1. Brand-driven storytelling
Marketing is progressing towards brand-driven storytelling rather than simply listing attributes of products.
Building your story is a critical part of building your brand. It helps to shape how people view you and enables consumers to connect with your ethos, values and history. Companies that create compelling narratives can influence customer perspectives.
For example, Ballettonet is a small online shoe brand. However, Ballettonet doesn’t just sell quality Italian footwear. The Ballettonet story is about bringing to Australia ethical handcrafted Italian footwear made by family-owned shoe-makers. Thus, the shoes are made with knowledge passed down through several generations of expert craftsmen, with high-quality materials, and without huge retail market ups. Part of their social media strategy is to highlight this story, from the genuine high-quality Nappa leather used in the shoes, to the inspiration of Italy. Rather than advertisements which lean towards the “sell, sell, sell” principle, companies that create compelling narratives around their heritage and values shape customer perspectives.
And it works.
Storytelling connects, resonates, sells.
Before storytelling, customers might see a nice-looking pair of shoes. After storytelling, customers may associate Ballettonet with genuine Italian craftsmanship and high-quality materials, ethical labour practices, and an eye for unique yet simple designs.
Which do you think sells more?
IMAGE: Meet the Makers: Baccaro Group; Paola and husband Alessandro with children Agnes and Mattia.
IMAGE: Juliet's balcony, Verona (Image: Stephanie Waters)
2. Content is King
Content creation seems to be the marketing buzzword of the moment. This may be because anyone with a smartphone and internet access can curate an Instagram page, write a bog, or upload photos. But the truth is that good content (that is- content that adds value to your customer’s lives and that they want to see) is if not the most, then one of the most valuable digital marketing assets a company can have.
What’s more – what might be of value to customers is often common sense. For example, a fitness apparel brand may post delicious looking smoothie recipes, additional workout routines, and motivational quotes in their daily feed. This might not have anything to do with their product, but it certainly provides value for customers – oh and did we mention it helps to create brand-driven storytelling?
3. Stories will remain popular
Since Instagram made the move in August 2016 to launch their stories feature to compete with the popular Snapchat, they haven’t looked back. Businesses can use Instagram stories in addition to normal posts to show followers behind the scenes, promote live sales events/ offers, or host a Q&A with executives - see Shopo CEO Jane Lu- who attributes the success of her fashion brand Showpo largely due to their social media strategy and Instagram stories presence.
4. The rise of micro-influencers (less than 10,000 followers)
An influencer casually mentioning how they use your product or service, “I’ve been trying to find new activewear for a while and I LOVE the fact that this brand does pockets!” can be more compelling than a typical advertisement banner. For this reason, influencers have become a huge source of investment for brands. In terms of reach, an influencer with more followers will be your best bet. However, micro influencers should be your go-to for conversion rate as they will be cheaper and more efficient than a macro influencer.
Before signing on a smaller influencer, make sure you do your homework on them first! You will want someone who is aligned with the values of your brand (for example, a vegan influencer would not be the best fit for a leather handbag brand). Then have a look at the level of engagements per post (look for high-quality comments and a large proportion of likes for their follower size. Also look at their follower list and see if a large proportion appear to be fake- one way to tell is if an influencer has large drops in followers, which may be from Instagram cleaning out fake profiles.
If you have do decide to collaborate with an influencer, justify the spend in terms of ROI (return on investment). Measure leads from influencers with Google Analytics and custom URLs, and custom coupon codes to determine whether if it is worth continuing.
Speaking of accountability…
5. Accountability and metrics:
A whole essay could be written on accountability and marketing.
To begin with, be very wary of any marketing individual or company that withholds any accountability for their marketing strategy, “marketing is an art that can’t be measured, the results will come, trust me!” But also realise that it may take a few months to see results from a new marketing strategy.
The main point is that marketing efforts CAN and SHOULD be measured. Marketing KPI’s exist to track the success of a marketing promotion or campaign. Some examples of metrics? Website page views, search engine rankings, engagements on social media posts (likes, comments and shares) and cost per click on Facebook ads.
However, correlation is not causation. Marketing KPI’s do not automatically cause more sales, higher revenue or growth. For example, if there are a lot more people looking at your website, you are more likely to get sales (correlation), but in no way is it guaranteed to make more sales or be the cause of sales (new sales might have come from a celebrity promoting a discount code). This is why it takes time to determine what is working, and where to invest your marketing efforts.
The aim of a good marketing strategy is to funnel potential leads to avenues such as your website, with the hope that they become a customer. Think of marketing as an investment into a company’s future revenue and growth. Like any investment, there is a degree of risk, but without any investment, there can be no reward.
Suffice to say, the trend towards high-quality reports and proving quantitative metrics to evidence marketing success is here to stay for 2019.
*To view insights for your profile, go to insights, click content, then click see all.
That wraps up our list of Digital Marketing trends for 2019. Do you agree with them? Are there any we have missed? Let us know below.