Five Themes to Build into Your 2019 Marketing Plans

November 2, 2018

 

Written by Kyle Romaniuk, Principal at Vantage Studios

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Most people believe in the speed of change. Although they aren’t adopting it into their business, fearing change itself, blaming lack of resources, or wanting to believe they still have time to delay enhancing their own competitiveness, before competitors or technology leap ahead of them.

The speed of change should not be viewed as a challenge, but rather an opportunity.

Considering where the world is headed, here are the top five themes you should be using to position your business for ongoing success.

1. People

People should be at the heart of what you do, how you do it and why you do it. Think about what people want, when and where they are expecting to find it. Consider ways to deliver value, relieve pains, or create gains for people they otherwise never knew were attainable.Your CEO, executive, and sales reps should all consider being accessible via social media. People today expect you to be accessible in their preferred channel of communication. Companies with executives on social media are 82 per cent more trusted and 77 per cent more likely to have their services purchased. (Source: GO-Gulf).

Treat leads the way you would treat a person. How responsive you are to their inquiries can increase your rate of lead conversion. You are 394 per cent more likely to convert a lead with response times under one minute versus 17 per cent after just 24 hours. (Source: conversionautomation.com).

People are also your key resource for continuous innovation. Leverage the minds of your internal team and key partners to help you stay ahead of competition and adapt to emerging
trends through collaboration.

The manner in which your business treats staff, suppliers, and customers directly affects how your brand is perceived. Respect people, their time and their privacy.


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2. Data

We have never had access to more data. With the rise of the internet of things, everything is more connected to everything else. How you can measure is constantly becoming more and more sophisticated.

A/B testing is something you should make a part of your daily routine. There is no such thing as perfection, so you can always find ways to improve. Small iterative enhancements can be used to optimize continuously and forever.

Think ahead into the future. Imagining future opportunities and threats helps you to develop strategies, create opportunities and eliminate risks. Some companies consult with futurists and trend analysts to assist in this activity, on an annual or quarterly basis.

Many companies don’t set goals and track KPIs. Those that do, often only track lagging metrics that show them where they have been, like looking into a rearview mirror. Leading metrics are indicators of where you are headed. But, you should also consider prescriptive metrics. Instead of asking what happened, ask “how can we make it happen?”

AI and machine learning are a part of our present reality. These newer abilities are in a way similar to how robots changed what is possible for manufacturing. Now we can optimize our workflows, remove boring, repetitive and tedious manual tasks off of our plates. You can automate the ideal communication and nurturing cadence for each segment of your audience. We don’t have to set reminders to follow up next week, in three or six months for tens, hundreds, or thousands of different leads. The latest technology is now starting to predict what customers will do in the future based on their individual behaviour and personalizes their journey on the fly. All of this enables you to reallocate your team to higher value and more
engaging activities.


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3. Content

Content is still king. The way you communicate, create awareness, sell, and stay top of mind relies on good content.

Video is on top when it comes to rate of adoption and it is the most engaging. 75 per cent of business executives watch work related videos weekly.
​(Source: Forbes Magazine).

AR and VR are also introducing new ways for businesses to get creative and make more memorable experiences. Surprise and delight people with your content, don’t create content to talk about yourself, create content and experiences for your audience.

Content shouldn’t always be closing. There is a time for selling, but content is not usually that time. So don’t try to sneak in a pitch or promotion into every micro-moment. Every customer and prospect journey should have numerous touch points so there will be many other opportunities to sell. Concentrate on delivering value and the sales will come


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4. Programmatic

Digital advertising and its players change constantly, but it remains the most trackable and scalable method of promotion. Programmatic digital advertising can get smarter and enhance its targeting to drive customers to your business. Attribution models and hands on optimization by really smart partners with the right tools and the right mix of digital channels are key ingredients to a successful campaign at scale.

If just getting started, or dealing with lower monthly budgets, you will want to limit the number of channels you focus on, test small, improve through iterative A/B testing, and grow your budget slowly.

A newer digital channel on the rise is native advertising. Native creates the opportunity to add value to your customers’ content feed, not interrupt it. Not everyone uses it well, but you should consider it like sponsored content. Write content for your audience and target them where they are engaging with other content. Like a website has products you might like based on other products you have viewed, you should be authentic and try to provide relevant content people will want to engage and share, don’t just do it for the clicks.

Lead generation is almost becoming a buzzword lately, as it seems to bubble up to the surface of almost every single sales and marketing conversation. Digital advertising needs to be a part of every lead generation strategy. Understanding your cost of customer acquisition is critical and the only way to drive that cost down is usually through optimizing your digital advertising with a sophisticated partner.

Strong landing pages and making sure that your goal conversions are defined and setup properly in your analytics tools will assist in driving up the performance of your digital advertising.


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5. Timing

Sync all of your sales and marketing activities for ultimate impact. Everything you do should feed into something else and complement everything. Consider all activities you could coordinate at one time to create the greatest impact. Also, think about what should come before and after every major event or campaign.

Typically the more channels you are seen in results in more credibility. And, a higher frequency leads to more conversions. But a word of caution, too much frequency will damage your brand.

Plan the ideal journeys of each customer and prospect segment. Consider the relationship each has with your business and how that might change their expectations. Plan when and how to deliver value to each segment differently. What’s the right cadence for each segment? What are the right channels? Do what is genuine and authentic. It should be relevant while demonstrating how you are different. Build your desired perception as you create awareness at each touch point. Do what will grow esteem and loyalty toward your brand, and avoid or stop anything you think might damage your brand.

Consider integrating these five trends into your 2019 marketing plan to bring long-term growth to your organization.


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Written by: Kyle Romaniuk
Principal
Vantage Studios