Trends To Watch And Lessons Learned Already Midway Through 2019
It is interesting that even though we are little more than halfway through the year, we already have enough blasts and blunders to spread the word to our readers. Being that there is still time to make changes to your marketing budget, there is no time like the present to conduct an inventory of your current efforts and practices.
Big Wins and Small Shifts
We've noticed that there isn't so much as "the next big thing" as there is the way that big thing is being utilized.
People don't want to look things up manually anymore now that they no longer have to. It seems that everyone has at least one device that they can demand information and receive it merely by asking. The popularity of voice recognition devices and apps like Siri, Alexa, and even "Hey Google" has really taken off. Now is the time to ask yourself if someone asked Alexa about your industry, how likely is she to recommend your company?
With today's data and even social media, it is no longer necessary to throw out such wide nets to gain the attention of a precious few. Marketing can be targeted at specific niches and tailored to their desires and capture their attention. This enables us all to market more efficiently.
Bring on the Visuals
It's not just for finding plants and UPC codes. There are now apps that enable the user to snap a photo of any item of interest. If the app has a record of that object, it can respond with information on that item. An example of this booming interest is Pinterest, who launched its Lens feature back in February, and the social media platform reports that its users conducted over 600 million combined monthly searches with that feature.
When recording and distributing videos, never assume that your audience doesn't mind turning their phone sideways to watch your video. As phones and their screens get larger, it gets increasingly difficult to hold the phone securely in hand on its side. Have your social media strategy keep vertical-form IGTV videos in mind.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Growing Roots
Before your "invasive and creepy" radar goes up, note that AI is present to enhance our lives from comfortable conveniences of recommending movies similar to what you watched on Netflix last night to provide real data on what your customers are shopping for and gravitating toward so you might tailor a message to them or their specific niche. AI can also monitor consumers' online patterns and help you understand their behavior in real time. Even if you decide not to take advantage of AI in this way, it doesn't hurt to pay attention to consumer reactions to it and if your competitors are using it.
A Different Kind of Influencer
Once upon a time, we heard the term 'Influencer marketing' and wondered what celebrity would be promoting the product. With today's attention on social media, it has been realized that celebrities are losing ground on the marketing pie anymore. The focus, instead, is going to trusted experts to share their own personal experience rather than what a celebrity with a script. If you want to market baby food, you can get just as much traction with an active mom on a parenting page on social media for a fraction of the cost of Gwyneth Paltrow giving an honorable mention on Goop, for instance. Real moms sharing real success is a LOT of sharing and re-sharing if they like your product.
Long Live the Chatbot
Love it or hate it, the chatbot is here to stay. In today's 24/7 digital world, customers on all time zones want immediate feedback to their inquiries, even if that feedback is just letting them know that someone will contact them tomorrow. The chatbot is more than an answering service after hours, though. 50% of residential customers conduct their personal business outside of office hours. You want to be available when they need you. The chatbot can not only collect data in your absence, but it can also be connected to a live person working remotely anywhere in the world. That person is ready to give your customers the personal attention they desire on their preferred schedule.
2019 Blunders Already
I actually searched through a decade of marketing blunders and found some hilarious ones. I think even then, many people got great laughs at the expense of that marketing campaign, but it may not have cost them business. These campaigns messed up in the most creative ways! The biggest blunders in 2019 and 2018 all had the same ring to them, and it's all around two topics.
Here is an example as recent as this week that hit the mark on both of them:
Take, for instance, just this week Nike releasing a pair of sneakers featuring the original design of the Betsy Ross American flag. That design holds them at this very moment in the middle of a storm of opinions. One group holds offense to glorifying a flag that was present during a time of slavery. The other group views the flag as the first sign of U.S. symbolism and hold Betsy Ross as an American icon – and they are offended that the first group made the tribute into something dirty. Nike just recalled the product from all of the stores to end the argument, but still experienced significant backlash and lost a contract with the state of Arizona over it. There was no winning move for them at all.
The thing about feelings is that they are never right or wrong – they just ARE and cannot be successfully argued.
Before putting anything out there with a touch of cunning or wit, have a diverse handful of people review the material and get each perspective. What some may find to be nothing but innocent humor, others may find offensive. Take the number of reviewers that found offense and multiply that number by 1,000 or even 10,000 depending on your reach. That is the number of people you are about to alienate. It is time to circle back to the drawing board and re-work the message.
Before you take a stand on anything … ANYTHING swirling around the media, ask yourself if it is worth losing half of your customer base over voicing your position. Our advice to you, keep your business in a neutral position, publically to weather the storm. Have people review your message on each side of the spectrum and challenge them to find offense. If they do, no matter how small, do not challenge. Instead, thank them for their insight and change accordingly.
Onward and Upward
With the combination of wisdom and insight in your pocket, take a look at your marketing campaigns to date and their measurable results. Are they hitting the target? Are they getting the audience you seek? If you think you can do better – it's time to talk to us.