To help you stay ahead of the curve, we’ve outlined five key focus areas:
1. The importance of why
Generational attitudes are transforming; and marketing needs to shift gear to reflect these changes. Millennials, as a group, tend to be more socially conscious, mindful of global and environmental issues, and prioritise making a difference over income. This is not to say that older generations are not value-driven – but millennials increasingly see their money as an important tool to enact their values.
Younger generations are concerned with why they should buy a product or consume from a business. And this is not limited to more individual concerns such as self-expression or experience, but how a product or business is changing the world for the better. Digital marketing needs to align with this – to tell a story, inspire, and link a brand to its consumers’ identities and values.
2. Audio content and technologies
By 2020, more than half of all queries will be voice searches. Since most voice searches come from mobile, this makes mobile-first development a priority.
Voice search optimisation is also important: people use voice search in a more naturalistic way. Rather than combinations of simple keywords, voice searches usually contain questions, and long-tail (phrase) keywords. You can optimise for this by building content around common voice search phrases that relate to your product. Including a Q&A section, with common query-words such as “where” and “how”, will also help to give naturalistic responses.
The trend towards audio-interaction goes beyond convenience. It creates new possibilities for content creation. As we mentioned here, Facebook is now prioritising posts that create more meaningful social interaction. Facebook Live Audio is a great new avenue for creating content that is stimulating and inspires engagement. (Be sure to respond to people’s comments!) And this audio-only channel is ideal for keeping audiences entertained during their rush hour commutes, with the added benefit of using less data than video – meaning you can keep people engaged for longer.
Keeping with this trend: lengthier, meatier blogs are an increasing focus. Audio-blogs and podcasts share the on-the-go benefits of Facebook Live Audio and can take on greater style and depth than regular blogs, enhancing otherwise dull moments of people’s lives without infringing on their time.
3. Content that doesn’t feel like marketing
An emerging trend is the need to go beyond conventional marketing – creating content that doesn’t feel like marketing, but an extension of people’s lives and values.
A great example is a series of blog posts commissioned by Elon Musk. He has been at the forefront of innovation in the last two decades – and his marketing strategy is no exception. Rather than just focusing on his businesses or products, the blogs go into detail about the context of his ventures, including fascinating details about the history of technology and how they are changing the world for the better. In short, they centre on why people should care.
4. E-commerce and m-commerce
While only 22% of people had made an online purchase in 2002, this figure has now grown to around 80% – and 50% have made a purchase using a cell phone.
However, mobile website development is often not optimised for e-commerce – creating a clunky and frustrating experience. This can lead to consumers abandoning their purchases. Convenience is king, and websites that aren’t optimised to mobile can undermine your success. Make sure you pick a digital agency that can smoothly integrate your (mobile) web development and E-commerce platforms.
5. Integrating digital and real-world experiences
Technology is increasingly becoming second nature, part of our intuitive experience of reality. In the retail sector, virtual shopping is growing in popularity (as mentioned earlier), but instead of eclipsing physical shopping – the virtual and physical worlds are fusing rather than colliding. 78% of retailers cite integrating e-commerce and the in-store experience as crucial to success. At the same time, technologies are emerging that track customer movements online and give them real-time, personalised information on products – adding to the omni-channel experience.
Looking forward, augmented reality on mobile devices will push this integration further, allowing people to project an item they’re looking at online into their homes, or conversely, to see captivating stories about products as they browse in-store.
While these approaches may not be feasible for all businesses at present, the key take-away is to start exploring ways in which you can create a more integrated, seamless experience across all customer touchpoints – both physical and virtual.