future of marketing 2018
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Ryan Deiss on the Future of Marketing in a Bot-Infested, Facebook-Dominated World Where Everyone Just Buys All Their Stuff on Amazon

Are you freaking out about the changes in digital marketing and worrying about the future?

Change is coming.

But as Ryan Deiss pointed out during his opening keynote at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2018, change isn’t coming.

It’s here.

The Facebook algorithm is changing and time spent on Facebook is going down while ad prices are going up.

Amazon is dominating and “eating the world” while big box stores are facing hard times.

And on top of all of that, the robots are coming. Commerce is happening through bots. People are ordering through Amazon echo and chatbots…

An example of sending your customer their order info using Facebook Messenger

Strike that. The robots aren’t coming, they’re already here—they’ve been here! There are over 5,000 tools available that are designed to automate…

"Martech 5000": Chart of current marketing technology May 2017

Source: chiefmartec.com

With all the changes, it’s understandable that marketers would panic.


But it’s going to be okay.

"It's okay, bro" puppy

Source: Just for fun pic

There are 3 big shifts happening in marketing, and if you adapt to them, you can capitalize on them:

  • Conversation is the new lead
  • Community is the new brand
  • The customer is the new power broker

To learn more about these shifts and how you can put them to work in your business, watch Ryan Deiss’ opening keynote from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2018:

Don’t have time to watch an hour-long presentation? Read on to learn the highlights from Ryan’s keynote!

Marketing Shift #1: Conversation is the New Lead

If you want to thrive in this new reality and adapt to the changes, you need to invest in conversations with your customers and prospects.

If you want to thrive in this new reality and adapt to the changes, you need to invest in conversations with your customers and prospects.

While you should take advantage of automation and chatbot technology, don’t use automation to replace human conversation.

Leverage automation to drive more REAL human conversations.

Sooooo… how do you do that?

By asking your customers THE RIGHT questions.

Here are 5 questions that can take a prospect and turn them into a buyer (« we use these questions to start conversations with our leads):

  1. Are you X? For instance, are you an agency owner? Are you a consultant?
  2. Tell me more?
  3. What brought you here today?
  4. What do you know about the product?
  5. Do you want some help with that?

And through chatbot technology, we can automate these questions.

(RELATED: Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business)

But this conversation isn’t solely consumer to bot. A real person (say, a member from the sales team) will step into the conversation and take over for the bot, generally around Question 4.

Bots are for filtering and expediting. They’re not for closing the sale.

Use bots to gather information so when a member of your team joins the conversation, they’ll have a better understanding of what the consumer wants and how they can help the consumer get what they want.

Bots will not replace human conversations. They’ll simply handle the front end of the conversation, and humans will jump in when they are wanted and when they are needed.

So examine your conversations with your customers and leads and ask yourself these 2 questions:

  1. How much does it cost you to acquire a conversation? This is your CPC—cost per conversation, which is NOT to be confused with cost per click. 😉
  2. How much is a conversation worth to your brand? This is your VPC—value per conversation.

(RELATED: How Much Can You Afford to Pay to Acquire a Customer? The 5-Step Customer Acquisition Cost Formula)

Marketing Shift #2: Community is the New Brand

The secret to combat the challenge of rising ad costs is simple: have a better brand. Have a better brand than the next person.

At DigitalMarketer, we’ve been spending less on paid traffic, but our traffic and our revenue have never been higher.

A good logo absent community is just a logo. A crappy logo with a community is a community.

Now, we’re NOT saying don’t invest in paid traffic. We pulled our ad spend back over the holidays with the higher costs, but we’re ramping it back up.

But the reality is, we pulled it back and we didn’t see a dip.


Because we’ve invested in our community… and it paid off.

We’re not saying this to brag. We’re saying this because brands who build community will win and have staying power. Brands who don’t will fade.

So what are you doing to build a community?

You want to build the Amazon Prime of your industry. Create that membership and sense of belonging. For example, if you’re in the golf industry, your goal should be to build a community and become the Amazon Prime for golfers.

At DigitalMarketer, community is our brand.

DigitalMarketer homepage that focuses on "community" within the copy

Your brand is so much more than a logo. A good logo absent community is just a logo. A crappy logo with a community is a community… and community is the new brand.

Invest in community. Build a community.

(RELATED: How to Build and Manage a Private Facebook Group)

Marketing Shift #3: The Customer is the New Power Broker

This is the biggest shift of all. The one that will affect all businesses, regardless of industry.

Having a great product is no longer enough.

Recognize that your customer is the hero and you’re the guide.

Today, there are so many ways the customer can purchase what they want. The customer, truly, has all the power.

As David Cancel, CEO of Drift, said, “Brands must now learn to compete in a world of infinite supply where customers have all the power.”

To compete in this world, companies must be customer-centric. Brands need to remember it’s NOT about the product, it’s about the customer.

I know, I know, that’s not exactly a newsflash. 🙂 But being customer-centric is easier said than done. Here are Ryan’s 4 steps to being customer-centric:

  1. Show up: Go where your customers are… even if it isn’t convenient for you
  2. Redefine what your business is: Stop defining your business based on what you sell. Instead, start by defining your business by WHO you serve. It is nearly impossible to build a community if your business isn’t defined by a who
  3. Know who your customer is, and know the journey they are on: The marketers who will win in the future are the marketers who make their customers feel truly understood
  4. Know your role: Recognize that your customer is the hero and you’re the guide. Your customer is Luke and you’re Yoda. Your customer is Katniss and you’re Haymitch.

So if you want to thrive in this new reality, invest in the 3 C’s…

  • Conversations
  • Community
  • Customers

Applying this will help you capitalize on the 3 big shifts of marketing and help prepare you for the future of marketing.

Matt Douglas

Matt Douglas

Matt Douglas is the Content Manager of Product at DigitalMarketer. He oversees and manages the content creation of DM's products, taking an idea and an outline to a finished product that our customers will get value from. Before that, he was Copy Editor and then Managing Editor for DigitalMarketer. Growing up in Pennsylvania, he traded in Northeast winters for Texas sun. He is a graduate of Ithaca College, earning a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.

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