WOW! We’re approaching 2011 and as marketers it’s that time of the year to look into our crystal ball and predict trends for the future. Throughout the course of 2010 I have attended many networking events and presentations to help with my predictions for the upcoming year.
There are certainly going to be doubters who think these have been revealed already in 2010 or even past years, but I personally think there is a lot of potential within the trends listed below. If you follow these, surprisingly they will drive your business, brand, and the interaction your company has with clients (existing, new, and potential).
- Content Is King. You probably have heard this phrase before, but nowadays it really is true. As we come towards the new year, companies need to start acting as a publishers in a more aggressive manner if they haven’t already. It is important to make sure that exceptional content is delivered to your target audience in a timely fashion. But, you may ask yourself, what does my consumer perceive of value? While this changes for each individual, providing consistent, relevant, non-salesy content is what they are looking for. Consider your consumer and think about what they are seeking from you (it’s not always about the sale, rather about the long-term relationship). Placing yourself in their shoes will allow you to develop content which can be repurposed through some of the different channels listed below:
- Email marketing newsletters
- Engage Like You’re About To Get Married. Marriage is a turning point in one’s life, as they move on to the next stage with that special someone. Consumers are changing the way brands engage and are driving the dialogue. Companies need to think alike and consider each consumer as their “special someone.” Whatever channel is most appropriate, companies must take time and LISTEN to their consumers. Mashable recently listed the five most engaged brands in social media as Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Skittles, and Red Bull. Social media is ideal for companies that participate in the B2C markets as almost everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn these days. Platforms are constantly changing with more features enabling consumers to engage with their favorite (or less favorite) brands. Consumers can express how they feel about certain products and services through online methods including company pages, product reviews, and share with your network features. As stated by Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, “social companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like [advertising guru] David Ogilvy.” This is true, companies need to review Carnegie’s core principles and implement these into their routine activities. Although his book was originally published in 1936, the rules of the game haven’t changed.
- Be An Expert. There is a reason you are involved in your line of business. Do your customers rave about your services and feel that you are an expert? Well, they should. You need to have confidence that you’re the ‘go-to person’ within your specific field. Remember to not inject sales and marketing aspects into all of your communications. Use your experience and knowledge to share industry insights with consumers. Position yourself as an expert and thought leader as you’ve learned important trends from your customer data. You know how your products and services can be applied. Share these new uses, best practices, and other key insights which have been discovered during the customer lifecycle stages. We used to hold back on sharing information, but times are changing. We can’t wait for the customers to arrive at our doorstep anymore. Relating back to the content is king reference, make sure you are producing relevant information which they would like to hear.
- Mobile Marketing Is On The Rise. In December 1992, with the first text message of “Merry Christmas,” we were able to instantly communicate with one another via a handheld device. Mediums have changed dramatically over the last few decades to include walkie talkies, fax machines, and beepers. Today, the number of individuals with cell phones is growing at an exponential rate. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that by the end of 2010, there will be over 5.3 billion mobile subscribers. The number of mobile applications is increasing in the hundreds of millions by the day and developers are constantly releasing new features. For example, while watching the most recent Ravens – Steelers game, I checked a play using the ESPN SportsCenter application on my iPhone. Not only was I able to view the current score and specific details, but I could view information on ticket pricing and availability for their upcoming games. This app is just one example of how mobile marketing is interwoven into our everyday activities. In the past we would go down to the box office to purchase tickets for an upcoming game. Now, with a couple of thumb movements we can select our seats in between downs. Pretty sweet, no? Text message alerts, geolocation applications, and mobile sites are making purchasing decisions easier for the consumer and more information is at our fingertips.
Determine who your target audience is and which mediums work for their needs. Create a content strategy and make sure you adhere to it. Knowing that I’m going to receive an informative monthly newsletter the first week of each month is nice assuming it’s not filled with junk. Get the point? Stick with it.
Do you agree or disagree with my 2011 predications? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. As we approach December 2011 contact me to see if I was on target. To be honest, I think these trends have some overlap. Whether it is creating valuable content, engaging with customers, serving as a thought leader, or by implementing mobile marketing efforts for the same company, you must think about how your company is unique within the marketplace. Decide what your differentiator is and see how these predications can help you win friends and influence people.