Content marketing. That’s the term for anything that is done online to promote a company, and its products/services. Also known as digital marketing, it has been going on for years. Companies of all sizes utilize online marketing, and it is in many ways the great equalizer – it is cheap and allows a small startup to grab a huge audience with well-placed, catchy, and engaging content. But digital marketing keeps changing, and those changes are coming more rapidly than many marketers even realize. Here are the new trends that we are already seeing as we move into 2016.
- What is not changing is this: Consumers will only do business with companies that know and trust. Efforts to build trusting relationships and to get one’s brand to be the one shared and recommended are all intertwined and will continue to be so.
- Visuals will increase in importance – all kinds of visuals. Photos, images, infographics, and such will become more sophisticated and allow interaction.
- Interactivity: When consumers are engaged, they remember the brand. And if they are engaged by interacting, they are more inclined to share that interactivity with their communities. Surveys, polls, quizzes and even interactive videos will capture viewers, engage them in fun ways, and cause them to share.
- Videos: 2016 will be the year of the video. This is the most popular medium for getting information and entertainment to customers and potential customers. Research shows they share videos more than any other content. Marketers will need to meet this demand.
- Live-Streaming: New apps like Meerkat and Periscope will begin to revolutionize marketing and many other things as well. Consumers demand immediate information, news, and entertainment, and marketers can adapt to this demand by live-streaming their events, their new products, their happy customers, etc.
- Tracking Technology: Technology will provide big data – data that will continue to let marketers know where their targets are, both digitally and physically. Currently, technology informs marketers when their targets are online, where they are online, and what devices they are using. Now, those targets will be tracked physically as well. Thus, when a known customer of Starbucks walks close to one of their cafes, s/he will receive a tweet that tells him he can get a discount right now on his favorite latte. (Yes, tracking also knows what his favorite latte is).
- Privacy: Because of the new tracking technology, consumers will become increasingly concerned about their privacy rights. Marketers will have to tread very carefully so as not to offend or look creepy as they continue to target customers.
- Storytelling: This has been important for some time now, but it will continue to drive effective marketing efforts. People are drawn in by stories, and they are now told in ways other than words. Instagram, for example, has introduced its carousel – a venue for marketers to have a sequential picture/image story to tell.
- Social Responsibility: Consumers will also demand that the companies they do business with have a sense of being of help to people and to the environment. Marketers will need to publicize the good works that their companies do. It promotes trust, relationships, and good will.
- Social Media will continue to be the single most important venue for marketing. Marketers will have to stay “current” as social media changes. For example, Facebook 360 will become a reality, and marketers will need to jump in quickly.
It’s difficult to stay on top of all of the major and rapid changes in technology. And every single one of the impacts digital marketing in some way. Successful strategies to promote a brand, develop relationships, and widen a company’s reach will be challenging indeed.