Getting ahead of the curve on a new marketing tactic or change in consumer attitudes can be a game changer for business owners.
In any industry you will find marketers who were the first to blog and now have a hugely successful following or the first to leverage social media when you didn’t have to pay to get your post in front of audiences.
There’s no doubt that knowing what’s out there and having a dabble early is a winning business practice.
Similarly you need to stay on top of how society is changing. We are learning that millennials no longer want to “own” stuff but prefer to borrow or rent and use their money for experiences, paving the way for industry disrupters such as AirBnB, GoGet CarShare and the like.
We also need to know what tactics to stick with, as markets and media change there’s some methods that are continuing to drive strong results if executed well.
To help you stay on top of your game when it comes to marketing, here’s our predictions on the trends to watch and potentially take advantage of in the coming year.
1. We will be seeing more in-the-moment social media posts. We are talking about instant updates and live streaming which some brands are doing to amplify engagement with their customers.
This strategy has been proven by many large brands. The reason why people engage more with spontaneous posts is because it feels more personal and “real” to them. They find this type of post less intrusive. Businesses should include instant updates and/or live streaming into their social media strategy.
Example: In 2015, Tourism Western Australia launched a live streaming campaign they called “Live Stream Stream” to promote the Southern Forests Region as a safe tourist destination again after the bushfires that affected the Region earlier that year. Appearing as a home page takeover on watoday.com.au, the ‘Live Stream Stream’ was the first time a live streaming advertising banner was developed in Australia. Various events followed the project including updates via Twitter and Instagram through #thisiswa.
Tip: Use instant updates not just to announce big events but also for activities such as behind the scenes images and footage of team building exercises, product updates/sneak peeks, time-sensitive deals/offers, short tutorials, real-time Q&A, etc.
2. Email marketing will remain an effective lead generation tool. However, relevance is more important than ever. Segmentation and customisation is critical for effective engagement and driving response . Effort = big rewards with email marketing as it’s still the most direct way to reach your customer
Example: Here’s a good example of a highly customised email marketing message from Spotify.
3. Users privacy and security concerns will strengthen. The cybersecurity issue is nothing new, but the threat has grown considerably over the last few years. No business is too small for cyber criminals.
This is why only those who go the extra mile to protect their business and their customers’ security will get a bigger piece of the market pie.
Consumers today choose to do business where they feel secure. SnapChat’s popularity, for example, is predominantly because the app offers a more secure and private environment for communication and engagement. Others, like Facebook, have developed a new set of privacy awareness tools to ensure it’s users are safe all the time.
4. Organic search optimisation strategies will be explored. We all know that reaching the top of the search results nowadays takes a lot of hard work and a solid SEO strategy. It’s now hard to fool search engines using old practices. The most effective way to reach the top of the list is through high quality back links using a variety of content (e.g. visuals, infographics, video and text). These can only be created by providing good quality content that is published by highly trafficked and respected sites with backlinks to your article. Online PR and high quality viral content is now the most important factor in SEO.
5. Mobile will become everyone’s first screen. You can’t argue with numbers. The majority of Australians today are glued to their small screens to keep themselves entertained, to stay socially connected and to access the latest information on the go (Source: Nielsen). Google reported last year that most of searches on their platform took place on mobile devices than on computers.
a. have a mobile-optimised website or landing page in 2016,
b. be using online ads or video content as part of their brand building.
6. Video will redefine content marketing. Cisco has predicted that by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. This is why many brands are pouring more dollars into video marketing because it offers so much potential.
Examples: Check out 3 of the 10 most shared video campaigns (based on shares, not views) in Australia and New Zealand according to video ad tech company Unruly:
Dumb Ways to Die is on top of the list (not surprising) of most shared online Australian ad of all time, with a total of 4.915m shares.
Air New Zealand’s 2012 Hobbit inspired safety video (An Unexpected Briefing) which accumulated 986,164 shares.
STA Travel Australia’s Move shared 232,048 times.
Tip: There are several types of videos to keep your audience interested and engaged. Some you can try are – demo videos, slide shows with voice over, review videos, testimonials, etc.
7. Use of personalisation to increase customer’s happiness. By “happiness”, we mean more visits to your website and more engagement with your brand. This goes beyond calling your customers by their first names. These days to be more effective with personalisation, you should collect more data about your customers’ needs and interests so you can develop content, products or experiences that emotionally resonate with them.
Example: Amazon recommends or promotes products based on a visitor’s previous browsing behaviour on their website.
Tip: Other personalisation techniques you use include sending emails based on time zones and past opening behaviors or send personalised content and offers based on past purchases. ince most customers are much more likely to respond to an offer or promotion sent to them whilst they are actually shopping for a product or purchasing a service, it’s worth trying real-time promotions or offers.
8. Paid social will continue to grow. It has been predicted that social media spending will continue to grow in the next couple of years. From what we see now, this tactic continues to pay off. According to research firm eMarketer, the bulk of spending will flow to Facebook. Although last year, Sensis saw strong growth in Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn which means there’s diversity of social engagement across multiple platforms. Facebook has recently developed ways for advertisers to do extremely targeted offerings such as ‘lookalike’ audiences that target people with similar interests to your existing mailing list. This insight is important for businesses seeking the best return for their online advertising spend.
9. Rise of the global mindset. There’s nothing wrong with thinking global even if you currently serve the local market. With the digital age (think Internet and Cloud), someone from across the globe might want to buy your product. Forward thinking brands should think global and prepare should opportunity knock. Start investing in a language translation tool that you can use for your website content. You can also make customer support available around the clock. Keep in mind, however, that you need to be culturally aware when writing copy and developing products.
10. Community-driven marketing will be explored. We all know it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one. By increasing your customer retention rate, you’re most likely to increase your profits over the long-term. If an existing customer recommends your product/service to someone, it’s more likely to yield a positive result than reading a stranger’s great review about your product/service. Your existing customers are your community. Community is crucial to your business because they’re the ones who have the capacity to bring in more customers. An effective way to build community and drive engagement is through an ambassador program. Ask your customers for feedback, give them freebies, and include them in product development (like beta testers). The result will be a group of people who have your brand top of mind when talking to others.
Example: Threadless, a Chicago-based t-shirts and apparel online retailer, sells products based on the designs submitted by their artist community. Additionally, they do contests regularly to encourage more fans and followers to participate, either by submitting a design or by voting. Winning design(s) are printed and sold on their website.
Having a great product or service is not a guarantee that you will succeed. There are excellent products out there that you may never heard of. If you want to grow your business, you need to pay attention to your surroundings and adapt effective strategies so you are always in front of your target market.
Contact us if you plan to invest in smarter marketing this year!