Like most industries and professions, marketing and advertising has a long history of change and innovation.
Whilst some essentials have endured (4 Ps, anyone?), the way we market brands and advertise products has completely transformed, even compared to just 10 years ago.
Reflecting on my own career, there are many examples I saw in ad agencies that you wouldn’t dream of doing now. One of my favourites is using Facebook business accounts to skulk after your followers. Thinking about that now, most people would be mortified if a business was commenting on and liking their personal content – think holiday snaps, photos of kids, what you ate for breakfast… how things have changed!
Which brings me to the present and the topic of this blog. Aside from the basics (like defining your brand for example), let’s look at some must-haves for marketing in 2019/20:
In an ad agency I worked for a million years ago, the mandate was to hit our email databases with as many messages as we could – and we didn’t discriminate. It didn’t matter if you were young, old, female, male, a recent purchaser or a prospective buyer – our clients had stuff to sell and you were going to know about it (whether you wanted to or not).
Thankfully, that’s over.
Now personalisation with your name featured prominently in email marketing is the norm, and it’s getting deeper with customisation – from demographics and psychographics, to your personal tastes and position in the sales funnel, smart marketers send targeted messages that people are much more likely to connect with.
Asos alters imagery and content specific to a viewer’s gender.
Like personalisation, automation is a smart way to send marketing messages. We’ve had great success facilitating this for clients – automation helps us trigger messages to people who take a particular action (like downloading an e-book or making an enquiry), as well as nurture customers towards a significant purchase through a range of pre-created communications. It’s less effort for more gains.
Automation is also popping up in the form of AI and chatbots – we wrote a whole blog about it. In short, the robots aren’t coming – they’re already here, and marketers are using them to their advantage.
A weekly email automatically populated with a potential buyer’s current data.
Marketers in 2019 need to prioritise a strong and innovative smart phone strategy because in modern western society, basically everyone owns one. Social media, shopping, paying bills, researching major purchases, reading emails and receiving important communications – these are all being done on mobile phones, which means there’s amazing opportunities to make big marketing campaigns come to life on the small screen.
Potential customers can virtually ‘try on’ a pair of glasses thanks to their mobile phone’s camera.
Social Media & Video
Social media isn’t new, but the hierarchy of platforms is ever-changing.
Despite its ups and downs, Facebook is still king – at least from an advertising perspective. It feels like you can reach anyone in the world using Facebook’s amazingly detailed targeting, and for the time being the service is still comparatively affordable compared to other major advertising platforms.
Meanwhile, Instagram has amassed huge popularity. It’s easy to generate content for, has decent engagement and now includes the IGTV channel which we think is going to become a huge disrupter of YouTube.
Speaking of YouTube (and video in general), our love affair with moving pictures is still rife, with no sign of slowing. The big challenge for marketers is to extract maximum ROI from this medium, which traditionally, is cost and labour intensive.
LinkedIn today has been compared to the Facebook of 10 years ago. It’s advertising options, pricing and audience engagement presents a real bang for your buck, especially for B2Bs.
Looking for the next big thing? Well TikTok is exploding right now. In fact it’s currently the most downloaded iPhone app in 2019! Gained an early reputation for simply being a kids’ dance app, it’s actually much more. Think of it as the Instagram of video, and with the introduction of paid advertising, it’s definitely a space worth keeping an eye on.
If social media has taught us anything, it’s that when a platform gains a mass following, in-app marketing options will soon follow!
Real humans and meaningful stories
My favourite on-trend strategy, which hopefully always stays.
Media shows us “perfect” images of celebrities, actors and public figures – and whilst we like watching it, people generally crave and resonate with humans that are honest and genuine in what they do and most importantly, are just like us.
It’s why a teenager with no professional background can shoot videos from their bedroom and post them to YouTube to a bigger and more engaged audience than any company targeting young audiences. They speak the same language as the community and present an authenticity that we trust.
Team members from a local athletics store give genuine reviews of the latest sneaker releases and upload them to YouTube.
Finally, remember that the best marketers today are ever mindful of their audience’s needs and problems and seek to create campaigns that are direct, honest and authentic.