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Each and every year, new advances in technology and culture impact our daily living. And yes, these changes create trends. Some trends only live a short life and are only fads, such as seasonal trinkets or popular songs. In our meme-filled world, fads and trends live a hard, short life. But, certain things live on because they are based on a more sustainable part of our lives. And companies must learn about and take advantage of these marketing trends to grow and sustain their businesses.
For example, about ten years ago a new tend popped up. It started with college kids, but soon expanded and now Facebook hosts over 2 billion people and supports an industry of consultants. Facebook helped usher in a new marketing channel, which we now call social media marketing. And yet, every year pundits predict the end of Facebook and social media. But, Facebook continues to reach new heights because it allows more and more people to connect. However, the way businesses leverage Facebook and other social media platforms continuously changes.
As Bob Dylan famously said, the times are changing.
And pundits in the marketing space make numerous predictions of the brave new world ahead. From chatbots to mobile video and VR to AR, some prognosticators take more risks than others. For instance, will businesses leverage all available types of technology to connect with potential customers. Yes.
So chatbots that integrate with your site (mobile and desktop) clearly makes sense. In particular, most chatbots can easily handle simple Q&A questions without adding staff to monitor and actually chat. Or, other chatbots simply forward questions to existing customer relationship teams, so the chatbot gives the appearance of an advanced site, but really just offers another avenue for communication.
Are chatbots a trend or a fad? Time will tell, but the lesson remains the same, technology helps connect with potential customers. If chatbots remain cheap and simple to integrate, will they continue to exist across the web? Yes.
Interestingly, as we watch the marketing landscape change and adapt to the times, the more we recognize the essentials of marketing remain the same. Yes, marketing offers channels to reach customers and engage with them to drive sales. But, the more noise that exists in the world, the more standard marketing techniques rise to the top. Although you can buy likes, follows and influencers, you cannot buy authenticity, honesty and great customer service.
As French writer Jean-Baptise Alphonse Karr famously identified hundreds of years ago, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
To help, we take a look at the common marketing trends and look out the underlying lesson. Lasting trends exist because they tap into a root cause or need. So, we’ll look the main marketing trends and provide some insight into how any company can leverage those trends and incorporate them into their marketing strategy.
Marketing Trend #1: Social Media & the Rise of the Influencer
How do companies leverage social media platforms to connect with potential customers? In a nutshell, companies must project an authentic and honest voice. So, how is the rise of the influencer impacting marketers decisions and voice?
First and foremost, what is influencer marketing?
Companies (or brands) hire an influencer to promote their product or service. Just like TV commercials that hire famous actors or sports stars to promote their product, influencers use their fame and following to promote companies (or brands). The Atlantic describes how influencer marketing works within the social media world.
“Influencer is a platform-agnostic term. It describes anyone who leverages social media to grow a following and exerts influence over that following in order to make money. An influencer might be the teenager who blows up on Instagram for viral makeup tutorials and starts selling beauty products via sponsored posts. Or the stay-at-home mom turned fashion vlogger who uses her following on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest to shill her custom-clothing line. Or the middle-aged chef whose homemade cooking videos generate thousands of views on Instagram and Twitter and who uses that audience to promote his own cookbook.”
But does influencer marketing actually work?
According to 2017 Tap Influence research, 40% of customers purchased an item after seeing an influencer promote it on social media platforms.
Source: Neil Patel
Trust. Potential customers trust recommendations from an independent party. And influencers build trust over time by establishing their own brand and voice. The best influencers only promote brands that match their interests and the interests of their followers. If an influencer started schilling all products and services, they will lose followers and their influence!
As a result, influencers drive traffic to your site, which boosts sales. However, effective influencer marketing starts before a tweet or post is shared. Influencer marketing starts with your own marketing strategy and customer profile. Prior to engaging with an influencer (just like analyzing potential celebrities for a TV spot), think about your own audience.
“For example, Justin Bieber was considered one of the most influential personalities on social media. But, would he be the best fit to promote your innovative content writing software? Would he fit the general concept and create a high-quality content to enhance your brand?”
Although many factors impact the success of potential influencer marketing campaigns, the most important factor remains within your control. Yes, your company and brand requires the right person that helps build trust in your company and among your community.
So, is influencer marketing a fad or marketing trend worth engaging?
Ultimately, the answer depends slightly on your product and brand. In all likelihood an influencer exists that matches your audience, demographics and brand voice. If so, then influencers generally charge costs per post or campaign, so the overall expenses will not blow out a marketing budget. Plus, most campaigns offer ample opportunities to test and experiment.
Ultimately, the impact and the success of an influencer campaign depends on the chemistry and the communication developed with the influencer.
More Ways to Understand the Social Media Beast
Successful social media campaigns rely on its humble beginnings – engagement! In particular, as Facebook focuses less on pushing content from brands and businesses, marketing teams (and influencers) must remain up-to-speed on the rationale for those changes. As Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed, explained in a post:
“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses. As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
Regardless of the social media platform (and the main platforms are owned by Facebook anyway), savvy social media marketers stopped following fads and tapped into the underlying trend. Social media platforms allow brands to create new and unique ways to demonstrate value and build trust.
For example, Adweek recounted how some publishers are branching out beyond Facebook:
- Buzzfeed expanded its popular “Tasty” channel to YouTube, Snapchat Discover and a standalone app;
- The Dodo, an animal-focused video publisher, found success monetizing videos on YouTube;
- TheSkimm has invested in its newsletter, app and audio and visual as points of entry in addition to fostering its Facebook following;
- Bleacher Report turned to Snapchat for its coverage of the highly anticipated 2017 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor MacGregor.
Finally, to tap into the influencer and social media marketing trends, remember that it’s more important than ever to develop messaging that:
- sparks conversation.
- resonates with followers.
- inspires new audiences to follow along.
Any successful marketing trend taps into the same things that resonate within the story of any brand. As a result, understanding the basics of social media platforms helps teams tap into engagement that remains at the core of any marketing activity. To help, these books offer the tools to create and cultivate your brand voice that will help produce the desired engagement needed to succeed on social media.
“Social Media Marketing” is excellent introductory reading for social media strategists who are just getting started or business owners who want a firm grasp on how to market their ideas, products and services on social media. It also serves as a refresher or primer on basic marketing strategies and how they can be applied to social media. Warner’s “Social Media Marketing” may also be useful to social media managers making the jump from editorial and content-driven work to marketing.
For the social media marketer struggling to develop a clear strategy, Schaefer’s “Social Media Explained” is the book for you. Schaefer is an acclaimed author, educator and marketing consultant who shares foundational strategies behind success on social media as well as a path to discovering and defining your organization’s social media strategy. While the specifics of your strategy are up to you, let Schaefer’s expertise help guide you on what to do to get started.
In this fast-paced, ever-changing world of social media marketing, even the most seasoned strategist needs guidance to stay a step ahead. Enter “The 8 Pillars of Social Media Marketing in 2018,” the up-to-date resource to ensure your marketing plan is meeting the right customers where they are. Bartnik’s book offers tips for tailoring your approach to each social media platform while maintaining consistent branding. This book is ideal for the in-house social strategist in charge of an organization’s multiple social networks.
Struggling to understand how the digital media landscape transformed from corporate-driven messaging to being overtaken by user-generated content? Add “Spreadable Media”to your reading list. The book examines how our current participatory culture came to be, the nature of engagement, and the contrasting concepts of “stickiness” and “spreadability” when it comes to creating social content. “Spreadable Media” is for the social media strategist who needs to fine-tune his or her explanation for why some posts go viral while others don’t.
If Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger calls “The Social Organism” a “must-read,” then it really needs to be on every strategist’s list of must-read social media marketing books. Tech visionaries Luckett and Casey offer their groundbreaking theory on social media, including how it’s changing human life as we know it, how it can be mastered for good, and how it can turn a profit. “The Social Organism” is the definitive guide to understanding social media, making it essential to crafting a thoughtful, winning marketing strategy.
Making our ideas resonate is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face – especially when it’s so easy to be drowned out by the masses on social media. Jiwa’s take on marketing – focusing on less on promotion and more on reaching out – is what makes “Marketing: A Love Story” a must-read for any social media strategist looking to stand out from the crowd and create messaging that matters.
Ever wonder how companies like Apple and Disney seem so much more innovative and influential than others? According to Sinek, an influential speaker himself whose Ted Talk was viewed by 28 million people, the leaders of such companies “Start with Why.” They understood that people won’t truly buy into a product, service or experience until they understand the “why” behind it. This revolutionary idea plays well into the art of crafting an inspiring, engaging social media marketing strategy – a must-read for any social manager.
Handley posits that in our online world, everyone is a writer – so you may as well learn how to write the kind of content that attracts and retains customers. “Everybody Writes”was created to be the go-to guide for anyone who publishes online content, whether that’s the social media manager for a big brand or the owner of a small business looking to launch a social strategy. Learn to write better, easy grammar and usage rules, and the best practices for creating credible content.
Marketing Trend #2: Authenticity Drives SEO Improvements
Fads only last a limited time because they play on an emotion. Trends last because they play on a need or desire. Another lasting marketing trend in the SEO world remains authenticity. As a result, content and reviews provide the best bang for your SEO buck and these channels do not appear to stop any time soon.
First, reviews demonstrate trust and credibility. In a world filled with fake news and deep fakes, customers increasingly struggle to trust things online. However, leading review platforms, such as Google and Facebook require real identities to share reviews. As a result, authentic reviews help improve SEO results!
For example, a recent report (via BrightLocal) analyzed customer online interactions and 97% of survey respondents declared they looked online for a local business.
Not only does virtually every potential customer start online, but the survey found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Therefore, if your company lacks a game plan for generating reviews, then your company is falling behind the competition. Plus, not only do potential customers prefer an active review page, but Google prefers velocity of reviews as well. As Google noted frequent updates to pages and results help improve search rankings.
“There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [best SLR cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and watn [Subaru Impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information.”
Therefore, for any consumer-driven companies, an active review page helps satisfy potential customers, but also Google. And if Google remains happy, then more customers are likely to find your company. And more customers means more reviews!
Secondly, another fantastic way to demonstrate authenticity is through content. For example, Search Engine Land provided an overview of the critical SEO objectives. The top three objectives relate to local SEO results and owning your company information online, as well as, generating reviews. And the 4th objective, produce content!
- Claim all local name, address and phone number (NAP) citations and listings. Ensure they remain consistent in all listings.
- Claim your Google My Business Page and Bing Places For Business. Fill each with relevant information and local keywords.
- Improve local ratings and reviews.
- Produce content aimed at local long-tail keywords and below-the-fold results.
So, what exactly is content marketing?
“Content marketing relates to creating and distributing information (i.e., videos, blogs, white papers, infographics, etc.) aimed at the core interests of a specific audience.”
Or as the Content Marketing Institute notes:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing works by engaging potential customers through building brand awareness. And as we learned from the rise of the influencer, building brand awareness in an authentic fashion remains a lasting marketing trend.
Effective content marketing strategy plays the long game because it builds a relationship with potential customers. Whereas influencers produce a short burst to generate awareness, content marketing offers a lasting relationship. And relationships need trust to nurture. Ultimately, marketers leverage content strategies to improve their business growth, such as:
- Boosting Sales.
Companies that optimize their content assets enable the ability to convert prospects into customers. Content educates potential customers about a various product or service, but also the buying decision process. Ultimately, proper content marketing helps streamline the sales cycle.
- Attracting Committed & Loyal Customers.
Companies that create content aimed at solving customer problems attracts more loyal and committed customers. Consistent content builds a value-add reputation, which means potential customers view your company as a problem solver that generates loyalty over time.
- Developing & Deepening Reputation.
Companies that produce valuable content not only attracts loyal customers, but also develops and deepens a brand’s reputation. As customers seek out well-written and useful content, potential customers seek your content, which builds and develops name recognition and your reputation.
- Decreasing Marketing Costs.
Companies that develop and execute a sound content marketing strategy ultimately lower marketing costs. Interestingly, content marketing is inexpensive, safe and beneficial because evergreen content continues working for you well after the asset is produced. In particular, for companies with the resources to produce in-house content, then the main cost is time. Ultimately, content increases traffic and builds relationships with your industry and your clients.
More Ways to Understand the Content Beast
In essence, content marketing works like networking. Although many of us hate networking, we understand the purpose. We understand it takes time, but the benefits outweigh the short-term cons. Ultimately, we know we cannot rush networking because each event helps develop our name and share our intellect and passion with others. As a result, we receive recommendations and referrals.
Additionally, effective networking and content marketing provides validation of your credentials. Part of developing an effective content strategy means building backlinks as well. Interestingly, one of the most helpful ways to generate backlinks is creating an original infographic.
“One of the most crucial steps to attracting links with your content is creating a truly informative and creative infographic. If done right, a well-designed and original infographic will help you reap the rewards of all the time invested in creating it.”
Finally, networking builds trust and provide a path to expand your business. Content marketing works the same way. To help understand how to develop a comprehensive content plan, these books provide an overview and history behind the field.
“Content Strategy for the Web” introduces all marketers (from small business to seasoned veterans) to the importance of strategy. Halvorson and Rach provide an overview and roadmap that enables all businesses to develop and deliver better content. For any company looking to revamp their website, the book offers invaluable insights into creating meaningful content that is easier said than done. All marketers looking to gain an understanding the business value of content should read this book and be ready to take some notes because the book provides useful tips and best practices that help engage your audience.
“They Ask, You Answer” provides a use case from Marcus Sheridan (aka The Sales Lion) as he leveraged content marketing to turnaround his failing pool installation company. The books acts as a blueprint as Sheridan shares his insights into his strategy, which include how he qualifies prospects, handles competitors and engages sales team in the content creation process. Individuals charged with creating a content marketing strategy definitely should read They Ask, You Answer to gain an understanding of a success program. For example, the final section culminates with a streamlined list of content marketing best practices that enable a successful and effective strategy.
“The Atomic Particle” explains and advises existing organizations on the purpose and impact of content marketing. Lieb, an industry analyst, relies on her observations in the field to publish an extensive body of research into content marketing, strategy and the role of content within paid, owned and earned media. In particular, The Atomic Particle, provides insights and detailed “how to” advice into how marketers solve challenges as content marketing moves up an organization. The Atomic Particle is a must-read for any content marketing specialist within a small to medium size company. As marketers face organizational challenges, Lieb utilizes her experience consulting with large corporations to prepare marketers for common issues.
“Don’t Make Me Think” was originally published in 2000 as the modern web started to develop. Krug understood that people wanted information and wanted it quickly, without thinking. The philosophy turned into a guiding light of web design as sites focused on usability and providing the right information in a streamlined manner. The book, which distills a similar theory proposed by Seth Godin is simple; enable visitors to complete their intended task as easy as possible. For any content marketers or copywriters looking to capture attention, Don’t Make Me Think, provides the fundamentals and principles required to accomplish this task.
“Content That Converts” focuses on the core of any corporate website, converting visitors into customers. In Content That Converts, Hanley provides a system that helps businesses generate qualified leads, which turn into conversions, through content marketing. If generating conversions (and paying customers) is not part of your content marketing strategy, then this book explains how to understand your audience, provide meaningful offers and utilize effective messaging. Anyone involved in marketing strategy should read Content That Converts to understand the core fundamentals of an effective content marketing plan. From developing content ideas to engaging your desired audience, this book provides the essentials required to run any impactful content campaign.
“The Content Strategy Toolkit” takes traditional content marketing to a new level because the book addresses the overall user experience. The book provides a comprehensive guide that offers readers with a detailed guide to planning, organizing and creating useful and relevant content. Additionally, Casey offers a toolkit that helps analyze an existing site and details ways to improve the user experience. The Content Strategy Toolkit is a useful read for copywriters, product managers, developers and content marketers understand how visitors experience any website. The book provides marketing teams with a useful resource to organize content and create a coherent set of operations, along with impactful content marketing strategy.
“Get Content Get Customers” outlines the essence of content marketing; providing value to potential customers. In today’s noisy internet, potential customers remain inundated with endless messages about superior products and the best companies. In this book, Pulizzi and Barrett shares the secret to impactful content marketing; deliver value to customers. There are no shortcuts to beating the competition. The only way to stand out from the crowd is differentiate yourself through value. Offer customers useful information to the questions that want and gain their trust. Get Content shares useful advice that enables marketers to connect with customers through compelling content. The book adds value to companies struggle to engage with their desired audience.
“The Content Code” outlines the best practices within the content marketing world to develop copy that gains attention in a crowded field. Schaefer utilizes a variety of case studies that showcase effective copywriting. As a result, The Content Code provides useful insights that help draft engaging material for social media, landing pages, ebooks and more. Content marketers or copywriters (plus social media experts) looking for a practical guide to creating headline grabbing attention should read The Content Code and leverage as a resource. The book offers useful strategies to increase awareness and spread the word about your content.
Marketing Trend #3: Connections Remain Crucial to Success
Marketers must find ways to connect with potential customers. As customers adopt new forms of technology and media, then marketers must adapt. Naturally, social media marketing evolved as the rise of platforms like Facebook captured our attention. As discussed, these platforms continuously evolve, so marketers must remain fluid in their approach to finding ways to connect with their audience.
For example, as our society (and customers) keep finding ways to connect while on the go, marketers must take advantage of trends that follow the people. And one of those marketing trends that is not going anywhere is podcasting and even vlogging (to the degree it meets your brand identity).
However, prior to jumping into the deep end of another resource heavy marketing channel, take some time to understand your voice, brand and strategy to connect with your desired audience. For example, ask yourself some questions such as:
- What is my area of expertise?
- Do any competitors already podcast/vlog?
- How will my podcast/vlog differ from the competition?
- How successful are the current podcasters/vloggers in related fields?
- Is it possible to add value to the leaders in my field?
In particular, producing content adjacent to a leader provides an interesting opportunity. The common takes on topics in any field or industry are likely taken. As a result, you need to find an avenue that differentiates your topics and content from existing players. For example, creators need a unique approach to covering “marketing for X” because there are so many generalists. Plus, to really capture the attention of your audience, you need to play in the podcast or YouTube space, which means competing on non-branded platforms.
Although you can rely on your social following and existing fan base, in order to really make podcasting or vlogging worthwhile, you need to create your own spin.
Finally, although authenticity remains prominent with any marketing channel, podcasts or vlogs need some elements of professionalism.
More Ways to Succeed within the Podcasting/Vlogging Beast
Everyone needs some help learning a new field. To help understand basics behind podcasting or vlogging, here are some tips from around the web.
“The brand has to be consistent in its message…So if you want to be an actor, make content that you can act in and showcases your skills and don’t’ be led astray by the views…Give the viewers what they want and they will respond.”
“Select your niche wisely. Although it’s totally up to you which niche you would like to talk to your viewers about, it’s also not bad to take a look at the most sought after niches. Do some research on the most popular vlog/podcast niches and see if you find them interesting. Base your thesis around a theme or a niche. This is basically a topic area that you are passionate about. While some people choose a broad theme, others opt for a more specific angle.”
“It’s important to focus on quality, but it’s just as important to be active. Don’t wait weeks or months until uploading your next episode. People prefer to subscribe to channels that are active. So it’s important to keep your channel active by uploading episodes frequently. This helps to build your audience.”
“This is vital. It’s your editing skills that can differentiate your works with others despite the mediocre content.”
“No one starts a podcast/vlog with a ready-made following of 1,000,000 enthusiastic fans, so you’ve got to put some work into promotion before you’ll see results. If you’re as new to vlogging as you are blogging, a good place to start is to connect with other vloggers. Commenting on other vlogger’s videos is a great way to make connections and start conversations with people that are likely to be interested in your vlog. However, this doesn’t mean spam – you need to make sure you write genuinely interesting comments which are likely to spark up conversation.”
“Q&As are a great idea for you to get closer to your audience and to stimulate the engagement on your episodes. You’ll get more comments, and your followers will appreciate you for answering their queries.”
“Relying solely on intuition is not a sustainable strategy. Learn how to use platform analytics and collect real data. You’ll find out what makes your viewers/listeners go away, what they engage with because they enjoyed it, and you’ll also learn more about who your audience is.”
“This is the most important part of your successful vlog or podcast, if your equipment is good enough then you can handle different situations. No matter what types of weather out there, after all, you get better results and clarity which always helps you to get more views/listens. And the popularity of your brand grows.”
Along those lines, the following equipment is highly rated and will help with your efforts.
The Heil PR-40 is everything you’d expect from a high-end Heil microphone. The mic sounds broadcast ready out of the box with little-to-no tweaking. The sound quality is instantly noticeable over a cheaper, budget mic, and makes a big difference when listening back to your recorded podcasts. Holding the microphone at around 2-4 inches away from your mouth seems to provide the best quality with minimal popping.
High quality headphones are a must when recording or editing your podcasts so that you can hear each and every little nuance. (Without the hollow sound or background noise from your typical earbud headphones and standard iPhone headphones.) This is your best option if you truly want quality sound at an affordable price. These headphones are ideal for sound monitoring in recording studios, radio, podcast, film production and more. The sound quality is so detailed that it’s even easy to differentiate the background singers on a typical song on Spotify.
Pop filters are foam balls that slide over top of the microphone act a noise protection and reduction filter for your microphone. The last thing you want during a crucial interview is an audible “pop” over your guest’s answer. That’s why these pop filters are commonly used for not only podcasts but professional recording studios, too. Grab a few of these inexpensive additions and you’ll never have to heard that dreaded sound again.
The Behringer Xenyx 802 is one of the best-selling audio mixers on Amazon because of the (1) awesome functionality (2) at such a low price. It’s a fully analog mixer that will adjust all sound levels using various dials. It also has a 3-band equalizer which is great for music and connecting external devices. You get many device options. A simple setup. And great overall sound quality. At a budget-friendly price point.
A mic stand or boom is necessary to hold up your microphone within a few inches of your mouth for proper recording and top-notch quality. (Remember those “pops”?!) The Heil Sound PL-2T is a great product for the price, and can hold the heaviest of podcast microphones on the market. While a mic stand is nice, the mic boom is more easily moveable and conserves space by attaching to your desk, or, anywhere you choose to place it. Mic stands are also less flexible. That’s why this boom is so useful — it can attach to your desk, chair, shelf, or even your monitor, making it easy to move for any use.
6. iPhone X
Apple produces great products that are ideal for everyone from amateurs to professionals. The iPhone X works for everyone that needs a vlogging phone with its all‑new 5.8‑inch Super Retina screen. Plus, the display employs new techniques and technology that helps capture great content.
7. LG V30
The LG V30 Plus offers balanced design with a surprisingly compact and lightweight body. The phone, which is constructed from premium materials and wrapped around a brilliant OLED full vision display brings a cinematic viewing experience to the palm of your hand.
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra takes the Sony borderless smartphone series to new heights by adding a host of enhancements that make this large-screen device stand out even further from its competition. With its beautiful large display, switchable dual front cameras, and upgraded design and performance, Xperia XA2 Ultra is the perfect large-screen smartphone for capturing and sharing a wider variety of your life moments in style.
The Galaxy S8 rethought every part of the phone’s layout, which helps break through the confines of the smartphone screen through the Infinity Display. This means all you see is pure content and no bezel. The S8 offers the biggest, most immersive screen on a Galaxy smartphone of this size, and it’s easy to hold in one hand, which makes shooting video simple and easy.
VivaVideo helps create video stories. The company remains one of the best video camera and video editor apps in mobile app market. It has over 380 million users all over the world so far and ranked as No.1 free video editor and video maker app in 70+ countries. With VivaVideo, you can easily create your video story and share with your friends and family, transforming everyday moments into works of art as you want
KineMaster is a video editing application that brings a full suite of editing tools to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android devices. Plus, the software remains designed for productivity on the go. As a result, KineMaster delivers the ability to create professional video content without being tied to a computer.
Marketing Trend #4: Customers on the Go
One theme that links many of the marketing trends taking shape remains connectivity. For instance, customers and people and people are busy. Arguably, people are busier today than ever before because they are always connected to their families, jobs and extracurricular activities. As a result, marketers must understand potential customers are always on the go.
For example, the mobile nature of podcasting points to an underlying reason why the media increasingly gains popularity. In fact, according to Edison Research, 70% of Americans are familiar with the term “podcasting” and more than 5 in 10 have listened to a podcast themselves. As Statista points out, the rise in popularity coincides with our smart phone lifestyle.
“The format’s rise in popularity clearly coincides with a general increase in digital media consumption, specifically on mobile devices, but it was also helped by the fact that the selection of quality podcasts is virtually limitless these days. Covering anything from politics and sports to pop culture and investigative journalism, both major media organizations and independent producers are embracing podcasts as a way to reach an engaged audience with long-form content.”
Additionally, part of understanding that customers are always tuned in means offering a website that works well on mobile. A few years ago, Mobilegeddon struck the digital marketing world. In Mobilegeddon, Google officially changed their underlying ranking algorithm to favor mobile friendly sites.
As time played out, we all realized the importance of designing for mobile first because not only did more and more potential customers search via their phones, but Google now prioritized mobile-friendly sites. As a result, many small businesses needed to adapt their web presence and some still struggle to find the best platforms that work with their operations and render well on mobile.
Fortunately, developers continuously deploy free and low-cost tools for marketers and business owners to evaluate the mobile effectiveness of their sites. For example, currently, rich text snippets help customers easily find information on your site. As a result, how your site is designed impacts rich snippets on desktop vs mobile. SearchEngineLand provides some more details:
“Google announced it has upgraded the rich results testing tool to let developers and SEOs see how Google sees your rich results between Googlebot desktop and Googlebot mobile. Why let you choose? One of the reasons a site may not have been moved over to mobile-first indexing is that its structured data and rich results may differ between its desktop and mobile pages. This addition to the tool lets you clearly see how Google sees this markup on your pages when it is accessed via desktop Googlebot or mobile Googlebot. Google wrote, “The new functionality will help you review your structured data implementation using both user agents to prepare for mobile-first indexing.”
More Info About Mobile Friendly Design
Fortunately, platforms such as WordPress offer a variety of templates and plugins that help facilitate any type of business or web site. All with a mobile-first mindset. As a result, the platform helps everyone from novice designers to experienced developers provide information to customers on the go. For example, many of the following templates and plugins offer a mobile friendly design that allows for customization to meet your specific brand elements.
This WordPress plugin emulates the contemporary designs found in popular marketplaces such as Etsy and Shopify. It is built on the responsive Twitter bootstrap framework. It offers a wide variety of options for multi-vendor websites. Not to mention, Catalog is quite user-friendly.
“Catalog is a buy/sell marketplace WordPress theme coded with Bootstrap, HTML5, CSS and jQuery. The Catalog theme [is] suitable for buy sell websites, marketplace sites, multi-vendor websites, personal showcase and similar projects. Idea is listing, directory style website with custom membership pages. The theme is 100% responsive ready (compatible all mobile devices), retina display ready, modern browsers (IE10+, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Edge, Opera etc.) support, easy to use theme options and preset color. Build your own marketplace site with tons of options and sections. The Catalog theme comes with all membership pages for example; edit profile, upload item, sale report, mega menu and dropdown menu support.”
For a marketplace business looking to build with mobile in mind, then Victo offers a versatile platform. Unlike other marketplace plugins that also offer responsive layout, this product offers features specifically designed for mobile devices.
“Continuing to develop multi-functional eCommerce WordPress themes, Magentech brings you Victo – a clean and modern design for any online store or multi vendor marketplace website especially a hi-tech store, electronics shop or digital marketplace. With this brand-new Victo, it will be never easier for any of us to create a multi-purpose marketplace site. Thanks to the various cutting-edge features including multi-home page designs, mobile layouts ready, multi vendor support Victo will be an ideal choice for any online store or multi vendors marketplace.”
Developed by WeDevs, Dokan is a multi-vendor WordPress marketplace theme. You can use this plugin to create either multi-vendor marketplaces or a single website. Plus, it only takes a few minutes. In fact, you can even create separate online stores.
“Dokan is the best front end multi-vendor marketplace on WordPress, powered by WooCommerce. It helps you to build your own marketplace similar to Amazon, Shopify, eBay, Magento like marketplaces in under 30 minutes. Dokan is the fastest way to start eCommerce and earn through commissions with products ranging from digital, physical to variable products.”
Similar to Etsy, the Handy plugin is for creative souls. This shop theme was designed specifically for handmade items. You can select from multiple layouts with options for adjusting fonts and colors.
“Handy – Handmade Shop WordPress WooCommerce Theme is a stylish responsive and easy to use WordPress theme. Handy Shop WooCommerce theme is a great start for any one who is looking to start his one handmade online shop or looking to create a handmade goods marketplace like Etsy or Amazon. Theme comes with plenty of features, like out of the box layout configurator that allows you to set custom layouts on each of you static pages, blog, and shop pages. You can also set any colors you want through our theme’s control panel. Setting a custom font for the theme has never been easier.”
This WordPress plugin offers a modern and classy aesthetic. Its use of whitespace gives the site an airy feel. It can also be utilized to create a wide swath of unique marketplaces.
“Marketica allows you to turn your store into a vendor marketplace. You can assign existing products to vendors, or they can add and edit their own ones. Every vendor will have a dedicated vendor page on your site where they will be able to list all of their products, but they will also show up in your normal shop pages so you can sell your own products alongside those of your vendors.”
We all need images for our sites. Stocky is a marketplace plugin for photography. You can create your own unique version of Shutterstock or iStockPhoto. It also depends on the Easy Digital Downloads plugin for functionality.
“Built on WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads, Stocky allows you to sell your photos just the same as any giant online marketplace. Not only can you sell your products, but with the available extensions in an EDD Pass you can allow anybody to upload their photos and sell through your site. Out of the box along with the free Easy Digital Downloads plugin, your site can run as a stand-alone ecommerce site. But in conjunction with the available paid extensions in an EDD Pass you can allow anybody to upload their photos and sell through your site; Turning your site into a full blown marketplace.”
This responsive theme lets you design a fully-featured marketplace with customizable post types. Each user can get their own profile. Designed by SiteMile, this plugin supports physical, digital and downloadable products.
“The newest and most powerful WordPress theme for turning a regular website into a fully featured marketplace website. Each user can have his own shop and sell his products to other people. It even supports digital and downloadable good marketplaces. A real turn-key marketplace solution.”
Marketing Trend #5: The Only Constant is Change
One of the unique things in the marketing world is change. Marketing trends change over time, however, at the core of marketing remains developing awareness and driving adoption.
In fact, marketing is defined as the study of exchange relationships.
“Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is the business process of creating relationships with and satisfying customers. With its focus on the customer, marketing is one of the premier components of business management.”
Yes, marketing is all about creating relationships with customers! Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but it is important to understand that the core of marketing remains the same. From news and print media to TV and now social media, marketers must remain focused on the consumer.
For example, another great marketing trend is email marketing. Interestingly, the return on investment (ROI) of email marketing continues to grow over time. According to a recent study by the DMA, the average email marketing campaign returned about $38 per $1 spent in 2015. Just two years later, the same DMA study showed the average email marketing campaign returned about $40 per $1. And yes, last year in 2018, the annual DMA study showed the average email marketing campaign returned roughly $43 per $1.
Why does email continue to flourish?
“Every day, people and businesses send about 280 billion emails. And reports indicate the numbers of daily emails continue to increase and should reach roughly 333 billion by 2021 (in just 2 more years!).”
Yes, people send more and more emails everyday, but how does email marketing provide such great ROI with all the email spam?
Authenticity and optionality. People opt-in to email marketing campaigns. The hard part of driving email ROI is building and developing an authentic email list with engaged users. However, at the core of that email list remains developing a relationship with customers. Yes, the heart of marketing is hard at work!
So, how does a marketer jumpstart their email marketing strategy?
First and foremost, understand the various rationales to send an email. For example, email works for branding, engagement, acquisition, retention, sales, reactivation, traffic, referrals and more. Digital Marketer provides a high level overview of creating an email strategy.
“Email marketing is more than broadcasting an email every time you publish a new blog post. And it’s more than sending email alerts when you have a promotion or sale. The outcome of strategic email marketing is indeed profit and growth, but the purpose of email marketing is to move your customers from one stage to the next. To master email marketing, you need to understand the types of emails you’ll use, their timing, and the different campaigns you’ll use to connect with your subscribers.”
Secondly, the best marketers rely on great copy. As noted, we send and receive tons of emails every day. As a result, we need our message to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, copywriting is a skill that everyone can learn.
For more about copywriting, here is a list of the best free (and some paid) copywriting courses! For starters, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook remains the single most trusted copywriting resource around.
“All the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to read the first sentence of the copy.”
The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman is the perfect introductory guide to the practice of copywriting, teaching you the ropes like the importance of topic expertise, why you should write copy quickly, and how to lead readers line-by-line. It might only take half a day to read it cover to cover. And the real world examples help crystalize each of the practical tips in each section.
More Ways to Understand Constant Change
Although change remains constant in the marketing industry, some things remain the same. For example, marketers have successfully managed to connect with audiences forever.
- Not sure how to engage your target audience?
- Interested in expanding your brand awareness?
- No idea where to start?
Fortunately, these issues have existed since people started selling things to others. Regardless of marketing trends at the time or various fads, finding authentic ways to drive consumer adoption continues to be at the heart of any successful marketing campaign. As a result, some of the classic marketing books continue to offer useful tips and insights into developing marketing plans that develop awareness and drive adoption.
“For example, the classics provide insights into how the mind works and fundamental information about developing a marketing plan. Or, learn ways to leverage digital marketing to find and engage potential customers online. And, add some useful knowledge about integrating marketing into your overall strategy. The best marketing books help companies and marketers of all ages and sizes!”
“Crossing the Chasm” describes the technology adoption life cycle. The book, billed as the bible for product marketers, depicts early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards and explains the gap between each group. Moore helps marketers understand what drives each community and helps any company in any industry expand and accelerate adoption. Crossing the Chasm is a must-read for any product marketer or product developer. The book explains the features and benefits that drive adoption at each stage of any product. Today, we rely on data to make decisions and “Crossing the Chasm” provides the fundamental research of market segmentation.
“Influence” explains the psychology of why people say yes. Plus, Dr. Cialdini provides actionable ways to apply these understandings. Essentially, there are six universal principles applicable to marketers. Learn how to identify and leverage each principle so you can enhance your persuasion (and defend yourself or company against others campaigns) and drive your sales to the next level. Influence is a must-read for anyone working in sales and marketing. People remain driven by the same fundamental interests and desires. Learn how to tap into those desires, which are well-tested and continue to flourish in the physical and digital world.
“How to Win Friends & Influence People” is another classic sales and marketing book that offers time-tested tips and advice to grow your company. Carnegie offers a personal strategy to move up the ladder and grab the job you want. From making others like you to theories of persuasion, the book is essential for anyone looking to improve their people skills. How to Win Friends & Influence People is essential for anyone in sales. Additionally, this classic book, which Warren Buffett greatly shares as a worthwhile read, works wonders for gaining client confidence and shining in presentations.
“Positioning” offered a ground-breaking approach to marketing. Initially, the book described a truly revolutionary approach to “positioning” your product or company that changed the way marketing works. The approach takes a comprehensive approach, which includes your strengths, weaknesses and competition and formulates a plan that makes your brand stand out to potential customers. Positioning continues to be a must read for anyone serious about developing a brand, selling a product or running a company. The strategies help marketers and executives attack the right market segment, defend their competitive spot and create a unique marketing statement that customers remember.
“Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” offers another great look into the mind of the consumer. It details how people and groups of people think. The book remains a must-read because MacKay explains the overlap between psychology and marketing. Don’t let the initial case studies of alchemy, duels and fortune-telling fool you – the insights into economic bubbles and more continue to yield successful strategies today. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds remains an essential read for all marketers, advertisers and anyone in a product-related role. The book chronicles various market crazes and irrational fads over the years and is a classic in the field of market psychology.
“Ogilvy on Advertising” offers a brutally candid look at the cutthroat world of advertising. Written by ad legend David Ogilvy, the book not only details how to break into the ad industry, but delves into the secrets of advertising. “Ogilvy On Advertising” includes essential nuggets about choosing an agency, writing successful ad copy, conducting useful research and more. Ogilvy on Advertising is a must-read for anyone interested or working in advertising, but also anyone working with advertisers. The books excels at sharing the old-school approach to intuition, which provides a great thought exercise about working with analytics, big data and constant optimizations. At the end, you’ll become a better marketer!
“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” is a second must-read classic by Al Ries and Jack Trout. The two legendary marketing consultants explore the natural laws of the industry. From leadership to top of mind, the laws of the land enable marketers to find their niche and create a clear plan to launch and sustain successful product marketing. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing remains an essential read for every product marketer and even those who work in product development. In particular, the laws touch upon developing success in domestic and international markets. As a result, marketers and companies with large ambitions should take note and familiarize themselves with these laws.
“Integrated Marketing Communications” examines a fundamental issue with marketing today. The book posits that the strategies of yesterday no longer work to differentiate brands in today’s mass media and advertising worlds. The solution? Customer-focused advertising that zeroes in on lifestyle, attitudes, and motivations and drills down into distinct buyer personas and behaviors. “Integrated Marketing Communications” provides more than theory and includes details on executing an integrated program, guidance on planning, coordinating, and controlling the entire communications process. Integrated Marketing Communications is essential for any marketing, PR, sales or communications manager. From control of the communications program to allocating resources between departments, the book helps managers resolve interdepartmental battles and deliver a synchronized message across the multi-channel communications that exist today.