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Top 5 trends for the future of marketing
By Michaela Goss
Trends for the future of marketing prioritize meeting customers where they are -- primarily, on their phones -- and embracing innovative technologies, such as nonfungible tokens.
Speakers at HubSpot’s Inbound 2022 user conference in Boston highlighted key strategies and technologies they believe will shape the future of marketing. As strategies such as conversational marketing and social media optimization have become more popular, they emphasize marketers’ goals to connect communities and systems that became disconnected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Explore five trends that will affect the future of marketing.
1. Conversational marketing
People carry their phones everywhere, so the easiest place for marketers to find them is on mobile -- whether through messaging or other mobile apps.
The session “Conversational Marketing: Is This the End of Mobile Apps?” explored conversational marketing, a practice that prioritizes one-on-one conversations with customers to enable more personalization in customer interactions.
Griffin LaFleur, a senior marketing operations manager at Swing Education, said his conversational marketing channel of choice is live chat, as it can easily facilitate a two-way communication stream. This type of communication helps customers feel a human-to-human connection, which LaFleur said he finds difficult in marketing’s traditional one-to-many approach.
“If you sell to various personas, and you know that a certain persona is coming in … you serve up a different experience --one that’s more tailored and catered toward them,” LaFleur said in an interview. “So, when we’re thinking about how we’re going to continue to excel in marketing, it’s adopting other channels.”
To get started with a conversational marketing strategy, marketers can pick a simple use case -- like loyalty program communications or newsletters -- to see how customers respond. If it’s successful, marketers can dip their toes into more use cases and channels, including social media.
2. Social media optimization
If people aren’t texting on their phones, they’re likely scrolling through, searching on and engaging with social media platforms. Yet the way people search organically has begun to change, LaFleur said, so marketing teams should start to optimize social media content as much as they focus on search engine optimization (SEO) for other content.
Social media offers real-time information, results and community building, which has led audiences to expect and desire more personal connections with brands.
“There is an attachment to brands for a lot of people. … We can put out stuff that appeals to potential clients and current clients, but for brands like ours, social media should be the heartbeat of your culture,” said Lauren Wiggins, a corporate communications manager in the steel industry, in an interview. “You should be able to showcase your culture and really use social media to connect people.”
SEO can help marketers create content that people can easily find, but it can’t build communities. That trait and its emotional connections are unique to social media, and these communities are the bedrock of online culture, said Kudzi Chikumbu, TikTok’s global head of creator marketing, in the session “What We Owe the Creators of Culture.” If marketers invest more time in social media, they are more likely to connect with these communities and keep up with online trends.
3. Emotional connections
Whether people scroll Twitter or watch TV, ads interrupt their experiences. This strategy is so common that many people have learned to filter them out over time. Now, customers want more personalized experiences and to feel connected to brands they engage with.
The session “Ignite Your Brand With Empowerment Over Interruptions” highlighted the power of emotional connections and how empowering and creating personal connections with customers can enable better results.
Marketers like Wiggins, who primarily interact with customers through social media, can meaningfully engage with them using empathy -- especially if the customer is unhappy. Wiggins said customers frequently complain on social media, and they’re often the person who has to respond. In replies, Wiggins would apologize, empathize and aim to correct the issue, which often received positive customer responses.
“At the core of all of that is just being a human and [having] empathy,” Wiggins said. “If you’re a marketer and you don’t have those things, if you don’t prioritize those things, then you’re doing it wrong.”
To facilitate these emotional connections, marketers also need to build trust with customers. Trust requires transparency, which means an open dialogue with customers about potential challenges and sticking to the brand’s values. Trust also requires consistency across channels and over time, meaning all content and campaigns should align with the brand’s core values.
4. Hybrid experience
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced most experiences to support both physical and digital elements.
The conversational marketing session highlighted the importance of connecting in-person and digital brand experiences to remain consistent and authentic with customers. Yet marketers like LaFleur wonder how to digitally capture in-person event engagement and ensure customers that receive physical mail can still reach company websites.
“[Make] sure you’re looking at your overall marketing strategies and how you can blend offline with online experiences,” LaFleur said. “But also make sure you can capture data digitally from offline experiences, as well.”
Brands don’t solely compete with competitors; they compete against themselves, too. If customers enjoy their online experiences with a brand more than the in-person experiences, this inconsistency can negatively affect their perceptions of the brand. However, if people can seamlessly search for a product on a brand website, find the product’s in-store location and purchase it that day in-person, they will likely feel more connected to the brand as they have some ownership over their experiences.
While Web3 still remains on the horizon, marketers can begin to learn about it and its features to prepare their strategies for the future, which may include nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
The session “What’s Next: Connecting the Dots in Web3” helped attendees understand what differentiates Web3 from its predecessors and ways brands can connect with customers in this new era of the web.
NFTs, for example, can open the door to Web3 for the general public. Additionally, as NFTs are still in their infancy, people who own them can easily build close-knit communities. If marketers and brands help build and support these groups over time, they can fuel customer loyalty as they work on their Web3 strategies.
However, Web3 and the metaverse aren’t areas many marketers focus on currently, as this new era continues to develop.
“I think everybody has their own idea of what it would become or what it could become,” LaFleur said. “But how do you build, how do you get there and how do you exchange funds? That’s still growing.”
Data Vs Humans
By Bob Hoffman’s
Ukraine should have lost its war with Russia by now. The data is very clear, and data doesn’t lie.
The data shows that Russia had overwhelming superiority to Ukraine in virtually every measurable area of military might.
At the beginning of the invasion Russia had about... -Five times the number of tanks that Ukraine had -Almost five times the number of active military personnel -More than ten times the number of fighter planes -Twelve Black Sea Combat vessels compared to Ukraine’s one -Over twice as many military reserves -Over ten times Ukraine’s military budget. But, as of now, Russia is getting pummeled. -They have lost almost five times as many tanks as Ukraine -Combining all types of heavy military equipment (tanks, transport vehicles, airplanes, helicopters, etc) Russia has lost about four times as many units -More than a third of all equipment lost by the Russians was either abandoned by their forces or captured by the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians are now using that equipment against the Russians -And, of course, the Russians are getting their asses kicked on the ground every day There is a point here for the data-obsessed marketing industry. I won’t insult you by spelling it out.No TikTok Account? No Problem. They’re Following You Anyway.
There are so many unknowns about online tracking that it is hard to single out one in particular. But if I had to choose one online mystery that I’d like an answer to it’s TikTok.Here’s what we know:
-TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company headquartered in Beijing.
-China has the most crushing and tyrannical surveillance system the world has ever known.
-TikTok has admitted that data collected in the US is accessible to some employees in China
-There have been credible press reports of close contact and sharing of data assets between US and Chinese teams within ByteDance
-No one in China says “no” to the government.
We have a delicate balancing act. We don’t want to be guilty of hysterical “yellow peril” nonsense, but we do want to know what the hell the Chinese government’s role is in collecting information about us. Is this just one more example of an adtech company abusing personal privacy? Or is it one of the greatest spying operations in history being conducted in broad daylight?
You don’t have to be a Google or Facebook user to have them following your every move. They use tracking pixels they place on other websites that infect you when you visit those websites. Google and Facebook follow you around and collect information about you whether you are a Facebook subscriber, Google user, or not.
BTW, TikTok recently paid a fine of $29 million in the UK for harvesting data from kids under 13. Lovely people these adtech creeps.
Worst Re-Brand in History?
This chart from The Wall Street Journal raises an interesting question. Has there ever been a more disastrous re-brand than Meta?
But the trick has not gone well. Zuckerberg now has two disreputable brands on his hands.
The month before Z-bag announced the re-brand, Facebook had reported year-over-year revenue growth over 40%. Since the announcement the company has lost about 60% of its value.
It’s pretty clear that the Facebook social media platform is in free fall, if not a death spiral. The question is, will betting the farm on the metaverse, whatever the hell that is, bail them out?
As the Journal says, “The former Facebook’s real world will long haunt its virtual one.”
Tim Cook Is Meta-Averse As you know, Apple and Facebook are mortal enemies. According to The Verge, last week Apple CEO Tim Cook aired his skepticism about Facebook’s metaverse obsession.
“I always think it’s important that people understand what something is... And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”
But the real way you can tell how dicey the whole metaverse thing is is to watch the marketing lemmings dive head first into the deep end. There isn’t a marketing dimwit in the known universe who isn’t finishing every sentence with the word “metaverse.” It’s this year’s crypto-NFT shiny object..