As we head towards the end of the year, it’s time to start thinking about how the world of marketing has changed over the past twelve months and how it could continue to evolve in the coming months.
2020 feels like the age of technology – it’s not just a new decade but it’s a time to move away from the so-called digital revolution and start to see new systems and processes become more mainstream.
With that in mind, I’ve had a few thoughts on what I think we can expect to become key marketing priorities for 2020.
It’ll be interesting to read this blog back in a years’ time and see how accurate these predictions were!
It’s time to take advantage of voice technology
I firmly believe that this will definitely be a key learning factor for me next year. To date, opportunities to learn more about how marketing professionals can use voice search has been limited, mainly because it’s been difficult to keep up with the changes.
But voice technology is definitely a growing trend. No longer the sole focus of ‘tech geeks’, the prevalence of Google Home, Amazon Echo and Cortana in many homes is helping to show the potential of voice assistants. It is estimated that almost one in five homes have a voice-activated device and I can confirm that they are useful gadgets.
There is something to be said about quickly asking a question as you think it, without the need to pick up a device and in certain instances, it’s definitely preferable (for example when it comes to checking football scores) and brands such as Amazon are starting to include more personality and humour into their recordings. A key example of this is to ask the Alexa “how many sleeps till Christmas” – you’ll be taken to a cheery voice message direct from Santa himself!
For marketing professionals, we need to start thinking about how our written content can be utilised with voice search in mind. This is where we can incorporate questions into our content and factor in answers to common search phrases. Its about anticipating what your customers will need to know and making sure that the information is readily available.
But we still need to make the most of visual content
Whilst voice searches make grow in popularity, we also need to ensure that we don’t neglect visual content. The continual dominance of Instagram and Pinterest shows that at heart, we are still visual creatures.
That’s why blogs are littered with visuals and infographics – it not only breaks up long reams of text, but it provides us with a point of interest and a memorable facet of content. Visual content can also be easily repurposed – if you use a design site such as Canva, you can simultaneously transform your blog graphics into social media output at the touch of a button. In a fast-paced environment, it’s great to have tools which can minimise time and maximise return on investment.
Image search (and having the right alt text attributed to your images) will also be key next year. Over 10 billion image searches are conducted on Google a day, so it’s important that your brand fits in with this, especially if you are a consumer product or creatively-led service.
Video tech will be easier to adapt than ever before
Over the past two years, video implementation has become more important. When was the last time you viewed a website without any form of video content? If you’re perusing a product, you expect to see 360 degree footage of that product or if you want to find out more about a brand, having a 45 second video can tell you much more than trawling through webpages.
The prevalence of video tech has come partly because of how easy it is to use smartphones to create effective corporate videos. With video editing software (such as Movie Maker) installed on iPads as standard, it’s easy to see why companies are starting to jump on board with it. Just a few years ago, videos were thought to cost thousands of pounds for a few minutes of footage.
What’s more, you can use free tools such as Lumen5 to automate videos for you based upon existing content, allowing you to create video footage in moments.
Of course, if you are choosing to invest time and resource into a corporate video, it’s important to think of the strategy behind it. It comes back to my “what, why, how” approach. If you are going to use a video, you need to be clear about what you want it to achieve – for example simply letting it sit on YouTube isn’t going to generate views, you need to actively use it to ensure that it meets its original objectives.
Understanding your audience is the most important thing
For me, personally, my biggest focus will continue to be upon understanding my clients’ audiences. If you don’t understand who you are talking to, then it’s almost impossible to have effective marketing. That’s why generic campaigns will never work – great marketing is about tailoring content and positioning your brand personality at the heart of everything that you do.
Understanding audience insights and behaviour isn’t just about knowing what words to use to get them engaged with your brand. It’s about understanding how they work and what their behaviour might be.
Audiences today are more discerning than ever before. They want to advocate for brands, and they take their consumer choice seriously. No longer do we passively purchase products because of price – instead, audiences do their research not just into the item itself, but also into the business itself. They believe that brands need to reflect their personal beliefs and values which is why we’ve seen the dominance of brand personality in recent years.
Take brands such as Paddy Power and O2; their social media presence is less about promoting products than it is engaging in topical conversations. The result is that audience engagement is incredibly high as consumers want to tune into the discussion and find out the latest zany thoughts on all elements relating to pop culture.
If I bring audience engagement back to my clients, it’s about understanding who their different audiences are. Knowing what is important to them and how to disseminate that content in a non-salesy way. Its about using their marketing and PR initiatives to connect with them and help them become advocates.
It’s a tough challenge, but it’s an exciting one at the same time.