Digital marketing today is all about a combination of creativity and analytical approach to execute successful campaigns in keeping with the trends of the digital age. I’m writing this after having read a ton of stuff, doing loads of research and trying and testing a lot of the channels that you will read ahead. Remember, we are all novices here and digital marketing is still evolving so there will always be room for improvement. However, if you want to excel at it, here are some digital marketing trends I think every marketer should know.
Search will go beyond Google
Previously, users could find what they wanted on Google. However lately, people seem to search for stuff on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. This is one space brands really need to focus on creating and maintaining a presence. The success of a business (especially online) largely depends on how quickly the brand is found on different search platforms.
Instagram works – if you work it right!
I’ve noticed that after a handful of Instagram success stories in Kuwait, companies have started selling directly on their feeds. Guys, people want interesting, thought-provoking and cool content. They don’t want to be sold to. Think of how you try to avoid annoying tele-marketers and you will make sense of what I’m saying. Instead, use Instagram advertising skillfully to showcase your ad to an audience that is within your target group and target them using the fantastic demographic tools that Instagram (Facebook’s) Power Editor gives you. The key is to try and test various combinations, gauge the engagement and then go from there. Whatever you do, don’t clutter your followers’ feeds with an overkill of advertising.
Snapchat = ads with an expiry date
Kuwait is being swarmed with Snapchat users creating their own stories and catching up on the stories of their friends and the brands they love. This is a great platform for brands with time sensitive content to market themselves audio-visually. Ideas like a photo contest with an expiry aimed at the younger generation, or a spot the logos in a series of snaps are a great way of educating customers about your brand and getting them to participate in an interactive experience.
Live streaming audiences are waiting
With apps like Periscope and Meerkat, brands can now broadcast themselves live. Periscope which is slowly but steadily gaining popularity in Kuwait is a great way for brands to do live product launches, live events, celebrity coverage at their retail stores or even promoting company work culture to increase brand equity. Another great way to showcase your potential as a world class brand – if you have a proper content strategy and know how to woo your potential audiences and for your customers to be a part of the brand experience.
Brands promoting consumer advocacy will eventually win
Modern media especially social, is all about advocacy. Unlike the old days where people trusted celebrities endorsements, consumers of today are a lot smarter and marketing savvy. Instead of brands focusing on celebrity brand ambassadors, they should focus on getting their users to propagate the advantages of the product. What better validation of a product than an endorsement from someone in your own social network; someone you know and trust as opposed to some celebrity who is paid to say positive things about a product?
Transition from multi-channel to omni-channel
While most brands today have multi-channel marketing efforts, not many understand the importance of an omni-channel one. What’s the difference? A multi-channel approach is simply that – multiple marketing touch-points for customers to experience a product or service. An omni-channel experience however delivers a seamless experience to customers across various touch-points that are all connected. One example would be if a customer is doing a transaction on his mobile phone and abandons it half way and decides to go to a brick and mortar store to continue his transaction, the backend needs to have the ability to pick up right where the customer left off, to offer an omni-channel customer experience.
The world is getting more inclusive and all these technologies will revolutionize the digital age and create exciting opportunities for both consumers and marketers. In the end, online, social, digital – whatever you want to call it, depends on “vitality”. I’m not even sure that is a word but you get the picture. Success will depend on a brand’s ability to create, curate and disseminate potentially viral content.
Companies need to create user-centric platforms that allow users to be a part of the experience, not just seeing it on their feed or in their networks. In other words bring your users and potential customers closer to your brand – and see what you can do with them once they are totally hooked!
Barry Rodrigues is Head of Marketing & Product Development at Future Communications and an associate advisor with the International Advisors Group in Kuwait. Barry also provides pro-bono consulting services for small businesses to help them achieve their marketing objectives. For comments, please email Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org.