It’s the job of marketers to stay on top of trends. And one of the most important trends they need to be aware of is what is happening in their own profession. As 2010 began, marketing gurus predicted what will be front and center this year in marketing plans. We culled the five best trends and suggest ways you can use them to energize your business, no matter its size.
Already hot, mobile marketing will soon be ubiquitous. Smartphones coming down in cost and location-based services that can provide the chance to minutely target consumers will increase mobile Web usage. One way to target users with phones is to set up text alerts to provide updated information about your business, such as an upcoming sale, or to use it as a way to contact clients quickly. You can search Google for a provider of business text messaging.
Another way to grab the mobile crowd is to create an iPhone application. Better known as “apps,” these widgets are downloaded by users and placed on their screens via icons and often function as a service, from viewing weather forecasts to bank statements. To create an app, use Apple’s iPhone developer program. But before you invest the time and money, ask yourself if you are providing something your consumers actually need. Will it solve a specific problem, or does it serve a specific niche? If the answer is yes, go for it.
2. Social Media
This year expect to see more marketers looking at social media as an integral part of their marketing strategy. Even the simplest use of social media tools (think Facebook and Twitter) can increase awareness of your business. For instance, a Facebook fan page is a great way to share information with consumers. Fan pages, which are free, are visible to unregistered people and can be indexed into search engines. You can use them to send updates to “fans” and your updates are published in their news feeds. Twitter is a great way to monitor what customers are saying about your company’s services and gives you a forum to respond.
The bad economy ain’t over till it’s over, and consumers are continuing to tighten their belts. They want value, and because they’re watching their pennies, they are careful about spending money on brands with hollow claims. Consumers are looking for brands that have a function. So emphasize those features of your business that will appeal to consumers looking to economize, and make sure your offerings fill needs, whether big or small.
Experts predict that video will be used in all kinds of ways, including job resumes and employer branding. The proliferation of video can be a huge timesaver when you’re looking to staff up. Instead of interviewing in the office, why not ask prospective candidates to e-mail personal Web videos? Or ask them to answer a specific set of questions via video. On the business side, staffers can make video presentations directly to customers.
5. New Content Models
Free content is the way to go. Utilize a site such as YouTube, where you can create videos about your services and upload them for free. You can offer video, news updates, and feedback pages on your corporate site. Make your company an open book: The more that people can learn about your brand the better.