Change is the only constant in life, and that’s especially true for marketing. What changes can marketers expect in 2014? Here are our thoughts.
Facebook Courts Direct Marketers
Facebook has introduced new advertising options attractive to direct marketers. Lookalike Audiences let advertisers target people who are similar to their own buyers. Partner Categories overlay outside data, much as catalog coop databases do, to refine targeting. Look for more direct marketing features ahead.
Product Listing Ads Surge
Google Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) are consistently outperforming traditional text PPC ads, at a lower cost per click. We expect this trend to continue as more companies test PLAs.
Bing Erodes Google Dominance
Bing Ads is gradually gaining market share, as advertisers reap higher ROI than with Google AdWords.
Content Marketing Becomes Critical
No longer just a buzzword, content marketing – offering useful information to attract prospects and buyers – has become a critical component of every effective marketing plan.
The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs report that more than 70% of B2C marketers now use each of these content marketing avenues: social media, website articles, blogs, enewsletters and videos. Other options include ebooks, SlideShare, podcasts, webinars and white papers.
Email Marketing Under the Gun
Email marketing grows tougher as saturation continues to depress response. Studies show that more than 50% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices, as consumers sift through messages – trashing most of them – virtually in real time.
Visual Marketing Drives Response
The growth of Pinterest, Instagram, infographics, Product Listing Ads, and Facebook all point towards more visual marketing.
Amazon Upends Marketing
While we worried about big box stores competition, Amazon was busy eating our collective lunch. As of mid-2012, 30% of all online shopping started at Amazon; today, it’s undoubtedly higher. It’s the go-to source for pricing benchmarks and product reviews.
Should you try to beat Amazon by offering unique products, or join them because of their reach? The answer is different for every company, but the question isn’t going away.
Shopping Seasons Compress
The Internet has trained shoppers to expect instant results. Shopping seasons are compressing as a result. January is no longer the strongest month for any of our clients. That has shifted all the way to March, and may be moving straight into April.
Traditional Media Holds Steady
After some significant downturns, spending on traditional media — such as magazine advertising, catalogs and trade shows — appears to have leveled off. Online marketing will continue to compete with traditional media for share of marketing budget, there’s still a place for proven workhorses in most marketing plans.
No Universal Social Media Roadmap
Once upon a time, social media meant Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Now add Pinterest, Google +, Instagram, Tumblr, and a few dozen more. It’s enough to make your head spin.
Relax! You don’t have to master them all. And what works for one company may not work at all for another. Your limited resources are best spent by making an informed choice about what to concentrate on and doing one thing well, rather than dabbling in every new approach that comes along.
Which trends are most important for your continued growth? Let us help you sort things out! Give Val a call at 203-226-7338.