DateJanuary 22, 2020
AuthorMichaletz ZwiefMarketing and digital communications agency specializing in smart, meaningful content development.
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There’s one thing you can count on in marketing — the landscape will always be evolving. From social media and automation, to smartphones, smart watches and the evolution of smart houses, the channels marketers use to engage customers are continually changing. And driving those changes are customer expectations for personalization and convenience. As we enter 2020 we can’t predict the future, but there are certain trends that have grown significantly over the past few years and will continue to revolutionize marketing as we know it today.
4 trends marketers can expect to grow in 2020.
The traditional marketing funnel has been replaced.
Companies are turning customers into their biggest promoters, and rightly so. It’s an age where influencers, review sites and social media opinions guide purchase decisions. Think about how you find solutions. You control your own journey by researching online, reading reviews and making decisions with a click or swipe.
That’s why it’s essential for marketing, sales and customer service teams to shift their focus from closing customers to helping them. The traditional marketing funnel has been replaced with a flywheel, which puts customers at the center of a business strategy instead of the outcome. It’s no longer about convincing people to buy from you, but providing helpful information online and an exceptional experience at all touchpoints—before, during and after the sale. How well you do this will be what differentiates you from competitors going forward.
Today, people buy experiences.
A strong brand is arguably the most important thing you can have today. The economy is booming, flooding markets with more competition than ever. Customers have numerous options, and at the end of the day, strong brands stand out. What’s more customer experience is the new product. Take Kylie Cosmetics for example. Kylie Jenner established her brand before creating what is now her billion-dollar company. It’s her brand and the exclusive experiences she creates for her customers that sells. Her products aren’t innovating cosmetics and it’s a highly saturated market, yet she sells out every product she launches. And branding isn’t just relevant for large B2C companies. It's important regardless of company size and to whom you sell.
That’s because customers today crave dynamic, personalized experiences with brands. This is leading to the rise of experiential marketing (also known as “event marketing”), as companies strive to create memorable ways for people to interact with their brand. But creating a successful event requires marketing, sales, media and communications teams working together, not siloed. Only then can companies truly get to understand their audiences and create memorable experiences at every touchpoint; you build that coveted customer loyalty and trust, keeping them coming back time and again.
Your online content needs to be optimized for voice search.
Smart speakers like Alexa and Siri have been around for a while now, and technologies are continuing to improve as the demand for smart home products grows. This year over 50% of searches will start with voice search as people demand quick, convenient answers. A study done by BrightLocal found that what people want to use voice search for most is to make reservations, discover the products and services a business offers, and hear prices.
With this trend becoming the norm, businesses need to optimize online information to fit Google voice search. This requires truly understanding your customer’s mindset and language. For example, consider using common questions as headers. Voice assistants can easily match the question to recognize your content as a solution. Optimizing content for Google’s featured snippets is more critical too, since they’re often the result returned from voice searches.
Video. The most popular social networking tool.
Video has been embraced as the smart content marketing tool, especially on social media. And today, there’s no need for costly equipment and lengthy production schedules. Thanks to the popularity of social networks like Snapchat and Instagram, creating quick, lo-fi videos via smartphone can be just as effective—if not more so—due to the high engagement rates of these platforms.
In 2019 the fastest growing social channel was TikTok—an app you record, edit and share short, looping videos on that are often comical in nature. Given consumer preferences for quick visual content, it’s no wonder the app is doing so well. Fashion, publishing and entertainment companies are having immense success on TikTok, and as the platform evolves other industries will likely find creative ways to leverage it. Older channels, such as Facebook, are creating new features to compete with these services, which will influence social marketing strategies going forward.
Overall, marketers must adjust their strategies to fit customer expectations and changing technologies to stay ahead and compete better. And with the beginning of the new year, there’s never been a better time to do so.