Another year comes to an end. And with the year end comes the onslaught of questions we ask ourselves. "What did I accomplish?" "What can I do better next year?" "How can I attract new clients and keep my existing ones?" As more of us launch ourselves into the world of entrepreneurship, these questions take on new meaning and sense of urgency.
When I meet with entrepreneurs, corporate executives, speak at conferences, or chat with an interviewee on my podcast, System Execution, I'm consistently asked "What is the one thing that is changing in marketing? With that said, I've assembled my marketing predictions for 2018. Enjoy!
Marketing Trend #1 - Podcasts Will Become A New Advertising Medium
Full transparency here. I love podcasts. I host a podcast. And...I'm finishing up my Master's thesis on listener recall of advertisers on podcasts in 2018. Podcasts go the way of the NPR advertising model. Where it isn't 'advertising,' it's 'sponsors.' Through my research, there has been a 55% increase in the number of sponsors for the Top 100 podcasts in April 2017 since 2010. (I'll be publishing the results of my research at a later date in 2018)
Why such the hoopla over podcast advertising? Podcast listenership profiles are very specific to the podcasts they listen to. Need to reach a manufacturing engineer with your awesome product? There's a manufacturing engineering podcast for that. Are you an avid outdoors person? You must listen to the "Outside Podcast." Podcasts are mobile and you can reach the highest quality audience based on your segmentation criteria.
Marketing Trend #2 - Social Credibility Will Be On Par With Digital Ads
I'm a big fan of digital ads. They are annoying to some people, but I personally like to be reminded that I really do need that new pair of shoes.
Alas, the buyer journey is shifting yet again. Your business may have the best website 'eva, but you failed to put any effort into social media outlets that coincide with your brand. You have the greatest team ever known to a company yet the LinkedIn pages of your most prominent team members (and company page) haven't been updated since LinkedIn was founded.
Facebook business pages were all the rage 3 years ago and your <insert random employee who was the chosen one > took care of that initiative...but that person left and no one picked up the ball.
A press release here, a webinar there and a sprinkle of quick blog starts to add into the mix. We all know that consumers spend 70% or more of their buying journey online. Doing the research to find out how 'credible' you, your company, your team really are.
How good is your social credibility?
Marketing Trend #3 - Scripted Conversations For A Better Customer Experience
What's new in the relationship? The launch of chatbots. A chatbot is a piece of software that is built to simulate a human conversation. For example, when you're online shopping and the messenger window pops up with "Hello, Can I help you find something?" Most likely, the ensuing conversation you are having is with a machine that has conversations pre-created and mapped to keywords that you are using.
The work that goes into creating the conversation map is intense. Think of the many ways in which we inquire about a service and how many directions that conversation can go in before a satisfactory outcome is achieved.
You can play around with the Instant Replies on Facebook Messenger for your business as a first foray into mapping future conversations with your customers.
Marketing Trend #4 - Digital Marketing Will Get A Lot More Complicated...And Time Consuming
The sheer volume of digital marketing technologies is mind-blowing. Who has time to keep up with and learn all of the new marketing technologies? It's part of my role at 97 Degrees West to keep up with these technologies and let me tell you, I spend a good 10 hours a week on the hunt for new metrics tools, ad serving technologies, marketing automation best practices and attending more webinars than you can count.
There's more stuff out there than you can shake a stick at. And it all comes down to the pure breadth of options, the complexity of what each of the technologies can do and which to choose to best support your marketing strategy.
Reporting analytics vary from one platform to the next. Here's a shocker. Digital analytics have no third-party audience measurement criteria. Yep. It's true. My clients get very frustrated with this information. Nielsen Ratings ensures that audience measurements for Radio or TV is accurate. The stations can not inflate their numbers.
With digital, there is no standardization of anything that we measure. An impression defined by one outlet may be different for another. Your Google Analytics numbers may be different than your marketing automation platform numbers. It's all in how the 'number' is defined by that company.
To overlay five or ten different digital reports is time consuming. Not only must you know how each digital platform functions, you must understand how they define their measurements. And this my friend, is where the marketing data folks come in.
Do not underestimate the amount of time it will take to get as close to accurate digital reporting for your marketing efforts.
Marketing Trend #5 - Analog Will Make a Comeback
This is counter-intuitive thinking in our fast-paced, want it NOW technology. But there are those who yearn for a more sensory, tactile experience. Vinyl records are making a comeback. Pulling the album out of the sleeve...placing it on the turn table...gingerly place the needle on the spinning album....and the quick crackle of the vinyl before the music starts...is pure comfort. I have been scouring junk stores for albums from the 60's and 70's. The Eagles. Gordon Lightfoot. Al Green. I play them on my $65 Crosby record player. Orange of course. I haven't listened to Pandora since.
Print book sales have increased for three straight years beginning 2013 to 2016. I do not own a kindle or any other type of book reading technology device. I keep every book I purchase, preferably in hard cover, and my library is ever-growing. I can peruse my shelves and discover titles that I hadn't read thoroughly, especially in the business book section. (Yes, I'm that organized)
Analog marketing tactics such as printed direct mail are getting a second look. Add in an analog experience or marketing tactic every now and then. You'll be surprised at the results!
Those are my Top 5 marketing predictions for 2018. I'd love to hear your comments and please, add to my list!