For many marketing professionals, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the rapid pace of change in the industry. What marketing techniques were successful last year may no longer apply next year — or even by this time next month. This entry explores some future trends that marketers should consider today.

New research conducted by The Kelsey Group shows that by 2022, digital media will influence 78 (!) percent of all U.S. consumer spending. This means that if you’re not already targeting your marketing efforts online, you’re going to be left behind. The good news is that digital marketing is a vast and ever-evolving field. Digital marketing offers plenty of opportunities for those who are willing to stay on top of the latest trends.

“Hey *insert smart assistant name here*”

The first revolution that marketers will have to prepare for is voice search, which is likely to become one of the most disruptive forms of digital marketing next year. Today, people still type their searches into text boxes on web pages. By 2022, however, more than half of all searches will be conducted using voice recognition software. We’re already seeing this with every, “hey siri”, “hey google”, “hey alexa”. With that, you’ve got to optimize your marketing materials for voice searches. Which typically use longer phrases and questions than traditional text-based searches.

An Instagram Filter for the World

Augmented Reality (AR) is another trend to watch – and we expect it to grow exponentially in the next few years. While it has most known for gaming and entertainment applications, AR is expanding into more practical uses, like product demonstrations and in-store marketing. By 2022, AR is expected to account for $120 billion of global spending. That’s a lot of potential customers that you don’t want to miss out on!

Chatbots text back

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more prevalent, it will also become an increasingly important part of marketing campaigns. Currently, most customer service applications use AI chatbots. Almost all interactions between brands and their customers will involve chatbots next year.

Chatbots have many advantages to them. The biggest advantage is speed. I don’t know about you, but nothing bugs me more than being on hold for over 30 minutes … just to be transferred to another department. AI chatbots are programmed to cut out the long wait and immediately redirect you to the right customer service agent — that is, if you even need one. Most chatbots can give an answer to generic questions immediately! This means that your employees may not need to spend as much time dealing with customers — which could also be a disadvantage, if other companies are taking advantage of this trend to provide better customer service at lower prices.

Bottom line: if you want your business to stay competitive in 2022, prepare now for a world where digital media is king. This means investing in online marketing techniques such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and content marketing. It also means staying ahead of the curve with cutting-edge technologies like voice search and AR. Sooner or later, these trends will reach your customers — so you need to be prepared for them today.