Here are 10 trends that affect all areas of marketing, from advertising to branding and everything in between, and will shape marketing strategy throughout 2010 and beyond.
1. Transparency and trust are paramount.
Consumers have endured a variety of negative events throughout the past decade, and they’re no longer willing to accept just anything businesses tell them. Brands that embrace the loss of naïveté and make a concentrated effort to be honest and open in their marketing communications will generate positive consumer responses, which can lead to brand loyalty and brand advocacy. Building trust is the most important thing in 2010, and once you’ve earned it, you need to make sure you keep it. In other words, transparency and trust are not a one-time thing. They’re an ongoing effort.
2. Less interruption, more enhancement and value-add.
The days when ads and marketing messages were developed for the sole purpose of getting the attention of consumers are over. People expect more (or in the case of interruptions, less) from businesses and brands. Give them more by ensuring your marketing communications and efforts deliver useful and meaningful value.
3. Speaking of value . . .
The economic downturn that occurred in the latter part of the past decade stopped many consumers in their tracks. Rather than spending money frivolously, consumers began seeking out deals, using coupons and actively looking for the biggest bang for their buck. When the economy recovers, that behaviour will not disappear immediately. Be prepared for the consumer focus on value to continue well beyond 2010, and build marketing campaigns with that consumer demand in mind.
4. Show it, don’t tell it.
Consumers don’t believe everything they hear. Indeed, consumers are more sceptical than ever, and you need to prove your marketing claims. Don’t just tell consumers about your product, business or services, show them what’s in it for them if they pull out their hard-earned money and buy from you.
5. Social media is not going away, and engagement is critical.
Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, and other tools of the online social community are not going anywhere. Instead, these tools are being adopted by more and more people around the world. If you thought you could avoid joining the bandwagon, you were wrong. In 2010, it’s critical that your business joins the social web conversation, and you must engage consumers on the social networking sites. Give them amazing content and interact with them to fully leverage the power of the social media.
6. Peace-of-mind messages prevail.
Consumers have lived through a wide variety of negative events over the past several years, from economic turmoil to environmental disasters and more. They’re actively seeking marketing messages that give them a feeling of peace of mind. Try to communicate a sence of security in your marketing efforts to meet this need.
7. Relationships rule.
With the growth of web-based social networks and a desire for transparency, trust and peace-of-mind messages, it shouldn’t be surprising that relationships rule in 2010 and beyond. Leverage the social web to interact with people around the world and build relationships that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago. When you build relationships with consumers, you also build a band of brand loyalists that can become your most powerful source of word-of-mouth marketing, brand advocacy and brand guardianship.
8. Online video and mobile marketing are hot.
Both online video and mobile marketing are set to explode, and we’ll really start to see that happen in 2010. You can create your own online video content or mobile content, or you can invest in online video or mobile advertising. The choice is yours, but there is no better time to jump in than right now!
9. Focus, focus, focus!
Don’t try to be everything to everyone in 2010. The strongest brands are focused brands. As the first decade of the 21st century unfolded, marketers and social media professionals began using the term “niche” more and more to identify highly focused products, websites, blogs and so on. Today, that strategy is even more important. Build your core and keep it as strong as possible before you try to extend your brand and branch out into new areas.
10. Integrated marketing trumps stand-alone tactics.
It is absolutely essential that you surround consumers with your marketing messages in 2010. The number of marketing communications that people see each day is overwhelming, so it’s important that your messages don’t get lost in the clutter. You can make your brand, your business and your messages stand out by surrounding consumers with branded experiences and allowing them to choose which of those experiences they want to consume. For example, use online advertising, online video, custom content, point-of-sale collateral, and ads with consistent messaging to engage consumers in different parts of their lives. If you’re consistent and persistent, your messages are more likely to connect with your target audience – raising brand awareness, recognition, purchases and loyalty.
Gen Z Is Coming! Are You Ready?
How do you market your company to this generation?
According to the CNBC, about 61 000 Gen Zers are on the verge of entering the workforce and consumer market in the US alone.
They are digital natives; they have grown up in a world of vines, txts (yes, we know) and internet. Their attention span is shorter than ever, they are more connected than any other generation, and they are brilliant multitaskers. Gen Z is a more tolerant generation but also more cautious; studies have found less risk-taking amongst this group and an increase in thoughtfulness and questioning authority.
So, on the one side of this coin, how do you market your company to this generation?
1. By being transparent
Be upfront about your business, what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. They have lost faith in corporations. Thus, you must stop relying on and hiding behind small print. Yes, you need terms and conditions to protect your company, but when it looks like a miracle weight-loss advert of the 80s (“Eat anything you want just take this pill. Ts&Cs apply.”), you’ll lose customers.
Related: Investing in Young Entrepreneurs
Gen Z consumers want to see you are real; they don’t want models or celebrities but regular people who can assist them in a manner that speaks to them. And they will hold your business is socially accountable. Instead of producing millions of T-shirts at the cheapest possible price, they want local, equality and free-trade, and they want to know what businesses are doing for the environment and society.
Gen Z won’t accept your claims at your word; they want to see evidence in your company culture.
2. By offering options
A jewellery purchasing study has found that most Gen Zers don’t have a preferred shopping platform. What this means is your messaging, availability and culture need to be spread evenly across all contact points – sales, call centres, website and digital advertising. In fact, many Gen Z consumers rely on mixing their contact points.
That being said, they want immediate action. If they see something they want online, they will go to the shop just to have the item right now. More than immediacy, they also want custom-made or made-to-order products and services. They shy away from traditional made-to-stock methods, which creates plenty of room in the production industry.
3. By being forward thinking
We have to always remember what was mind-blowing inventions to other generations are the norm for Gen Zers. They hold brands and businesses to high expectations, and instead of being loyal to brands, expect brands to be loyal to them. As Gen Z is more focused on individuality, they are also proving to be a generation with a high entrepreneurial output. All this shows that they don’t want the norm; they don’t crave what’s new today, they want tomorrow, sustainability and innovation, and they want it now.
On the other side of the coin, how do you attract this generation to work at your company? In much the same way.
1. By being transparent
As much as you are hiring them based on what they bring to the table, so too are they looking at what you can afford them. But, they don’t just want to hear you tell them about the benefits, they want to see it – and they are not after just money. Gen Zers want to be financially secure, but also one that is fulfilling; one where they find purpose in their jobs and company.
2. By offering options
Gen Z employees don’t want to work eight to five, they don’t want to be chained to a desk, and they don’t want to be micro-managed. Give them flexibility on how they want to conduct their work and how they can communicate with their colleagues. Create an understanding workspace for their needs and help them improve their skills – for instance, it’s been reported that a stumbling block for Gen Zers is communication. Growing up with emojis and text messages make face-to-face conversations, business calls and writing emails difficult for them.
Gen Z employees want to work hard and grow their skills. Even though they’re growing up in a super-paced society, they want to climb the corporate ranks at the given speed. What they crave, with urgency, is gaining value from their jobs.
Related: The Z Generation
3. By being forward thinking
They are lateral thinkers, and their creativity is not just outside the box but has broken the box completely. Gen Z is incredibly tech-savvy, and they will challenge the systems and procedures you have in place if these are not providing the needed speed and data required. Thus, they crave to work in an environment where they can push boundaries and ultimately help the company move forward. Hiring from the Gen Z pool can provide you with innovative insights into your business that can grow it towards tomorrow’s giants.
The only way to be sure you are future-proofing your business is by guaranteeing it caters for future customers and employees, by relying on forward-thinking enterprise resource planning software, for instance. Epicor ERP software ensures that their clients stay agile and innovative through trusting top minds to build and develop intelligent systems that open doors for Gen Zers. It’s Epicor’s innate tech-savviness that allows them to visualise the landscape of tomorrow and develop the software to support it today.
Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
You don’t need an MBA to write a marketing plan for your business. While no two businesses are alike, all solid marketing plans need to provide specific information. Use this sample marketing plan template to get you started on the right foot and cover all the essential information.
Your marketing plan should provide a comprehensive blueprint of the business, its market and associated market activity, its position in the market, target and expected customers, offerings, competition, solutions and contingency plans.
Using a sample Marketing Plan Template can save you a lot of time in creating your own marketing plan.
Download a Sample Marketing Plan Template
Use the free templates below to help make sure you’ve covered all the important bits:
Recommended Marketing Reads:
- Smart Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
- Mega Guide to Online Marketing
- Marketing Toolbox for the Entrepreneur
- The Ultimate Marketing Tool Library for Entrepreneurs
4 Steps To Writing Content That Converts
Hook them, engage them and tell them what you want them to do.
Is your content persuasive enough to convert your visitors into leads?
Some pieces of content you create will drive conversions, while others will be lost in the archives. As a marketer, you always want to write content that is persuasive enough to turn your visitors into leads and thereafter, into paying customers.
Writing persuasive content is not magic. Let’s take a look at some ways to write content that converts.
1. Craft an enticing title
The title of your content is the most important factor that influences engagement. A whopping 8 out of 10 people may not even read your content if the title isn’t captivating enough.
Using Headline Analyzer by Coschedule is the best way to create a magnetic headline that attracts your audience. Just enter your headline and the tool will report back with a score and a grade along with some suggestions to improve.
For analysis, the tool looks at the following factors:
- The headline type: It capitalises on the type of headline that converts, including lists, how to’s and questions.
- Word balance: It helps you to curate an enticing title by checking to see if it has the right word balance.
- Character length: It also looks whether your title is scannable and easy to digest.
2. Fulfill your title’s promise
Getting clicks on your title is just half of the equation. Ensuring that your content fulfills the promise of your title is another equally, maybe even more, important part of driving conversion. If your content can’t keep the promise your headline makes, your visitors will likely abandon your site without further engagement.
When crafting each line of your content, keep in mind that the purpose is to get your visitors to read the next sentence, then the sentence after that and all the way down to the end of your article.
Aside from providing value, you’ll also want to evoke a desire for what you’re offering.
3. Make it scannable
Most of your website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website, meaning people quickly skim through the content instead of reading word for word.
If your content is hard to scan, meaning it contains long sentences and paragraphs, it’s likely that your visitors won’t stick around. Chances are, they’ll go to your competitors to find content that’s easier to consume.
To create content that is easily scannable, you can follow the actionable tips below:
- Short paragraphs: Write short paragraphs, preferably 3-4 sentences at most. Breaking down your content into short paragraphs makes it more digestible for your readers.
- Use attractive subheaders: Readers should be able to bounce around to seek out the pieces of your content that interest them. By using attractive subheaders, you can pique the curiosity of your readers and keep them engaged.
- Use bullet points: Using a bulleted list is the easiest way to ensure that your content doesn’t strain your visitors’ eye to read through it. Since bulleted lists stand out from the rest of your page, they make the entire piece easier to skim through.
4. Add a call to action at the end
The best way to convert your visitors into leads is to add a call to action, such as an email subscription form, at the end of every article you publish.
Some tips to speed up the growth of your email list are:
- Offer a post-specific resource: Create a post-specific resource, and offer it for download in exchange for the email address of your visitors. When the resource is post-specific, readers are more likely to engage with the campaign, in turn boosting conversions.
- Creating a premium library: To increase both perceived and actual value, you can create a premium library consisting of ebooks and other valuable course materials. You can then persuade your visitors to subscribe to your list by adding a signup box at the end of each article.
- Content gating: Content gating is a popular strategy to boost conversions on your site. For instance, you can grow your list by blocking a small section of your content for subscribers only, which encourage your readers to sign up for your list.
The best way to create content that converts is to use emotion in your copy and evoke a desire for what you’re offering. By following the above tips, you can write content that converts your visitors into leads, and soon thereafter, into paying customers.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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