Digital marketing is a constantly changing game with the following goals in mind: to delight, engage and convert customers. The problem is that what worked last year — or even last month — might not be the same.
Competitors are always innovating strategies to stay ahead of the game. Here are some methods for you to consider that can keep you ahead and leave the competition in the dust.
1. Video Content is Now King
In 1996, Bill Gates coined one of the most well-known phrases in marketing today: Content is King. And in 2021, that’s still true — but there’s a twist. This year, it’s video content specifically that is dominating the internet and social media.
Whether it’s YouTube,TikTok, Instagram Reels or the kinda awkward Facebook Stories, video-based content has taken the world by storm. And get comfortable, because it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
So, what makes video so special? Videos and other content like it provide a significant return on investment with any given audience. When combined with social media, video can provide a whole host of benefits, anywhere from increasing sales, building brand awareness, or customer outreach. According to a survey conducted by Animoto.com, 88% of marketers feel satisfied with their ROI from video content creation on social media.
Not only can video be distributed on social platforms themselves, you can pretty much distribute it anywhere you have a customer touchpoint, whether that’s your website, streaming or advertising. Putting yourself out there and pressing the record button also makes your brand and product more relatable to your audience — and that’s something we all strive for.
2. Invite-Only Clubhouse is White Hot Right Now
Since its start in April 2020, Clubhouse is the latest social media innovation that capitalizes on its rather unique approach to social media. The app is (currently) invite-only, you can’t record conversations, and instead of visuals, the app is all audio-based. Clubhouse checks all the right boxes: exclusivity, spontaneity and the fear of missing out.
As of January 2021, it now has more than 6 million registered users on its platform and 2 million weekly average listeners. In May 2020, Clubhouse was valued at $100 million but quickly skyrocketed to $1 Billion in value as of February 2021.
How does this relate to your brand? And, more importantly, how can you get an invitation? Clubhouse is a surging platform that marketing professionals can take advantage of and have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor before this platform is oversaturated.
It’s unique from any currently existing social media platform in the sense that it offers a sense of exclusivity and spontaneity within itself that other social networks don’t provide. This charming characteristic is what’s skyrocketed this platform’s base, gaining the eyes of companies like Facebook and Tesla, whose CEOs give direct talks to users of the base (seriously, check out Mark Zuckerburg or Elon Musk’s profile and you might get the chance to have a direct conversation with them).
Clubhouse is already mobilizing its influencer core, organizing the top 40 users currently on the platform and engaging in company messaging. The direct use of influencers to market products and services is in the works right now, but monetization is coming.
The best opportunities for companies on the platform is giving them a voice to speak with consumers and users on the platform, building authenticity with its “hot mic” platform. Hop on the Clubhouse waitlist or score an invite from a friend/colleague and start building up your brand’s voice!
3. Corporate Stances on Political Issues are Now Commonplace
Normally, we’re all taught to keep our politics quiet in the workplace, but that concept is changing with our current climate, and marketers are adapting. Politics and inclusivity are now a core part of people’s daily lives, and brands are starting to change because of this.
According to the CMO survey in February 2021, 27.1% of brands find it appropriate to take stances on politically charged issues — which is a whopping 49.7% increase from last year. Topics range from encouraging citizens to vote (92.9%), supporting a specific piece of legislation (43.5%), and making changes to products and services in response to political issues (26.5%).
P&G (corporate owner of the Ariel laundry detergent brand) made a commercial for their Indian audience that highlighted the gender imbalance when it comes to doing many household chores. When they showed that parents need to teach their sons the same household skills that they teach their daughters, it helps promote a conversation that leads to a productive, and more equitable, gender dynamic. This helped the brand come across as genuine in its efforts to promote exclusivity.
There, of course, are right ways to go about discussing inclusivity and wrong ways, even if good intention is there. Mizzou Athletics is a good example of this. While trying to show its inclusivity, it misses the mark by showcasing African-American athletes exclusively for being African-American, while comparing two white female athletes, showcasing what more they could be. By comparing in this way, it appears more like pandering than being genuine about being inclusive, and that will hurt people’s perception of a brand.
4. People Want More Authentic Content Generated by Users
Creating the ultimate customer interaction lies within the customer becoming invested in being an advocate for your brand. By displaying user-generated content, be it through the use of micro-influencers, community rewards, or any other creative strategy, it allows customers to become invested in your brand and turn them into an even more loyal customer.
While doing that, it promotes an authentic environment for a community to flourish and gives companies content to fall-back on during a turbulent Covid-19 environment. On top of all that, nearly 80% of users say that UGC has a high impact on the purchasing decision for products.
Companies such as Burt’s Bees or Warby Parker utilize such tools on
their social media posts. This helps them build their community and earn trust within it. It’s not just select companies though; entire industries run their social media pages based off of UGC.
Take the entire Travel industry (specifically Hilton Hotels), where 96% of travelers are more likely to trust another person’s review of a place over branded content.
5. Email Marketing is Entering the Realm of Hyperpersonal
Automated email marketing is the process of email advertising on a weekly schedule. This can come in many forms, such as special promotional offers, weekly company product updates, or a new event happening with the brand. This ROI is huge, giving back $44 for every $1 spent, so email marketing is not dead yet. Email marketing is changing though — becoming more personal yet more impersonal (and more efficient) behind the scenes through automation.
Providing personalization to the automated email listing delivers an increased response rate to the users. According to Omnisend, customized automation of email marketing increases efficiency in response by 17.27%, followed by an order confirmation rate of 52.7%. Emailing customers on their birthdays, with their name or phone number, shows a level of personalization that caters specifically to that customer, increasing your brand’s perceived interest in that specific consumer. With that level of specificity, those customers that are targeted with customized automated emails will be more likely to click on those links and subsequently place orders.
Take a look at Birchbox. The subject line is wishing their customer (Kim) a happy birthday, so it is “Happy Kim day!” This personalized ad that will specifically target Kim has an increased chance of getting a response, as it builds rapport with the user on their end.
So start an influencer campaign, put some more video on your social accounts, and put a fresh coat of paint on those emails you send out. By taking these tips and implementing them into your brand’s current marketing strategy, the brand will have the latest competitive edge in this modern, and ever-changing marketing environment.