Exploring Digital Marketing Trends with DIGIT Interviews: Hugo França

At DIGIT, we started a series of interviews to share the insights of experts about the trends for 2023 on Digital Marketing. Our first expert is Hugo França, the Head of Marketing of KWAN & InvoiceXpress. Hugo has 10 years of experience and expertise in different areas of marketing, such as content marketing, lead generation, inbound marketing, automation, email marketing and SEO.

Take a read and increase your knowledge and skills.

  1. How do you see the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning impacting digital marketing in 2023? For example, the growing use of chatbots and messaging apps.

I believe that this year, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will have a very big role in digital marketing. ChatGPT’s popularity is a good example, but there were previously several apps that used those technologies and were particularly useful for marketing professionals and brands.

AI and ML will help companies automate and optimise various marketing tasks, such as audience segmentation, ad targeting, campaign analysis, and copywriting. There are several AI content generators that can help marketers save time and resources by automating content for blog posts, social media, and much more. It’s important to take note that, for now, the quality of AI-generated content is not the same as content written by an experienced copywriter. Overall, the incorporation of AI and ML technologies into digital marketing strategies will lead to more efficient and effective marketing efforts and streamline content creation.

Regarding Chatbots and messaging apps, previously I never saw much relevance for the use of chatbots because they were mostly automated responses, which reflect a poor user experience. And when it came to customer support, the user was only choosing the quickest path to talk to an agent. Currently, with the progress that has been made in this area, I think it will make the use of chatbots and messaging apps for customer service and marketing purposes more sophisticated and likely to become widespread. AI-powered personalization will enable brands to deliver more relevant and engaging experiences to consumers.

2. How do you see the use of virtual and augmented reality?

We’ve experienced the use of virtual and augmented reality in past years, and in 2023 it won’t be any different, because I think there’s still work to be done. But I believe that in the near future, we may expect new opportunities for brands to engage with consumers in unique and immersive ways. The great potential of augmented reality is to provide customers with unique experiences prior to purchasing any product or service. Farfetch is a great example of the use of virtual and augmented reality to provide personalised and interactive experiences. With the Store of the Future, they have integrated VR into their platform, allowing customers to try on clothing virtually before buying. This can increase customer satisfaction and sales. Metaverse is another great example; although its full potential is yet to be reached, we can expect virtual environments to host events, product launches, and branded virtual stores or experiences where customers can try products and services before acquiring them. At KWAN, we are very excited about this theme and so is our audience, therefore, very recently we published an article about what’s coming next regarding the metaverse based on our participation in last year’s Web Summit. 

3. How do you anticipate the shift towards privacy regulations impacting digital marketing?

It’s already playing a significant role in digital marketing. GDPR changed the way that organisations collect and use customer data. I believe that the real impact will be in the cost and efficiency of the digital marketing campaigns, specifically the advertising, making it challenging for any digital marketer using Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach the right audience. Another aspect of this is the end of third-party cookies by Google in its Chrome browser, which is expected to happen in 2024. Although these actions are a response to growing concerns about privacy regarding targeted advertising, they will have a massive impact on how companies can track user behaviour and deliver relevant and engaging ads. Digital marketers and companies will have to adapt their strategies to ensure that they are in compliance with the regulations and will have to rely on data obtained from client lists, newsletters, surveys, and website analytics.

4. How do you think the rise of TikTok and other short-form video platforms will impact digital marketing?

I think TikTok offers a unique and engaging way for users and brands to reach and connect, especially with the younger demographic. This type of content is very entertaining and has high shareability, making TikTok a great platform for building brand awareness. One of the best features of TikTok is its targeting options, which make it seamless for marketers to reach the right audience. The main difficulty is also related to the content, where brands have to stay very up-to-date on what’s trending, but that’s a challenge worth pursuing because video marketing is one of the best ways to capture leads, providing higher conversion rates than other advertising channels. We, at KWAN, have been creating short-form videos for Reels and TikTok, and the levels of engagement are totally different than the ones we obtain from more traditional ways of communicating with our audience – such as blog posts. In 2023 we’re very committed to increasing our presence on TikTok and from our first attempts, I can say that the results confirmed what we were already suspecting: our followers are interested in the videos we publish and even send us suggestions about future videos! Hopefully, that will convert into leads and confirm the studies that point out that 84% of consumers made a purchase after watching a branded social media video, reinforcing that video marketing is becoming increasingly important in brand marketing strategies.

5. In digital marketing, how do you see the increasing importance of micro-moments and on-demand experiences impacting?

Companies and brands must be able to deliver relevant and personalised experiences to customers that meet their needs and wants. And what a consumer needs and wants reflects on his buyer journey and how they use their mobile devices to take action on what they need or simply to have immediate information. According to Google, 82% of mobile users consult their smartphone while deciding which product to buy while standing in a store. This speaks volumes about the importance of having a good content strategy for every micro-moment, specifically the “I want to buy” and “I want to know” moments.

It’s important to strategize the content for these micro-moments, and understanding and anticipating those micro-moments is crucial in order to deliver relevant and personalised experiences to the consumer. There are more and more tools that can give us a deep understanding of customer behaviour, and we can use them to deliver value in each micro-moment, whether through useful information or an exclusive offer. In order to deliver personalised and pertinent experiences in real-time in 2023, marketers will need to give priority to the delivery of on-demand experiences using existing technologies like AI, machine learning, and customization. As a result, there is a rise in client satisfaction and sales. 

6. How do you anticipate the use of live streaming and interactive content affecting digital marketing?

We’ve seen the impact of live streaming in digital marketing, specifically for brand awareness and consumer behaviour. Whether creating awareness or a sense of urgency and scarcity and encouraging consumers to take action by acquiring a product or service or following a brand. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, or Youtube provide a unique opportunity for brands to engage and connect with consumers through partnerships with influencers or brand ambassadors.Creating live webinars with experts who are also our clients, is an important part of our social media strategy at InvoiceXpress, our online invoicing software. Not only do we get to increase and empower our community, we also get to learn with each other by sharing knowledge. As a community of entrepreneurs, this is particularly important and impactful. Live streaming and interactive content are great tools to deliver unique and compelling experiences that meet consumers’ needs and preferences. There are many ways to use live streaming that have been used in the past years, like online events, product launches, live sessions, interactive stories, and many more. The key is to find the type of content that suits your target audience best, and to be creative and engaging.

7. How do you see the growing trend towards transparency and authenticity in branding impacting digital marketing?

Consumers are increasingly seeking out brands that are transparent about their practices and authentic in their message and values. Digital marketers and brands must prioritise those values and make sure their message, and practices are aligned. This may include more user-generated content, being more open and transparent, and investing in content that showcases the human side of the brand. There’s a book from the author Mark W. Schaefer called “Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins,” which shows specifically how traditional marketing approaches are no longer effective in a world where we, as a society, are looking for authenticity. It’s especially important for brands to rethink their current message and actions, and embrace a more human-centric approach that prioritises empathy, transparency, and authenticity. For a brand to be authentic, it has to embrace its flaws and imperfections in order to prioritise customer needs and experiences and develop a marketing strategy based on those values.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme under project number 2021-1-DE02-KA220-VET-000034657