The marketing landscape is constantly being reshaped by new trends, technologies, and turbulence in our interconnected world. The dynamic nature of the field of marketing demands agility and creativity. Marketers that rest on their laurels do so at their own peril. In this arena, those that snooze will inevitably lose. Savvy marketers anticipate and leverage emerging consumer trends and changes in consumer behavior. They place customers at the heart of their strategies and keep their eyes on the horizon, watching for new trends and technologies. If you want to be a successful marketer, commit to continuous learning and stay informed. Become comfortable with change because ironically, change is the only thing that is certain.
Experiential Marketing is Making a Comeback
The global pandemic that swept over our world created many reversible and irreversible shifts in the way business is conducted, and altered consumer spending. Lockdowns triggered a digital stampede that unlocked many opportunities for marketers. However, in the post-COVID world, experiential marketing is making a resurgence. The yearning for connection and in-person interactions that has been held in check by two years of lockdowns can finally be satisfied and marketers can capitalize on this. Consumers want to have meaningful brand experiences and connect with others. In 2023, take the opportunity to immerse your customers in entertaining, educational, uplifting brand experiences. Experiential marketing humanizes your brand and deepens your bonds with your customers.
Although experiential marketing is making a comeback, online marketing will continue to evolve and grow. Leveraging inbound marketing, which is also known as ‘pull’ marketing, is key. Specifically, inbound marketing emphasizes the use of quality content that can induce relevant interactions and draw prospects to a business. People are tired of getting interrupted with a barrage of ads that are not even relevant to them. Inbound tactics are subtle and you might not immediately identify them as marketing. Examples of this type of marketing include; Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-click ads (PPC), Social media marketing, blogging and video content. These methods have the potential to generate qualified leads and deliver high marketing returns-on-investments (ROI).
At any given time, there are multiple things competing for your attention. Marketers need to reduce the amount of time required to pass information to their customers. Video platforms are a must-have in 2023 – no matter what industry you are in. Audiences prefer bite-sized pieces of information that they can digest easily. Boost your ability to retain viewers’ attention by making your videos more engaging.
Additionally, research has shown that short-form video posts on social media tend to attract more likes, shares, and reactions. Short form video snippets are thriving for all age groups and demographics on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Different restrictions for the length of videos exist on different platforms. Short-form branded content that projects authenticity and empathy can help forge meaningful connections with consumers.
Furthermore, your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) can be improved by keeping users scrolling for longer periods on your site. Splicing longer videos into shorter videos can also help you repurpose content and keep your platforms updated with new content that in turn improves SEO.
Content that requires your audience to interact or engage is like a two-way conversation between you and your audience. By attracting and engaging your users, you can grab attention better than static content and keep them engaged for a longer time. Interactive experiences can include; calculators, polls, virtual reality, quizzes, assessments, and games. You can customize your interactive content to every stage of the buyer’s journey and use it to nurture your leads.
Real-time engagement with your brand community will help personalize your brand and encourage followers to become more involved with the brand. Share user-generated content and engage with your followers on live streams. Instagram Lives, Facebook Lives, LinkedIn Lives, YouTube Lives and Pinterest Lives are a testament to this shift in our online culture. People want authentic connections. You can start with question-and-answer sessions and giveaways to get the ball rolling.
Long Form Content
Long form content such as articles, case studies and white papers will continue to be important in 2023. They can satisfy a consumer’s need for in-depth or additional information. Long form content also improves your SEO, especially if the content keeps people scrolling down and has relevant keywords. Case studies offer prospects an in-depth look at your brand and how people can benefit from your value proposition. They can also act as lead magnets.
Influencer Marketing will Gain Momentum
Creator marketing drives brand growth. Authenticity is key to creating bonds with consumers in 2023. Consequently, there has been a shift to nano- and micro-influencers. These niche content creators with 1,000 to 100,000 followers have the ability to forge meaningful connections with their audiences. Although they have fewer followers, their posts are impactful due to their higher level of engagement. Their opinions hold sway with consumers that trust their expertise, product reviews and service recommendations. Brands can engage these influencers to drive awareness and boost sales. These micro-influencers are considered ‘everyday’ people that their followers can relate to.
Podcasts and Audio Ads
Podcasts help you craft a community of highly engaged audiences. Pairing podcasts with influencer engagement can help you reach large numbers of people. Aim to create original, engaging content that listeners can easily download or stream. Audio advertisements in podcasts that are integrated into a show and do not disrupt the content can be an effective tactic. If the ads are closely related to the topic under discussion, you will be able to target consumers who will be more likely to be interested in your product.
Third-Party Cookies are Going Away
Google is slowly phasing out third-party cookies which will limit the ability to send out personalized advertising. A third-party cookie is a piece of code that websites use to track visitor behavior. Marketers will have to adjust by developing personal strategies and one-on-one marketing tools to attract customers, such as using interactive content. Consent will play a central role in marketing strategies. Furthermore, Google is switching to Google Analytics 4 which will require marketers to train and get ready to use this new platform.
ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool has amazed people with its ability to create natural-sounding content in seconds based on a simple prompt. Although it has created quite a buzz on the internet, there are many caveats to its use. The tool cannot replace quality content created by knowledgeable marketers and subpar content can damage your brand and you may risk being penalized by Google. However, AI tools can help with research and brainstorming.
Omnichannel Marketing: Integrated Online-Offline Customer Experience
Omnichannel marketing is a holistic strategy that creates an integrated customer experience across all channels and touchpoints. As technology evolves, the lines between the ‘online’ and ‘offline’ world have begun to blur. Omni-channel experiences offer more flexibility for customers to interact with a brand however they choose to. It helps brands build stronger relationships with their audiences and drive more sales by engaging customers through multiple channels, from social media to in-store interactions.
Social Responsibility and Inclusivity
What does your company stand for? Do you resonate with its mission? Customers are looking for much more than satisfying their needs and wants with feature-rich products and snazzy packaging. They are looking beyond themselves and looking for brands that have a positive societal impact on people and the planet. Brands that champion diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Marketing evolves as consumers evolve. Consumers are more empowered. They want to be in control of their own data. They want to make socially responsible choices. They want to engage with brands on their own terms.
Smart marketers will continue gathering customer insights and adapting to the expressed and unexpressed changing needs and wants of customers. Their radar is always on. They strive to provide personalized, exceptional service to customers across all channels and are cognizant of sweeping trends in the industry. They will survive the winds of change. Indeed, they will harness these winds to successfully sail through 2023.
Article by Shailja Sharma, SBS Faculty Member and Leadership and Career Coach
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