2012 can bring new opportunities to engage your customers. By looking ahead, you’ll be well-positioned to integrate marketing strategies and take advantage of technology to deliver your brand message. No matter how fashion forward your message is, how on target your products and services are; if you can’t reach the right client it doesn’t matter. Here’s a look at three marketing trends for 2012 to put on your radar screen.
#1 Social Studies: Learning to be everywhere your customers and prospects are.
When, where and how we communicate has changed dramatically in the last five years. Here are some stats I find incredible. Five years ago, Facebook had 12 million users, Twitter was in its infancy and the first iPhone had yet to be unveiled. Today, there are 800 million Facebook users, nearly 200 million Twitter accounts and more than 10 billion Apple apps downloaded, and more coming everyday. Mobile devices, new social networks, and check-in sites and location-based services are adding new wrinkles to the marketing communication mix. Silverpop refers to this convergence of mobile, social, local and email as “mocial.” In a world gone mocial, we will change the way we interact with customers. To get your mocial mojo working in 2012.
• Grow your database through social and mobile. For example, you could add an email opt-in or lead-gen form on your company’s Facebook page, capture emails via SMS or app downloads, and/or use tablets to gather info.
• Design campaigns around the concept of sharing, delivering your strongest call to action at a time that makes sense rather than asking people to share something before they consume it. For example, instead of just including social-sharing icons in an email with a link to a white also insert sharing links within the white paper itself and send an automated follow-up email inviting downloaders to Tweet the best idea they got from your paper.
#2 Actions Speak Loudest: Unlocking the power of behavior.
In the new era of marketing, companies must listen to, learn from and speak to customers and prospects on a one-to-one, personal basis. The focus will shift to widening the scope of information being collected to gain a better understanding of who the key influencers are.
• Sync up your platforms so you can pass data back and forth in both directions more efficiently, better optimize content, and improve communication between sales and marketing.
• Create scoring systems that take your customer and prospect behaviors into account—including social actions such as “liking” you on Facebook, sharing your content to a social network and commenting on Blogs.
#3 Personality Plus: Marketing content becomes more human.
Not so long ago, marketing was all about selling your products and services. Regardless of whether you were selling caviar or consultations; delivering your message in an impersonal voice was just fine. While delivering product news, sales and discounts is still important; expectations have shifted. These days, customers and prospects move effortlessly between your company’s social presence and photos of their best friend’s recent vacation, so stiff corporate messaging that sounds like it was crafted in legalese creates a disconnect. In 2012 the focus will change to delivering helpful, educational content with verve and personality: “Yes, we’ve got sizzling steaks, but here are our staff’s favorite wine pairings for that steak, our guest chef’s video tips for grilling it, and customer recommendations for the most mouth-watering sides to enjoy with it.” It’s time to get real, get human and add value.
• Spend less time talking at your customers and more time paying attention to their behaviors and listening to them via social networks, community forums and surveys. Talk to them the way you would talk to another human being, employing a voice that’s distinctive, engaging and yours.
• Include messages designed simply to inform, entertain, surprise and provide value rather than sell. For example, a packaged goods company might offer favorite recipes from the staff, a technology company could author a how-to white paper that doesn’t hype its own product, and a cruise operator can recommend travel, packing and on-shore dining tips.
• Introduce your self through words and pictures, including stories and anecdotes. Put simply, people like to do business with people.