Today’s business world is extremely fluid, with frequent and unpredictable changes being the order of the day. In such a scenario, marketers face a stiff challenge in planning for the unknown and the unpredictable. Usually, start-ups operate on a water-tight budget, and have little leeway for experimentation. Hence, time tested concepts will work better for them. Here are the top marketing trends that will help your startup stand out in 2017.
Need for Speed
We associate brands with certain social, material and psychological meaning. People flock to brands to instantly gratify the needs that they associate with them. When brands fail to fulfill these needs fast enough, customers get annoyed and make negative association with the brands. The implication of lack of speed goes far beyond lost sales. Conversely, faster the start-up can meet such needs, more favorable will be the opinion consumers have towards these brands. An efficient communication system that facilitates instant feedback is very critical in the scheme of things.
So how does start-ups ensure speed? The possibilities and tools are endless.
- Investment in marketing automation technologies, as done by 71 percent of companies now, is worth its weight in gold, as it helps them place routine things in auto-pilot, ensuring the right things get done at the right time, without any delay.
- Facebook Live tool puts broadcast capabilities at the fingertips of just about everyone to target customers with real time information.
Another time-tested precept that always pays rich dividends is customization. It is innate human nature to pay attention to things directly relevant to oneself. People have different tastes, appeals, standards, and budgets. Personalization strengthens the emotional bond with a brand.
A good selection of add-ons, or customizable features improve customer satisfaction. Whether it is to allow customers print their own designs atop plain shoes, mix the ingredients of their pizza, or package a product according to customer’s choice.
It is not that straightforward though. Customization requires not just reaching out to customers in a personalized and relevant way, but also understanding the consumers’ habits, interests and browsing histories, to know what interests her and what puts her off. The focus is increasingly shifting from real-time marketing to right-time marketing, or reaching out at the earliest possible moment the customer prefers. In today’s age of big data analytics, the sky is the limit. Highly powerful analytical tools now make it very easy to tie business objectives and profits to customer satisfaction and retention.
Position for Efficiency
Brands promoting efficiency and automation to solve pain-points are more likely to be viewed favorably by the customer. Marketers would do well if they can be explicit about how the product or solution make the customer’s life easier, apart from saving them time.
Technological development such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning now unlock many possibilities, which were not available before. The spread of Internet of Things (IoT) would aid the cause of automation and deliver solutions that make life easier. Such sectors are generally capital intensive, but start-ups are likely to reap the cascading benefits of large companies investing in this trend.
Opt for Genuineness
Today’s customers are highly aware and spoilt for choice. They take claims made in advertisements with a pinch of salt, and can easily see through overtly promotional content. Content marketing remains effective, but start-ups need to innovate and do much more to stand out from the crowd, and be heard.
Native-marketing is the way to go, offering marketers the rich advantage of fitting organically, without disrupting the user experience. Unlike most other forms of promotions, users still cannot identify native advertisements easily. Spending on native ads is expected to touch $7.9 billion in 2017 and $21 billion by 2018.
Influencers and advocates basically create a buzz among their circle of influence. Since these interventions are genuine and not promotional in nature, they are highly effective ways to convince potential customers, and cost effective as well.
Invest in Dynamic Content
While user preferences are volatile, they have been consistent in their preference for dynamic content, especially videos. No better proof is required than one billion+ people using YouTube on a regular basis, a figure that increased by 40% since March 2014. Stale videos may not be enough going forward though, as augmented reality and other new technologies set in. Start-ups have an advantage over entrenched players in leap-frogging to the latest emerging technology, without having to go through the hassles of upgrading or change over.
Video connects immediately to the viewer, and conveys a much more powerful emotion compared to other content types. Still better is live-streaming videos of press conferences, product launches, and more, enabling reaching out to the targeted audience and leaving a powerful impression, on the fly.
In today’s age of hyper-competition, marketers also need to toy with other types of dynamic content, especially emerging content. A method that’s fast catching up is artificial-intelligence powered Chatbots to engage in real-time, 24-hour engagement with consumers.
Customer should always be the focus, regardless of the strategy or the options chosen. A customer-centric approach, and orienting the processes to serve customer’s needs first, is a sure-shot recipe for success.
The challenges are huge, but so are the opportunities. Start-ups who get their marketing strategy right, have a world of opportunities before them.
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