10 Important Marketing Trends to Consider

marketing-trends

Have you noticed that there are hundreds of blogs, social pages, templates, strategies, and advice about marketing trends all over the Internet?  Much of the information is full of everything you could imagine, complete with mind-twisting jargon and eye-twitching strategies.  It’s hard to know where to start and what to pay attention to.

There’s no denying that we’ve transitioned into a consumer-driven economy, with demands for connection, transparency, and quality stronger than ever.  It wasn’t like this in the past.  Nobody ever asked us for reviews or feedback about products.  There were no rewards programs, referral gifts, and discounts (except on special holidays).  Now, marketing trends tell us that’s exactly what drives a business.

Buyers demand more from their brands, and there’s so much competition out there that if you don’t meet those demands, you’ll be eating the dust from the heels of your competitors.

A Bit of Marketing History

Before we get to the marketing trends, let’s review the definition of the term.  The American Marketing Association defines marketing as, “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Marketing includes branding (identity, awareness, and loyalty), communications, public relations, and event coordination.  As you can imagine, there are thousands of ways to market a business.  With the advent of higher technologies, marketing trends got harder to keep up with.

Long gone are the days where you could force your brand into the minds of your consumers through one of the major marketing channels:

  1. Print (est. 1839)
  2. Billboards (est. 1867)
  3. Radio (est., 1922)
  4. TV (est. 1941)
  5. Telemarketing (est. 1950s)

That’s not to say there weren’t any channels before 1839.  In fact, research shows several examples of marketing in history:

  1. Market towns sprang up in the Middle Ages (5th-15th century, but especially in the 12th), where people carted and sold their wares and produce. Some historians believe this was the origin of the term, “marketing.”
  2. In the 1390’s, Jakob Fugger was a German merchant who traveled the nation to gather information and report on the international textile industry trade.
  3. Branding and marketing are in antiquity as well. A fish sauce manufacturer from Pompeii in 35 B.C. designed a logo and plastered it around the city and his home, where he entertained national and international guests. His sauce was the most popular item in the Mediterranean and reached as far as France.

Here’s another interesting bit of history:  The first telegraph ad was for hardware in 1864.  This was the first recorded use of Spam to describe unsolicited advertisements.

In today’s age, you have more than 100 marketing channels and a distracted audience, and that means you’ll need to include a mix of traditional and digital efforts.

To do this, you’ll want to stay on top of the marketing trends that are popping up with blinding regularity.  Here are 10 marketing trends that we gathered through combing blogs, reading historical and modern marketing books, and taking part in discussions with industry leaders.

#1:  Mobile is dominant

Intelligent devices – wearables, tablets, smartphones, glasses, and others – have and will continue to shape the world, especially marketing, where consumers demand a more personalized relationship with brands.

#2:  Content is currency

Educational and entertaining content is the key to online engagement.  Writing your own copy is one thing (and not recommended), but designing and writing a promotional video or advertisement for Spotify is another.  Creating a good user experience is also a part of content, and don’t get us started on virtual reality and HoloLens mixed reality technology.  Content is everything from messaging to web design to market research and social presence.

#3:  Social networks have an ecosystem that rival the entire Internet

We thought the Internet was big, but none of us expected the colossal power of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Snapchat.  They are quickly turning into the channel for marketing.

#4:  Transparency is at the base of all consumer needs

Customers want to be engaged, entertained, and delighted, but they refuse to sacrifice quality and customer service. If you have a poor product, murky communications, or shoddy services, you won’t last long in this era.  Businesses who’ve chosen to stay with traditional methods of communications are failing because they refuse to embrace transparency. You read about these companies in the news every few months. Further, companies that take responsibility for their mistakes (“flawsome” folks) are rewarded with loyal advocates.

#5:  Big brands are adapting to customer-led marketing

A solid brand and culture connects you to your audience in an emotional way, allowing you to collaborate with them, rather than just sell to them.  Customers feel appreciated and rewarded when a company listens to their needs and responds appropriately.  Reviews and satisfaction ratings dominate marketing, so having them help you develop a worthy product/service will lead to successful growth.

#6:  Brands focus heavily on GenZ

These post-millennial folks are going to be much more demanding than the generations before them.  They’ll demand your story.  Why are you in business? And if it’s solely for profit or obviously fake, they will turn on you in a heartbeat.  It’s time to be real.

#7:  User-generated content is a powerful tool

User-generated content (UC) – reviews, testimonials, and social sharing – has surpassed branded content.  UC is the life of your brand, so make sure you’re creating a positive experience in the minds of your customers.

#8:  Product companies are seeing the most disruption in marketing

Products thrive in this new economy because it revolves around innovative futuristic thinking.  Product developers are asking “what if” questions to consumers and listening to their responses, developing a product that is exactly what they wanted. The people who think “how will this product look in the future?” have more ground-breaking developments than anyone else.  Think Google, Coca-Cola, and Amazon.  These CEO’s thought ahead of their time, predicted a need, and created the solution.

#9:  Tech wizards are honing tracking and measuring tools

Currently, most people focus on “vanity” metrics like impressions, shares, likes, and engagement on websites and social pages, but that can rarely be linked to a positive return on investment (ROI).  Tech wizards are developing analytical tools that help us mine the detailed and sophisticated data to accurately track ROI and better understand the target audience in terms of cultural and emotional values.

#10:  Data-driven disruptive marketing is different from data-driven interruptive marketing

It’s important to know the difference.  Disruptive and inbound marketing are focused on building relationships with your customers, while interruptive marketing is the old-school “push” method that no longer appeals to the masses.  Disruptive marketers know how to use content to build trust and entertain the audience without interrupting their daily flow.

 

Welcome to the new era of business and marketing. It’s disruptive and magnificent!  If you have some free time (hilarious, right?), you should check out the book, “Disruptive Marketing” by Geoffrey Colon. He gives us a new perspective, and his social conversations and insights are compelling.

We’re all being pushed out of our comfort zones to embrace the rapid-fire changes in our culture and development as a species.  Let’s use our skills to usher in reliable and trustworthy business ethics with disruptive marketing that focuses on building relationships with your customers, partners, employees, and community.

Ask the Marketing Experts! Do you have a question about these trends, or did you get an idea you want to brainstorm?

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Hiring a Marketing Director or Team? – Here’s what you need to know

Hire a Marketing Team

By now, you’ve probably realized how essential good marketing is to your business’ success. You understand that our world has shifted into a digital age where everything is much louder and more chaotic than ever before.

You’re probably also aware that you can’t do everything on your own.  Running a business is hard enough without trying to find ways to engage a distracted audience.  So, the questions start to stir the Spirit:

  1. Do I hire an in-house marketing director or outsource my needs?
  2. Will I need to spend a lot of time managing the projects?
  3. Can a marketing director do everything I need, like website changes, SEO, social media, e-mail marketing, and mail promotions?
  4. If I hire a team instead, how do I know they’re reliable and honest?

First, it’s important to understand what to expect from a marketing team.

What to Expect from A Marketing Team

A full-service marketing team comes with a marketing director, who is on the frontlines of innovative methods and technology in their field.  Or, at least, they should be.

Every business owner needs the same things from their marketing team: availability, reliability, expertise, honesty, and efficiency.

I won’t bog you down with industry jargon, so here’s the gist of what to expect.  Your marketing team should:

  • Have at least one marketing director, project manager, designer (print and digital), coder, writer, and IT support.
  • Have a complete understanding of your target audience (learned through research).
  • Provide a thorough analysis and regular review of your competition.
  • Develop and moderate a marketing strategy that fosters growth.
  • Create a steady flow of new opportunities for lead generation.
  • Have smooth workflows for implementing and managing the strategy.
  • Be able to adequately and reliably communicate efforts, roadblocks, and budget.

What Your Marketing Team Expects from You

The most beneficial thing you can for your business is to hire the right team, and then get out of their way.

Business owners who spend too much time trying to manage the marketing projects end up doing their business more harm than good. You could end up spending thousands more on a project because you wouldn’t follow the advice of your director/team.

Here are a few other things your marketing team expects from you:

  1. A contact person. This person will make purchasing and design/branding decisions in a timely manner.
  2. Adequate resources – Time is money. The more organized the marketing director, the more efficient the team; however, never underestimate the time it takes to brainstorm, plan, and perfect the projects.  You’re not just buying production or the end-product; you’re buying your entire team’s time and dedication.  This is a piece of the Value puzzle.
  3. Remember, you’re not the customer. This is vital for survival.  We all look at things through personal lenses.  Often, business owners create content, specials, services, etc. based on what he or she likes, or think will work.  This can be fatal to success. It’s your marketing director’s job to approach campaigns and design from a user’s perspective.

Advice for Finding Your Marketing Team

As a print and digital marketing agency, we’ve been through the painstaking process of finding the right cast and crew.

Here’s what you need to consider when hiring a marketing team:

  • Research the role of a marketing department or team. It will put things into perspective and prepare you for the conversation.
  • Look at the potential marketing team’s portfolio or case studies. Are they specialized in a specific type of marketing, or are they broad?  How’s the quality?
  • How are their reviews and testimonials? If they don’t have any, is it because their work speaks for itself or because they look under-developed?
  • Test the customer service and response time by filling out a contact form. Ask a lot of questions.  How thorough are the responses?
  • Read their website and social media pages. Do they strike you as trustworthy, reliable, and honest? Do they offer to meet you in person?  Can you see yourself working with them for a long time?

Want to know about our show?

We’re the Master of Ceremonies for our clients.  Our sole purpose is to help businesses generate more leads by engaging, entertaining, and delighting your audience.  This will always include projects that align with the client’s goals and the audience’s needs.

Here’s what you get with the Your Imprint Print and Digital Marketing Team:

  • Our Marketing Director is exceptionally skilled in organization and business communications. She’s the strategy queen, keeping clients updated and crew on their game.
  • Our Art Director brings a Creative’s vision to systematic business approaches. He’s the King of branding and is responsible for upholding the client’s values while meeting the expectations of their customers.
  • Our Writer is all kinds of magical. She can translate goals into emotionally-evocative messages for a targeted or broad audience.
  • The Bouncer. He deserves the dramatic announcement of his made-up title.  The Bouncer keeps an eye on the comfort and safety of the cast, crew, and audience.  Really, he’s IT support since we live neck-deep in tech.

We’re always moving. Our minds are constantly finding fresh, innovative ways to reach different audiences.

Businesses with smaller budgets often get set on the backburner of big marketing or advertising companies.  We find that atrocious; therefore, we invite you to the VIP section of the Your Imprint show.  It’s a circus, but a well-organized and humane one (we use stuffies; the dogs love it).

So, Let’s Start the Show!  Get a Quote

Be Festive with Online Marketing to Stand Out

Online Marketing or Traditional Marketing

[vc_row][vc_column][mk_fancy_title color=”#990000″ size=”55″ font_weight=”600″ margin_bottom=”0″ font_family=”Spicy+Rice” font_type=”google”]Be Festive With Your Online Marketing to Stand Out

[/mk_fancy_title][vc_column_text]November 1 often means sugar-filled children with belly aches, parents tired from the previous night’s trick-or-treat shenanigans, and a sudden thought, “Wow, Thanksgiving is almost here.”

This year, the holiday season is on the forefront of people’s minds. Instagram users popularized the hashtag #nevertooearly, and began posting pictures of their Christmas trees. Stores started rolling out holiday supplies, and governments began glittering their town with lights.

Don’t leave the holiday sparkle at home; embrace it with your business too. In the past, the cost of traditional marketing meant only large businesses with even larger budgets could show off their holiday cheer. With online marketing, you can too! The holiday season only enhances the opportunities digital marketing brings.

Here are four ways online marketing stands out from traditional marketing during the holidays:

online-marketing-vs-traditionalFocus on the online marketing audience

With online marketing, you have the potential to reach more interested groups than you do with traditional marketing.

Social media, search engine optimization, and the other tools we’ve discussed on our website allow you to target the groups of people who are interested in your message. Additionally, analytics features help you track the effectiveness of such messages. You can adapt quickly to suit your needs.

Traditional media does not provide marketers with the same in-depth analytics that new media provides.

Your personal voice shines on digital media

Unlike traditional marketing, in which audience members passively accept information, digital marketing gives audience members a way to interact with you. The holidays are all about building family bonds, and online marketing allows you to do so effectively.

According to a report shared by Statisa, 81 percent of Americans have a social media channel. Meet your audience where they are. Make them feel heard by introducing polls, replying to their comments, or sharing their content on your pages or website.

Users value thoughtfulness over perfection with online marketing

People say you meet your true love when circumstances and timing meet. I say that’s true for digital marketing too! The Internet is the perfect place for honesty, and the New Year is the perfect time.

In the age of authenticity, your customers want to understand your company’s internal values. Consumers do not want sugarcoated messages; instead, they desire to see thoughtful principles in action.

Does your business have upcoming goals for the New Year? Perhaps your company is using the end of 2017 to reflect on your accomplishments. Share your insights and the lessons you have learned with your audience in a blog post, a short video, or an email newsletter.

You can produce more quality content without breaking the bank

Digital media allows amateurs to produce different types of content with quality and affordability.

Producing a TV slot, running a print ad, and buying billboard space isn’t the holiday bundle that many businesses can afford. With digital media, you can create and publish similar types of marketing content. For instance:

  • Did you decorate your office? Take a photo with good lighting, and share it on your social media.
  • Did you have carolers visit your office? Consider taking a video of the special moment. Here are a few tips to take quality videos with your smartphone.
  • Would your products make good gifts? Write a blog post or send out an email as a gift guide.

You get the idea: get creative with different types of media. The holiday season offers so many different topics, so jump in!

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, this winter season is one meant for good cheer. As you finish 2017 and begin 2018, this is the perfect time to share that feeling with your audience.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner css=”.vc_custom_1510873875136{background-color: #643693 !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][mk_padding_divider][vc_column_text]

Unsure how to begin or need help developing content?

Our family-feel marketing team is warm and experienced, and we are happy to assist you in developing a holiday online marketing strategy for the rest of this (or the next!) holiday season.

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