People expect products and services and they expect them now. (Blame Amazon, the Internet, Skype.) It has to be fast (be fast or be last), it has to be easy to use, it has to be uniquely priced. But—more than anything—marketers need to find ways to stand out in an overly saturated market through creating a personalized customer/user experience. How?
Here are innovative digital marketing initiatives we predict will grow in popularity in 2018:
Personalized content: Digital marketers are already engaging with customers through online content; but in 2018, those who want to stay ahead of the competition will learn to tailor digital messages based on who their customers are, what they want, and why they want it—a deeper understanding of individual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. When people don’t feel like “just another sale,” they’re more likely to develop brand loyalty and come back. Without relationships, they won’t give the content a second glance.
Professional video: Video marketing is no longer just for big brands with big budgets. With the availability of affordable editing software, the playing field is level for everyone, bringing stories to life through the combination of audio, visual, and dialogue. When compared to a blog post, a professional video can get three times more views. In 2018, mobile video consumption is expected to grow by 25 percent.
Authenticity in marketing: People crave mutual respect, honesty, and trust. Millennials, in particular, are more likely to support a company or service if their values align. Show customers that you know—and that you care. If you mess up, own up. Digital marketers will see a spike in authentic messages.
Conversational SEO: This is like traditional search engine optimization, with keywords still having value, but will include long-tail terms including conversational elements. Examples of conversational SEO can be found here.
Influencer marketing: According to Inc.com, 84 percent of marketers planned on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign last year. Influencer-marketing can help you gain credibility, develop trust, and tell about something real. (It’s ok if cracks and imperfections are part of the story, this goes back to authenticity in marketing.) Local and national celebrities can serve as influencers, but so can customers they’re already out there, supporting the brand and believing in what you do.
Privacy protection: Data breaches—from major national credit bureau Equifax to Target—have affected millions of people in recent years. Hackers stole highly sensitive information (social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers), making the entire world concerned with the threat of cyber security. As of this May, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed by the European Union, goes into effect, how digital marketers protect data will have to change. (Everyone who handles personal data will have to comply with this law.) What does this mean? For one, no more purchasing email addresses without risks. For another, audience targeting strategies will need to be replaced by contextual targeting strategies.
Artificial intelligence: In marketing, AI—once thought of as a sci-fi concept–can actually make a good thing better, empowering marketers to focus on what messages an audience should see. AI has the capacity to cull through copious amounts of data for strategic, customized marketing based on analytics, targeted marketing, and a better customer experience. Customers have a better understanding of a product and marketers have a better understanding of consumers. AI is the link between the two.
Voice-optimized content marketing: From Siri to Cortana, Alexa, Echo, and Google Home, the way people are searching for information is changing. Last year, 20 percent of online searches were conducted through a voice search, and by 2020, that number is expected to rise to 50 percent. With the rise in voice-searches, there’s no doubt that voice-first marketing is on the horizon.
Gear up for evolving digital marketing initiatives in 2018 by assessing your current strategy.