Marketers today are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve with their brands in this fast-paced world, maintaining a sense of relevance with their audience. As a result, it’s critical to build competitive marketing strategies.
Here are five brand marketing trends that marketing leaders must incorporate into their strategies to drive results.
Focus On Video & Live Stream Content
Short-form video is a popular and highly effective marketing tool that is here to stay due to its virality. Of all the video formats, short-form has the highest ROI and is also #1 for lead generation and engagement. Source. With constrained budgets, short-form videos can be produced quickly, easily repurposed into other content, and cost-effective. This format is a great way to grab people’s short attention spans and communicate your message quickly. Social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Snapchat Spotlight, and Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram Stories prioritize short-form content in their algorithms, making it easier for brands to reach a wider audience.
In addition, the global live stream market will reach more than $247 billion by 2027. Source. Live streaming is gaining significant traction and gives brands unique opportunities to engage with their audiences in real time. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and TikTok have integrated live streaming into their platforms, allowing brands to reach their followers easily. Additionally, live streams can be recorded and shared after the fact, allowing brands to continue to reach new audiences even after the live stream has ended.
Here are several short-form videos and live-stream options to grow your business:
- User-Generated Content Videos: Created by customers or fans of a brand and are more likely to be trusted than other forms of marketing.
- Behind the Scenes Videos/Livestream: Provide a glimpse into the inner workings of your brand or company by showing off your culture, highlighting your employees, giving a day in the life, providing insights into your process, and fun bloopers.
- Explainer, Informational, or Education Videos: Great for explaining complex concepts or ideas and encouraging customers to learn more about your brand.
- FAQs Videos: Answering commonly asked questions makes the customer buying journey easier.
- Testimonial Videos: Powerful marketing tools where customers share how much they love your brand.
- How-to Videos: These are booming with the rise of “TikTok Taught Me” videos and are simple step-by-step guides for “how-to” to accomplish a specific task.
- Expert Interview Videos: Interviewing subject matter experts.
- Series Videos: A series of videos that have a particular theme, topic, or story and are released sequentially.
- Q&A Livestream: Allows viewers to ask questions in real time, bringing a sense of closeness. As you provide answers, you show that you value their input.
- Webinar Livestream: This live conference or presentation typically consists of one or more speakers who provide valuable information, insights, and knowledge while taking questions from viewers to drive interactivity.
- Influencer Takeover Livestream: Partner with an influencer who discusses your brand, showcases your products/services, and engages with their followers.
- Product Launch Livestream: Showcase your product in action, demonstrate key features, benefits, and functionality in real time, explain the problems it solves, answer questions, and build hype for new product launches.
Focus On Social Media Marketing
Over four billion people are using social media, which is expected to increase to six billion by 2027. People spend more than 2 ½ hours per day on social media. This should be a key part of your marketing strategy as it allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level authentically. Many people, especially Gen Z, use social media for everything from connecting with family and friends, filling their spare time, learning something, getting advice, seeing what’s trending, searching for jobs, finding what to buy, and answering life’s big questions. Source. Social media platforms allow brands to reach consumers in the medium of their choice. Here are three ways to use social media:
- Social Commerce Expanding: Virtual shopping has boomed and is expected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2024. Eighty percent of Gen Z and millennial shoppers have bought a product they’ve seen on social media feeds. Consumers have many options today: Instagram Shopping, Facebook Shops, and TikTok have been testing their “Shops.” Brands today can provide customers with a direct way to purchase without leaving the app, providing a virtual storefront.
- Social Media for Customer Service: Social media has evolved into a customer service platform. Twenty percent of Gen Z and nearly 25% of millennials have contacted a brand on social media for customer service. Source. People increasingly expect brands to offer social media customer service support. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Set up a dedicated handle for social media customer support
- Create social media guidelines
- Monitor brand and business conversations
- Be proactive and manage customer expectations
- Respond timely and always respond
- Go the extra mile
- Take public conversations private
- Try a chatbot for common customer service requests
- Use a social media management tool for efficiency
- Social Media Influencers Will Continue to Influence: We are seeing a shift in brands building longer-term, authentic partnerships with creators who can develop and maintain trust with their audience, promoting the same brand over time, leaving behind influencers who will partner with any brand that pays. For constrained budgets, micro- and nano-influencers (creators with fewer than 10K followers) are an excellent option for driving awareness and engagement. While influencers require more personalized management and relationship building, they can target niche audiences with a greater ROI. Sixty percent of marketers say influencer marketing has a higher ROI than traditional advertising. Sixty-one percent of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations, and more than 38% trust branded social media content. Here are the top influencer trends to watch:
- Live Shopping With Influencer Campaigns
- Marketers Spending More on TikTok
- Emphasis on Creators Across Multiple Platforms
- Performance-Based Deals
- Influencers & Professionals Will Become More Specialized
- Increased Influencer Collaborations
- Influencers Changing Affiliate Marketing
- Employee-Driven Content Will Increase
Focus On The Customer Experience
Every year, $1.6 trillion is lost in the U.S. due to consumers switching brands after receiving lousy customer service. Over a third of customers say they will leave a brand they love after one unpleasant encounter, while 92% will walk away after two to three negative interactions. And 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments they interact with; however, 54% say it feels like sales, service, and marketing teams don’t share information. The great news is that increasing customer retention by 5% can boost profits by 25% to 95%.
Here are several trends to consider for your customer experience strategy:
- Understand the Customer’s Perspective: Create a customer journey map, a visual representation of the customer’s experience with your company. This can provide valuable insights into every stage of the customer journey, the factors that directly or indirectly motivate them, and what’s needed to create a cohesive experience. You’ll need to connect with all the departments interacting with your customers, gathering data such as customer touchpoints, needs, barriers to customer service, attitudes, motivations, perspectives, emotions, pain points, and problems your products/services need to solve for your customers.
- Hyper-Personalized Experience: Customers want hyper-personalized, tailored experiences that speak directly to them. Ninety-one percent of consumers are likelier to shop with brands that recognize them, remember past transactions, and provide relevant offerings and recommendations. Personalization now means that customers want us to know them, anticipate their needs, remind them of what to purchase next, consider their best interests, and create a branded experience that feels special. This can be achieved by using data analytics to provide behavioral insights that help you make that personalized experience that keeps customers returning for more.
- Chatbots to Aid Customer Service: Chatbots have a greater impact on the consumer experience, with 90% of businesses reporting larger improvements in the speed of complaint resolution. Seventy-four percent of consumers prefer using chatbots when looking for answers to simple questions. Incorporating a chatbot feature can help you take your customer service to the next level. Here are five chatbot trends to consider:
- Voice Assistant Chatbots Gaining Momentum
- AI-Powered Chatbots
- Conversational Commerce
- Chatbots Will Automate Payments
Focus On AI Technologies
Artificial Intelligence means a machine to accomplish any task that requires “intelligence.” Today, AIs are just statistical models that make good predictions using probabilities and math. ChatGPT and Bing AI are the latest in the line of AI technology blowing up in the news lately.
ChatGPT, an AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, was thrust into the news recently with Microsoft’s announcement of its multibillion-dollar investment in the company. Microsoft then unveiled a new version, Bing AI, that ChatGPT powers. It works by typing in a question, and it will respond, laying out the answer and providing context. It is simple to use and provides results in an instant that look like a human produced them. It has its shortcomings. It’s still learning, which means it can give wrong answers, is not a human expert, and has its bias, to name a few. You need to understand the limitations and use it as a co-editing tool, helping to train it while fact-checking your work. Here are seven ways you can incorporate ChatGPT and Bing AI into your business:
- Social Media Posts
- Video Scripts
- Content Creation
- Ad Copy
- Keyword Targeting Suggestions
Focus On Social Responsibility
Consumers today are loyal to brands that practice social responsibility. As a result, 90% of shoppers worldwide will likely switch to brands supporting a good cause. Social responsibility is no longer an option but a commitment, and that’s why businesses are shifting the way they think about marketing (89% of marketers in 2023 plan to invest in social responsibility content vs. 45% in 2022). It’s not about generating leads; it’s about building trust with consumers so that they feel comfortable supporting your brand. Here are key trends that have emerged:
- Increased Transparency: Consumers are no longer satisfied with shady business dealings and are demanding to know more. As a result, companies are more transparent with their social responsibility. Marketers are highlighting the following social responsibility efforts in their marketing campaigns:
- Recyclable packaging
- Societal issue awareness through promotions/campaigns
- Advocating for social justice
- Directing portions of purchases or profits to charity
- Running one-for-one campaigns to donate products to those in need
- Company-sponsored community services or activities
- Promoting fair trade
- Focus on Sustainability: Corporate sustainability is more important today than ever. Although 90% of business leaders think sustainability is necessary, only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy. The good news is that 67% of companies have started using more sustainable materials, such as recycled materials and lower-emitting products. Here is some example of approaches you can take in your marketing initiatives to be more sustainable:
- Donating profits to sustainable causes
- Sourcing sustainable materials and packaging
- Creating a product/service that focuses on sustainability
- Think Global, Act Local: Acting locally involves making an impact within local communities where a company’s footprint resides and where employees live, work, and play, elevating the wellness of everyone. How does this impact your marketing initiatives? Consider the global implications of your product launches to your marketing campaigns while also considering the needs of your local target market. Think about how your product/service or marketing campaign will be received by people in different cultures around the world and the impact on the environment.
The key is staying on top of these trends, being flexible, and being open to change so your business doesn’t become a dinosaur. Start building your brand leadership today. You’ve got this.