform them of the competencies needed to bridge the skills gap between customer-oriented and company-oriented environments (Royle and Laing 71). Digital marketing services require thorough approach and outstanding expertise to predetermine the benefits or challenges of a technology. In addition, the marketers have to be able to communicate both online and without any devices (Royle and Laing 71). Thus, the future of digital technology of online marketing will be altered through the change of direction (Tiago and Verissimo 704). Consequently, business-targeting activities and technologies will potentially become central to digital marketing, as opposed to customer-oriented marketing.
Current and Future Marketing Channels
A number of marketing channels promote digital marketing, ensuring the communication of the business aim to the consumers. Marketing channels enable the feedback from the customer. This, companies can conclude on the appropriateness of the product or service for this customer when communicating via the following marketing channels.
Email marketing has been one of the most widely used methods of interaction with the consumer. It is likely to remain in the future, but other messaging services that are quicker and more widespread can blur its popularity. Dapko and Artis emphasize the use of email marketing in relation to young consumers referred to as millennials (255). Professionals often take into consideration the use of linguistic and image characteristics that can make email marketing more attractive. Moreover, the low cost of this marketing channel adds to its attractiveness for businesses. In terms of future use of this technology, it is obvious that the pace of communication that is quick and allows the company to offer a product or a service in a relatively cheap and convenient way is likely to keep its position for business environment (Dapko and Artis 255). Although it might soon become outdated in personal communication, email marketing does not require an immediate answer, and this gives time to the customer to make an informed decision. Even though some consumers may consider this marketing channel as boring and slow, the aspect of visual appeal and linguistic solutions could potentially enliven this means of business-customer communication. Therefore, the future of this marketing channel is reliant upon the right choice of a visual appeal and formal or non-informal language. The researchers believe that the latter creates a more favorable communication, which would potentially lead to the positive consumer decision.
Another marketing channel that is gaining much more substantial popularity and is likely to become even more popular is game advertising. This marketing channel implies the advertisement of goods or services in digital games. Professional sellers analyze and consider all social, psychological, and individual aspects of the player’s response to advertising (Terlutter and Capella 96). In general, if the consumer likes the game, he or she will also have a positive attitude towards the advertised product or service. On the contrary, adverse impressions relating to the game are likely to have a negative impact on the outcome of game advertising. In fact, the new concept of advergames has evolved (Mau et al. 830). Gura and Gura argue that advergame is an effective way to create brand awareness (61). The research by Mau et al. (831) indicates that gaming advertising tends to transfer the consumer’s attitude to the game on the advertisement, and vice versa. The familiar brands used to lose points when they are provided within games, while unfamiliar brands benefit from that (Mau et al. 830). The other study demonstrated that even if consumers had a negative attitude towards the offered product or service, after the next reminder of it in the process of the game, it increased brand recall (Mackay et al. 429). As a result, the increased attention to a service or product during the game enhanced the company’s benefits, and got both potential and existing customers involved. Therefore, implications for future in terms of game advertising could forecast the promotion of unfamiliar brands and thorough selection of the game subject to comply with the message of the advertising.
Online promotion through video advertising is another type of marketing channel, which promises to be effective. It has achieved tremendous popularity since it has been placed on YouTube, which continues being a trend among millennials and younger generation (Li and Lo 210). Li and Lo differentiate between the pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll advertisements (212). The research has demonstrated that the advertisements following the video demonstrated better results in terms of brand awareness and recognition. A researcher should consider the implications of video advertising for the future from the perspective of the target audience. Millennials and younger generation form the biggest segment of consumers of video advertising nowadays (Li and Lo 211). They admit the negative emotions when the advertising interrupts the video they watch (Li and Lo 212). It is necessary to take this drawback into consideration and minimize the negative attitude through communication. When the video advertisement has a preceding note that this video is free due to the advertisement, the consumer is likely to accept the advertising better (Li and Lo 210). Nevertheless, the most important is that consumers watch the advertisement and increase their brand awareness and recognition, and this does not depend on whether this experience was positive and negative (Li and Lo 212). However, the positivity of the video watching can influence the sharing of that video, and this directly influences the effectiveness of this digital marketing technology.
Potential Impact of Future Technologies on Digital Marketing
The impact of technologies on digital marketing is closely associated with the perceptions of the customers. For instance, the feature AdBlock allows the user to avoid the video advertisement (Frank and McGuire 10). Undoubtedly, businesses suffer losses from this technology and are willing to confront it in the digital environment. Thus, the future of video advertising is essentially dependent on the new technology that will not allow users to avoid watching advertising. Frank and McGuire (10) indicate that the researchers have already developed such a technology and called it a server-side ad insertion (SSAI). The SSAI technology opens new horizons for businesses using digital marketing since it puts the obstacles for software blocking advertisements. The SSAI has certain drawbacks for advertising and publishing companies, but eventually it improves the reach to the target audience (Frank and McGuire 10). The successful implementation of the SSAI technology would imply that digital markets remain profitable for businesses.
The technology of a customer data platform is grounded on the integrated customer database, which aligns numerous pieces of data from the marketing, sales, and service tools (Frank and McGuire 12). This technology investigates the basis for the customer’s profile, which will eventually help to improve customer experience when using digital market technologies. The customer data platform partially solves the lack of professional digital marketers. However, among the difficulties faced by digital marketers withdrawal from anonymous profiles has posed numerous challenges to businesses utilizing this feature (Frank and McGuire 12). Nevertheless, digital marketers expect to align various marketing channels with advertising (Frank and McGuire 13). Therefore, the system targets alignment and compliance with common rules and regulations. If this trend persists, there will be fewer demographic groups in social media.
Real-time marketing reflects the tactics of the business and makes it possible to draw the prospects for the future. This technology is likely to continue its existence and develop into a platform to support real-time online research of the business opportunities. Thus, real-time marketing technology allows businesses to follow, monitor, and process any information related to them online (Frank and McGuire 13). Real-time marketing gives the marketers the opportunity to set priorities and identify which information is urgent and requires immediate response and which to address later. The management of real-time marketing is a necessity for businesses performing in digital markets since the trend for the future is real-time communication. The youth withdraws from the previous patterns of one-at-a-time communication and utilizes real-time communication tools such as Twitter (Frank and McGuire 13). The ability of a business to respond timely, meaning immediately to the trend and to the customer expectations, will contribute to the company’s competitive advantage. Customers expect businesses to comply with the established social trends and provide their products and services on the platforms, which are the most convenient for the customers (Frank and McGuire 14). Accordingly, the decision to use real-time marketing would be a beneficial choice for any business engaged in the sphere of digital marketing.
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Digital services and products become obsolete very quickly, which is the main challenge for the pivotal services of digital technologies such as search engine marketing, website optimization, and social media marketing. For this reason, it is challenging to make any long-term forecasts concerning the future of the industry. However, the services that will potentially survive in the future are widely used nowadays. Thus, three major services proposed by the digital marketing include search engine marketing, website optimization, and social media marketing (Beath). In most cases, Optimization and Google Adds form search engine marketing (SEM) (Beath). Although there have been claims that the “long tail” that appears during the search after the first 100 keywords is also beneficial, the research shows that marketers should concentrate on the major information within the first hundred (Skiera et al. 489). Consequently, the SEM technology implies the implementation of quality search engine traffic to deliver traffic to the customer’s website.
Facebook represents social media marketing (SMM) in many countries. The dynamic environment of Facebook and increased customer engagement, as perceived by some researchers, contribute to the success of social media marketing (Sakas et al. 592). SMM technologies monitor the potential customer’s profile and place targeted advertisements and presumably attractive posts to entail the customer (Beath). However, some researchers have indicated Facebook as an outdated social network (Kulkarni). The loss of Facebook positions in the market relates to changes in customer behavior (Kim and Johnson 100) and demographic alternations that are crucial for SMM. Therefore, Kulkarni emphasizes that the tendency to leaving Facebook has existed among adolescents for several years. Identity theft and privacy issues are likely to be urgent in the future to the same extent they are important now (Kulkarni). However, if privacy issues are to become even more crucial, protection of privacy could be an obstacle to the development of digital marketing technologies.
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The third service of digital marketing search engine optimization improves the sales and contributes to the brand awareness and recognition (Beath). The visibility of a website in the search engine’s results is a great benefit for business that contributes to its competitive advantage and leads to the increased number of website visitors who will potentially become customers (Ortiz-Cordova and Jansen 1426). Researchers expect future SEO-based technologies to benefit small businesses (DeMers). Firstly, it is necessary to change the algorithm for local search, and the increased number of mobile devices that define the geographic location of the user will simplify local search. In this way, local businesses will benefit from the enhanced location search (DeMers). When employing SEO technologies, businesses will target the personalization of their consumers and use information from digital assistants, including Siri or Cortana, to analyze more behavioral data on their potential users (DeMers). Therefore, SEO, SMM, and SEM technologies are likely to continue their performance to digital marketing business. However, they will potentially face certain challenges such as the obsolescence of the previous methods of information search, increased privacy concerns, and extraction of more information about obsolescence.
The future of digital marketing is grounded on the development of new advanced technologies as well as ICTs-related social and cultural trends. Thus, the correlation is twofold, on the one hand, the popularity of new marketing channels and other means of digital marketing are reliant on the actual benefits that they offer to consumers. On the other hand, other factors such as social perception can become the drive or hindrance to the digital marketing service proliferation. In general, the trends of the present are likely to persist in the future. Even those aspects of digital marketing that seemed to be a passing craze, transformed into a stable tendency, which contributes to brand awareness and recognition. The marketing channels that are likely to persist in the future include gaming advertising and video advertising. Email marketing will potentially reduce since it offers slower communication and is expulsed by the new services of digital communication. A considerable number of digital technologies will have a significant positive or negative impact on the development of digital market. The implementation of business-friendly technologies such as SSAI technology that prevents AdBlock from performing will keep profits of businesses. However, the invention and introduction of the “antidote” to the SSAI would complicate matters. Therefore, the future of digital technology is dependent on the opposing interests of businesses and customers in regard to certain issues such as advertisement watching. Nevertheless, businesses should be online, use recent digital technologies, and respond to the newest tendencies in real time. In such a way, the companies would ensure their presence in the digital market, show support to their customers, and raise brand awareness and recognition. Therefore, digital marketing is essentially reliant upon social trends existing among population and upon the inventions and technologies, which can either benefit or harm business performance.
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