The basics of marketing will, for the most part, stay the same but the landscape is continuously evolving. Technology is speeding everything up and companies who want to get the message out about their business need to constantly educate themselves on new trends. Here are ten key concepts you need to be on top of:
1. Mobile is taking over
We've heard it a million times, but I can't stress how crucial mobile is at this point in time. Consumers in the U.S. now spend more time on mobile devices than PCs. There's no better time to become familiar with mobile searching, optimization, ubiquity and conversions. We're collectively addicted to mobile and it's something that marketers should recognize and prioritize.
2. Consumer segmentation
Brands should know where the people on marketing lists came from and keep demographic information to better target promotional outreach. What's the use of 500,000 emails if you don't know who you're sending them to? Make sure you have a system in place that keeps your audience organized by demographics so you know which consumers are the right fit for specific promotions.
3. Use social media to distribute samples
A survey from the Product Sampling Council found 92 per cent of consumers said they would buy a new product if they liked it after receiving a sample. What does this mean? Sampling works. It's just a matter of getting your product in the right hands. This can be done using social media sites like Facebook where the user's demographic information is already linked to their profile. This makes it easy for marketers to collect valuable data when sending samples and track future purchases. Distributing samples through social media also allows consumers to share and send samples to friends, increasing brand awareness through recommendations and ultimately, maximizing ROI.
4. Brand ambassadors are key
Encouraging employees and loyal customers to become brand ambassadors on social media has become an important marketing asset. Business owners are sometimes challenged by this concept but creating brand ambassadors is key to attracting more consumers. Loyal followers will speak for your brand, encouraging others to follow and make purchases. Create hashtags and incentives for your ambassadors to post about your brand on social media. This will draw positive attention from their friends and increase your follower base.
5. Marketing automation
Once upon a time, only huge brands had the funds and resources to purchase software platforms and technologies to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks. But now marketing automation is an easy and affordable option for any budget. The time has passed where only world-recognized brands could do automation, so get on board if you're not already. Now it's a need for businesses of any size.
6. Content creators are necessary
We live in a time where everyone has a voice; anyone can publish anything on virtually any platform. This concept has created a real need for brands to hire content creators, writers, developers, producers and speakers. Beyond this, you need a writer who not only has great writing skills, but one who knows your niche market. Great writing skills won't mean anything unless your creators have experiential knowledge and are well versed on your audience.
7. Transparency is an important tool
Brands have the ability to be radically transparent through so many different online mediums but few take advantage of the opportunity – many brands fight it. The best brands are the ones who you know give accurate information on what they're doing in the interest of a consumer, not just sometimes, but all the time.
8. Social media requires patience
Marketers get frustrated if social media strategies "aren't working" within the first few months. Social media doesn't always work immediately. Take the time to determine the content your followers are most interested in and what engages them. Social media requires long-term commitment, cultivation and patience.
9. Focus on agility marketing
Our world has become one of instant gratification and quick change, which means marketers need to be agile and have the ability to think one step ahead of consumers. Being able to adapt or refocus marketing efforts quickly and successfully in response to changes in customer behavior is an important attribute. Successful marketers will keep tabs on consumer data, making them capable of shorter lead times, faster adaption and real-time marketing.
10. The shift from globalization to personalization
Every day with new technology, marketing is becoming more individualized. Personalization really isn't a trend but rather a transformation we should take note of when managing even global brands. Brands are beginning to reconsider their structure and increase regional and local influence.
Marie Chevrier is the CEO and founder of Sampler, a management and analytics platform that helps brands, agencies and retailers manage the distribution of digital promotional offers in a more targeted and measureable way.
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