The way you advertise your business is changing; new technology and consumer behaviours are shaping pathways to communicating with customers, that develop into new marketing trends. Recently we’ve noticed several new marketing trends that are turning out to be consistently present in successful brands.
So, if you want to manage a successful business this year, see how you can implement these five marketing trends today.
1. User-Generated Content
If you look at the best brands online, they encourage their audience to spread the word about their great products and services via social media. The main reasons why these work are that user generated content is more trustworthy to other customers, and costs less for the brand to generate it.
The challenge is that sometimes, the brand can lose control of its brand’s message. A classic example of this is the MCDStories hashtag. While McDonald’s had the best intentions of trying to spread news of good experiences, they forgot that urban stories can often be negative. McDonald’s mistake, in our opinion, was that they weren't specific enough in their request for user-generated content.
Instead of asking for stories about experiences in one of their establishments, they should have requested specific stories such as:
- Best kids toy in a happy meal.
- Favourite meal on the menu.
- An image of them eating a McDonald’s meal.
They should have also considered gamifying the campaign (see later), by offering prizes for the most unique tweet.
Gamification is the art of turning interactions with your brand into a contest for your audience. Classic examples of this would be turning interactions into a mini-game on an app, loyalty schemes, running a contest or creating a puzzle for the audience to solve.
Gamification works because it creates satisfaction for the user when they complete a task, and it encourages competition. Both are basic human psychological needs and drive a lot of our behaviours. Those who have instigated gamification marketing campaigns within their online marketing strategy have seen engagement rates more than double.
A classic gamification system is the Tesco Club Card. This simple gamification rewards customers for returning to the store and making purchases. It also rewards them for using one of their credit cards or other services. The points gained can then be exchanged for money off shops or swapped for vouchers for leisure activities like zoo trips.
Another gamification example is the McDonald’s Monopoly game. Customers collect property cards that are attached to products and when a set is collected, can be exchanged for a free product. The higher the value of the set of properties, based on the popular board game, Monopoly, the better your prize. This is a compelling game that encourages more purchases during a specific period.
If you ever receive one of those annoying emails that reads like it was mass mailed out, and you are not identified as the recipient, you’ll understand this point.
Personalisation is the cornerstone of success with online marketing, and it isn’t hard. Even before the internet was mass market, it was possible to introduce personalisation to a marketing system with mail merges. It is just that some business owners are lazy – sorry to say it.
Personalisation works because it satisfies the need by the consumer to feel important enough to be mentioned by name. The more people that know us, and by name, the more important we feel.
To introduce personalisation into your business, you should first get the content of the email right. For example, saying 'hi' to the receiver by name adds a touch that is crucial to building trust.
Secondly, identify needs and then send relevant information. We’ve talked a lot about sales and how too many sales people aren’t properly qualifying leads. Some will even send sales materials to competitors because they don’t check their facts correctly. But even beyond that, knowing what and when your prospects need your service is the first step to selling more.
Watching prospect behaviour is important here. Look at what content consumers are interacting with, what questions they are asking and what they are reading in your emails/on your website. This can form the basis of identifying their needs and can directly lead to a sales process that can convert better than just mass mailing your list.
However, there is a downside of personalisation. Sometimes too much personalisation can lead to concerns about privacy, and you could face questions over ‘stalking’ your prospects. Remember to consider what information you need and justify it with one simple question: “how will it benefit my audience?”
4. Live Events Online
Facebook Live, Periscope and Instagram are just a few of the platforms where live events can be held, and for a good reason, these sites are introducing these facilities. A few years ago, several brands would hold Twitter chats and even our current Tendring Hour chats on a Tuesday receive a lot of attention.
But with the increased use of high-speed internet, video is becoming more accessible to consumers. Therefore, they are looking for more live feed content from their brands. This satisfies several human psychological needs. For instance, live feeds feel personal rather than a pre-recorded video session, and this can be further enhanced by interacting with audiences by answering questions.
Live events also increase rarity. Pre-recorded videos can be watched anytime, but live events are best when they are being filmed, and audiences will sometimes rearrange their entire schedule to attend live events instead of miss out on secrets.
Ensure you are implementing live video events in your online marketing campaign to get the best results.
If you are stuck for ideas; here are some from us:
- Behind the scenes (great for building trust from the customers).
- Question and answer sessions.
- Product creation sessions.
This isn’t new, but it is still an important part of your marketing. Storytelling is a highly engaging way to connect with audiences. Ever since humans were around, we’ve found ways to share stories. Cave paintings, art, books, radio, and television, are classic examples of our attempts. The internet is just another extension of this.
We connect with storytelling in so many ways. The average human will have 2,000 daydreams a day, and storytelling is a way to focus an audience on your marketing message. It also helps to connect them emotionally with your brand – something which helps you sell.
Storytelling is also great for activating greater proportions of the audience’s brain and getting them to remember your brand better.
The results can be clear. Neuroeconomist Dr Paul Zak found an emotional story will increase donations from patrons. Other studies have shown that adding personal stories to objects sold on eBay increased their sale price from a value of $129 to $8000.
Our experiences have found that when we write about case studies in articles, we receive more attention. Take for example our recent ‘Why Are So Many People Using Bad Sales Techniques On LinkedIn?’ blog post and our older ‘Automating Your Twitter Sharing’ blog post. Both have personal stories we’ve noticed, and both performed exceptionally.
The blogging matters post had no case studies or personal examples in it. It achieved a respectable 22 votes. In comparison, the other two articles were more story-driven. As a result, on average, the two posts got 36% more votes on BizSugar and 200% more shares on social media.
Do I need to justify the requirements for storytelling anymore?
Marketing Trends In Your Business’ Strategy
If you are looking to accelerate your business this year you really need to look at how you are marketing your business. Identify the marketing trends that are relevant to your business and start working out ways you can implement them. The quicker you can do it, the more power they will have with your audience.
What marketing trends will you implement? What case studies can you offer about the above marketing trends?
Let us know in the comments below.