In creative fields such as product design and marketing, the nature of best practice is continually evolving.
This is reflected in the recent marginalisation of brainstorming, which is now thought to hinder productivity and impede those with more introverted mind-sets.
Instead, businesses are beginning to utilise mind maps to drive creative processes, empowering employees to create a graphical representation of their thoughts and ideas.
Now a key phase of website design and marketing idea generation, this trend is changing the way in which brands operate creatively.
It is also one of many interesting and impactful marketing trends to have emerged this year, as brands continually search for the most effective ways to engage customers, drive awareness and improve sales conversion rates.
Being able to understand and leverage these trends is imperative for business-owners, as this enables them to make informed decisions that afford them the best chance of success in competitive markets.
This is even more important for SMEs, who typically have smaller budgets with which to drive a significant ROI.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at four of the most seminal marketing trends for 2016 and determine how your business can capitalise: –
Over the course of the last six years, the mobile platform has grown at an exponential rate.
This has been driven in part by the proliferation of mobile devices, with an estimated 6.1 billion consumers around the globe expected to own smartphones by 2020.
Mobile usage already accounts for more than half of the total time that consumers spend online, for example, 80% of current Internet searches are currently conducted through smartphones.
This is perhaps the most interesting statistic, as it underlines the importance of mobile marketing and the pressing need for brands to tailor their spend accordingly.
Above all else, you must ensure that your website is mobile responsive and suitable for viewing on compact, high-resolution displays.
Similarly, your content must also be structured to suit the mobile medium, as you prioritise concise and simple messaging ahead of an excess of complex copy.
This content should also utilise rich media and graphic elements that can drive consumer interaction, while also introducing a diverse array of strategically-selected colours.
#2 – Video will finally be integrated into search engine results
There is no doubt that video has become a core component of marketing in the digital age, with audiences an estimated 10-times more likely to engage with content that includes audio visual material and diverse, multimedia elements.
This year will see the trend for video marketing to evolve even further, it truly is becoming the central element for brands to focus on when creating campaigns.
Quite aside from the fact that video will account for an estimated 69% of all consumer Internet traffic by the end of this year, we are also expecting search engines to begin integrating this type of content into their SERPs during the next few months.
Small businesses have already begun to leverage video marketing will have a distinct advantage when this measure is implemented, those that have not will still have an opportunity to succeed.
Creating 15 to 30 second VODs (videos-on-demand) for specified online channels can help to quickly increase your online reach, for example, while this type of flexible advertising is also affordable and can be charged at a fixed cost per thousand views.
#3 – Analytics will play an increasingly important role in informing marketers
While the current generation of marketers have access to a comprehensive range of analytical tools, this opportunity is something that an alarming number of businesses continue to ignore.
This is particularly true among SMEs, with a staggering 48% of these outlets reportedly unsure as to whether or not their marketing efforts were effective.
2016 may finally be the year that businesses become increasingly analytical in their approach, however, as they look to utilise their acquired data and understand the value of specific marketing channels.
This will not only lead to a more strategic spend and a far greater ROI for individual campaigns, but it will also helps entrepreneurs to understand the core and previously unseen issues that continually blight their website’s performance.
There are several tools that you can use to analysis your brand’s online presence, with Google Analytics arguably the most purposeful. This is a particularly useful tool for analysing your website traffic, as you look to determine the source of your visits and the most lucrative marketing channels for your consumer base.
It will also help to identify the bounce rates associated with individual pages, so you can quickly come to terms with any problems that exist within your website’s infrastructure.
Google Page Speed Insights is another purposeful (if slightly underrated) tool, as this identifies the average load time for each of your landing pages while also highlighting seemingly small issues such as the size of your product images or graphical elements.
Surveys show that over 40% of web visitors will abandon a website if it does not load within 40 seconds, which in turn can impact heavily on your bottom line.
By highlighting the landing pages that perform poorly, you can also make strategic improvements that enhance your marketing efforts over time.
#4 – The rise and rise of custom content
Whilst more brands are now becoming aware of the relevance of content marketing in the modern age, there still remains considerable gaps in knowledge when it comes to creating a viable strategy.
Some brands still struggle to identify between external marketing copy and custom content, for example, despite important differences that exist between these two entities.
In simple terms, custom content is tailored to build loyalty and trust with an existing audience, utilising consumer data and behavioural trends to refine your marketing efforts.
In contrast, your overall content marketing strategy will be developed to target new customer segments, requiring an entirely different approach and outward-facing outlook.
The recent popularisation of custom content marketing has provided an ideal opportunity for businesses to understand these core differences, however, which in turn will enable them to adapt their spend in order to suit the real-time needs of their business.
Companies that are in an early stage of growth can focus heavily on content marketing, whereas those with a larger base of customers can prioritise their retention through the creation of custom content.
This will ultimately lead to more effective and informed marketing decisions, as insight-led and customised messaging drives customer engagement within the framework of a businesses brand guidelines.
Remember, an estimated 78% of American consumers have confirmed that they consider custom content marketing to be fundamental to a progressive and trusting relationship.
This is something that you can ill-afford to ignore in 2016, particularly as consumers become increasingly selective and aware about the types of content that they consume.
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