Game-changing Marketing Moments of 2016

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This year has been rather transformative for marketing. As customer behaviors and attitudes continue to evolve right along with the advent of technology, marketers remain under tremendous amount of pressure to launch effective campaigns, and quickly. So, with that in mind, let us reflect on the past few months and see how it can help shape the months ahead. Below are the 5 most influential marketing stories that caught my eye this year.

  1. Companies Take a Strong Stance on Social Issues

Hopping on the social issue bandwagon is a great way for companies to show consumers that they’re not all business. But not all well-intentioned initiatives work out for the best. Take Starbucks’ backlash in an attempt to “stimulate conversation, compassion and action around race in America,” with their Race Together campaign. Instead of a real conversation, the company was met with hostility and snarky comments via Twitter as one customer tweeted: “I get what Starbucks is trying to do, but nah. I’m just in there trying to get a caramel macchiato.”

As consumers demand further transparency from the brands they love to hate and hate to love, we can expect even more companies to take on social issues in the years ahead. Of course, it’s important that these initiatives strike the right tone and achieve effective communication. To ensure that this happens, companies should work on getting a closer looks at their customers, maybe even visiting individual homes and work places to get a more accurate reading on certain likes and dislikes.

  1. Live-streaming Demands Transparency

Apps like Snapchat, Periscope, and Meerkat lead the race in what’s next for social media. “The live streaming revolution is upon us, bringing with it a greater level of transparency than we’ve seen before,” explains Andrew Reid, founder and president of corporate innovation at Vision Critical, in his article for Entrepreneur. “One reason may be that there’s something pure and honest about live streaming—the raw, unvarnished, direct connection possible only through a live transmission—and smart brands will continue to capitalize on this factor.” 

Not to be outdone, Facebook also offers a “live” feature to the world’s largest social network. This is a clear indicator that the battle for live-streaming will only intensify as we forge into the unknown matrix of web technology.

  1. Consumers Suffer from “Content Shock”

According to Digitalbuzz Blog, within the span of a day 294 billion e-mails are sent, 2 million blogs are posted, 4.7 billion minutes are spent on Facebook, 864,000 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube, and for the first time iPhones are selling faster than humans can procreate. It no wonder people have started to experience what Mark Schaefer is referring to as “content shock.” This phenomenon occurs when people reach a “physiological, inviolable limit to the amount of content they consume.” It is directly associated with the amount of content that companies and individuals mindless create and consume on an hourly basis.

In this content abundance crisis, companies are going to have to start finding more clever ways to stand out, which means consumers will be further targeted. Scheduled annual visits to consumers’ home is definitely on the horizon, where agents will meet with customers to discuss exactly what they like and don’t like about Jennifer Lopez, etc.

  1. Ad-Blocking Technology Shakes Up the Industry

Last year, Apple announced upgrades to it’s software, making it super easy to install ad-blocking software on iPhones. Great of the consumer, but a real set back for advertisers. It ensued so much panic; it was the number one topic on conversation at Advertising Week in New York. Some marketing creative predict that the rise of ad blocking software may be good for the industry, but many are afraid they won’t be able to reach the younger, more readily influenced by “what’s cool” crowd. One study revealed that 67.7% of millennials were using ad-blocking technology even before Apple’s announcement.

  1. The Collaborative Economy Picks Up Steam

Sometimes referred to as the “sharing economy” or the “gig economy,” the “collaborative economy” is a disruptive phenomenon where people use everyday technology to get the products and services they need from each other, bypassing traditional ways of buying.

In the past year alone, sharing in the collaborative economy has grown by 55 percent. And with forecasts showing that eleven in fifteen Americans will be part of this movement by 2017, this phenomenon has significant implications for enterprise companies. Companies have to figure out how to successfully compete or complement collaborative companies, or risk extinction.

In the end, to remain relevant in 2017 and in the years ahead, companies must invest in their relationship with their customers. They need to stop promising things they can’t fulfill, and start being honest, real people who would never lie to you no matter what. The evolution of marketing isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Marketers must be nimble.

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