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  • March 27, 2020

    What’s New? What’s Now? Top Marketing Trends For 2020

    As we continue to move through the year and these unprecedented times, we’ll continue to share trends that will shape marketing for the rest of 2020. These trends are more than, “check out this new social media platform!” They are the consumer behaviors that will impact your content strategies, the technology that is coming whether you’re prepared or not, and the unorthodox ways of looking at pre-established concepts. The future is a constant uphill battle that never ends. The smartest thing you can do is stay informed and adopt early. You never want to be last to know.

    People Are Reading Less

    It should come as no shock to anyone to hear that people are reading less. Since the dawn of the internet, we have been headed towards a society based on visuals and audio. To be honest, we’re still surprised people haven’t started writing entirely in emojis yet. As this trend continues, it’s important to adapt your content accordingly. There’s two main ways that eliminate the need for any of that pesky reading and keep your audience engaged.

    Video marketing can easily replace the standard written content with some major benefits. Videos are more flexible creatively. Visuals allow consumers to connect further with the product or company more than the words on a page can. It also allows for an interactive experience that written content cannot. Videos keep the consumer engaged with the content. People can get a little restless. They might start to read something but if they’re not immediately hooked by the content, they’ll give up and move on. Visuals keep the attention of the viewer and delivers the same information at no extra effort to the viewer. Something to remember with video marketing is that YouTube is not the only platform to release video content. As the world becomes more mobile, it’s key to remember apps like Instagram or newer ones like Tik Tok, utilize the vertical video model. These types of videos are a great return on investment (ROI) as they usually require low production costs. They are more sharable than other forms of content and also allow for consumers to interact with the content personally.

    Podcasts are similar to videos in that consumers are not “plagued” with having to read. Although podcasts lack the visual aspect that videos have, podcasts come with a distinct advantage. Videos require the consumer to limit the kinds of activities they can perform while watching. Podcasts are much more consumable because they don’t have visual component. You can listen to a podcast anywhere, even while driving, running, biking, trying to fall asleep, working, etc. On top of this perk, podcasts can be basically cost free and have the ability to be interactive with the audience. An important thing to mention is the low competition within this market. Every business is most likely producing content on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter but most have ignored podcasts. That being said, podcasts continue to grow in popularity. According to Apple in 2018, there were 550,000 podcasts and 18.5 million episodes. Now, there are 850,000 podcasts and 30 million episodes. The earlier you add this strategy into your marketing plan, the less competition you will have later. Podcast listeners are notoriously loyal; the larger the audience you can gain early on, the easier it will be in the long term.

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Here to Stay

    Regardless of whether computers will eventually take over the world or if your smart speaker is secretly listening to you, for now, AI is a useful tool for you and consumers. As it becomes more prevalent, it’s important that you notice how it affects consumer behaviors while also utilizing it yourself to change your strategies.

    As Siri, Alexa, and a slew of others continue their battle for dominance in the smart speaker industry, the behaviors of consumers have changed. People are increasingly using their smart speakers to search things. Language is a very odd thing. For some reason, we write differently than we speak. For instance, if talking to a smart speaker you might say, “Hey Alexa, where’s the closest grocery store?” However, when searching on Google you would likely type, “Grocery store near me.” This may not seem like a monumental difference to you, but it has a significant impact for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is why adding “long-tail keywords”, 3-5 word long conversational phrases or questions people use to search, into your content is important if you want to try to secure a prestigious Alexa shout out.

    On the flipside of AI, it’s making the lives of businesses easier too. When marketing, you have to try to think of every variable possible and make sense of all the numbers. This can be extremely hard, and patterns can become lost among the data. However, AI can recognize patterns in consumer behaviors, which individuals are most likely to buy, and identify potential customers. AI can also learn the type of consumer that is interacting with your content and adjust accordingly. Similar to how Facebook will target you with certain ads that are personalized or how Spotify will recommend new music that is based on what you like, AI can do the same for your content. Doing this creates a personalized experience for the consumer and are more likely to return because you supplied them with content relevant to their interests.

     

    Micro-Influencers Continue to Gain Popularity

    Conventional wisdom tells us to reach the largest audience possible to maximize our reach. If you team that up with the influencer industry, you probably believe that an influencer with millions of followers has the best return on investment (ROI). Well, turns out, the little guys are much better at their job.

    Micro-influencers have a very unique and coveted ability. Unlike large influencers, they can actually – you know – influence. Micro-influencers have a following of between 10,000 and 50,000 on social media. These small numbers have prominent advantages. The smaller your numbers, the more engagement you get from your followers. People often feel drowned out in a larger audience. With fewer followers, people open up more and feel they’re able to engage more personally with the influencer. These people also feel like they’re having a more authentic experience with the influencer given that the influencer is able to interact with a larger percentage of their audience. The audience the influencer has cultivated is extremely specific too. Choosing the right influencer that fits your verticals ensures that the people viewing the content are the ones most likely to engage with your business. This audience is also more likely to buy something that the influencer recommends than from a larger influencer. Teaming up with micro-influencers is cheaper than gambling on a big shot with millions of followers.

    At the end of the day, you have to choose the trends that are best for you company. Not every new tip or trick will be helpful, but knowledge is power. There’s no such thing as staying too informed and you never know when some piece of information will come in handy.

     

  • March 4, 2020

    Diversity and Business: A Recipe for Success

    We’ve all seen it before. A pride month like Black History Month comes around and it seems like every other company is tweeting a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. and then calling it a day. Supportive? …Not really. There’s so much more a company can do to enact real change in their own business practices to support diversity and inclusion. You can talk the talk. Now here’s how to walk the walk.

    Diversity – In your business, it is extremely important to include people of all backgrounds and experiences at every level of the company. Many groups are often underrepresented in business environments and the effects can be seen when trying to reach diverse communities through advertising and marketing. Prioritizing diversity in your company gives access to new financial and social capital for these underrepresented groups. This not only allows your company to be more inclusive of everyone but is also great for the business’s future success. The more diverse your staff and leadership team becomes, the more perspectives you have to innovate and propel your company to new heights. Diversity is not skin deep, behind each person is a different experience, idea, and outlook. Business is unpredictable, you constantly need to adapt and think creatively to solve problems. That’s where diversity comes in, each unique perspective is another opportunity to solve the problem faster. And as we all know, time is money.

    Staff Training – Diversity is obviously very important in business, but it’s what you do with that diversity that matters. Inclusion is the next step in encouraging opportunities for multicultural groups. Diversity is an asset for businesses and ensuring that staff members are able to recognize where an employee’s unique perspective benefits the company is paramount in utilizing it. Position their talent in an effective way that highlights their skills and their story. Diversity is just as important in the top tiers of the business as it is on the lower tiers.

    Training your staff is also about familiarizing them with different cultures they may not have ever experienced. It’s important to realize that most of the time people aren’t being purposely ignorant of other cultures. Unfortunately, many people have never had the opportunity to interact with these cultures and training is a great way to introduce them. Having your staff understand new cultures provides a healthy environment among employees. A major part of business is keeping your employees happy and the best way is creating a workplace where everyone is comfortable with whom they work with. This level of comfort is also transferred to customers. The more comfortable and accepted everyone feels in your business, the more customers will be driven there.

    Professional Development Programs – A great way to promote diversity and inclusion in your business is to give minorities an avenue to move up in the company and develop or create new skills. Johnson & Johnson has been on the forefront of this. They offer resource groups, mentor programs, and have even established a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer that reports directly to the CEO. Creating similar programs can help your company’s overall diversity and truly support the variety of cultures you employ. Once you have a flow of people in programs such as these, it brings the whole thing full circle. You now have diversity being implemented in your business promoting innovation, creating a healthy environment, and high-level employees familiar with diversity to continue to the progression within your company.

    These steps create ongoing changes to a business to support diversity and equality for employees. It promotes real change within these groups and provides them with opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable. Showing support is one thing, actively supporting is another.