Monday January 9, 2017
The Top Marketing Trends of 2016
Like it or not, we’re in a digital age where businesses have no choice but to engage with customers online. While there is an endless list of ways to captivate an online audience, there are a few strategies that stood out in 2016. In a survey conducted at the beginning of 2016 by Smart Insights, digital marketing professionals exposed the marketing trends that they see as most important in today’s digital age. The top three:
- Content marketing
- Big data
- Marketing Automation
If you are unfamiliar with any of these strategies, we're here to help you out.
Content marketing can be characterized as content that people want to consume. Content marketing is about more than just telling a consumer to buy your product and hoping they do so. It’s producing relevant, two-way conversations with your target audience, while educating them on your industry, products, culture, etc. There are many different channels to consider when planning your content marketing strategy, such as blogging, podcasts, video, social media, and email just to name a few. Using various digital mediums to promote your product offerings, brochures, and video content will ultimately hook consumers and push them further down the sales funnel. Just be sure to have some tools in place, such as marketing automation and lead capture forms, to capture data on prospects requesting information.
If you’re new to content marketing, it’s important that you document your strategy and get your entire team and company involved. Here are some tips to get you started.
What exactly is “big data”? Well, big data is a term that, believe it or not, describes a huge set of data. The data is analyzed to show patterns and trends. This data comes from virtually every digital process happening on the internet at all times (including your content marketing!). To process this data, it is important to work with a team that has strong skills and capabilities to analyze and automate this data. The value of the data has a lot to do with the people (or technologies) working to understand exactly what it means and how it can inform important marketing decisions and operations. While there is software available to do some of the analysis, it can make a significant difference to work with a data scientist who can give you the most in-depth analysis and the best recommendations.
Another important factor to consider when thinking about big data is data visualization. Look for a company, like AVALA, who isn’t going to just tell you about the results. Look for someone who can write it out for you, make charts, graphs, and illustrations to help you understand exactly what the data means. It will help you make the best and most informed decision for your business.
As companies grow, it becomes more and more difficult to keep up with every single prospect in your database. Constantly calling and emailing prospects and managing customer relationships becomes physically impossible to manage. This is exactly where marketing automation comes in. Marketing automation technology steps in to segment and monitor your database, automate email campaigns, and measure the customer experience (CX), just to name a few. And technologies, such as Aimbase®, allow you to automatically manage the pre-and post-sale phases of the customer lifecycle with both the marketing and CX engines of the platform.
One problem some people see with marketing automation is that it is, well, automated, and not personal. The good news is that with marketing automation, it is actually easier than ever before to send personalized communications. It is possible to tailor your content to specific groups you hope to target and make the content you communicate to this audience stronger.
So, what now?
How do you implement these practices into your day-to-day marketing efforts?
For content marketing, be sure to create a content calendar. Create an interesting mix of content -- some content can be whitepapers or case studies, others can be blog posts about industry trends, or try the biggest new trend, live video streaming.
In terms of big data, the best place to start is with an evaluation of where you stand. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. AVALA can evaluate your current market and online presence easily and effectively. We then break down the data and make strategic recommendations based on your objectives.
As far as marketing automation goes, there are a limitless amount of options available. AVALA’s Aimbase technology reigns supreme and is worth checking out. Aimbase uses two different engines: the Marketing Engine helps with pre-sale marketing initiatives like content marketing and lead nurturing. The second engine is the Customer Experience Engine, which helps with the post-sale marketing efforts, which is a key feature in creating lasting and strong relationships with customers.
Our prediction is that these trends will carry over into 2017 and beyond, so if you haven’t already, create a plan to start taking advantage of these strategies and technologies. For more information, feel free to contact us, download any of our free whitepapers, or schedule an Aimbase Marketing Automation demo.