Marketing, by its very nature, is in a constant state of change. As much as we try to control the unknown and plan ahead, the fact is that marketing is inherently a reactive practice. Being in front of the right audiences on the right channels with the right message is completely dependent on the current trends in consumer behavior, technology, and even cultural movements. These variables keep the job interesting to say the least, and while nothing is certain in this world, I want to discuss five major trends that marketers should keep their eyes on over the next year.
Content marketing certainly isn't a new concept. By now most companies know they need to create content to engage customers and prospects. Now that everyone is executing on this tactic, the question for 2014 is how to do it effectively. Just writing up some keyword rich blog posts and articles don't cut it anymore. You have to say something meaningful and insightful to your customer while hopefully entertaining them at the same time.
Brands must have a unique and relevant message that is different than what everyone else is saying. Simply curating or repackaging from other competitors and media outlets is not enough. On top of being compelling, your content needs to do two things. One, create an emotional connection with your brand, and two, drive customers to an action. This could manifest into something as small as a tweet or Facebook post and eventually lead directly to revenue. Content on your site or social channels that does not move people to action or create a bond is, at best, an inefficient use of valuable brand real estate. Understanding the motivations of your customers and utilizing storytelling techniques while getting away from the transactional relationship will help create that emotional bond.
We don't need the research to tell us that just about everyone from eight to eighty will soon have a smartphone and/or a tablet in their hands. The era for consuming content primarily on a desktop is quickly coming to a close. Half of all social interaction, email opens, and YouTube views now happen on a mobile platform. What this means for brands and marketers is that all of your communication -- email, web assets, and social content -- must be created with a mobile-first perspective.
Of course, websites are still very important as the main brand hub or as an e-commerce/conversion tool. But mobile is quickly becoming the first line of engagement at the big end of the sales funnel. Responsive design is no longer a luxury, but rather a basic requirement, and it's important to tailor each piece of content to the device or channel where it will most likely be viewed by the consumer. Mobile technology has already, and most likely will replace radios/stereos, TVs/movie theaters, GPS hardware/software, credit and debit cards, game consoles, newspapers, magazines, cameras, photo editing software, music creation equipment, watches, landline phones, calculators, cash registers, and surely more that I'm forgetting. If your company hasn't realized the importance of this technology, it's time to catch up.
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I agree with the mobile concept as all is turning to the revolution of smartphones. Responsive design has provided with the flexibility of fitting the website into screen of any resolution or size.
Hi Teresa, thanks for the kind words
Hey there Gordon, This is an outstanding article here! Really enjoyed reading it and completely agree that we need to create content to engage our customers! Here is what I like to do when creating content to engage my readers and customers. I engage people without causing them to feel like they are being sold. Anytime we feel as if we are being sold we visit what many call ‘the lizard brain.' This may cause individuals to feel dubious and in charge of watching for confrontation and danger. Instead, we must get individuals into the buying part of their brains. Whenever we are in buying mode we are more likely to ask, for instance, "Does this come in my size? ” and stick to the salesperson eagerly. I call this part of my brain ‘my purring kitty.'Thanks again for a splendid article, 'TC' Teresa Clark
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