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Technology has changed customer expectations for companies in a host of ways, influencing desires for customized experiences and new ways to access products and brands. Marketers are paying attention to how these shifts are affecting customers behavior, according to a survey [download page] of 700 US marketers by ClickZ and Chatmeter.

When asked what 5 trends (of 23 listed) provided the biggest opportunities and challenges for digital marketing, specifically search, more than half (51%) of respondents cited the change of customer behavior driven by technologies like mobile, AI virtual and augmented reality and IoT.

Mobile is an example of how technology has changed the way consumers access information and how marketers are responding to this new opportunity. Mobile users in the US are spending 2.5 times more minutes on their smartphone than on their desktops. This has prompted marketers to begin mapping out the mobile customer journeys of consumers.

But tech-driven changes to customer behavior represent only one of the opportunities and challenges on the minds of marketers. Here are a few more outlined in the study.

Data Protection and Privacy

Data protection and privacy weighs heavily on the minds of consumers, especially in the wake of data breaches by Facebook and Google in the past year. And with the advent of greater regulation (read: GDPR), marketers are taking heed. For more than 4 in 10 (42%) marketers surveyed, data protection, privacy and regulations are one of the 5 biggest trends they expect to face in the next 12 to 18 months.

Nearly half of the US respondents to a recent survey said that a security breach would break the trust they had in a brand. This risk has not been lost on top marketing professionals. Three in 10 CMOs rated data breach and the issue of customer data as the strategic risk that worries them most.

Voice Search

Voice search was cited as one of the 5 biggest opportunities and challenges more than one-third (36%) of marketers expect to encounter in the coming year. With voice search being available on devices like mobile, tablets and even laptops and desktops, not to mention the one-third of US adults that now own a smart speaker, consumers are becoming more comfortable using voice as an interface.

In fact, BrightLocal found 58% of US adults had used voice search to get information on local businesses. The same report revealed that of those individuals who use voice search nearly half (46%) use it on a daily basis.

Personalization

Somewhat surprisingly, personalization ranked fifth among the biggest digital marketing and search trends for marketers. The importance of personalization has been well-documented, with nearly three-quarters of marketers having seen a payoff from personalization in advancing customer relationships.

Because of the importance of personalization, marketers are looking for ways to personalize effectively. Predictive analytics has been found to be highly effective by many marketers, although it is also one of the most difficult methods to deploy.

Read more survey results and takeaways by downloading the report here.

About the Data: The report is based on the results from a survey of 700 US marketers.

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