Marketing
When humans can no longer function on rudimentary systems, AI is taking over, allowing marketers to make smarter choices.

Startup marketing has become an interesting subject matter for many academicians and investors across the world. Some startups invest in marketing from the get-go; others wait until the time is right and they’ve received multiple rounds of funding.

Either way, when thinking about the trends that startup marketing has seen over the last few years, there are some key areas in which there has been growth, and others where returns have diminished. Marketing in the startup space has heated up over the last few years, and it continues to rise with greater emphasis on integrated technology solutions such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, programmatic and data analytics. Some of the many innovations and trends associated with the space have revolved around shifting budgets, moving parts in the logistics, and changing heads of industry.

Here are some of the trends that are shaping marketing in the years to come

Non-monetary compensation

This wasn’t the case a few years ago, but increasingly payments for marketing services are being provided in non-traditional fashion such as bitcoin, stock and inventory. Gone are the days when cash was king, and now startups are increasingly offering a significant proportion of their stock for marketing services provided, along with creating new opportunities for growth and enhancement for all parties.

Some tech companies are even offering bitcoins for services rendered, while others are offering credits and vouchers for smaller gigs. This non-monetary compensation structure will carry forward in the coming years, as the value of these commodities increases day by day.

Artificial intelligence

Smarter bidding is the name of the game, and AI is getting good at it. Better than most humans, at least. When humans can no longer function on rudimentary systems, AI will take over and allow marketers to make smarter choices in ad-bidding, hiring/firing, and in creating greater value for the client overall. Since AI will be in our phones, laptops, screens, video games and machinery, the AI, ML, IoT revolution will enforce multiple marketing rules to change throughout the years to come.

Livestream everywhere

When periscope was developed, marketers were wary of livestreaming. But with the advent of Facebook and Instagram live, marketers have discovered the power of livestreaming everywhere. From launches to board room meetings, startups have become crafty in the way they create trust with their target audience.

Listening to the needs of the TG, and creating value through live-content is the next big revolution that is sweeping in with cheaper data and high-end smartphones

Chat Bots

While chat bots might be considered another application of AI (a rudimentary one), it’s unique thing in its own way. Chat bots are everywhere. Some like it, while others don’t. It reminds us of auto-posts that used to show up on a brand’s Facebook page back in 2013. So, what is the future of chat-bots? It’s bright.

The cost of hiring and maintaining a seat on a call-center can cost a brand upwards of Rs 40,000 a month, notwithstanding the amount of training and human-error involved. Thus chat-bots, when executed correctly, can create immense value for the brand utilizing them. Over 80% of startups are actively engaging with online queries and app-instant notifications through chat bots.

Video

An often-overlooked trend that most marketers haven’t taken advantage of fully is video. Video is not the preferred content option for short-form or single-dimensional content. Content that’s easy to consume and doesn’t require much effort to engage with. However, currently startups that are in the entertainment space aren’t the only ones engaging with video.

Everything from daily blogs to testimonials are being portrayed across the Indian internet ecosystem. Everybody is a brand these days, and video is a great way to prove yourself to the community

Gamification

Gamification as a concept is on the outgoing side, as it hasn’t really proven itself to be a stable model. Although you can assign points, ladders and trophies, the core mechanics of the product or marketing campaign, should have wings to support it by itself. In other words, startups were considering gamification as their primary strategy for community engagement and subsequent conversion. Gamification is a lot more organic than that, and startups (esp in the consumer space) will be realizing that soon

Research

With the plethora of data available to marketers through online portals and consumer journals, we are becoming more aware about what really works and what doesn’t. We become scientists and create value by assigning numbers and tasks to certain objects that should belong in the marketing mix. We create research through data-analytics and understand research through online forums, journals and integrated interviews with thought leaders.

Research will quickly become the backbone of every startup marketing plan a few years from now, as 2020 will not be a year that goes without numbers.