10 Trends Shaping the Future of Marketing
As any marketing professional will tell you, the industry moves at a dizzying pace.
New platforms, algorithm changes, regulations, and tech all switch up the day-to-day roles of marketing professionals.
If you want to make sure you’re ahead of the curve, then join us to find out which current trends will shape the future of the industry.
More and more often, brands are placing an emphasis on the personal aspect of their marketing. Whether they tailor an ad to your demographic, or even put your name in their campaign, personalisation seems to rule the roost.
The 'Share a Coke' campaign took this to the next level by printing common names on their bottles to garner engagement. Social media posts and sales blew up, leading the soft drinks giant to launch a site on which customers could customise their own bottle. This led to:
- Over a thousand different names on bottles
- 998 million impressions on Twitter
- 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag
- More than 150 million personalised bottles sold
- Over 730,000 glass bottles personalised via the e-commerce store
- 17,000 virtual name bottles shared online across Europe
- 65 experiential stops on the Share a Coke tour
In the digital arena, brands are taking this to the next level, with personalised recommendations that drive sales. Amazon are masters of this, you only need to look at your homepage on Amazon to view all the pinpointed products that they’ve selected for you.
Through a complex algorithm, they determine what you’re likely to buy next based on your buying and browsing habits. This gives you the items that you need, before you even know that you need them. This kind of powerful personalisation is key for online retailers that must stand out from a sea of other sites.
Content Bridges the Gap
Although there are many ways to communicate with your target audience, the content and delivery of your message are still among the most important things. Strong content is essential, whether it’s tailored to a niche market, voice search or snappy billboard.
Your content should bridge the gap between the message that you want to convey and the user that you want to receive it. Content should always be carefully considered and adjusted to make the most amount of impact.
This is a constant in all forms of marketing and has been for many years. Content is still king, so invest in getting the message right – no matter how you broadcast it. Get the basics of the messaging correct, before placing an investment in spreading this to a new audience.
Starbucks fell foul of confusing messaging muddying the waters of their advertising campaign for their new Blonde Espresso. Their advertisement read:
“Who says espresso has to be intense?
We have for 43 years.
But we’re Starbucks Coffee Company.
So we did the exact opposite.”
This advertisement seemed to confuse most coffee aficionados, as the contradictory tone doesn’t exactly sell the product. While efforts were made to publicise the new product, the unclear nature of the advertising reduces the efficacy that the ad can have.
Diversification of Influencers
Influencers are unique and should be selected for their alignment with the brand, which will make a bigger impact on the target audience. Not every brand is suited to have a YouTube or reality TV star, as this isn’t the kind of person that their target audience would trust.
Frozen foods supermarket Iceland Foods diversified their influencer strategy to target ‘real people’ instead of celebrities. They used micro-influencers to share recipes and reviews about their food to introduce others to the brand. This worked to great effect, as their customers were more likely to trust people that they perceived to be like them.
While it may seem counterintuitive to work with influencers with smaller audience, it can be more cost effective and deliver higher engagement rates. These influencers have fewer followers, but their followers engage more frequently and authentically with their content.
The more natural and seamless the fit is, the better results this influencer marketing will bring.
High-Quality Video Drives Action
For the last few years, video has been emerging as the top way to reach consumers. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms have been pushing users towards video. We’re seeing video explainers, adverts, interviews much, much more of this content.
However, not all video is created equal. It’s not enough to invest in video, brands also have to ensure that this represents the high quality they want to convey. They should also be tailored for the platform they’ll be played on, adding captions and editing length where appropriate.
Video dominates our feeds, with effective videos taking our impression of a brand to the next level.
Playing on our sense of nostalgia is really paying off for big brands. From remakes of our favourite movies to reusing retired logos, it’s clear to see that consumers respond to reminders of bygone years.
Even companies that haven’t got the kind of tenure to call back to their own history can rely on this zeitgeist. Shows like Stranger Things have taken the feeling of eighties sci-fi and brought that to Netflix’s state of the art streaming service.
This sense of nostalgia is powerful, though it’s essential to understand your market before you attempt to harness this. Do they yearn for the nineties or are their rose-coloured glasses firmly set on the seventies?
Now more than ever, a positive reputation has a huge impact on the bottom line of a business. Platforms like Facebook have built their algorithms and sponsored listings around this, by advertising the names of friends that like the brand.
Recommendations from a friend tend to be much more powerful than testimonials from unknown users. Ensuring that customer satisfaction is high is the first step to utilising this trend.
You can also incentivise your current customers with a refer a friend scheme. The reward from this will give them a reason to pass that personal recommendation, which can offer a much higher conversion rate.
Incentives can come in the form of credit or discounts on your products, which can turn that stagnant customer into a repeat customer.
Interactive Social Media Stories Bring Results
Instagram and Facebook Stories are increasingly popular with brands and users alike. These temporary images and videos can generally be viewed for 24 hours, before disappearing.
Brands that get into the spirit of these Stories can see a massive uplift in visibility. By using playful images, GIFs, polls, boomerangs and text, brands can show a different side to their users.
Many brands use these to show sneak peeks of upcoming products, or life behind the scenes in their organisation. These are genuinely interesting to users and take very little tech savvy to create. Collaboration and takeovers from influencers can also take these stories to new heights.
With more than 200 million people viewing Instagram Stories each day, you don’t want to be missing out on your share of this traffic.
Design for Mobile and Voice
Since 2015, the number of searches conducted on a mobile device has been higher than the number of desktop-based searches. It’s also predicted that 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice by the end of 2020.
This means that if you’re not catering to mobile and voice searchers, you’re losing out to your competitors that are. With such large volumes of users choosing to search this way, this could potentially be a huge windfall or loss for your organisation.
Creating a responsive mobile design is essential to make the most of traffic from search engines and social media. Without this, your user will find it tough to navigate and most likely go to a competitor with a better website.
If you’re spending money on attracting these users, then this is reducing the ROI that you will get from your marketing campaigns.
Attracting users through voice search can give you a significant advantage, as this offers you a source of traffic that your competitors may not be tapping into. Edit your content to attract voice searchers by creating a more conversational tone and using question modifiers like ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘who’.
Automate Customer Service
Chatbots are becoming the norm for brands with high volumes of enquiries, as they enhance the customer experience. They can provide automated solutions to move customers through the pipeline, escalating any that require human support.
In this day and age, consumers want answers immediately and chatbots can fill this need. On social media, these can provide an instant response to eager customers and reduce the workload for staff.
As these become more sophisticated, they can locate lost orders, process refunds, and communicate more effectively with customers. A simple chatbot software is relatively easy to set up, as you design a tree of responses based on common queries. Of course, these can become much more advanced when powered by AI.
Creative, immersive experiences create opportunities for consumers to get to know your brand. With VR, AR, live broadcasts and 360° video, you have the power to bring the consumer into your world.
BMW achieve this with their app, which allows their consumers to see exactly what a brand-new BMW would look like on their driveway. This kind of marketing has novelty value for consumers and may just be the deciding factor that prompts them to buy a new car.
Pioneering this kind of experience also has massive PR value, as this can generate real headlines for a brand. This can gain more exposure for a lower price than a paid campaign, as readers are genuinely interested in the developments.
The best way to stay ahead of your competitors in the marketing arena is to ensure that you’re keeping abreast of future trends. By experimenting and evaluating the worth of new marketing trends, you’ll garner new customers and awareness for your brand.
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