We are one year into a new decade and we have all seen the shift in how we market and reach consumers. In order to be efficient in marketing, it's important to realize what will work and what marketing methods are being left by the wayside. Now, with that being said please understand that my statement of trends is broad and may not reach your specific demographic. For example, if you serve a senior market a yellow page may very well still bring in customers for you, but if your customer is under the age of 60 it's best to put those dollar elsewhere.
This year there are five marketing methods and trends that I'll be watching with a close eye. We've seen many changes over the last few years and this year will be no different. Trends and methods that I'll be watching closely this year include:
In a report done by CTIA Wireless Association it was reported that 250+ million Americans carry mobile phones - that's over 80% of the nations population. Mobile applications will continue to be developed and smartphones and tablet PCs will remain a part of our daily lives. It's no longer just about mobile access to email, messaging, calendars and websites. We will see more location based services, mobile gaming, applications, and event-based mobile marketing. We've been inundated with new technology from Apple's iPhone, iPad and Google's Android integration. I guarantee it won't stop there, we will continue to see mobile marketing innovations throughout 2012 and beyond. We will see new devices, faster speeds, and location based technologies integrated with one another. If you are a marketer and you've not explored the avenue of mobile marketing, this is your year. Get on the bus or get left behind.
Social Marketing Integration
In 2011 companies began to take social media marketing seriously and because of that we saw social media explode as a marketing tool. This year we will begin to see companies heavily integrate social media into their overall marketing plan, which is how it should have been done in the first place, but better late than never. We will see social media expand from a tool used primarily for customer service and brand management to being used to collect customer data and enable better target marketing of products and services that those customer are interested.
Traditional Marketing Continues to Diminishes
This is always a touchy subject, because there are so many that don't want to say goodbye to the traditional marketing. Interactive or real-time marketing is easy to measure, engage and gain real time statistics that allows us to change a marketing message quickly. Customers are continuing to go online to search for information and in return making their purchases online. It's important that marketers move their marketing dollars to where the consumers are and right now that's making a gigantic shift to online. Internet marketing enables us to reach targeted audiences online, advertising costs are lower and they are easier to measure. What's not to love about interactive marketing? Overall marketing budgets will continue to shift to a higher spend online and the traditional marketing spend will continue to diminish.
Consumers Will Determine Value
In today's economy consumers are watching their pennies and because of this they will only spend on purchases that they consider to be of value. They will continue to seek value in every dollar spent and they will determine whether it's value, not you. Consumers no longer purchase just because an item is on sale, rather they will justify every dollar spent. This means you must marketing the value of your product or service in order to get consumers to open their wallets - if there is no value, they simply will not purchase.
This is a trend that makes many of us as marketers anxious. It's been apparent in the last six months that the FTC is looking at regulating the online industry. We started a few years ago with disclosures for blog reviews and paid endorsements. As recent as the last month, we've seen the potential of SOPA passing. I'm not sure how this will play out in the next year and beyond, but I do believe we will see regulations implemented when it comes to the internet industry and many of those regulations will affect us as marketers.
Relationships will Drive Loyalty and Sales
I listed this last year, but I believe it will still hold true in 2012. Customers want to know they matter to you and your staff. They evaluate now more than ever how they are treated, whether or not your business cares about their satisfaction. Gone are the days that they just purchase out of convenience. If you can give the best customer care, you will find that you will create consumers that are loyal to you, regardless of whether or not you have the least expensive price. They realize that in tough economic times their loyalty to you could be the life or death of your business and that's often why they will go out of their way to spend their hard-earned dollars in your place of business - if you have helped in creating loyalty by giving them extraordinary care.
There’s no denying it, the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more – and companies that have not yet recognised this in their marketing strategies need to adapt fast.
Why is digital marketing so important? Because it is not only a rapidly growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that digital media will soon replace more traditional forms altogether.
While older generations will no doubt lament the demise of paper-based newspapers, books, communication methods and traditional TV and radio broadcasts, those who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones as a God-given right are already embracing the brave new world of digital consumption.
The facts are that digital methods of communication and marketing are faster, more versatile, practical and streamlined, so it is perhaps unsurprising that once the technology became available we began quickly moving into the digital age. The good news is that digital offers just as much potential to marketers as it does to consumers.
Before we look at the benefits of digital marketing, let’s take a quick snapshot of some of the key forms of it at present:
Websites and SEO content
Internet banner ads
Online video content
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
Mobile marketing (SMS, MMS, etc.)
This is far from an exhaustive list, and new forms of digital marketing, such as augmented reality, are arriving all the time.
So, why digital marketing?
First of all, digital marketing is infinitely more affordable than traditional offline marketing methods. An email or social media campaign, for example, can transmit a marketing message to consumers for the merest fraction of the cost of a TV ad or print campaign, and potentially reach a wider audience.
But one of the main benefits of conducting your marketing digitally is the ease with which results can be tracked and monitored. Rather than conducting expensive customer research, you can quickly view customer response rates and measure the success of your marketing campaign in real-time, enabling you to plan more effectively for the next one.
Perhaps the strongest case for incorporating a digital element into your marketing is that digital media forms are quickly overtaking traditional forms of information consumption. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 82% of UK adults went online in the first three months of this year: that's over 40 million individuals.
The bottom line is, the digital age is here, and those businesses that fail to adapt to the new marketing climate are at great risk of going extinct sooner rather than later.