Article

Nate Vickery
Nate Vickery 7 December 2017
Categories Research

What Have We Learned About Digital in 2017?

2017 has been a great year from a digital point of view, but there’s a lot of room for improvement which we will, hopefully, witness in 2018.

Digital transformation has become one of the big buzzwords in the industry, and with groundbreaking developments in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, companies that want to stay relevant need to keep pace with all tech innovations. As we’re wrapping up 2017, it’s a perfect moment to look back and analyze what we have learned so far, as well as predict what 2018 holds in store. Here are some of the highlights from the year in which a face-detecting technology for payment authorization was introduced in China.

Be quick to embrace change

Adaptability and readiness to accept changes are crucial if you want to succeed in the digital era. For example, a proliferation of the remote workforce enabled by various technological advances, is one of the best examples of how digital transformation is affecting today’s world. Companies have realized that offering telecommuting will allow them not only to cut expenses but also to hire the best people for the job no matter where they live. According to McKinsey, 37% of the U.S. workers say they have telecommuted, compared to only 9% in 1995. This trend is excellent for the productivity as nowadays there are lots of digital nomads who don’t want to sacrifice their freedom and trade it for a fat paycheck and being chained to the office desk, which is why 2017 can be seen as the year of working remotely.

Content is still king

Bill Gates is a visionary, that’s for sure, but who could have guessed that his famous quote from 1996 would still be highly applicable 21 years later? But, fast-forward two decades and here we are, trying to come up with quality content on a daily basis. Content marketing isn’t just a tool for boosting your company’s visibility and expanding your reach, but also an excellent and highly effective method of lead generation. Enter social media platforms and you’ve got a powerful combo that will skyrocket your website traffic and fill your sales funnel with prospects. Businesses that recognized this as an opportunity to capitalize on, say, Facebook ads,  shares, and likes, joined forces with internet marketing specialists and consultants like Jason Hornung, a guy who ran unbelievably successful campaigns for many big names in the industry, and multiplied their revenue.

AI, AR, and VR

Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality were in the spotlight throughout 2017, as the three disruptive technologies were generally successfully implemented in various industries. AI is a game-changer in sales and marketing, as this sophisticated technology allows marketers and salespeople to get to know their customers better and make accurate predictions and forecasts about their purchasing behavior. Chatbots have taken customer service to the next level, and according to Gartner, by 2020 85% of customers will manage their relationships with companies without interacting with a human. When it comes to Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, apart from the entertainment industry, these technologies have been implemented in the field of e-commerce in order to create immersive shopping experiences, help customers interact to a greater degree with the items they’re interested in, and speed up making a purchasing decision.

The customer comes first

It’s true that new technologies are extremely important for digital transformation, but we shouldn’t forget that customer experience and satisfaction is the ultimate goal. Due to the fact that the competition is fierce in every industry and that customers nowadays have an almost unlimited number of options, companies and brands have to try hard in order,  to rise above the digital white noise, differentiate themselves, and offer the top-notch experience to attract their target audience.  This means that apart from offering a superb product, they also have to make sure that their website is user-friendly and easily navigated and that their customer service reps are helpful and ready to go to great lengths to make customers happy. That’s not the end of the list, as their social media and marketing efforts have to be compelling and interactive in order to engage their customers and keep them coming back. This, basically, means that communication of a brand with its customers has to be highly personalized and customized in order to be successful.

IoT

The internet of things has picked up steam in 2017, as numerous products and services have hit the market. For example, smart lighting systems, smart locks, smart pet feeders, smart toothbrushes, or even personal emergency response systems for people with medical issues are all available and ready to change the way we live and work. This concept will be even bigger in the following period, but 8.4 billion connected devices worldwide in 2017 is a pretty decent number.  

2017 has been a great year from a digital point of view, but there’s a lot of room for improvement which we will, hopefully, witness in 2018.

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