They say only change is constent & when it comes to marketing even what you thought was the right blend of channels & propositions last year will be very different in 2012.
New opportunities pop up all the time but only those that start to gain some customer momentum become worth considering – having critical mass or ‘having more than half doing the same thing’ is what we used to say when stealing theories from quantum physics was the trend.
Here are a few marketing electrons that are starting to vibrate together & heading towards that critical 51%;
Not a new channel but the change has been in how businesses approach the content.
The ‘sales’ blog is starting to be overtaken by the ‘connection’ blog i.e. the thoughts & views of a business rather than a product list.
Generating followers, word- of- mouth & referrals are still the objectives but the method is much more focussed on advice, tips & personal but expert thoughts.
Brand Clans, Tribes & Troupes
I find the newer definitions always seem to evoke scenes from great war films – ‘Zulus to the south west. Thousands of them’, ‘but they’ll never take our freedom!’ that sort of thing!
I prefer the idea of creating loyal brand ambassadors or advocates. This again isn’t a new theme but the ease of which followers can discuss & share a brand with friends as ‘someone who thinks the way you do’ is increasingly easy.
Stay clear of corporate & sales speak but much like the ‘connection’ blog, express your opinions, views & even how your business has handled problems or issues.
Consider involving your ambassadors in research & ask for feedback.
Above all be genuine
Gartner et al have been predicting the magic 50% penetration for Smartphones for years & it looks as if we are nearly there. New, cheaper Smartphones from the likes of Nokia will only boost this figure & data from PayPal last year showed a big jump in online transactions from mobiles.
The solution is simple – make sure you can be found, easily read & if appropriate bought on a Smartphone.
This is an extension of the blogging theme. PR is a great cost effective marketing solution but make sure the focus is on the benefits to your brand ambassadors.
A well known FMCG giant summarizes this under 5 headings;
The issue with having a Facebook page or running a Twitter site has always been that to do it well required external investment in web developers.
New, off the shelf applications are making this much easier to handle in-house.
The watch out is have a plan & commit resources to regular updates. Nothing worse than a social strategy that isn’t being social!
Sounds obvious but all too often we shy away from sharing ‘our business’ with anyone else.
However forming a partnership with a complimentary business can help broaden your appeal & is a cost effective solution as you can pool resource & experience.
There is safety in numbers in today’s economy!
Talking of the economy proving marketing value just got a lot more important – again!
Budgets will be cut & your brand ambassadors will spend less, so make sure those slightly more intangible channels that I’ve just highlighted such as PR or social are well measured
Set out your targets & be clear what you are expecting – today’s marketing channels have never been easier to measure!
In bound marketing = great content
This is the key theme for me.
Virtually all of the above are worthless if you haven’t created something of quality, relevant to your brand ambassadors that is worth sharing.
All the share this, forward to, re-tweet, +1 buttons in the world won’t help unless you have something of value to say & some expertise to share.
Remember when you would walk into a shop & get talking to the owner about the latest thing or ask for advice on how to do something.
That in my view is what businesses need to create online.