Your Marketing Plans Are, Like, So Last Year

Posted by Zoe Mack on 01/30/2017

New Year’s resolutions typically represent the pursuit of health and fitness goals or tackling a new challenge.

For businesses, the New Year is an opportunity to reflect on how a company can take its marketing strategies to the next level and ditch plans that are, like, so last year.

It’s time to re-examine five marketing tactics that worked last year. We will also discuss if they are here to stay.

Live videos

Facebook’s algorithm gives priority to videos, especially live videos. Companies need solid videos to differentiate their brands and stand out from competitors. Afraid an audience didn’t see the real-time shots? Not a problem. The video is archived so fans can still view the broadcast whenever convenient.

Live video provides unedited, authentic and in-the-moment storytelling – that’s how many users want to see and share content.

Instagram, which launched its live video function within Instagram Stories in December 2016, also prioritizes video. However, Instagram only shows users what’s happening right now. Fans can never go back to watch the video.

But not all short videos are here to stay: Vine is dead! Last fall, Twitter announced it would start shutting down the video app by disabling uploads. But viewing and downloads still work, so feel free to keep watching those favorite six-second stories.

Verdict: Here to stay.

Press conferences and news releases

President Donald Trump has squashed the press conference in favor of directly reaching out to the public on Twitter. Is this a sign of the future? It depends on who businesses and organizations are pitching to. If a company promotes a press conference for every news release distributed, media will stop showing up.

A press conference must advance an organization’s cause or address significant hard news. The format provides an opportunity for different speakers to share specific parts of a message. Livestreaming a press conference on social media to accommodate short-staffed newsrooms could broaden a story’s coverage. It also creates touchpoints with members, potential customers or donors and other stakeholders.

News releases, another traditional tool, aren’t dead; they’re on life support. A news release only doesn’t cut it anymore. Media pitches are often replaced with attention-getting Tweets or social media messages sent directly to writers or reporters. The relationships a business builds with journalists and influencers deliver results.

Verdict: Not dead … yet.

Podcasts

Podcasts give businesses and organizations a place to share and amplify their voice on trends. They also position and promote the brand as an industry expert. Popup podcasts are very popular and primarily focus on newsier events or specific topics, targeting specific audiences. According to an Interactive Advertising Bureau’s study, one in five Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month. The research also shows the podcast audience’s media age of 31 is significantly younger than AM/FM radio and television. The challenge? Starting a podcast means staying committed to creating compelling content and promoting the material consistently.

Verdict: Here to stay. 

Websites and blogs

The website is the first place potential customers will visit to learn about a business. Is it mobile friendly? Does the design look old and outdated? It takes only seconds to make a first impression. Sites must be fresh, attention-getting and professional.

Blogs provide a personal connection to an audience. They teach about trends, products and services to give readers and potential customers the opportunity to learn more about a business and its brand. This personalized content also helps elevate search engine optimization, also known as SEO, and brand awareness.

Verdict: Here to stay.

Customer service

Customer service is about the experience, engagement and influence. How does a business make people feel when they’re greeted on the phone or when they receive emails? Do customers feel empowered to ask questions? It’s about having a conversation in-person and actively engaging online through social listening. Customers have high expectations of how companies serve their wants and needs.

Verdict: Dead! Out with customer service, in with customer empowerment.

Empowering customers in the New Year is a solid start to an effective marketing plan, but that should not be the be-all and end-all. To grow a client base or retain current customers, focus on these five resolutions.

Take advantage of analytics and measurements

What does success look like? What’s the business objective? How are companies learning more about customers? The data from months or years ago may not represent an accurate picture for today’s current climate. Install analytics tools for all emails, websites, social media accounts and blogs.

Target audiences

After gathering data, define next steps. Everyone is not a customer. Learn more about current customers and re-assess potential markets – who are they and why are they a target? What messages would appeal to them? What are they saying about the company or industry? Based on analytics and measurements, define actionable tactics by using conversion tracking. Identify potential customers. Learn about their communication and buying habits. 

Make it mobile and make it easy

It’s important to cater content and ads to mobile users. Keep information brief for easy readability. Since four out of five Americans use their smartphones every day, having a mobile-responsive website and blog is important. Make sure it accommodates any device’s screen size.

Create a budget for social media advertising

Organic reach has been declining for years. Social media platforms make their money from advertising, so they give priority to companies and organizations that invest in ad dollars. eMarketer’s research shows digital ad spending reached $72 billion, surpassing TV ads in 2016.

The TL;DR version: Pay to play.

Invest in video

Yes, we’ve already mentioned live video. But videos dominate the Facebook feed and they get shared seven more times than links. Since Facebook has changed its algorithm to prioritize video, business owners and publishers are focusing more of their efforts on video production.

A study shows nearly 75 percent of adults are more likely to buy after watching a video explaining the product or service.  Remain relevant and create compelling content to attract and retain customers.

Digital media is only part of the marketing puzzle. It’s about how a business combines its efforts with community-focused projects, assessing and re-assessing who an organization wants to attract, and building relationships with prospective fans on and offline.

Jumpstart the marketing plan, push reset and go! Now your marketing plans are, like, so this year.

 

 

Jacqueline Sit

Account Executive, Candor

Jacqueline Sit is a two-time Emmy-nominated journalist with a decade of in-depth communications experience. She puts her writing and broadcast skills to use by helping clients with everything from media and crisis communications training to social media, reputation management and strategic counsel. She previously reported for News 9 in Oklahoma City and for stations in Texas and Oregon. She joined Candor in 2013 and the firm has served more than 100 clients in various industries including healthcare, education, technology, retail, nonprofits and more.  

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