Relying on marketing practices you know inside out can be comforting and predictable. You’re almost sure you’ll get results and prove your campaign’s value to the higher-ups. But when it comes to marketing, consumers rule. Their waning attention spans and the technology and content they respond to drive emerging marketing tactics and trends.
Some trends can fizzle out fast. However, business leaders must continually adapt and update their approaches to advertising and consumer outreach. That’s because changes in an audience’s buying behaviors, preferences and values can quickly make the methods marketers use irrelevant. Staying on top of new developments can lead to more effective campaigns and improved outcomes. Here are four marketing trends that are on the horizon and why they’re worth paying attention to.
1. Influencers Are Becoming Established Brand Ambassadors
Say you see an online ad for a brand-new car. It’s from a company you haven’t heard of before. Plus, it’s an electric vehicle. You’re curious about the technology and the brand, but you aren’t sure you can trust either. So you dismiss the ad and decide to stick with the vehicle that’s sitting in your garage.
Later in the week, a friend starts raving about their new car—the same one you saw in the online ad. They praise its drivetrain, slick acceleration and comfortable interior. Your friend also says it was easy to convert to electric because the company installed a home charging station. Based on your friend’s intel, you’re now convinced to give this wonder car a try. That’s the power of word-of-mouth advertising.
Influencers leverage this impact by promoting a company’s brands and products to audiences who already trust them. It’s a growth marketing strategy that can boost brand awareness and bring in new leads. Although influencer marketing isn’t a fresh idea, companies are becoming more strategic about it. Brands are forming lasting relationships with influencers and turning them into brand ambassadors to drive long-term results.
2. Interactive Content Is Giving Static Posts a Run for Their Money
In a crowded content world, it’s becoming more difficult for brands to stand out. Catching someone’s eye isn’t as simple as it once was, as consumer attention spans are declining. With the average now clocking in at around eight seconds, people are even having trouble watching 4-minute videos all the way through. Instead, it’s the shorter 15-second content that’s winning out.
Likewise, static content that doesn’t engage audiences is declining in popularity. Online audiences want to engage with brands through their posts. Instead of simply reading tips, they might want to interact with an infographic or take a quiz. Contests are another example of interactive content companies are experimenting with. Posting these on social media is one way to do this. However, some brands are tying brick-and-mortar and digital experiences together.
For instance, a business with a retail footprint might launch a scavenger hunt. Customers visit local stores to find specific items and take pictures of those products. They post their photos to the brand’s social media page to officially enter the contest. The company gets retail and online traffic and user-generated content to promote.
3. Video Posts Are Increasing on Social Media
Speaking of social media, audiences are becoming bored with traditional posts that show a picture and a bit of caption text with links. They’re more drawn to videos that replicate live experiences. Reels that show someone using products in everyday situations are more effective than still photographs.
Audiences who crave two-way experiences also find live streaming on social platforms more engaging. Broadcasts of events, behind-the-scenes videos and live demonstrations of product launches are a few examples. When audiences see something happening, they’re more likely to feel as though they’re there.
Such content is not just an ad asking them to buy something. Instead, it’s a demonstration of how a brand or product blends with customers’ values and identities. Interactive and live videos do a better job of creating an emotional connection. Consumers can see who represents the brand and learn more about a company’s unique mission or personality. More importantly, they experience what it’s like to become a part of who and what that brand is.
4. AI Is Gathering More Accurate Data
Successful marketers know brilliant campaigns don’t come out of thin air or from gut feelings. Solid creative execution feeds off of data from consumer feedback, surveys and focus groups. However, traditional marketing research methods also come with challenges.
The data can become irrelevant in rapidly changing environments, and biases might influence the structure of questions. Consumers could also feel uncomfortable disclosing the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Fortunately, real-time interactions with chatbots and other forms of AI can reveal insights conventional research misses.
Marketers are beginning to take data from messaging platforms and automated technologies, such as website heatmaps, to guide their strategies. AI is also building buyer personas, helping marketers create personalized content and determining which audiences to target. As first-party, real-time data becomes more accessible and accurate, reliance on third-party and historical research may diminish.
Why These Marketing Trends Matter
Undoubtedly, trends can pop up one day and be gone the next. Still, businesses that want to capture audiences and generate leads must experiment with emerging consumer preferences and discover what works. Developing marketing trends, such as long-term relationships with influencers and AI-gathered data, are starting to shape winning strategies. Integrating these changes into your advertising and outreach campaigns can help you come out ahead.