The Next Big Thing in Marketing

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Is anyone else worried about an economic downturn? I’ve got that horrid feeling that economic bad news may be around the corner. For me, this knowledge is based on non-scientific signals. Like a reduction in the amount of shopping people are doing (anecdotal evidence from conversations with clients) and the number of retailers offering discounts (my inbox is besieged at the moment). 

If I’m right, for SMEs and self-employed business people out there, it’s critical to stay on your toes and be able to adapt to the ever-changing financial climate. 

I thought I’d do a quick blog on the latest marketing theories. At least you can hold your own in network meetings, or when your trapped in a lift and need conversational topics.  

1:1 Marketing

Remember mass marketing? That’s when marketers ignored sectors and their different needs and instead tried to appeal to the entire market with just one approach. Well, apparently that didn’t work very well. Nowadays it’s all about really knowing your market. Knowing what people want, even more than they themselves do. What better way to make a consumer feel like they’re understood, than creating personalised content for their individual needs? 

It’s easier than ever to really know who your customers are and what their needs are, based on their spending habits and retail interests. So be the solution to their needs and market your message accordingly. Nothing like that personal touch!

Voice search

My house is filled with Alexa, Google Voice, Siri. They really are part of the family and, in a surprisingly short space of time, we’ve become reliant on this technology. Alexa wakes me up in the morning, serenades me at night, helps my daughter spell tough words and my son learn Japanese. ‘Voice Search’ is one of the most quickly adopted trends in history – it’s just so easy.  Almost half the UK’s population is using voice search at least once per day. And that’s not only young millennials – that’s older generations too (i.e. anyone over the age of 40). 

Imagine Google turning to voice searches in the next couple of years.  Searches will become screenless with no more scrolling through pages and pages of Google results. I’ll be happy if my kids move away from their devices, even for a little while. Do you think that’ll mean we’ll start talking to one another again? Or will we choose to have profound and meaningful conversations with Alexa? 

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing can be costly, but it may be worth the expense.

The goal is to form some sort of emotional connection between the customer and the brand. You can organise wine-tastings, networking events, open-days, free tutorials, priority launch invitations – just about anything you can think of. 

Attendees won’t forget their experience and may even develop long-term brand-loyalty. It doesn’t need to be too involved, just a simple, creative idea that’s relevant to your brand.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) sounds far more complex than it really is. It’s about enhancing your customer’s online experience, when it can sometimes seem impersonal and remote. The type of activities you can do include:

  • Offering a virtual tour around your shop, office or warehouse.
  • Creating 3d product videos 
  • Writing descriptions and product stories that stimulate all 5 senses 
  • Offering on-brand animated videos or
  • Using presenter videos where they demonstrate your products or services and act like your salesforce. 

Influencer Marketing

This isa form of marketing where focus is placed on influential people – usually social media stars with millions of followers. YouTubers like Huda Kattan, Zach King, Lily Singh and Jake Paul have incredible influence over potential customers and, by endorsing your product or service, you’re piggybacking off the trust they’ve built over time. It makes your brand more approachable and credible.

You need to find an influencer with a reasonable follower count, but they also need to be relevant to your brand. You may also consider contacting people with enormous numbers of Facebook friends – I call them communications hubs – especially if they occupy the same sector as you. My friend Julie is a hub.

Integrated Marketing

There are so many ways to share your message. More than ever. That’s why it’s so important to establish a matching experience across all platforms. Social media, website, email, texts, slideshows, brochures, catalogues and videos – there are a number of ways to communicate. Make sure the voice of your brand remains consistent across every channel. 

If you’re launching a campaign using all channels, keep the core message the same. Make it easy to jump from one channel to another. Access the website from social media and vice-versa. The entire experience should be seamless.

Don’t forget, content is more memorable and effective when it comes in a video. After 3 days, you remember 65% of information when it involves text, voice and dynamic images. But only 10% when it’s just text. 

Simplify Your Offer

Advertising is everywhere. Its crept into most parts of people’s lives, almost in a way that can feel intrusive. We can be very guarded and sceptical when it comes to advertising. So, what can we do to gain trust and appear ‘on the level’? There’s some evidence that simplifying your message and your product selection may work to your advantage.

Instead of offering an extensive list of products and services, keep it to 2-5 options. This way, buyers don’t experience choice paralysis and stall their decision. In a study, 30% of shoppers purchased a branded jam when there were just 6 flavours to choose from. However, only 3% of shoppers purchased a jam after being hit with 24 different varieties. Reduce the choice and you sell more. 

Is it obvious to say only offer your best products? This is why Marks & Spencer made mistakes in the past. They crowded their space with so much choice that a fun shopping experience became hellish. It also didn’t help that their buyers thought everyone over the age of 40 wore paisley designs and beige slacks. Essentially, they forgot who their customers were. Blargh!

Keeping it simple allows you to have more time for other things. You know what works really well and what doesn’t. Focus on what’s effective. Improve those areas. Don’t let ineffective strategies bog down your time and energy. 

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