Welcome back in a young and promising 2018! May it bring us lots of inspiring new ideas, trends and opportunities!
„The only thing that is constant is change,“ was said by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus and holds very much true for Marketing. The current environment is in a state of flow and several new trends are evolving and will further crystallise in the near future. I have summarised 10 of them which I consider significant. Either because they are new or because they have gotten very important over time. To make it more digestible I split my post in part 1 and part 2.
10 years ago, being online meant you have a website and an Email address. As long as your website was up-to-date and all emails answered you were fine. Today, companies use a significant number of different channels to reach their audience including offline and online. Social media channels allow you to not only act on your customers but to receive feedback. You can constantly follow your clicks, likes and shares in order to find out what’s working and was isn’t. Channel management is an important task and many companies will make a significant effort to professionalise theirs. What’s making the task challenging is that the social media channels are constantly refining themselves as well. Did you know you can have group chats in the facebook messenger? And that the same tool allows you to send and receive money and to make free phone calls? You can even send videos or files and create a shared Spotify playlist!
Channel management has become a demanding task with dedicated tools. It’s an iterative process of learning and adjusting. And it will continue to develop further.
Return on Marketing Investment
If you invest money in a campaign you want to know the effect your investment had, whether it’s a direct financial impact but also not directly financial such as more traffic on your site, more likes on context or more conversions to your online store. So far, metrics were available and could by analysed by dedicated tools. But the analyses were focusing either on the online or the offline world.
Today, Google offers metrics to store visit conversion. Meaning if you run a Google AdWords campaign you can find out how many people did enter your physical store because they saw your ad. This allows to make a fairly precise judgement on the return you get in the physical store for your Marketing investment you made online. Gone are the days where your CFO used to say: half of our Marketing expenses should be saved – the question is which half… . For the time being, this service is limited to certain industries and locations. And I bet my house there is a huge growth potential in this area.
It’s not new that big companies manage their social context in a professional manner. That’s what’s called Corporate Social Responsibility and to me personally it sometimes comes across like an excuse for all the bad things that happen in the hidden corners of the multinationals. What’s new is that young and recently founded companies have the social aspect embedded in their business models from the beginning. For example, the U.S. based outdoor company Cotopaxi links each of their products to a social cause (find their website here). When you buy an item you know you are helping to solve a specific issue of the very poor on this planet, e.g. in the field of health, education or livelihood. That’s positive along the whole value chain: the company, its vendors and also the customers.
You surely know this situation. In order to get to customer support you need to call a number. An automated telephone system asks you standard questions. You have to reply by pressing a number. This can go on for 5 and more times – it’s so painful!
But there’s hope: chat is the new solution. Chat is very well accepted with customers and is preferred vs email. And did you know people spend more time in messaging apps than in social networks? So that’s where you can find your customers!
A ChatBot is the solution. Want to know what this is? It’s a virtual service that you interact with driven by a software. For example, if you are looking for a specific item on a website you do not have to screen the full website for it. Instead, tell the bot and it will help you finding it. It’s much like entering a store and describing to the shop assistant what you are looking for. If you want to hear how buying a pair of shoes in a Facebook messenger bot works, click here and you’ll hear it from David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook. Possibilities where to use these bots are endless, whether it’s to organise a calendar, shop for groceries of the week or get the latest weather forecast.
Marketing via messenger service providers is fairly new. There are about 10 providers active worldwide and the lion’s portion is in the claws of WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and Snapchat. In Asia, Line and WeChat are very important too. To give you an idea of the size of the pie: Facebook messenger is used by more than 1.3 billion people monthly. The services are used to inform customers on brand news, the latest products, special offers and to answer specific questions concerning the services or products. Due to the fact that messaging is one-to-one communication and not one-to-many communication like the social media, it is perceived a lot more personal and trustworthy. What else? Messenger Marketing is attractive for a number of reasons:
- The direct personal interaction generates customer loyalty
- The chats generate high quality traffic and interaction
- The selected targeted audience is likely to buy the products resulting in sales increases
- Customers perceive the brand as innovative and modern by going with the latest trend
- Messages can be shared and thereby further increase reach and ultimately sales
- And Messenger Marketing is not only for the youngsters. Particularly oldies like me who will soon or have already crossed the 40s line can be reached via WhatsApp.
To be a bit more specific, what could you use the Facebook messenger for as a Marketer? You could deliver substantial content, engage participants during an event or provide speedy customer support. And there are more. Click here to dig into the details.
What do you think the future of Marketing looks like? Happy to hear from you!