Marketing is an ever-changing practice, where adaptation and development can either make or break a business. Matt Daunt shares the top marketing trends SMEs need to look out for and adapt this year to stay at the top of their industry.
1. Native and live videos
Video-based advertising campaigns are now the new frontier of product promotion. With videos flooding the feeds of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users worldwide, marketers need to adapt and evolve with this trend.
Video is now on track to be the answer to many business goals this year, whether you’re looking to increase customer reach, leads or sales. Short videos, particularly those that are part of a series, have become popular among audiences as they are easy to digest.
Livestreaming and 360-degree videos have both been successful as the immersive experiences enable customer engagement. It’s crucial to integrate videos in all marketing campaigns as they connect with online customers immediately and the message is often a lot more memorable than static words in a newsfeed.
2. Make personalisation a priority
It’s no industry secret that consumers want to be interacted with on a personal level, and the quality of their customer experience is dependent on this aspect. Customers are seeking service that continually treats them as a priority.
Personalisation means segmenting your content to reach different audiences based on their preferences, habits and demographics. It also means customising your content accordingly, not only in the form of what offers you promotion, but also in terms of content designed to help or benefit your audience.
If you share posts or videos that cover the benefits and features of certain products, is the selection of products random or according to what is popular with your customers?
One-to-one marketing is also becoming accessible to small businesses, with mobile apps being a good platform on which to begin testing it. In a world of too much content and not enough time, personalisation is a huge win for brands looking to earn consumers’ attention.
3. Embrace the ‘Internet of Things’
The development of the internet has established a level of interconnectivity that is unprecedented to any other previous technological advancements.
The Internet of Things is the integration of physical devices and a computer-based system. It elaborates on the concept of limitless connectivity between internet devices. This year, the Internet of Things is expected to leverage the power of billions of connected devices – a marketer’s dream.
Sensors, TVs, beacons and more are all producing useful data, which means this trend is opening doors for branders and marketers to integrate with the everyday lives of consumers. The marketing implications of this concept are endless, with interaction not only limited to person-to-person, but now also between things and people and vice versa.
Through expanding the way you use the internet and its connectivity abilities, you can gain the competitive advantage over other businesses.
AI (artificial intelligence) is set to take the marketing world by a storm in 2017. Chatbots give businesses a 24/7 representative who can answer any possible question, often indistinguishably from a human responder.
Rather than trawling through your website for information, users can receive instantaneous answers to their queries. With deep learning, chatbots can get smarter with every conversation, providing more tailored and specific information each time.
Trends will also see programs like Marketo and HubSpot surge in popularity, as marketers realise automation is invaluable.
For better or for worse, mobile is now the dominant way we consume media. Last year, mobile browsing overtook desktop for the first time. It’s projected that in just a few years, mobile ad spend will overtake TV.
Marketers are going to start hitting mobile in a big way. One area to keep an eye on is augmented reality (AR), which was introduced to the world via the Pokémon Go frenzy last year. This is exciting new territory that gives marketers huge opportunities to be creative and engage audiences.
Retail marketing will also make a big splash on mobile next year. Watch out for the rise of the mobile wallet and the personalisation of the brick-and-mortar experience through location-based features in store apps.