Business owners should know that marketing is extremely important. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, text messages or direct mail, entrepreneurs and business owners should know it’s not just about building it and hoping they come, it’s about building it and telling everyone that you can that it’s there.
Just as business as usual is no longer business as usual, marketing as usual is no longer marketing as usual. CEO Blog Nation and Rescue a CEO asked entrepreneurs and business owners what they believe is the future of marketing. The most popular responses included social media and relationship building.
Related Post: [RESCUE A CEO] 80+ Marketing Tips
1) Earned Media, Links & Relationship Building
I believe that the future of is earned media, links and relationship building. I think that right now everyone is really trying to promote their business, product or service by using social channels to broadcast their message, which is creating a lot of content and noise for consumers. In order to reach them marketers and companies will have to embrace social media as a means of conversation and not just a broadcasting method. The companies that are successful are actively having conversations with prospects and being helpful (SEOMo and Hubspot). Google is also placing more emphasis on organic and personalized search which means that you need to be providing great content that is helpful and fills a need for an audience. So it’s gonna be all about helping prospects, building relationships and permission marketing, which is a concept by Seth Godin. With everyone getting more involved in social media the people who will succeed are those that embrace this concept.
Thanks to Michael Flanigan, Khraze!
2) Relationships & Engagement
I believe the “future” of marketing is already here. Big companies still invest in TV advertisements, billboards, and direct mail, but the revolution of social marketing is making an rapid entrance. Consumers have more control over how their interact with brands and business than every before — and more and more they are taking charge and calling the shots. Smart businesses know that consumers want value, information, and choices on their own terms. These businesses are creating interactive content and media and getting consumers involved on a whole new level. The future of marketing is about relationships and engagement, and it’s already taking root.
Thanks to Sonja Jobson!
3) Social Media
I predict more and more people will get focused on utilizing social media to build their own personal brands. More brands and businesses will realize that the control of their brand has shifted to having consumers having more control over their choices and ideas. While mobile technology and advertising will be the future we as professional social media branding and marketing companies will have to keep the creativity up and diversify revenue streams.
Thanks to Vickens Moscova, VMEnterprises!
4) Engagement and Interaction
We make extensive use of social media to promote awareness and our products and services to players the world over. Chief among the goals of social media marketing is interaction. We seek to engage our players at our site in blogs, on Facebook, via Twitter and G+.
Thanks to Brett Chatz, 888Ladies!
5) In House Marketing & Advertising
For the SME, without a sizable marketing budget, creating and conducting in house marketing and advertising is my personal plan for the next couple of years. Not only do I feel able to represent my company equally as well as a paid marketing company (I have far deeper and instant knowledge, far greater passion, no other distractions and, as the founder and owner a credibility that no ‘marketer’ would ever be able to fabricate), so when my business is represented, talked about, quoted or marketed, the source quotes, information, talking head and front person will always be me or my business partner (and wife) Charlotte. We feel that we provide a better value for money for our business and we think that with practice, we are becoming more and more competent to be our own marketing department. When or business grows, having been involved in this aspect will prepare us for when we have to expand and take on professional services. We will know the turf and what we can and cannot expect for our hard earned bucks.
Thanks to Andrew Mills, Nephria!
6) It Will Become Social
Marketing will become increasingly social. We as entrepreneurs should be looking for our referrals to come through social media from friends of friends of friends as well as clients of clients. Referrals are powerful especially when there can be a constant reminder of your companies name and line of work by just pictures, likes, and testimonials.
Thanks to Maria Torres-Lopez, Not At Your Door!
7) Social Media, Location Awareness, Mobile Wallets & QR Codes
Here are my thoughts on digital marketing for 2013: Watch in 2013 as the real physical world will continue to intersect with the Internet in a major way. This will happen now, as the infrastructure is there, and people are becoming increasingly comfortable with such a lifestyle. This unfolding will certainly permeate digital marketing, and all aspects of a companies’ marketing mix. So I believe this will happen in a handful of key ways: Location Awareness: Watch as more and more, our mobile phone knows our tastes and preferences, and offers us up coupons and suggestions on the spot depending on where we are, say in front of a storefront on vacation. QR code marketing, Wearable devices, Mobile Wallets like Google’s and payment processing systems like Square, GoPayment, and PayPal Here. Other examples: Already in some bars we have seen vending machine style mobile phone chargers where you can swipe your credit card, plug your device into the wall and charge it. Also in general, 2013 will continue to be a year of social media marketing maturation, like marketing across more relevant social media platforms in more relevant ways. People will continue to put a precedence on products and services that interest their friends, companies that don’t hard sell them, and ones with interesting stories and relevant content to the consumers lifestyle.
Thanks to Brad Hines!
8) Simplicity & Calmness, Buyers in Control & Complicated Channels
The roles & responsibilities of marketing are in transition and will certainly be very different still down the road. Here are a few observations & predictions I have: 1) Both time & resources are tighter than ever and it is only going to get worse in the future. Life is just getting more complicated with all the tools and technologies so it is Marketing’s job to create simplicity and calmness wherever possible. Streamline choices and decision making to make it even easier for your customers. 2) Buyers not companies are in control so access and leverage the communities of experienced users who will be the champions and advocates for your brand. You no longer control your messages, they are so be a great listener and stay on top of the data & trends. 3) The channels are only going to get more complicated so make sure you have a clear strategy and strong plan but don’t get too wedded to the newest darling because something new will pop up soon. It is not about Pinterest or Instagram, the best brands are building long-term, authentic relationships with their customers not a daily deal or promotion! The CMO of the future will be as close to the CIO and CTO as they have been with Sales in the past. As the Chinese proverb says, may we live in interesting times, indeed.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
9) What We Communicate Not How
Technology has definitely augmented how businesses and organizations approach marketing efforts. We have so many ways to get information to clients and customers and can do most of them in the blink of an eye. However, even though social media has taken over the digital space like kudzu, I think the future of marketing will be more about the what we communicate rather than the how we do it. Consumers are not only more tech savvy but they are more demanding when it comes to doing business with companies that make the transaction about what’s best for the customer rather than the bottom line. In order for companies to remain competitive they are going to have to integrate more relationship building strategies into their overall marketing plan. Solo- and Micro-entrepreneurs have been relying on a relationship strategy to create an edge over their bigger competition but I believe we’ll start seeing those same big boys take a page from the little guy’s playbook and focus their attentions more on the relationship as well.
Thanks to Holly J. Kile, HJK Digital Solutions LLC!
10) It Will Be Varied & Require A New Skill Set
While it’s hard to predict the future (and I suppose if we could we would all have foreseen that massive PowerBall victory), I think the future of marketing will predominately be focused in a few key areas: 1. Depth. I was recently listening to an interview from a popular blog talking to a marketing director in an agency about the role of “creative technologist”. I’m paraphrasing but he basically said that “creative technologists are a jack of all trades – they have an understanding of many different functional areas but need to be a T shaped person and be deep in one”. I think this is very much a window into the future of marketing in that we will see individuals with a lot of general experience of varying areas of marketing – but deep within one. 2. Data. With all the talk of “big data” modern marketers have to be savvy in at least being able to understand and work with the data coming to them. Some tools are making this understanding easier and will continue to do so – but marketers need a basic understanding of how to interpret data and make actionable recommendations and decisions based on it. 3. Experience. Experiences are driving campaigns and adoption. Within digital we will see marketing teams coming up with a full experience for consumers rather than just a video, blog post, or individual piece of content. Instead this content will serve a larger role as part of a whole experience from social media to tablets. To sum it up, the future of marketing is varied and will require new skill sets that are really just starting to emerge.
Thanks to Jeffrey Vocell, Trendslide!
11) Buyers Rely More On Online Content & Business Gaining Level of Control
I think, at least for the foreseeable future, businesses need to focus on two things for successful marketing. The first is content. Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” state that the average shopper now uses 10.4 sources before buying; twice as much as years past. I have also seen stats that say that up to 90% of all purchase decisions begin on the internet. While I don’t necessarily think it’s that high, the trend is clear: buyers rely more and more on online content to make purchase decisions. And businesses need to focus on gaining some level of control on the content that’s out there in order to influence purchase decisions. And part of that content trend is also a shift in the way people consume content. Optimizing websites for mobile devices is an absolute necessity (both for SEO and for user experience purposes). Creating useful, influential content and making it easy for people to consume will go a long way.
Thanks to Eugene Farber, Content Strategy Hub!
12) Social Media
The future of marketing is social media. This doesn’t just mean having corporate profiles across social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but actually building communities around your brand and using social media as an extension of your content, public relations and customer service strategy. Being where your prospects and customers are is critical as is being authentic and responsive. Marketing will need to be more relationship focused and use conversations as vehicles that facilitate engaged brand experiences online.
Thanks to Stephanie Ciccarelli, Voices!
13) Better Understanding of Customers
The future of marketing will include better understanding of “customer”. Today we use automated web tools to understand the vague idea of who a customer is when they are online by their search history, geography, etc. The future will allow us to have more transparent relationships with customers. Social media allows customers to see how we engage with other customers and understand the things our customers are interested in. When used correctly both customers and marketers will be happier.
Thanks to Ben Pankonin, Social Assurance!
14) Those Companies That Answer “Why Should I Buy From You?”
In today’s New Economy, our customers have more access to information than ever before. They’ve got social media, review sites, competitor information, a slew of alternative products, and hundreds of media exposures throughout an average day. More often, they know more about your business, product, and the available options than most business owners today. As Bob Thacker, GravityTank Strategic Advisor and Former CEO of OfficeMax said: “Pre-shopping before buying has become a huge, huge part of customer behavior. In the past, it was pretty much confined to big-ticket items like cars, expensive electronics, or homes. Now people engage in discovery before shopping on very small things. It’s crossed all categories of shopping behavior. It’s just the way people buy today.” The power has shifted to the buyers from the sellers because consumers are looking to make smarter decisions. The future of marketing is going to those companies that answer the question: “Why should I buy from you?” based on creating, communicating and educating the customer as to the unique advantage and offering the company has in the marketplace.
Thanks to Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits!
15) Increase in Awareness of Non-Conscious Motivations & Behaviors
Looking ahead in marketing, I see a continuing increase in awareness of the importance of non-conscious motivations and behavior. Customers are humans, and several factors are combining to make marketers aware that they need to go beyond touting features and benefits. First, popular books about neuroscience and psychology, ranging from Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”, are ramping up awareness of how human decision-making is rarely a conscious, rational process. Second, a variety of tools like EEG brain wave measurements and fMRI brain scans are being applied in neuromarketing studies. These techniques are being used by major consumer product firms to evaluate both ads and products. By gauging the subconscious reactions of consumers, ads can be optimized and products made more appealing. While today these tools are mainly used by large firms with big ad budgets, I expect the cost to become more affordable in the years ahead. Eventually, marketers who aren’t at least partly focused on their customers’ brains will be at a major competitive disadvantage.
Thanks to Roger Dooley!
16) Transparent, Honest & Direct
Social media has transformed marketing from the traditional corporate driven “tell them what they need” message to a consumer driven “give me what I want” movement. In today’s digital world centering around social networking, marketing for the future needs to be transparent, honest, and direct. In a world where product and company reviews and referrals fly around the internet, gone are the days in which companies could rely on huge advertising budgets to make up for shoddy products or services. Successful marketers will use the power of social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to directly communicate their mission with their customer base, listen and respond to their needs in an honest and open fashion, and share their successes with their most loyal customers.
Thanks to Kristin Shaffer, FigureAndBikini.org!
One recent trend, and perhaps one of the most important to notice is the increasing presence of Smart Phone technology in the consumer market. Due to the unique ability to stream large feeds of data wirelessly, Smart Phone technology enables advertisers to collect user browsing data in order to later use as part of their Research and Development Programs. Another notable benefit of Mobile Technology is the ability to use hyper-geographic targeting in order to provide consumers within close proximity with sale notifications, SMS coupons, mobile calls to action, and more. According to Our Mobile Planet “31% of Americans own a smartphone.” Moreso, according to recent Google studies, “70% of smartphone users use their device while shopping in-store.” Just based on these statistics, one can sense the coming of a new era of Marketing as we know it.
Thanks to Phillip Alexeev, Pro-Motions Marketing, Inc!
18) Instantaneous Product Placement & Functional Advertising
The future of marketing is rather simple to map. The best way to sell a product is to offer it at the exact moment a customer wants it. If your coffee machine breaks, new technologies in the future will allow you to instantly access the machines inner computer (a system embedded in nearly every product sold), and have the ability to either have it fixed or replaced within the hour. The coffee maker will be able to access its own damage, and repairmen will instantly bid on the project while suppliers offer an exact replica competitively priced. The advertising investment in the future of marketing is not on billboards or direct mailers (although they will still exist), but rather having advertising shares within a product’s mini-computer. Creators of these “mini-computers” will be very similar to today’s Google, and will sell advertising on these systems accordingly. So there you have it – the future of marketing – where product placement is instantaneous and advertising is no longer ubiquitous, but rather, functional. Sound like Star Trek? Imagine how a laptop would have seemed 60 years ago.
Thanks to Matthew Steffen, Imprinsic Marketing!
19) It Will Depend on the Type of Marketing
The future of marketing depends to a large degree on what kind of marketing you do. Direct response marketing strategies have worked for years and will continue to work. The key is to take those strategies and apply them to new media that come up – like social media and others. It will also be key to adapt to the changing markets and times as they do or slightly before they do. Additionally, adapting your marketing to the niches and segments of your list will be more and more important over time as not everyone reacts or responds to things in the same way. Women are different than men, people of color have different biases than white people, gay and lesbian members of our society want different things than straight people do and so on.
Thanks to Diane Conklin, Complete Marketing Systems!
As a marketing lecturer, I see a push for metrics. People are after metrics that can tell them exactly what return they are getting for their money. ROI and Return on marketing expenses themselves are getting a lot of attention. Google has driven this movement online. Google’s CEO uses KPIs to drive his decision making ( Farris et al, 2010). As a business owner, it allows me to quantify social media efforts and benchmark progress with other media. Again, we want to know what we are getting for the money.. The terms social equity and exposure don’t mean much to us unless we have read Gary Vaynerchuk’s or others. In the words of Barbossa, “we’re naught but humble pirates.”
Thanks to Darren Veerapa, Real Cash Flow Advice!
21) Blending Social & Traditional Media
As a marketing professional who works with entrepreneurs on marketing strategies and implementation, and as a relatively new business owner, my method of blending social with traditional media is definitely the present and future marketing solution. With social media being a large unknown for the more experienced professional, and the only method of communication for the younger entrepreneurs, the fact that successful marketing involves a healthy blend of traditional with social media must be realized. To be successful, business professionals must use social media for relationship building and lead generation, while incorporating traditional methods to finalize the business transaction. Why not make connections through social media, follow up with a personal phone call, send an update with an email message, and reiterate your message with a snail-mail brochure and hand-written note? This method will accelerate your marketing efforts and place you ahead of your competition that may only be using social media and online approaches.
Thanks to Amber Dixon, Amber Gold Marketing!
22) It Will Become More Social, Communal & Less Forced
Marketing will continue to move away from the heavy hard sell, and toward approaches that not only respect prospects but interact with them–it will become more social, more communal, and less forced. There will be backlash against such dubious techniques as forced Likes. Instead, there will be more marketing based on expertise, on partnerships, and on points of difference such as a product’s green pedigree. And as a green marketing specialist and primary author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet, I welcome this.
Thanks to Shel Horowitz, Green And Profitable!
23) Engagement & Pull
I believe that the future of marketing rests on two areas: engagement and “pull” marketing. We’re already seeing that traditional forms of marketing are becoming less relevant because they are broad, ineffective, and there’s very little available to measure the results. In other words, you can’t “push” your brand onto consumers anymore. Instead, you’ll find that organizations are going to have to find creative, organic ways to “pull” customers in: viral campaigns that puts more power in the hands of their customers or thought leaders, long-term strategies that lead to a relationship rather than closing a sale, and philanthropic efforts conducted in a strategic manner.
Thanks to Simon Tam, The Slants LLC!
Differentiating your brand by educating your target audiences. Because 60 percent of the sales cycle is over before a buyer connects with a business and because 92 percent of B2B purchases happen with zero human interaction, brands must fuel their differentiation with great content. The most successful strategies include: 1) Attracting your audience by presenting a problem they didn’t know they had (and placing emphasis on their potential to change), 2) Place a higher emphasis on inbound marketing and lead generation – let prospects find you through content, search, social media by mobile device, 3) Adopting marketing automation/lead nurturing and creating drip campaigns with personalized information (think Eloqua, Marketo), 4) Up the ante on brand awareness through content marketing – focus on the needs of the CEO of your target, 5) Mobile/Social/Local marketing – place fresh content on your site every week. Differentiated messaging is a challenge for most companies, however, it reaps the most rewards. Disruptive messaging is generally the most effective.
Thanks to Shannon Blood, BestIt!
25) Content Marketing
Content marketing is not only the present, but the future of all successful inbound marketing. Viral photos, videos, and pictures are leading the way for people to go from virtually unknown to the equivalent of the front page news on the internet.
Thanks to Claudia Ramirez, Jux!
Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net