Right now the internet is being flooded with prediction articles for 2015 (this one is my favorite). But if you were paying attention in 2014 you already know there’s a trend in marketing that is only going to pick up steam this coming year.
So in the boldest of “I told you so!” moves, and with some degree of “this is satire but not really”, I’m going to tell you what to expect this coming year by writing as if it already happened:
2015 was the year for Customer Experience
We saw it coming late in 2014. Facebook announced major changes to the way it wanted business pages to post promotional content (read: buy advertising). Twitter and Pinterest announced relevance-based feeds.
In a nutshell, so many of the actual announcements companies made that affect how we market ourselves online revolved around personalization and relevance. They answered the question, “how can we give our users the best experience possible when they are logged in? We know they’re time-strapped, that everybody is vying for their attention, so let’s take a step back and shut down the games marketers need to play to get their message in front of our users, and just make the whole process simpler, more transparent. We’ll get better data of what works that way, too.”
And that continued through 2015.
The companies that stood out this year had a strong grasp of business fundamentals. They realized these relevance algorithms played to their strengths of experience, trustworthiness, good product, and great customer service. These winners just had to dedicate some resources to buttoning up their online presence, and doing what they do best: run a great business. In fact, here’s a link to this year’s 74 Best Marketing Stories of 2015.*
During the course of 2015, the maneuvers made by social networks and content providers proved tricky to navigate, in some cases too tricky, as businesses pulled back their efforts and focused less on marketing to new customers, more on strengthening relationships with existing ones.
Customers continued to become empowered, and more demanding. The technology through which we could reach our customers continued to get more sophisticated, which seemed daunting to many companies until they met the challenge head-on, investing smart in content assets, like video, that would pull double & triple duty. They also got smart and strategic about where they spent their marketing dollars, so we saw a surge in articles about strategies, analytics, and ways to measure success that were more aligned with business goals than specific metrics like traffic.
As we look back on 2015 and ahead to 2016, we are happy that this shakeout happened. We are happy that accountability and a renewed focus on the things that matter to a business took center stage. Everybody is better for it, don’t you think?
*Guys, it’s still 2014, remember? Did I fool you with that fake link? Tell me in a tweet
Okay, back to reality
I’m right about this trend, and you know it. So as a business owner, how do you balance the ever-increasing workload to navigate today’s online marketing landscape?
Problem: Too many marketing channels, no idea where to allocate resources.
Solution: Hire someone (like me) to do an audit and content strategy so you can have a plan for your time and money.
Problem: Too many changes in search and social algorithms, can’t keep up.
Solution: Focus on strengthening your bonds with existing customers, get them on your email list, and button up all your online profiles.
Problem: Too much content to create, not enough resources and no idea where to get it from.
Solution: Go for a central piece of content, like a Google hangout video, that answers questions about things your sales & support teams field on a regular basis. Then break it up into smaller parts to optimize & distribute around the web (also look back to the solution above about creating a strategy).
Think you’re ready for 2015? Let’s do this!