Mobile Marketing

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!

 

 

5 Tips to Evaluate Whether an App Adds Value to Your Brand

CWM_Sept 22When we talk about apps, we often focus on the consumer application. Without a doubt, apps have provided a lot of value in the B2C market, but as a business owner who deals mainly with B2B clients, I wanted to address the value of utilizing an app for the B2B market.

If you’re a B2B owner thinking of creating an app for your business, in addition to asking yourself if there is something specific that you can accomplish with a mobile app that you can’t with your website, you’ll want to evaluate the need for an app in terms of adding value to your brand.

I’ve outlined below a few areas to consider when evaluating whether an app will bring value to your brand:

  1. Provide a direct marketing channel

A mobile app essentially narrows the gap between you and your customer. It reduces the steps that your customer has to go through to reach you. You can use an app to make it easier for customers to pay bills, place orders, book meetings, or get rewards.

  1. Showcase products and services

You can use an app to showcase your products and services. This would be especially useful if you have a comprehensive product offering. Customers can shop for parts, accessories, and features through the app. The great thing about apps is the ability to send notifications to the user’s smartphone or tablet device. The benefit of that is that you can increase the likelihood of your customers discovering featured products and services.

  1. Customer service and support

An app can also be used to provide customer service and support directly to your customers. You can build a messaging feature that allows customers to reach you directly. You can also offer resources, such as instruction manuals or help guides, which can help your customers access your products or services.

  1. Brand extension

Increasingly, mobile phones and tablets are becoming the primary tools for accessing the Internet. The change has been most profound in the consumer market, but as these mobile computers become more powerful, businesses are increasingly relying on them to do work. An app can extend the reach of your brand by making it easier for these mobile users to access your business.

  1. Stand out from the competition

Mobile apps at the small business level are still rare. If you can add value through the app, then the app can be leveraged as a point of differentiation from your competitors.

The greatest benefit of an app in the B2B space is the ability for customers to engage with your brand by offering them a benefit that they then tie to your value proposition. An example of this is through reward apps. Reward apps allow businesses to know more about the buying habits of their customers by giving them reward points towards free merchandise or services. If there is a perceived value of your app by the customer (i.e. reward points), then there is a greater likelihood that it will succeed!

Do you see the value of creating an app for your business? If so, will you take the next steps to creating one? If not, what is holding you back?

The Rise of Digital Marketing

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 1.26.20 PMThe digital world is tied directly to data, and data is everywhere. When it comes to marketing, data informs marketers about audiences, their interests, intentions, and where they choose to interact. I believe that being able to analyze big data, create original content and having a sound digital strategy are three key factors a company should consider while aiming for success in the current digital climate.

Big Data

Because of the rise in available data, digital media has become an incredibly integrated part of consumers’ daily lives, and digital platforms are constantly updating themselves in order to provide the best user experience.

Being able to analyze and report data is a key component to any marketing strategy (at least it should be). Everything will be enhanced by the growth of big data – get ready!

Content

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “content is King”. When content is relevant and interesting, consumers cannot wait to read and share your brand’s content. This includes video content too (Instagram recently introduced a looping feature on their videos!).

Also, blogs are making a comeback because SEO matters now more than ever, and you need content to post on your social media sites – what better content than your own, right?

Digital Strategy

The changing digital landscape means digital marketing is constantly evolving, and marketers, like myself, are forced to learn how to use new software, how to use different platforms (including mobile), how to apply new techniques, and how to manage and optimize marketing efforts.

Location matters more now too. As the Internet grows at an incomprehensible rate, users are looking for more local experiences. We’ve seen the emergence of companies, like Uber and UberX, providing local goods and services at the push of a button. Being able to offer customers a local experience (that’s easily accessible via their smartphone – think convenience) keeps you relevant. This means we should see a rise in the amount of geo-targeted advertising, and social content created.

Content creation, SEO, and social media, shouldn’t be treated as specific departments, but rather as skills that exist inherently within your marketing agency (or internal marketing team).

What does this mean for businesses today?

Before you, or your company, settle on a marketing budget, I recommend you look at the latest trends and technology, and understand which of these your customers use so you can create a plan that leverages all available data. The success of today’s marketing campaigns largely relies on sound marketing strategies that have adopted new digital technologies.

If you’re unsure of where to start or if your marketing strategy is outdated, please contact me at info@creativeworksmarketing.ca to see how I can help your business.

Does your company have a digital strategy in place? What are your biggest challenges with digital marketing? Comment and share your thoughts with me!

Marketing Trend Predictions for 2015

2015 TrendsNearing the end of 2014, we sat down to make a few marketing trend predictions as to what brands should be on the lookout for in 2015. Here are our predictions:

Shareable Social Content

Be informed about what your audiences like and where they spend time. In 2015 brands will have to delve into customization and personalization for social channels, because the most shareable content (thus the most beneficial for your business!) is content with social value.

Original Content Marketing

Using content to market is an old strategy that has always been around. However, the topic of content marketing seemed to attract an abundance of attention in 2014, with regards to efficacy and about how hard it can be to produce quality content in large qualities. Marketers have been challenged to create more original content for more channels (websites, social, blog, newsletters and more) that is also valuable and educational.

Inbound Marketing

Similar to content marketing, inbound marketing relies on earning people’s interest instead of buying it. Creating quality content will attract people to your company and/or product. By aligning your published content with your customers’ interests, you will naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert and close over time. Publish the right content in the right place at the right time, and your brand will become relevant and valuable to your customers.

It’s a Smartphone World

Simply put, more people are spending time on mobile. Millennials especially – their phones never leave their side (it’s rare). Information and images should be optimized for mobile viewing. It may even be a good idea to start with mobile and plan to scale up content for desktops and laptops!

Use Video to Cement Relationships

Yes, video production if done professionally is expensive and time-consuming, but it really is worth it. Good content is conversational and creates a “human” aspect to a brand. Not only will brands have to explore more creative ways to produce content, they will also have to understand how to be trustworthy and authentic. Their chosen content, matched with a human touch, will help build the trusting relationships that help consumers keep brands at the forefront of their minds.

Advanced Analytics

In 2015 we should expect to see companies adopting data-driven strategies that go beyond accessing “big data” to actually integrating that data into everyday marketing decisions, campaign strategy, and product development. Brands will dig deep to uncover those actionable insights they can leverage to generate growth, sales, and identify prospects.

Do our predictions make sense to your business? Which trends would you like to implement in 2015? What are your predictions for 2015? Share your predictions with us in the comment section.

What’s Your Biggest Pain Point?

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As marketers, we try to assess client’s needs and results to understand what strategy should be followed to help them achieve their goals.  As success can be measured on various levels including ROI, awareness, reach, leads, and conversions, it is critical to clearly define your needs, so a targeted strategy can be developed.  Needs are usually rooted in what I like to call “pain points”. In this weeks blog, I thought I would take the pulse of the industry and ask you what you feel are biggest pain points facing your business.

As a result of this quick survey, I hope to share with you “pain point” trends and some analysis of what these trends might mean for our industry and your business. The results will only be as strong as your participation, so I hope you’ll participate. What is the top “pain point” facing your business?

  • Financial concerns
  • Employee/personnel issues
  • Marketing ROI
  • Marketing strategy
  • Online marketing (emails, web, ads)
  • Mobile application of business
  • No brand awareness
  • Lack of sales
  • Lack of innovation
  • Other – define:

I look forward to reading the results and sharing the trends in next week’s blog.

How does content “Go Viral”?

Perhaps you remember the #KONY2012 video, which was the fastest video to receive 100-million views  in the shortest amount of time. Or maybe you recall the Dove Real Beauty sketches, where the brand invited a group of women to sit down with a sketch artist and describe themselves to him. 

These campaigns are examples of marketing content that has gone viral, but what does this concept actually mean, and how can we channel it into your marketing strategy?

To say something has “gone viral”  usually means that a piece of content has been well-received and widely shared, which is a a marketer’s dream, but the truth is, the vast majority of even great content will never enjoy widespread attention.

The infographic below discusses the science behind viral content and how it comes to be:

viral

What are your takeaways from this infographic? As a marketer, several tactics stand out to me:

Content: Make a statement with your content. Do you want it to be funny? Incredible? Dramatic? Emotional? Decide what message you want to send and choose a way to communicate it.

Integrated: A great video may get a lot of traction on it’s own merit, but many campaigns rely on integrated approaches that share the same brand message. The other platforms will support to the overall success of your viral campaigns.

Easy-to-Share: If your platforms aren’t easily accessible, fans of the content can’t share even if they wanted to. Make sure you give your audience both a way AND reason to share.

What kind of content could go viral for your business? Do you think viral marketing could work for you? I look forward to your comments below.