Yes, it’s that time again when business owners look into their crystal ball and think about the best ways to reach new customers in the upcoming year. The traditional forms of marketing – print, radio, television and billboard advertising – are still bringing prospective customers to the door, but with the giant technological advances we make each year, we now have an array of additional platforms to reach consumers world-wide. To help marketers create better marketing plans for next year, here are a few marketing trends that business owners should take advantage of in 2016.
I Use LinkedIn and Other Social Networks
When using social media, remember, “content is king,” but it is only half the battle for marketers. One trend that we have seen over the past couple years that will continue into 2016 is the use of LinkedIn to distribute content. LinkedIn has several features that make the platform more versatile than most other social networks for this purpose. For example, business owners can use LinkedIn Pulse to distribute full articles or links to other articles. According to new statistics, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. Custom content of this nature shows consumers that you are interested in building good, trustworthy relationships with them. In addition, on the subject of consumer trust, statistics also show that 58% of consumers consider companies that produce video content to be more trustworthy and leave a positive impression of a company, so it’s worth considering adding a video element to your marketing campaign.
II Make it Personal
For many years, the focus of marketing has been on reaching ever larger and more diverse audiences. While this will still be important in 2016, marketers will need to focus on bringing a more personal touch to the messages they send to consumers. There are several ways marketers can do this. Engaging in local, direct-to-consumer digital marketing is a new way for businesses to extend their brand throughout their local communities. Adding personalization fields to email marketing messages has also been shown to improve results.
With regard to your website, using personalization to give users more relevant options will increase the chances people will respond to the content. According to Janrain and Harris Interactive, 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests. Similarly, studies have found that in-house marketers who are personalizing their web experiences are seeing a significant increase in sales.
III Optimize for Mobile
Optimizing your company’s website for mobile devices has become a necessity. Today, the main efforts of digital marketing are aimed at appealing to the Millennial generation and, without an optimized digital presence on mobile devices, your overall marketing efforts will never reach their true potential.
We are all tethered to our mobile devices. 87% of the Millennial generation admits to never being without their phone. Mobile devices have become an integral part of our daily routines. For brands that don’t have a strong mobile presence, it’s worth noting that 14% of Millennial consumers wouldn’t do business with a company that doesn’t have a mobile site or app.
Consumers are turning to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to research a product, compare prices, find a retail outlet, and most importantly, make the purchase. So, optimize for these devices and take those extra steps to make sure your mobile shopping experience is user-friendly.
IV Plan Ahead for New Technologies
Wearable Technology – We’ve all heard the buzz over the Apple iWatch and Android Wear and understand that a lot of people will buy and use these devices. The marketers who first use these devices to reach consumers will have a great advantage over other businesses. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, 68% of global technology and business decision-makers say wearable devices are a priority for their firms. Discovering the best and most cost-effective ways to market to consumers via their wearable devices will be one of the main challenges facing marketers in the coming years.
Oculus Rift – With the Oculus Rift shipping out a consumer-ready product in the beginning of 2016, it’s time to contemplate the marketing capabilities available to the platform. Oculus will have a huge impact on the way that marketers engage consumers. It starts with personalization through the ability to tell stories, literally in 360 degrees. For starters, according to Adweek, Elle Magazine intends to live stream a fashion show using Oculus Rift. On the commerce side of things, as people come to expect full immersion from marketing campaigns, companies who don’t supply a virtual experience for customers, could be left behind.
Snapchat – Yes, Snapchat is quickly becoming a standard marketing platform. Earlier this year, Snapchat launched Discover, a portal that brands such as ESPN, Vice and Comedy Central use to market to these media consumers. Snapchat is the ultimate platform for delivering integrated campaigns that make consumers feel connected in real-time and is fast becoming an important key to keeping the younger generations of consumers interested and engaged.