10 Marketing Trends to Take Advantage of This Year
Written by Nicole Lewis
03 September 2018
Marketing is a very dynamic business nowadays. The trends in marketing are constantly changing and the companies have to maintain the pace. Sometimes it is not that easy as it may seem. Innovative technologies penetrated into this area of business and we often use marketing approaches unconsciously in our daily interactions. Social media, analysis of audience, automated emails and funnel marketing partially replaced telephone marketing and physical sales. People tend to buy online being influenced by the recent marketing trends. In this article we will discuss emerging marketing trends and how to take advantage of them.
Chatbots is an emerging tendency in marketing. Many social media websites, including Facebook, offer chatbot solutions pursuing various purposes. According to Edu Birdie, chatbots are used in customers’ service, to answer customers’ FAQs, for placing orders, for checking weather or merely having fun. In essence, chatbots offer the instructions for customers who have troubles when using products or services. At the same time, they give the feeling of talking to someone real.
As a result, customers feel taken care of and the majority of the problems are solved. This trend is on rise and marketing experts assume that chatbots will be on the front lines of the marketing sector by the end of this year. Such companies as Endurance International Group and Zach Kwarta noticed that, indeed, chatbots can drive value and increase sales. Definitely, this is the time to think how to use chatbots to increase your sales. Chatbots help reach the following goals:
- save money on customer service salaries;
- provide 24/7 service to customers;
- increase service quality;
- increase customer satisfaction.
User-generated content (UGC) is the specific type of content which is created by unpaid contributors or fans of a brand. It may contain videos, blog posts, testimonials or pictures promoting a brand. Paid content doesn’t belong to this category. Consumers require more authenticity from brands and brands are becoming more authentic as consumers preferences switched to this area. One of the recent surveys conducted by Forbes showed that 86% of consumers tend to seek for authenticity.
Also, more than 60% of consumers said that they trust UGC rather than other means of brand promotion. Hence, companies may wish to take advantage of one of the most appealing market trends by integrating UGC into their marketing campaigns to attract more consumers and encourage them to buy from their brands. The phenomenon of UGC is based on the following:
- Shared emotional connection;
- Integration of needs and their fulfilment
Companies can increase brand engagement by more than 28% if they use a mix of UGC and professional marketing content. One of the examples of successful implementation of UGC was the campaign White Cup Contest initiated by Starbucks in 2014. Under the terms of this contest, customers were proposed to doodle white cups of Starbucks and post these images online to find a template for cups of limited edition. More than 4,000 customers sent their images during three weeks showing true engagement with the brand. Similar strategy can be used by your company to show its authenticity to the customers.
Event marketing is located on the crossroads between physical and virtual worlds. It involves personal contact between customers and brands, but the related advertising of concerts, parties, shows, sports events, contests, or fairs, is created online. Event marketing offers new approaches for marketing experts who make attempts to create buzz over products or services. The McDonald’s Monopoly event marketing campaign can serve as an example of successful implementation of event marketing. This kind of promotion regularly increases sales by 5% per month despite this is quite an old game: customers of McDonald’s readily participate in this event since 1987. The company regularly updates the dimensions of game, but the rules remain the same. Now customers can play interactive Monopoly by registering their pieces of the game online. Event marketing campaigns help reach the following goals:
- increase in sales of marketed products (58% of event participants tend to purchase the products promoted during the event);
- increase in number of loyal customers (86% of event participants became regular customers after events);
- identify target audience;
- promote products by giving samples to event participants.
A lot of information surrounds us these days and the minds of decision makers are overloaded with excessive data, but data are not the same as knowledge. Therefore, marketing experts have to strive for consumer education. Buyers tend to create their own patterns when making purchasing decisions. The major obligation of marketers is to highlight main goals and deliver basic knowledge to consumers. By making consumers aware of your products, you can acquire loyal customers and increase sales.
For example, many network companies, such as Amway, conduct free seminars and webinars to increase awareness of existing and potential customers. The more people know about the product quality, the more they are willing to make purchases. Consumer education offers the following benefits to businesses:
- business receives feedback that is important for further improvement of product or service quality;
- consumers are not taken for granted, producers are encouraged to make better products and sellers need to track the quality of their services;
- government response;
- it helps more frequent interaction between producers and consumers thus encouraging the former to improve product quality.
Account-Based Content Marketing (ABCM)
As a rule, marketing activities of the companies are organised by industry, product, solution or channel, while ABCM is a multi-targeted approach which allows focusing on individual accounts. As markets are commoditized now, customers cannot differentiate between suppliers and competitors. The price acts as the only one differentiator. Account-based content marketing (ABCM) is the recent trend of content marketing. This type of marketing helps reach out targeted audience and communicate with individual customers accounts. The companies can benefit from account-based marketing in the following ways:
- align marketing activities with account strategy;
- engage earlier with deals at higher rates;
- increase relevance of an account;
- get more value from marketing activities;
- create comprehensive content to inspire customers;
- identify specific persons at targeted companies to market specific products.
Typically, IT, consulting and service companies benefit from employing account-based content marketing as they have a lot of customers, long selling cycles and complex propositions. Some of these companies have revenues higher than GDP of some countries. For example, Bev Burgess (former European MD of ITSMA) was the one of the first companies to benefit from account-based marketing by cooperating with BT, Accenture, HP and Fujitsu. Other companies in the industry adapted and modified this approach.
Social Networking: Pinterest
Pinterest is a niche social media and experts predict its fast growth in the next several years. It will capture marketing attention this year. Pinterest has a separate page for business that could help you engage with your customers, place your products of services on this platform. Business hub of Pinterest involves 200 million people, 80% of whom use mobile phones to login to their accounts.
Therefore, mobile marketing on Pinterest is a kind of sub-tendency in 2018. Besides, business page on Pinterest is 50% international. You will have an opportunity to grow international some day if you have these plans in your mind. Here are several reasons to be engaged with Pinterest:
- customers get ideas regarding their next purchases from Pinterest;
- this is a great way to convey your ideas to people through Pinterest;
- you can learn preferences of your potential customers by using Pinterest.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The adopters of AI noticed that it can essentially increase user engagement. You must have a clear marketing strategy and understand your target audience to be able to integrate AI with your website chat box of messenger. AI can be used for the following:
- smarter search: AI helps find products not only on Google, but on Netflix, Amazon or Target.com as it has an improved capacity;
- recommendation engines can be rarely met in digital marketing, but customer love them and they work good for various businesses. For example, Amazon and Netflix use this tool to analyse demand and recommend books and films;
- programmatic advertising is extremely efficient to increase the number of app viewers and add value to the companies’ websites. Google and Facebook set the standards of efficient advertising and these systems will become more user-friendly to allow non-tech savvy marketers to run their online campaigns successfully;
- marketing forecasting is another area where AI is successfully implemented. Birst and Rapidminer use AI for predictions by analysing the number of views, clicks, time-on-page, email responses and purchases.
In 2018, businesses tend to use interactive content to generate leads instead of blogs, guides or white papers. Interactive content can potentially attract more visitors to your website and it significantly increases visitors’ engagement because it’s more visual, compelling and animated. As it was mentioned above, people strive for authenticity and the ability to directly contact brands. Interactive content is a tool that offers direct communication with customers.
Social media marketing is the part of this strategy. Most commonly, interactive content is used a lead generator in funnel marketing. Companies can establish authority in their area of expertise by sharing audience-oriented content. Interactive content is interlinked with content marketing. Businesses receive the following benefits when using interactive content:
- higher consumer engagement;
- growing customer trust;
- more inbound leads.
Voice search is often adopted in marketing strategies. It can change the patterns of customers’ interaction with the world: Google search offers several links when you ask a question, while voice search directly answers it. It helps people save their time and solve their problems quickly. Our world is rapidly changing and we do care about the time we spend on different things. Therefore, voice search is a prospective IT.
The main voice search providers (Apple, Microsoft, Google) should be provided correct information about businesses to give people correct answers. For example, voice search offers benefits for travel industry as people often ask about car rental or restaurants when travelling. Other industries also started to find the ways to employ voice search aiming to increase their customer bases.