Not surprisingly, I’ve seen a lot of predictions online for how marketing will change in the coming year. I bet you have, too. But do you understand how to capitalize on these trends for your own business?
I spent a couple hours this weekend researching marketing trends for the coming year. As I read, I wrote out a list of trend predictions I saw repeated across sources and took note (quite UNscientifically) of how many times that trend was mentioned.
Here’s the “data” I gathered:
Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
For purposes of this dicussion, “storytelling” represents not only the concept of storytelling (vs. the hard sell) , but all the trends that fall under the concept of customer engagement, community building and connection – reaching us through our emotions (particularly empathy), reaching us where we hang out (both on- and off-line), and most-mentioned: using humor. Apparently, we like to laugh. Brands that entertain us, as well as inform us, will do well this year.
As part of the “reach us where we hang out” trend, responsive design (design that self-adjusts to the screen or device we’re using to consume content) is a must. But more than that, this also means we need to deliver our message in text, images, audio AND video, because we’re all different in our consumption preferences (even within the same audience.)
Paid Social Ads
Sadly, the days of getting visibility for our message in social media for free are coming to a screeching halt. The culprit? “Infobesity” and digital noise. In other words, information overload and too much of that “information” is crap. In response, and you’ve seen this if you have a Facebook business page, Facebook has severely limited the reach of posts from business pages in news feeds. If you want to get your message seen, even by “fans”, you’ve gotta put your money where your mouth is and pay to “boost” your post. Twitter and other major social sites are predicted to follow suit this year.
We’ve been hearing about the importance of video in marketing for awhile now, yet some still say it will become more important than ever – in particular, video uploaded directly to social sites like Facebook, rather than uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and then shared through social channels. Social sites like Facebook are encouraging this (did you notice videos autoplay in your feed now?) because it keeps eyeballs on their sites, rather than sending them away to YouTube or other places.
With all the content being produced these days, and the aforementioned culprits of “infobesity” and digital noise, it’s not surprising that useful content would be a marketing trend to pay attention to this year. We all complain about having to wade through fluff and nonsense to find what we’re looking for, so it makes sense that the way to stand out from the crowd is to provide not just content, but useful content. That, after all, is what we’re ALL looking for, right?
With marketing tactics and strategies so plentiful and diverse, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the so-called “musts” when creating our marketing plans. But knowing what is truly a “must” depends on your audience. Collecting data about what works and what doesn’t work (as you define it) is critical to determining what is truly a “must” for your business. Testing, then, is how you figure it out. Try new things, yes, but not in a wild, chaotic manner. Create a plan, collect data as you implement the plan, and then periodically, review the plan and adjust accordingly.
Health-focused wearables like Fitbit help us measure our daily life, capturing data on steps taken, calories burned, and even sleep patterns. Watch-like bands like Samsung’s communicate with your smartphone and its portfolio of apps to give you at-a-glance connectivity. Fujitsu recently announced tag- and gesture-reading gloves for use in enterprise or industrial environments. And dozens of new gadgets are sprinting out of the gate, many funded by Kickstarter campaigns. Wearable tech is still in its infancy, granted, but have you noticed how everyday things (TVs, cars, etc.) are becoming “smart”?
It’s still pretty rare to see individuals focusing on their personal brand, but as you can see from the list above, we crave relevance, personalization and connection. Developing a personal brand is a logical extension, then. People want to know who the person behind the brand is. The prediction is that more and more of us – not just authors and celebrities – will benefit from developing a strong personal brand as time marches on.
What’s It All Mean To Me?
Overall, my take on all the information I’ve absorbed in this process boils down to this: In 2015, I need to get to know better the community I have the opportunity to serve and then connect with that community by providing useful content they don’t get anywhere else. In the process, I need to be the real me. To the extent that the content I produce is both entertaining and useful – AND available across multiple platforms – I will be able to grow my reach and by extension, my business by serving those who are my “right people”.
What do you think? What is your take on all this? Let me know in the comments below.