There are lots of new directions in marketing as we head into the New Year. I’ve distilled what I think are 6 of the most important trends for small business owners to be aware of:
1. More focus on customer experience
While customer experience has always been central to successful marketing, it’s gaining more and more attention as one of the hottest topics of the year. Businesses are taking their customers’ responses more seriously than ever and putting more resources into improving customer experience.
In our fast moving, uber-connected world, the only way to compete is to establish, nurture, and sustain your relationship with your customers. And that means LISTEN, LISTEN LISTEN. Create whatever systems you need to give your customers the opportunity to engage and share feedback, and incorporate what they say into your business strategy. Let your customers lead.
2. Greater personalization
With the plethora of content and marketing vehicles vying for our attention, businesses have to work harder and smarter to capture new customers and hold existing ones. Where mass customization has led the way for several years, now personalization is the trend.
In an age where people value tailored experience, whatever can be individualized in any way attracts attention, whether it’s a product, experience, or simply more responsive purchasing process. At every touch point, businesses are finding ways to authentically and directly connect with the customer.
3. More and new video content
As it’s gotten easier and easier to share quality video content, there’s more and more demand for it. And now, real-time video like Facebook Live has become a hit in the online marketing world. It’s a direct way for brands to engage their customers quickly, directly, and cost-effectively. And as customers in the digital space are looking for more human contact, real-time social interaction is more important than ever. Live video creates high-touch engagement with your audience in a way that no other social media can.
4. Email marketing
There’s nothing new about email marketing, but as so many other online marketing channels have opened up, businesses have given a lot of attention to social media in the last several years. Yet statistics show that email marketing is one of the most effective tools – and it’s on the come back.
According to the 2016 Email Marketing Industry Status from Adestra, revenue from email has increased proportionately by 28% in one year. Success in email marketing – as in all online marketing – is all about giving your customers valuable and relevant information.
5. Expert blogging and social media
As a result of the impact of social media and blogging, many businesses have put more focus on SEO than on creating quality content. Almost everyone blogs, but how many do it well? People see the difference. They don’t want to be sold to. This is the age of creating and disseminating good content. If your content isn’t interesting and informative, visitors won’t stay on your site. Many businesses are realizing the importance of putting resources into developing excellent digital writing that positions them as experts in their field.
And in social media, it’s important not just to provide valuable content, but also to engage your audience, ask for your customers’ experience and opinion, offer games and challenges. The point it to build an active relationship with your audience.
6. Different measuring
As traditional ways of doing business are continually breaking down, it’s important to measure marketing efforts in new ways. Figuring out your ROI on your marketing budget isn’t linear any longer. In addition to traditional ROI from sales, it’s important to include metrics on customer satisfaction and retention, as well as employee engagement. Social media platforms are one of the most effective ways to collect this data.
So back to my first point. 2017 is about really listening to your customer and incorporating their feedback into your business and marketing strategy every step of the way.