The first section of this text should make for a compelling intro that draws the reader in with a little story, such as this one.
There’s a little smart guy sitting on my right shoulder and telling me what to do, what’s right and what’s not right for me. He doesn’t mind the screen of my computer with lists of the newest marketing stats, trends and recommendations which tell me what I ought to do if I want to stay in line with progress.
Fear itself is sitting on my left shoulder, reading the stats and bugging me with shots of panic: what’s the competition doing about this? Time runs faster than ever… Are you the only one who doesn’t have a budget big enough to do what needs to be done? Are you going to get drowned in a year or two?
While beginning to read the trends and stats, I ask the left guy to stop practising his fear-speech. Damnit, the world’s a huge and beautiful place where there’s room for everyone. The sky won’t crush on me if I am not No. 1 (much as I’d love to be).
One of the reasons why all of us ask Google Almighty about trends and stats and predictions is that we like to stay in focus. Marketers want to know ‘cause marketers want to grow. But there’s no reason to get paralyzed with the newly acquired knowledge. It’s supposed to inspire, not frighten or induce more panic. Let’s take a look at six trends that we’re supposed to be aware of, interpret and tailor to suit our needs.
1. Content might be the king, but delivery rules
Content means stories, but (here comes the tricky and trendy part) stories need upgrading. Pretty soon most people won’t have enough patience for reading texts when there are so many visual things going around. That’s why we have to learn to transform and repurpose our content.
Not only does content (in one form or another) still stand as a turning point of all marketing efforts. It has to be properly analysed, evaluated, and planned. This means creating a strategy on a yearly basis. Ask yourself what do you want to achieve with your content, who is it for, what type of content your audience prefers to devour. As of today, only one in three businesses has had an optimized approach to content marketing.
2. Start doing video marketing. If you’ve already started, try to advance it
We cannot foretell the future, but one thing is certain, based on the video marketing stats of previous years. Video is a hook for your audience’s attention. Video is not going to disappear or lose attention any time soon. Video is awesome. Especially live video, as it is even more current and relevant to the people who like to witness events while conducting a real-time gossip about them. Facebook has understood this pretty well, introducing live videos at the beginning of the last year.
Things don’t end up with mere video shooting and editing, or shooting and live streaming. Last year made history with the phenomenon called Pokémon GO. It came, reaped the audience’s ardor, converted it to money, and disappeared. The mass euphoria got inflated within minutes, and dissipated in a matter of months. Although Pokémon GO is no more (it still exists, but doesn’t live very much), there are some valuable lessons it taught us. Augmented reality is hot topic. It’s like making the real world way cooler than it is, fictionalizing the reality and interacting with the fictional parts as well as the actual ones. Marketers have already begun to take advantage of this.
3. Keep the mobile in mind
Mobile use is more and more important and Google knows this. A few months ago they announced they would separate mobile from desktop search index, which means you could rank well on desktop, but could suck on mobile, and vice versa. This is an absolutely logical step, and the fact that we have enough time to prepare for it should be considered a privilege.
4. Personalization is an ever-green trend
All of us know the gravest mistake of the outbound marketing era – talking to the widest possible audience, not even caring who they are, whether they need us or just want to be left alone.
Personalization means nurturing a one-to-one relationship with all of our customers. However, our goal shouldn’t be just to learn about our customers. It should be to learn things about them that even they don’t know. The basic analysis tells me that Joe, my prospect, likes a certain type of car. Another analysis should tell me why he likes it. This will help me figure out a way how to speak to Joe, how to establish a firm relationship, how to recognize and use his own voice.
This means putting Joe in the center of my actions and plans. For the purpose of statistics, he might be an Average Joe. For me as a marketer, he is a Unique Joe. I want to give my persona a human face.
5. Email marketing won’t stop thriving
It definitely continues to beat the odds, as it is the most efficient way to personalize our relationship with customers. But what we need to bear in mind is that it needs automation more than ever, and a clever automation at that. This means we will have to really do our best to automate our email campaigns based on the subscribers’ behavior. Although the email marketing automation is nothing new to us, there are still many users who would ask themselves: how the heck did they know I clicked on that page.
Don’t take me wrong. This doesn’t mean we should rename the behavioral emails into surprisal emails. Not at all. It just means we should be grateful for the fact that our users provide us with the knowledge about what they are looking at, what they are interested in, and when is the right time to reach out to them and help them. If help is what they need, of course.
6. Don’t take anything for granted
The biggest mistake you could do is to blindly follow all of these inscriptions. Do your own evaluation. You know your audience. The fact is they change, in terms that you may win some new and lose some old ones, but also in terms that their needs evolve. You should keep in mind those changes, but not by following the prescriptions that someone gave you when you Googled “digital marketing trends”.
Stay in the loop, but don’t always go with the flow. Best businesses never do, and that is precisely what made them best.