Month: December 2015

Predicting 2016 Marketing Trends

digital_marketing_predictionsAs we near the end of the year, customers often ask me for my predictions for the year ahead and the latest marketing trends: “What’s Hot?” and “What’s Next?”

In this post, I’ll look at what I see as the latest trends in marketing and specific questions for the smaller business owner looking to be a part of the trend in the coming year.

Here are my top 4 predictions for marketing trends in 2016:

  1. Content Marketing

70% of surveyed marketers say they are creating more content than they did a year ago.

Writing engaging content will become the central component of all marketing campaigns. Look for terms like “content optimization” to be popping up everywhere as marketers look to content as critical to their strategic success. You should strive to provide readers with information they likely haven’t seen elsewhere, information that’s shareable and keeps people invested from beginning to end. Do you have a professional content writer on staff? If not, where will you go to generate content for your marketing materials? The creation of consistent, high-quality content is a must for any successful content marketing plan.

  1. Big Data (including market and customer insight and predictive analytics)

65% of business executives from global brands say they embrace big data to stay competitive.

This is a term used to describe how companies can target the right message to the right person, at the right time for the right price. The message is delivered once consumer behaviours are captured and analyzed to determine what is the right message, who should it go to, when should it go to them and what is the right price point. Big Data often assumes your company has the appropriate IT hardware/software infrastructure in place and personnel to manage it, but for a smaller business, Big Data could simply mean tracking downloads, social media, e-blasts, customer calls, clicks on PPC advertising, and conducting some customer research.

  1. Mobile Marketing (Mobile advertising, site development and apps)

70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.

According to Forrester Research, mobile is predicted to be the fastest growing channel among all digital channels, so make sure your campaigns are mobile or involve a mobile component. It goes without saying that your website needs to be mobile-friendly if you hope to engage an audience that is using this platform to engage with your brand. App downloads surpassed Facebook friends and Twitter followers for most brands in 2015, and they continue to do so in 2016. Expect for brands’ mobile apps to replace their social communities as the tag of choice on advertising, including TV. For the smaller brands, as mobile development has become more mainstream, think about whether there is an opportunity to develop an app to help interact or support your customers.

  1. Social Media Marketing

46% of web users look to social media when making a buying decision.

Most platforms are moving towards “buy” buttons which allow consumers (FB app or Twitter app) to buy a product instantly without leaving the app. The goal of most of the social media platforms are aimed at keeping consumers in their apps which is a good opportunity for marketers to advertise directly to their customers via PPC campaigns. If you are a smaller business, you might want to consider “owning” a specific social media channel that speaks to your targeted audience instead of spreading your budget across multiple platforms. Instead of being the small fish in the big pond, if you pool your financial resources you can be the big fish in a smaller pond.

 

I anticipate we’ll see these trends pop up and continue through 2016. Be prepared to make some changes to step up and beat your competition to the punch!

 

 

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Your Marketing Checklist: Checking it Once, Checking it Twice

3d small people - installation of check marksEarly December is often one of the busiest times of the year for many businesses as we feverishly try to shore up fourth quarter sales orders, wrap up year-end projects and campaigns and start planning for 2016. By mid to late December, businesses wind down as we take off time for the holidays; it can act like the calm before the storm, knowing that as soon as January comes, we will hit the ground running!

Statistically, 60% of SMBs create marketing strategies, but lack the resources to implement them or fail to measure their success. This December, invest some time into taking stock of your marketing, to reflect on your achievements and objectives over the past 12 months. Think about what your strategy was coming into 2015 and whether what you planned measured up to your expectations and met your objectives.

I’ve outlined below my top 10 critical marketing questions, which are derived from what is considered the necessary components to produce successful marketing results:

018665-glossy-black-icon-symbols-shapes-check-box-psMarketing Strategy

  • Did you have a marketing strategy for 2015?
    • If not, why not?
  • Do you think it is something you’d consider for 2016?

018665-glossy-black-icon-symbols-shapes-check-box-psMet Objectives

  • How did you plan to achieve your objectives outlined in your strategy?
    • Print collateral e.g. brochure/flyer/postcard
    • Social Media campaigns e.g. FB contest
    • Broadcast Advertising e.g. radio or TV
    • Digital or online advertising e.g. banner ads, Google Ads
    • Marketing automation
    • Video productions
    • Trade shows
    • E-blasts
    • Website and SEO
    • Other

018665-glossy-black-icon-symbols-shapes-check-box-psCustomer Intelligence

  • Did you make an effort to learn more about the needs of your customers i.e. conduct any market/customer research?
  • How did you measure customer satisfaction/engagement/user experience?
  • Did you make an effort to learn more about the competing products or services of your competitors i.e. conduct any market/customer research?
    • If you conducted some research, did you implement new strategies based on the findings?

018665-glossy-black-icon-symbols-shapes-check-box-ps Planning

  • Did you plan the timing for implementing your tactics i.e. create critical paths?

018665-glossy-black-icon-symbols-shapes-check-box-ps Measurement

  • How was each tactic measured for ROI?
  • Did you assess your success of each tactic? What did well and what didn’t? How could you have improved on your approaches?

018665-glossy-black-icon-symbols-shapes-check-box-ps Improvement

  • When you compare your goals with your achievements, what could you have done better?
  • How will you revise your strategy for 2016?

 

In planning for 2016, what will you do differently to produce better results than last year?