With 2016 in the rearview mirror, 2017 promises to be a year that will change the face of marketing and how we do business overall. Marketing has always been a field that remains on the cutting edge – from branding to customer service and all points in between. It’s chock full of data and serves to spot the next big trend; hopefully, before your competitors do.
So, in an age where the next big thing is right around the corner, what specific trends do marketers need to look out for in order to stay ahead? Here are a few that will change marketing and will keep you a contender in the field.
By now, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about the ‘Pokémon Go’ craze. Personally, I wouldn’t risk running into any stop signs or other people trying to catch the next Pokémon, but if you think about it, this is a genius move. How, you ask? First, it showed the market how users are ready for this type of reality and it gave marketers insight of the huge earning potential.
There’s no disputing that the app sky-rocketed in popularity. At its peak, it earned $10 million a day. If that doesn’t give you a clue about its earning potential, I don’t know what will. If you’re a marketer looking to take your product to the next level, my advice to you is to look into another kind of reality. It’s not a saturated market yet, so you might be able to stand out and carve your own niche. It will not be your playground for long, so hurry and strike while the iron’s hot. And at the risk of stating the obvious, have a strategy in place before you take the plunge. Sometimes, it’s more important having the right strategy in place than being first.
Don’t dismiss these types of apps as “games” without thinking about the possibilities to monetize them. Think of it in terms of ‘have mobile, will travel.’ People know where their phones are more often than they know where their kids are. Why not use it to make a profit?
Livestreaming isn’t new, but 2017 will be the year where it will fully take off. I have done many livestreaming sessions where I give the audience for my All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett podcast a sneak peek at the episode I’m about to film. As more social media users are craving more access to ‘in-the-moment’ content, this is one way to give them what they want, when they want it. Letting them see behind the curtain lets them live vicariously and helps establish a more solid connection.
Take for example the NFL. This season they began livestreaming a limited number of games via Twitter. Their first Thursday Night game, back in September, reached 2.3 million users globally, according to the league. It’s not just an opportunity to watch the game via livestream, but also the ‘extra’ features that become available – locker room access, post-game interviews, pre-show red carpet and award shows post-event interviews, etc. Even the first Presidential debate was livestreamed! The possibilities are endless.
Other ways to engage could be offering customers a fully immersive experience in the way of 360 videos, or host live webinars, or workshops, to get them to engage with you – anything to make them feel like they’re on the journey with you. If they feel they’re part of something bigger, the more they’ll evangelize you (and your brand).
Unprecedented access is the way we’re headed. The future is happening right now, so you’d be smart to give your loyal audience an inside look at all the hard work that goes into doing what you do. You don’t have to be the NFL to show everyone how you do things. There’s no need to be flashy or a celebrity to be successful at this. To you, it may be your daily bread, to your audience, it’s a whole new world!
This is one form of advertising often dismissed as “old school” but has resurfaced as a very strategic way to reach customers. Today’s consumers have become more savvy and more resistant to advertising tricks, becoming harder for brands to earn their attention and trust. Native advertising means integrating advertising efforts into content that already exists, which provide value to your customers. Basically, you’re giving them what they already want, just being a little ‘subtle’ about it.
It sounds simple, but you still have to get creative. If they notice that you’re trying to sneak one past them, they’ll tune you out. Marketers need to find new ways to weave native advertising with an already existing product that customers already love. They might be willing to put up with the advertising already attached to the product or service they love, just don’t blast them with ads in the hopes they’ll react, positively, to at least one. Chances are they’ll react, just not the way you want.
As online marketing becomes more crowded, brands continue to look for innovative ways to reach consumers, figure out what they want and what they need, without being too in their face. Many brands have been successful at getting up close and personal, whether it’s Nordstrom offering personalized shopping services or home improvement stores with DIY instructional videos, but more personalization is needed.
In 2017, brands will have to get even more personal, especially regarding content. One way to achieve an even more personalized approach is by targeting an even more specific niche, appealing to a narrower demographic. While some remain skeptical about these tactics, I personally think it’s more about quality than quantity. As consumers, we are reticent about content that doesn’t meet our specific needs or interests; therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t something you should be clinging to. Even if your market is small, every single customer should feel like they matter. If they feel they matter to you, they will elevate your brand in return. Personalization is big for brands looking to earn the attention of customers in a crowded market.
Not too long ago, brands would not get involved with causes that would be considered ‘hot-button issues’ fearing alienating customers and creating negative publicity for themselves. That’s not the case anymore. It’s the opposite, actually. Brands have found that caring about causes their customers care about not only earns them brand loyalty, but it also helps generate good will and even gain a few extra customers via word of mouth.
Purpose-driven marketing also serves as an effective way to give the brand a “feel-good element” and extend their story. It’s not just about ads, marketing campaigns, and corporate bottom lines anymore. Giving the brand a human element gives their story a longer shelf-life and the good thing is, you don’t have to be a corporate giant to make an impact either. A small business can also leave a lasting impact in the local community.
In 2017, think outside the box and see how your purpose marketing can benefit, not just you or your bottom line, but the entire community. A positive word of mouth is still an incredibly powerful way to market yourself.