2015 will be a big year for marketing – one of understanding and engagement. As we kick off the New Year, it’s imperative that we truly understand our audiences and use that knowledge to connect and engage with them.
To keep up in 2015, take a look at the top 10 trends you’ll want to consider as the year unfolds:
1. Content to Conversation
Content is conversation that creates community – and that fuels business sustainability. It’s no surprise that many businesses have built a strong foundation by incorporating meaningful and interesting content. One of the most important trends for this year is taking substantive content and creating a meaningful conversation, which, in turn, will lead to high levels of engagement.
2. Influencers are Critical
Influencers are more important than ever as social media continues to evolve. As more brands explore social media, businesses must nurture the ambassadors already in their corner and empower them to carry their brand’s message forward.
3. Understand the “Experience Economy”
Few companies sell just products anymore. The companies that do are the big guys: Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and supermarket chains. Consumers go to those stores to buy things they need at low prices. It’s that simple – and hard to compete against. But, those that do compete are companies that promote experiences. For example, Vineyard Vines doesn’t sell T-shirts; it sells a lifestyle. Tiffany’s isn’t selling diamonds; it’s selling a look. Can you create an experience that sells?
4. Social Media Evolution
We continue to see more options than ever before with social media. Stay current by evaluating which platforms and formats are best for your brand. You’ll want to use social channels that hit your target markets and best align with your message.
5. Align Your Values
It’s time to ask yourself what you value as an organization and make sure those values are reflected in your messaging. Companies that do not adhere to the basic standards of respect, courtesy and cooperation within their organizations can create a toxic environment that spreads beyond its own walls into the marketplace. This also involves building loyalty and trust both internally and externally with coworkers, customers, vendors and anyone else who comes within your sphere of operations.
6. Think “Ecosystem”
All of your marketing efforts should work together — each supporting the other and all feeding off the conversations mentioned earlier. The goal is to get all marketing channels in sync to create a balanced and flourishing brand environment.
7. Focus on the Long-Term
A focus on the long-term is essential as effective marketing most often is a process of evolution, not a “big bang.” Decisions you make today may not show results until later, but good decisions are worth the patience and time it takes to bear fruit.
8. Communicate Visually
Looks matter. A powerful visual brand identity is central to a lasting first impression. Consumers pay attention to logos, colors and other visual aspects, whether they realize it or not, and what they see in the first few seconds can permanently shape how they perceive your organization.
9. PR is Stronger than Ever
PR is back. For a minute, it looked like diminished newspaper readership and the availability of social media had the potential to displace good ol’ earned media. But, it’s hard to deny the credibility of a strong third-party. Ensure that the story they tell is the right one by preparing your messaging strategy ahead of time and staying on top of your outreach efforts throughout the campaign.
10. Remember: Marketing is an Investment.
It’s not just something that falls in the expense column and it’s certainly not a luxury. It’s a process that involves cooperation from all of your stakeholders. But it’s worth it. Don’t wait to make that investment in your company and its future.