There’s nothing like sitting down and planning your business aims for next year. Whilst everybody begins winding down for the year, we’ve been summing up 2017 and taking a look at predicted marketing trends for 2018. Most trends will be a growth of what has already been happening this year and last. The predicted emphasis in 2018 will be centred around a combination of personalised content and marketing, use of videos, artificial intelligence and bots, location and geo targeting, and employee and customer advocacy.
Content marketing is the bomb and is predicted to be the biggest marketing activity for 2018. One concept within content marketing that is predicted to have greater impact in 2018 is ‘micro moments’.
A ‘micro moment’ is when your customer reaches for their phone to find the answer to a problem. The need is one that is affecting what they are currently doing. They want an immediate answer and are increasingly making on the spot decisions. This can be anything from something they need to do, buy, or even learn. As a business, the ability to predict what this might be for your potential customers will guide some aspects of your content in order to meet that micro moment need. Ultimately micro moment content needs to provide value so that they remember your brand the next time they have a similar issue. It also needs to be able to be consumed quickly.
The die-hard marketing method of email isn’t going anywhere. In fact, with the ability to segment a list, it provides an ideal platform for customer centered marketing. Email providers now have greater abilities to track and observe email campaigns. A large proportion of customers continue to share content via email and regardless of advances, it remains the number one trusted and accepted marketing medium.
Incorporating video into your marketing strategy for 2018 is definitely something you should be thinking about. Video use is on the rise. This is largely due to social media and platforms where videos get watched and shared, such as YouTube and Facebook. Younger demographics watch YouTube more than they do any other media format.
Videos are important because the experience of customers is deeper. The visual connection evokes emotion. Whether it be laughter at a cute puppy, or a how to video on something we want to learn, videos capture us. Video has grown massively in 2017 and isn’t going to slow down. With the recent developments of Instagram launching split screen live, social media platforms will look to making videos a large part of their offerings in the year ahead. Videos are a great way to target your audience and market to them. There are numerous ways to incorporate videos into your strategy. Some ideas are, live behind the scenes, instructional segments, adverts, product demonstrations, and testimonials
As today’s behaviors change to being more impatient and seeking instant gratification, it’s more important than ever to make video that is snackable, part of your micro moments and produced with no sound as currently 85% of video watched is in silence. (source: Hubspot)
3. Artificial intelligence and bots
The use of AI and bots, coincides with the trend of personalisation of services. The aim is to create a positive customer experience and make it as individual as possible. Having artificial intelligence or a bot in your business will create a personalised experience for your customer. This is compounded by the increased trend in using social messaging apps like Whatsapp and Messenger. Larger companies such as Pizza Hut and Ikea are already taking advantage of this. With so much competition and a focus on customer care, chatbots can facilitate an immediate response to a customer query, giving them a pleasant experience of your brand.
The biggest bot currently is the messenger chatbot. This uses technology to learn and interpret the message and give an appropriate reply. The technology uses learning algorithms that provide an almost intuitive response. Think about it, some of the most downloaded and used apps are Facebook’s Messenger, Whatsapp, Wechat and Viber. Love it or hate it chatbots are set to become part of more and more marketing strategies in the future. Work with your customer support and sales teams to uncover the most common questions and pain points to build into scripts. Take a look at Manychat for an idea of what can be achieved.
4. Location and geo targeting
2017 has seen an emphasis on geo location. This is the ability to target a market depending on your customers location. This has been happening for years, think regional TV and websites like Moonpig that give you a country choice and then tailor your experience around where you live. Increasingly there will be a move to live geo location, using GPS, IP addresses, and any other accessible information to target audiences in the particular place that they are at.
Google has been emphasising the importance of local search results for business and mobile friendly websites. Snapchat introduced their Snapmap feature. Facebook allows you to ‘check-in’. The emphasis of geo location targeting will increase in 2018. All the big social media platforms currently offer you the ability to share and adjust your location settings. This again reverts back to the personalisation of customer experience. By using GPS technology, platforms such as Google and social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat can provide customers with the local goods and services that they are looking for.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an employee, a loyal customer, or an influencer – Somebody that likes your brand and shares how great you are with everyone they know is definitely going to positively impact your marketing efforts. Brand advocacy has been around for a while, but in the age of engagement and social proof, employee advocacy is one marketing tool that will grow.
Employee advocacy is when the people that work with you and your brand advocate you. They share the greatness of what you do and you should encourage and empower them to spread and share your message. Employee advocacy is big news as brand messages have been shown to get shared more when posted by employees rather than by the company.
Overall it appears, on any medium, there will be an emphasis on user experience and personalisation. Take some time to review your digital marketing strategy as we move into 2018. Is your business moving with the times? Not sure how to move your digital marketing plan forward then get in touch.
Got some awesome predictions and tips? please share below!