If you're like me, you probably have a few resolutions for the coming year: things you'd like to do better, habits you'd like to develop (or get out of), accomplishments you'd like to achieve come next January. And, if you're like me, you understand the difficulty in actually sticking to those resolutions.
Just like 2015 and about every year before that, I expect we'll see plenty of changes in marketing, branding and advertising. Looking to consumers, they'll continue to want more brand transparency, more personalization and more mobile-friendly solutions. As these trends become less novel and more mainstream, it will be wise of us to alter our practices to remain current and competitive.
If you're trying to determine what your marketing resolutions should be in 2016, we've got a few answers for you.
1. Focus on Mobile
Almost anything that can be accomplished on a computer can be done on a smartphone these days. As smartphones and tablets come to dominate the market, mobile devices will soon be the center of marketing campaigns. These devices simply attract the most eyeballs these days. As you look to your 2016 priorities, make sure they're in line with responsive design (i.e., build a mobile platform or a mobile-friendly site); otherwise, accept that you will not be seeing the same level of impressions you otherwise could. According to a Huffington Post article published recently,
“According to Google's Think Insights on Mobile, whenever someone arrives on your mobile website and is frustrated, or doesn't see the content that they are searching for immediately, there's a 61 percent chance they will leave and head to another website.”
In essence, if your Web platforms aren't easily accessed via mobile, you're losing six out of every 10 customers who are checking you out on the go. Because of this, we must begin thinking of accessibility and simplicity when it comes to the platforms where we want to interact with customers.
Further, leveraging the power of mobile devices will mean a “24/7” approach to customer contact and branding. As much as we may yearn for the days of uninterrupted family meals or seeing a movie without sitting next to someone texting the whole way through, smartphones are pretty much always on. Keep this in mind as you build those mobile-friendly platforms and forums.
2. Avoid Information Overload
Along with smartphones, tablets and 24/7 customer contact comes information overload. Being connected to the Internet constantly means being bombarded with advertisements, tweets, banners, status updates, and so forth.
With the plethora of information available, we must walk a fine line between marketing and pestering. Daniel Newman, tech expert and former CEO, explains in an article for Forbes,
“For customers already bombarded with information, a great customer experience is becoming baseline. The year 2016 will see brand ambassadors given a higher priority, more effective customer engagement, and tighter collaboration with sales and support to directly affect conversion rates.”
Further, as ad-blocking technologies become both more advanced and more prevalent, relying on simply placing our message and advertisements in front of people is, at best, ineffective, and at worst, risks backlash from the customer.
As you look toward your 2016 strategies, look to ways you can more authentically talk with your customers instead of talking at them. Make your marketing more subtle, and you'll find higher levels of engagement with your brand.
3. Connect with your Customers
We've talked before about the value of transparency when it comes to customer engagement. More and more, we're seeing the value of social media engagement, content marketing, blogging and other forms of outreach aimed at showing our customers exactly who we are. Millennial customers especially seem to want to know your mission, who you are and what you stand for.
The Solution? Be open. Think of your marketing as a chance to show customers the “behind the scenes” of your business. Become personal! A decade ago, this might have seemed radical and ridiculous. Today, it's necessary and needed for us to survive in the competitive marketplace we're in.
My Best Wishes for 2016
Every year brings new approaches to marketing. At present, new technologies and platforms are ushering in new strategies and changes at an incredibly speedy rate. I look forward to seeing what 2016 brings to marketing, branding and innovation, and I'm also looking forward to hearing about how you and your team strategize for 2016. I wish you the best of luck in sticking to your resolutions!
Al Eidson is the owner of Eidson & Partners, a business and marketing strategy consultancy, and a founder of SparkLabKC, an early-stage startup accelerator program in Kansas City. He's an expert in taking products to market and has launched more than 220 new products and ventures through his career. He's also proud of killing off a great many problematic products before they hit the market. Through more than 20 years of business, he's never stopped loving what he does.