marketing trends

Marketing in 2016 and What We Can Learn From It

What a year! 2016 has been an amazing year to showcase the power of marketing. From the unanticipated election of America’s first president-elect who has never held political office before, to the explosion of Snapchat marketing; it’s been a busy year. We have covered a range of marketing stories from 2016 in our blogs this year, like this one on the blurred lines between social media and advertising.

In my final blog of the year, I’d like to take the time to reflect on some of the marketing lessons we have learned throughout 2016.

Social Media is more powerful than you think. Donald Trump was elected largely due to his participation in social media, mostly on his notorious Twitter account. Years ago, it was unheard of for high-ranking political figures to speak directly to their voters in such a medium. Now, anyone and everyone has a platform to reach out to their target.

Even if you think your small business doesn’t need a social media presence, you could be missing out on audiences just waiting to listen to what you have to say.

Fake news is dangerous. In marketing, we always make a point to create authentic content. However, 2016 proved that not all Internet content abides by these same rules. The “pizzagate” scandal has left a lot of people confused about what’s real news and what’s not. Facebook’s algorithm issue has also contributed to this fake news epidemic.

For businesses that run their own social media accounts, this could be a problem. If you’re sharing engaging social media posts from a fake news source, you’re hurting your brand’s reputation. As someone who has been in the marketing world for a number of years, I may see through these fake stories, while many others may not and that is concerning. In 2017, audiences need to learn how to be more media literate and dismiss fake news stories instead of sharing them with a larger audience.

You get what you pay for. As a marketer, I am constantly writing. It takes time and effort to communicate a message on behalf of my clients, and I often speak to them about what their opinions are on topics I would like to write about. That’s why I was surprised to hear that this year, there has been an increase in public interest for websites that promote pre-written, paid content. On these sites, you can plug in some information you would like to write about, and then it will be outsourced to a writer from anywhere in the world to write about this topic.

From a marketing perspective, I need to know my client before I can write for them. I find out who their target audience is, and how this message should be communicated. While these paid-for content websites may be a cheap alternative to authentic content creation, it’s no substitute for quality written work.

After this hectic year, I am interested to see what’s coming next in 2017. Will VR make its mark in the marketing world? Will Twitter still be as popular a platform after the buzz of the election dies down? I’m looking forward to seeing what surprises the New Year brings into the marketing world, and I hope you are too.

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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!

 

 

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.