It’s the beginning of the New Year. A clean slate. The start of something big. Your organization is refreshed and ready to make 2014 the Best. Year. Ever.
How will you do that?
For years, business analysts and marketers have talked about how organizations must tear down the silos and work cohesively, as team units. This remains true in the coming year, but even more so is that while you’re breaking down those silos and involving everyone in your organization in marketing, sales and lead generation, you must be sure to bring your audience along as well.
Those businesses and organizations looking to make it “big time” in 2014 will be poised and ready by looking deeper into the following:
5 marketing trends for 2014
1. Emotional engagement with consumers
It’s not about you, it’s about them. Of course, we all want to make money and think our brands are ah-mazing, but let’s be real for a second: Your customers are only in it for one thing–themselves.
Add in the fact that customers are smart, savvy and always expecting an 11 out of 10, and businesses are going to have to do a heck of a lot more this year to provide personalized support, products and experiences. Big data will play a significant role in helping brands figure out just what their customers want. Heck, any data is going to help you boost engagement and figure out what triggers emotional responses from your audience. Make it a point to track whatever you can and use that data to make informed business decisions when it comes to your marketing for the new year.
Get personal. Let the emotions out. It’s healthy for your brand.
2. Content marketing no longer a buzzword, it’s mainstream
I said this last year and the year before, and I’ll continue to say it: It’s not whether you should be using online content strategies (ie: content marketing) it’s now a question of what you should do once you’re there. (And we have tips to get started here).
Organic content is great, but 2014 is going to see a lot of changes in ways of paid and earned media. When you’re putting together your content marketing strategy for the year, be sure to set aside some marketing dollars for digital advertising and promoted posts. You need a solid mix of organic and paid to be strategic in the digital space this year and take that leap ahead of your competition.
Are you different? Are you creative? Are you appealing to your customers? These are the questions you should be able to answer. It’s not about the Facebook likes. It’s about engagement, conversions, originality and consistency.
3. Traditional marketing and digital marketing working together
Yes, in other words, get the heck out of the silos. Digital marketing, traditional marketing, sales, brand marketing–whatever you want to call these pieces, they need to be working together. All of your teams need to not only understand your overall business goals, but what the sales and marketing goals are–regardless of the channels being used.
That said, everything you do this year should be tied to digital–more specifically, into social media. Especially if you consider yourself a small business. Keeping your printed brochure? Fine. But then I will ask: where is the mention of social? How will you make it easy for others to find you online? And when people do find you online, whether on social media, your website or other means, how will you track where they came from?
Always be thinking about integration. Your team. Your brand message. Your channels.
4. Mobile. Period.
Mobile marketing isn’t an up-and-coming trend. It’s here to stay. It’s mainstream.
Companies and small businesses alike should be thinking about how and when their customers access information online (hint: it has to do with tablets and smartphones) and produce content that supports the “always on” mentality. Mobile now makes up the majority of email open rates (so even if you finally got that business e-newsletter going, you now have to make sure it’s primed for mobile viewing…is it?)
Responsive website design. Text messaging. Easy share options. Social networking widgets. Visual content. All of these pieces should work together to create engaging experiences that showcase your brand in its best light while, at the same time, making it as easy as possible for the consumer.
5. Multiple paths to purchase
I’m not sure I would classify this last one as a trend, as it’s been on the rise since social media became mainstream, but it is something that I run into with clients many times. Companies are looking to compare “apples-to-apples” and see direct correlations between content marketing and sales.
The bottom line is this: The purchase funnel we all learned in Sales and Marketing 101 is no longer. The way for brands to communicate on an emotional level and provide value to customers is to choose the right (multiple) platforms and engage on the customers’ levels.
What they want. What they need. How they connect.
And because of this, there is no one direct path to purchase. There is no one ultimate tool that persuades a purchase.
All of a company’s efforts–traditional and digital–solidify additional connections and emotions that lead to engagement, trust and ultimately, the sale. It truly is a multi-path-to-purchase cycle. There is nothing flat about it.
This is what your leadership must understand. This is how you will engage your C-suite and get them on board with everything you need to be doing in 2014 and beyond.
Are you ready?
Allee Creative can help! It’s never too late to contact us for a strategic content marketing planning session or workshop to prepare your business for the New Year. Let us help you get your marketing plan up to speed and provide you with the tools you need to maintain successful content strategies this year.