Marketing has always been with new factors joining the fray every year. Gone are the days when emails were the mainstream means of engaging and securing consumers. Since then, with every innovation or technological evolution that has joined the digital marketplace, there has been phenomenal and far-reaching effects.
Looking back, platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat have become more relevant when some of them probably weren’t even on the map a number of years ago.
The truth is, even now, we don’t really have a handle on them. These new digital marketplaces are constantly changing and evolving. New little updates and subtleties are constantly being added and we aren’t keeping up. New features like Instagram Stories or Facebook Watch that are easily ignored may be the opportunity that will make or break your business.
This means that today’s marketplace isn’t a place you can weather staying behind the times. The need to stay relevant is crucial and that’s why you need to adapt your marketing year in year out. Here are some marketing trends that are guaranteed help your business in 2018.
1.Content marketing distribution: Go all out on digital marketing
We are currently living in the golden era of marketing. The reason is simple; this is an age where both the marketers’ and consumers’ attention are focused on marketplace bidding dynamics.
It’s an age where we as marketers don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on television ads, printed media, outdoor mail and email to reach our target audience. Instead, we are trading on biddable digital marketplaces like Google, Facebook and Snapchat. Now, you’re probably thinking you know all this already right?
However, what you probably haven’t realized is that these colossal marketplaces are under-priced, for now.
These platforms are still under-priced right now since they haven’t gained as much traction as they should have. The largest companies and the major players still aren’t completely sold on the idea. As a consequence, they aren’t spending nearly as much money as they should on these platforms. But that could easily change.
In the event that major brands decide to seriously commit to these opportunities instead of mostly focusing on traditional media, then everything changes.
Imagine spending $50 CRMs to get in front of the same number of people that you’d previously have spent $7. It’s just not worth it. Similarly, huge investors mean that Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) demand real money for their endorsement in influencer marketing.
It’s advisable to get started on digital marketing if you haven’t already. If you have, then spend more money on Facebook, Instagram other such viable digital channels right now, while you still can.
2.Understand the value of audio when it comes to marketing.
Time is a very valuable resource because everyone has less and less of it. Many businesses like Uber owe their success to making the perception of time an integral part of their marketing strategy.
Audio marketing will allow you to do just that. For many people, advertising is something to endure just like awful weather and other unfortunate realities of life.
This is because a major effect of modern-day advertising is wasting of time. From a pop-up ad on your phone that refuses to go away to a short ad on YouTube before you watch a video, these interruptions all steal consumers’ time. Audio advertising promises to change that.
Audio advertising allows for passive consumption, which is something visual ads will never deliver. You can listen to a podcasts and audio commercials while exercising, showering or eating and save a lot of time in the process. Good audio commercials can therefore easily gain traction with your consumers.
There’s also the aspect of developing voice-optimised content. According to Google, 20% of mobile queries are voice searches, and that number is only expected to rise. The fact that voice search is on the rise means that business need to adapt their SEO and content marketing or risk being left behind. To optimise your content for voice searches, you’ll have to focus less on keyword stuffing and meta tags and more on creating answers that cater for natural language questions
3.Copy what works elsewhere
Many businesses in regions like Southeast Asia are successful simply because they copied what worked in America and other similar markets.
It’s comforting to know that you don’t always have to formulate your marketing strategy completely on your own. There’s nothing inherently wrong about lifting an idea being applied by competitors in another market and executing a form of that idea in your own situation.
In fact, it’s pretty smart since what you’re has already been tested in some way hence the risk is practically minimal. Of course, no market is completely the same, there are cultural differences, variations in population demographics and purchasing ability. Adapting what you emulate to fit your market is therefore crucial for the idea to work.
4.Chatbots for website messaging
As it turns out, AIs have already become extremely relevant in the world of business. More and more marketers are using Artificial-intelligence powered chatbots to communicate with customers on their websites. These chatbots have become pretty popular as they offer a convenient way of getting assistance without having to call or email customer support. In fact, 57% of consumers are interested in chatbots due to their instantaneity.
Better still, chatbots will become even more sophisticated with time and handle many users across multiple platforms.
This year, we are already seeing some evidence of these smarter chatbots. Facebook has unveiled their Customer Chat Plugin that allows businesses to integrate Facebook’s Messenger application with their website. Marketers can now meet their target audience in platforms such as Facebook where they are already consuming content.
Try out a chatbot for your website and draw closer to your customers before it’s too late; before the audience gets tired of not listening to real people or when an AI actually takes over everything anyway. There are some tools out there that will enable you to take the first step on the road to build your own chatbot. It’s a small investment of time and money that will see you achieve phenomenal results.
5.Personalisation to enhance customer experience
There’s nothing customers appreciate more than a business showing that it completely understands who they are and what they want. The best way that you can do this is by providing personalized content to your audience. Creating content that meets the unique circumstances of a target individual will show that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your consumers. That way, you can greatly increase your capacity to acquire new customers or maintain existing ones.
Personalised content is especially important if you are involved in Account-Based Marketing (ABM) where information has to be tailored for specific accounts. Fortunately, there are various platforms from providers like Optimizely that will allow you to conveniently recommend targeted content to your clients.
But that’s not all. Consider that many people are disillusioned by the lack of honesty in media and institutions.
Many people now prefer personal interaction or face to face communication when it comes to making decisions about products or services. If you can meet your consumers in person in any capacity, be it marketing events or conferences, don’t pass up these opportunities. Focus on such interactions to connect and build strong personal relationships with your customers, which you can then maintain by providing personalized content.
6.Transparency and authenticity are a bigger deal than ever before
Consumers are getting tired of the dishonesty that seems to go hand in hand with marketing. Even ‘cause marketing’ is feeling the heat.
Many brands have tried to jump on the bandwagon and align their brand with some sort of progressive cause like saving the planet. While these causes are indeed noble, consumers have started to wise up to the ploy and are very wary of brands aligning with causes that have nothing to do with their core businesses. As it stands, cause marketing that betrays even a modicum of insincerity is seen as desperate at the very least.
According to Account-Based Marketing, consumers don’t extend the same trust to Ads from marketing that they would extend to people. This is particularly true in Europe and North America. Based on the table below, recommendations from people they know or consumer opinions posted online are the sources most trusted by customers in North America and Europe.
Ads from other sources show a dismal performance. Consumers in these countries don’t even trust in branded websites which is a worrying trend. It’s therefore best to focus on transparency and full disclosure to build a good relationship with the cautious customers.
7.Privacy protection is becoming a major issue.
Ever since the creation of the internet, one of the most important things that people value while online is their privacy. This perceived value is only on the rise as people no longer trust that their online data is completely under protection. A major reason for this is the large number high-profile data breaches and hacks that have been happening lately.
Just this year, there was a cyber-attack on Equifax that saw up to 146 million users affected and a hack on Uber that affected millions. These incidents come in the wake of the email hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that rocked the world in 2016. It has now dawned on the consumers that their online data may be in serious jeopardy.
Even if consumers don’t really care about their privacy (which is unlikely), governments or associations affiliated with governments have shown that they will pick up the slack. The European Union has recently approved the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was designed to harmonize privacy laws in Europe and protect all citizens’ data privacy. It’s guaranteed to have a major effect on what organizations and businesses must do to safeguard user privacy.
Judging from this trend, products and services that protect the privacy of their users will become quite popular. In the same vein, as a marketer, you should use privacy protection and cyber security as a valuable proposition to secure customers.
8.Influencer marketing is still on the rise
Influencer marketing isn’t a new thing, but it is becoming more popular and that’s not going to stop anytime soon.
This marketing technique is popular since it allows you to make use of a key leader with an impressive following online to market a product on your behalf. We’ve already established that consumers find recommendations from individuals to be more believable than brands.
With influencer marketing, you can make use of this mentality and reach a large audience at the same time. However, due to the vast number of marketers trying out influencer marketing, old strategies are now becoming stale.
You can’t just post a picture of a celebrity holding your product and expect any meaningful impact. Customers are now looking for authenticity and relevance when it comes to influencers.
It’s now prudent to set clear criteria when picking out an influencer and ensure your choice resonates with your target audience. As influencer marketing becomes more popular, the influencers will have more choices so building close and meaningful relationships with them wouldn’t hurt.
9.New content types: Augmented Reality
In 2018, new content types are expected to wow the consumers as they make a play. This year, Apple incorporated AR support features into their devices, specifically, the iPhone X and iPhone 8.
With smartphones now becoming equipped to grant AR experiences to the user, it’s only logical that social channels introduce new ways of integrating AR into their services and platforms. Snapchat has already released a new AR feature that allows user to bring a cartoon Bitmoji into the real world through your camera.
IKEA has also followed this trend by rolling out their new ‘Place’ mobile app that lets you use AR to preview a piece of furniture in your home before making a purchase. This all goes to show that AR is making major inroads into the marketplace. It’s a novel, engaging way of reaching your audience and hastening purchases, don’t miss out.
These trends are some of the most exciting ones to watch out for in 2018 so take advantage of them and adapt your marketing strategy for next year to capitalize on them fully.
However, these are just some of them and exciting things may happen to change the whole game. Be prepared to keep your eyes open and utilize any opportunity that comes up.