The transition from year-end to new year is often a flurry of activity. As such, many companies overlook the importance of intently reviewing their prior year’s marketing metrics in partnership with burgeoning trends to improve their efforts to build their brand and reach new prospective clients.
With the new year now in full swing, have you sat down with your marketing team – however big or small – to review your marketing numbers from 2016? If not, carve out time next week, pull out those metrics, sit down with your team, and determine if these five trends could help boost your marketing effort sin 2017.
- Interactive Content
What is it? Any form of content that contains an interactive component for the user. Taken a Buzzfeed quiz before? That’s interactive content. Used a map to dig more deeply into a data set? That’s interactive content.
Interactive content runs a wide gamut, which is good news for companies looking to incorporate these trend into their marketing strategy, as it offers large and small scale options. Some companies are looking to build entire platforms dedicated to interactive content.
What does it mean for business in 2017? 75% of marketers plan to increase their use of interactive content in 2017. Not ready to onboard an entire team of designers, developers, and content creators to build a platform? Consider some small ways to bring interactive content into your suite of marketing tools. Use Apester to create a short quiz, or MapMe to create a shareable map of data of interest. Interactive content can also be a great way to unobtrusively collect user data. For instance, Simple, a finance app, recently used data gathered to create an interactive map about tipping trends across the US, giving them key information about their users, and allowing those same users to interact with the data they gathered in a useful manner.
What is it? Everything from breaking news, to presidential press conferences was recently livestreamed. Any form of transmitting live video content to your users/followers falls into this trend. It’s a natural progression to the drastic rise of video content in recent years. Video content is so popular that a recent study estimates video content will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019.
What does it mean for business in 2017? Although similar to more traditional pre-recorded video content, livestreaming can bring a number of new aspects to the medium. It helps capture the emotion of a moment that might otherwise be polished out of scripted video content. Similarly, livestreaming can lend a more “authentic” voice to your content – and users, as we all grow more adept at weeding out too-stilted content, are seeking that sense of authenticity in the content they consume.
Livestreaming offers unique opportunities to connect with your users. For instance, the credit reporting agency, Experian, uses livestreaming to host Q&A sessions on debt. They promote the almost “town-hall” esque event in advance and encourage users to attend and bring their questions on debt. Brands operating in fashion might look to partner with well-known fashion bloggers to live-stream fashion week shows, or styling videos, etc. Livestreaming on certain platforms such as Facebook also offers your clients an opportunity to interact with each other through comments. Consider hosting a similar small-scale live-streamed forum. Cybersecurity firm? Livestream a Q&A on key cybersecurity trends. Consider live-streaming a short series, “Setting a cybersecurity strategy” “How to hire the right Cybersecurity expert(s)” “Ensure your cybersecurity strategy is working for you.”
Whether livestreamed or pre-recorded incorporating video content into your marketing efforts is critical. Don’t think it’s worth it? Well, 59% of executives in a recent study would rather watch a video than read a blog post, and 69% of companies plan to increase their video budget in 2017. If you aren’t putting out video content, it’s a safe bet your competitor is.
3. Targeting Influencers
What is it? Potential buyers are far more likely to purchase a product from someone with demonstrated expertise on a topic. Far more likely. Indeed people are 82% more likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation, than standard advertising. As users grow more and more wary of traditional advertising, companies are having to turn to more grass roots efforts to get their message across – a great way to achieve this is by partnering with established influencers. For instance, when Stitch Fix, a clothing site that ships monthly boxes of carefully selected clothes to its clients, first launched they partnered with fashion, fitness, and mommy bloggers with strong followings. Bloggers were offered free boxes in exchange for reviews of their Stitch Fix boxes on those bloggers’ site. These bloggers had established trusted relationships with their audiences, audience which largely consisted of exactly the type of customers Stitch Fix was looking to engage. By partnering with these influencers they were able to create a positive buzz around their product that increased the likelihood of people purchasing their service.
What does it mean for business in 2017? Users are wise to traditional marketing tactics. Many of us use ad-blockers, and if we don’t few of us are paying attention to traditional banner ads. Partnering with influencers who have an established relationship with a market segment your company is looking to tap provides a far more authentic connection. And it’s not just for clothing companies. Those of us that work in fields like IT services might need to get more creative but there are ways to establish a relationship with an influencer in your field. Just make sure you provide a mutually beneficial offering, and don’t forget to establish some success metrics!
4. Increased Personalization
What is it? Personalization is a long running marketing trend. I recall working in my first job out of college several years ago where the company undertook a significant segementation effort – separating their customers into 8 market segments, built on shared traits like age, income, etc. in an effort to provide more customized content that appealed to those groups. But, marketing and the tools that support it have come a long way in recent years. Personalization is no longer simply adding a user’s name to the subject line, or creating profiles to group your customers.
What does it mean for business in 2017? Personalized marketing is now taking place at the individual level. For large companies, with massive quantities of data to pull from, can glean incredible insights into their customer’s purchasing habits. Just the other day, I was browsing Amazon considering buying new leashes for my dogs. I read through reviews of a few and that left it for another day. I hopped over to Facebook, and there in my newsfeed was an ad for the leash I’d just decided I wasn’t quite ready to purchase.
Although smaller companies may not have access to the same level of data there are still ample opportunities to build in personalization. Just personalizing subject lines increases email open rates by 26%. A great example of smaller scale personalization is a recent email campaign by DoggyLoot. They leverage data from previous email campaigns to analyze their recipients time zones and typical opening time. Instead of sending out one email blast to all users, they staggered their emails sending them to recipients at times that better aligned with their time zone and historical open time.
Personalizing your user’s web experience based on their browsing habits is another great way to take small steps toward incorporating this trend into your marketing efforts. Businesses that offer a personalized web experience see on average a 19% increase in sales.
5. Shifting social media trends.
What is it? Raise your virtual hand if you have personally been victimized by Facebook in 2016. The struggle with Facebook’s ever-shifting algorithims is real. It’s not only confusing, but recent changes have made it nearly impossible to have your content seen unless you’re paying for it. For small businesses with limited marketing budgets this is a blow. Even large businesses are chaffing from the constant changes. BP, yes that BP, recently shared their plans to focus more heavily on content for LinkedIn. BP found their Facebook following stalled at 250,000 despite efforts to grow their audience. So, BP redeployed their marketing resources to focus more heavily on crafting content for LinkedIn and shift away from Facebook. And BP isn’t alone.
What does it mean for business in 2017? Consider these statistics, 94% of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn, 87% use Twitter, 84% use Facebook, and 74% use YouTube. LinkedIn is nearly an endless sales resource: read up on recent company news for a target client, find out where that potential connection got their career start, get connected to new leads. It makes sense that many of us in marketing and sales are turning to LinkedIn as the logical social media platform to best support the growth of our businesses, just as BP is doing. So, if you haven’t done so already, take a look at your social media performance across platforms last year. Where did you see the most growth? Which platform is allowing to engage with your target audience most successfully? What type of content gets you the most engagement? What content gets people to your website? Use that information to inform what social media platforms you should focus your resources on in 2017. Be prepared, the answer may surprise you.