2022 Digital Marketing Expansion Trend – Kitchen and Bath Design News

February 5, 2022
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From an operational perspective, digital marketing interconnects with sales, information technology and cybersecurity.
As our world expands to a virtual presence, computer-related industries are thriving, and this trend will continue. 
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, many computer-related occupations are expected to have elevated long-term demand through the year 2030, in part due to demands for telework computing infrastructure and IT security. Additionally, technological changes facilitating increased automation are expected to result in declining employment for office and administrative support occupations, and sales occupations, in part due to artificial intelligence and digital automation. The role of digital marketing in this environment is rapidly expanding to enhance every department in a business.
Human Resource Marketing
The tales of our nation’s mass labor shortage have been discussed extensively, and employers are seeking new methods to find top talent. The available workforce has shrunk and the competition for star employees is the highest it has been in decades. Over four million people left the workforce in September alone! 
Digital agencies have expanded their lenses from selling consumers to also selling companies to prospective employees. The same methods we use to target ideal customers are now being used to target ideal employees. Working with businesses to determine what type of employees are desired and aligning the businesses to appeal to those employees is a trend that will continue well into the future. 
The goal, therefore, is to anchor yourself in the minds of your target group as an attractive employer.  
Additionally, as human resource departments are stretched thin with regard to hiring, website automation needs to be used to reduce the administrative burden. Businesses are adding online employment applications and, when completed, they are auto-emailed directly to select staff – as well as auto text responders – to assure they are the first company to meaningfully reply. 
In tandem, these systems keep the email addresses of applicants for future outreach in a drip campaign method, allowing future job opportunities to be sent to qualified candidates. This is all done autonomously and automatically via programming. It is a marriage of AI technology, marketing and human resources for the win. 
Smart Customer Service Chatbots 
Simple programmed chatbots have been around for some time. New to the playing field are AI (Artificial Intelligence) Smart Chatbots, and they are changing the game for businesses in many ways. Artificial Intelligence has the ability to learn exponentially faster than any human. Technology has now advanced to the point where Google’s algorithms can understand human speech with 95% accuracy, the same as an actual human. 
This technology can replace many customer service functions by answering common questions while interacting with consumers. During hours when human agents may not be staffed, or are less staffed, chatbots can answer some questions and set an expectation for a reply on others. 
During business hours, a conversation begun with a bot using conversational AI can be transferred to a live agent within the messaging app or on the phone without the conversation losing momentum. Smart chatbots are created with Conversational UI, taking human language and converting it to computer language, and vice versa, allowing humans and computers to understand each other. Conversational UI has advanced significantly with natural language processing (NLP) for a far more functional, realistic and helpful chat experience. 
The chat bots can interact on your website, social media and direct texting. They can automate functions like placing an order, filing a claim, checking on the status of an order and any repetitive human task employers seek to automate.  
Hybrid Events are Here to Stay
Going forward, successful in-person events will elevate to include a virtual version, increasing engagement and leads to those unable, or unwilling, to attend. Live website and social feeds, combined with interactive platforms, will retain the strength and meaningfulness of the event and broaden the future appeal. 
As former chief marketing officer of Keds, Emily Culp, explains, “It’s thinking about every touch point as chapters in a story. Each chapter should be able to stand on its own and captivate and immerse you….Each chapter is special, but together, [they] tell a much fuller story.” A consistent brand story across all the utilized platforms is key for delivering a cohesive and human connected event. 
Expanding Your Brand Purpose
Speaking of your brand, it may be time to revisit the ethos of your brand story. Global companies with 10% or more annual growth include a holistic brand story that expands beyond the company walls. While price and quality remain the top purchasing decision makers, consumers show loyalty to brands that have a commitment to impacting society positively. 
Organizations can consider their own strengths as they decide on which issues to focus to make a tangible impact. Promoting inclusivity, products deemed beneficial to society or philanthropic support all become differentiators to propel a brand into a complete story. By expressing your values and purpose, you create an authentic and lasting relationship with employees and customers.
The Rebirth of QR Codes
Across the globe, QR codes have been reborn in our touchless society. QR codes were not popular in the United States because smartphones weren’t equipped with native QR code scanning capabilities. But, with the recent updates from Android and iOS, smartphone cameras can now scan QR Codes natively. This was a blessing for restaurants, allowing menus to be accessed touch-free during the pandemic. QR codes
have advanced to replacing business cards, video links, consumer coupons and more. This mobile-friendly feature is easy to use and does not require an app on your phone to function. 

Our world is expanding with limitless opportunities and solutions. Keep the expansion of digital marketing in mind when seeking resolutions to modern-day business challenges. ▪
Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing.  She specializes in digital and social platforms and integrating them with traditional marketing and branding strategies. No stranger to the kitchen and bath industry, she is best known for her work as chief brand officer of Grothouse, Inc., and president of the marketing company Perfect Six.
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