As technology continues to change the way people consume information, the tactics marketers use to reach their targeted demographics are also changing. Whereas print ads, television commercials, direct mailers and billboards once filled marketers’ toolboxes, the Internet has shifted the focus to the digital realm.
While tried and tested tools are still important, today’s savvy marketers are sharpening their digital skills to reach out across new platforms in ways that are often quite different than those employed in the past. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 74.8% of all American households had Internet access in 2012. Smartphone use also is growing as more people use portable devices to consume information at home and on the go.
Trends Worth Watching
Marketers are responding to the digital shift by formulating new tactics that better enable them to reach people where they are. As they do, paradigms are shifting to enable marketers to more effectively connect with people through web searches, websites and via social media channels. The transition has given rise to a number of interesting trends worth following and, in some cases, adopting to better serve clients. They include:
- Tactical marketing – Marketing campaigns in days gone by were often difficult to measure in regard to value. Tracking the effectiveness of print ads, for example, could be next to impossible. In today’s digital world, metrics are quite easy to track, and marketers are shifting their focus to move the needle on those metrics by creating tactics meant to specifically do just that. Campaigns can be launched, for example, specifically to lead to conversions and tracking can be put in place to follow results.
- Less campaigning, more action – Big companies are shifting their attentions away from traditional advertising to more customer satisfaction-based marketing tactics. CVS, for example, is focusing its marketing team’s attention on customer experience and retention. Rather than focus on prospects first, companies are shifting to a customer-first approach, author Stan Phelps wrote in a piece for Forbes magazine. The idea is to please current customers so they bring new ones through the door.
- Social media reigns supreme – Social media marketing is the most widely used form of content promotion with an estimated 87% of B2B content marketers using these channels. Direct posting of content on websites runs a close second at 81%, according to Business 2 Community.
- Driving sales remains a top priority for content – Content marketers say their No. 1 priority remains driving sales or leads, but engaging customers runs a close second.
- Content curation is growing in popularity – As the glut of information on the Internet continues to grow, the focus is turning toward aggregation and curation. The idea is to become the go-to source for information on a particular topic, Business Insider reports.
- Video works – If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 10,000. Shama Kabani Hyder, author of “The Zen of Social Media Marketing,” points out that people are more likely to finish a lengthy video online than read to the end of an article.
- Interest targeting matters – Content marketers are focusing more on well-defined personas, targeting audiences with pieces tailored to engage and inspire social media sharing among a specific demographic.
As people spend more time working, playing and engaging in the digital world, marketing trends are developing to captivate, engage and inspire potential customers in ways that go beyond traditional advertising. While driving sales remains the highest priority of marketing campaigns, engaging audiences and improving customer experience is also becoming a hot prospect.