As we approach the half year mark of 2016 there comes a need to examine the key trends that are shaping the marketing world. In an industry that is constantly changing by the minute, consumers are no longer exposed to products and services by simply surfing the internet or walking into a store anymore. Instead, they are surrounded by a digital world filled with new devices, platforms and channels which can no longer be ignored. The following key trends, requiring strong creativity and an innovative approach have emerged this year and are outlined below.
Ephemeral Marketing: Possibly the biggest trend that has taken the social media world by storm this year is the evolution of the Snapchat app. Snapchat is a video/photo messaging app that allows users to take pictures, record videos, add text to images and send them to one of their contacts. Millions of content is sent monthly therefore it is only reasonable to assume that brands and businesses will start using the app too. The emergence of Ephemeral marketing i.e. Marketing that is shorter, quicker and more to the point goes hand in hand with the evolution of Snapchat in a day and age where people have less and less time. The key to Snapchat is the time limit to content and the expiration date. Companies can use this platform to create “sneak peeks” of new and exclusive products and services using photos or videos which only last a few seconds. The hot topic of the “Millennial”- a key target market everyone is keen to reach is made possible by the snapchat platform with Millennials accounting for an estimated 7 out of 10 of snapchat users and 63% of those are aged 18- 34 years old.
Search and E-Commerce beyond Google: There was strong growth in mobile usage in 2015 so unsurprisingly this will continue to grow in 2016. Consumers are opting for convenience when using the internet and social media platforms which gives rise to the next biggest emerging trend for 2016- Search and E-commerce beyond google. Facebook is already working on tests for its own search engine which will improve capabilities within social media giving brands an automatic boost. In addition, Facebook is launching “Business on Messenger” which will allow companies to interact directly with customers through the messenger app. In return consumers can purchase online, receive order update notifications and share what they bought with their friends all through the messenger app without having to go to the e-commerce site they want to buy from. Brands can cater their marketing process to this all-in-one, buy-and-share social media search to make the buying process simpler and also make it an experience.
Content and Relationship Marketing: Traditional Marketing is fast becoming a thing of the past. Evolution of digital television systems means consumers can skip television advertising and magazine advertising is often ignored. Enter- Content Marketing. Content marketing is strategic marketing focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and ultimately, drive profit. In essence, Marketers can use Content Marketing to communicate with their consumers without directly selling. Instead of pushing products and services, Marketers can simply deliver information to customers through engaging, valuable content. It is a theory that through doing this, consumers become more intelligent and better informed of products and services and therefore will make intelligent buying decisions. This theory ties into the trend of the increasing importance of Relationship Marketing. Relationship marketing focuses on building stronger, more long term connections with consumers. With an estimated 2 billion consumers worldwide expected to own a smartphone by 2016, brands have an increased opportunity to connect with their consumers in this way and drive word of mouth promotions.
Use of Video: Videos are increasingly popular amongst most people and as technology improves, companies must put it at the forefront of their marketing strategy. The most difficult part of advertising is grabbing consumer’s attention and keeping it for more than a second. A way to do this is through platforms such as Periscope. Periscope is Twitter's live-streaming video app which allows you to watch and broadcast live video from all across the globe. Brands need to experiment with ways to incorporate this into their digital marketing as it provides a way for consumers to feel a unique brand experience and a way for brands to instantly share an experience with their target audience. Users can comment on videos and interact with them. A good way to use it is for instances such as New Product Releases, Sneak Peeks, a Celebrity Takeover or a behind the scene look.
As we move further into 2016 these trends are only going to grow and become increasingly important for marketers to utilise. These trends will further revolutionise the digital era and create opportunities for both Marketers and consumers. Marketers can only use them to their advantage to attract the attention of consumers and ultimately, drive profit.