and it’s been another busy year in digital. For a small business building its digital footprint, the landscape of tools has never been so complex, but it also has never held so much promise. We’ve picked out the most exciting trends that have emerged in the last 6-12 months to carry you through the holidays.
Integrated analytics across digital marketing channels have never been more robust. Do you know what types of content convert visitors to customers most effectively? Do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing channels? One of the most effective consultants I ever knew would talk to everyone from cab drivers to cashiers about products she was working on trying to understand how people interacted with her brands. The real-time knowledge and ground-level feedback she received was invaluable. Know what your objectives are, and ensure you can track your customer interactions holistically across web, email, and social campaigns to aid your decision making.
With the rise of Instagram, Snapchat, and other image-first applications, text-only content has become effectively invisible to much of the younger audience, and imagery and video has become stickier with older demographics as well. Examples of this can be seen all over the internet: from rich photography with inspirational quotes to poorly-photoshopped memes to get a quick gag. Integrating this approach will help your messaging resonate with a broader audience.
Don’t be afraid to make attempts at being inspiring, motivating, or funny in your brand messaging. Give some thought to your brand’s personality. Are you serious and thoughtful? Funny and lighthearted? Inspirational and moving? Knowing your ideal customers and empathizing with them is essential. Be careful and test your messaging to ensure it will resonate the way you want it it; the wrong bold marketing tactics alienate quickly, but the right tactics convey personality that inevitably draws customers.
Brand marketing has raised itself beyond a product and a message to a point where customers now are buying the holistic experience of doing business, not just the product they walk away. Medical companies like Forward are reinventing the Doctor’s office with an experience-focused approach to care, and Amazon is experimenting with fully-automated stores to streamline the shopping experience. Gyms are creating exercises experiences as a premium lifestyle experience beyond the high-powered workout. You need not be large or up-market to think about the entire journey your customers are having as they find, explore, and purchase your products.
As the volume of offerings available to the average individual continues to grow exponentially, users look for ways to separate the useful from the filler. Customers increasingly look to domain experts and established organizations to verify the authenticity of the businesses they do business with. Review aggregators now cover everything from doctor’s offices to insurance policies to charities. Bloggers have re-emerged as a force in identifying the best products in personal finance, travel, rewards programs, and more. What all of these have in common is an established trust and expertise with their audiences such that their recommendations drive significant weight as customers choose products. As a marketer looking to gather and audience for their product, working with the big players in your space is critical to success.