Changing Marketing Trends for the 21st Century
The last decade or so have been some of the most transformative, and frankly, confusing and bizarre, years for marketers and their clients alike. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably still reeling from them, just like we are. Should you ditch your print efforts and pour all your ad spend into digital? Should you split your money between the two? If so, how do you split it? Which digital outlets are the best for your business?
These are the same questions that marketers ask each other on a daily basis. Although we’re able to spend more time reading up on the latest trends, since it’s sort of what we’re doing for a living, it’s still a really confusing world out there. The problem is that audiences are so fickle right now, not really settling in any one place for long. Today they’re on Facebook, tomorrow they’ll be on Instagram. The goal, then, is two-fold: first, we hit them where we know they tend to be and then we send out feelers to places where we expect they’ll be next, based on their past behaviors.
Sounds easy, but it’s a little bit like trying to nail Jello to a tree.
Digital Marketing Drives Change, For Better and Worse
Everybody wants to be the one to predict the trends that will be the next big hit, so there’s no way that everyone can be right. If you Google “top marketing trends” you’re going to get hundreds of different articles regurgitating a lot of the same worn out ideas. Marketers aren’t privy to any secret knowledge, but we’ve been in this industry long enough to know a thing or two about how it works overall.
Right now, the biggest trends revolve around mobile devices and data analytics. They kind of go hand-in-hand, really. Since about 77 percent of American adults now say they own a smartphone — and that device’s ability to draw the attention of every kind of person is undeniable — it’s easy to see why the marketing world is shifting focus in this direction. For one, it’s the easiest way to sneak right into the view of people who would otherwise skip commercials or block ads. For whatever reason, users don’t necessarily find mobile advertisements as obnoxious as ads in other places. Go figure.
Secondly, though, those little computers everyone is carrying around are a giant shortcut to a treasure trove of data that no other form of marketing can provide. I can take the anonymous data from a smartphone (we never see names or anything that would identify someone on that level) and tell you if your primary audience is single mothers aged 35 to 45 with incomes between $60k and $90k or married men aged 55+ with incomes of over $100k. It’s amazing the detail that’s available.
For marketers, it takes all the guesswork out of the game, which is an incredibly enticing idea. You no longer have to know anything about how to attract your audience, you just sort of have this audience and that’s who it is, but that’s also a bit of a problem. If you use all that data to fine tune advertisements to attract the right audience, you’re using it right. However, if you use the data to adjust your product to fit your audience, you might be making a big mistake, especially if it changes your product on a fundamental level.
But What About Print? Is it Dead?
A lot of marketers have made the jump to digital for the reasons above and have completely neglected the print realm. They no longer do print ads or any sort of print materials. For too many industries, this is a premature move. People still like to have a physical asset to refer back to, especially when it comes to a big purchase like a home remodel, large appliance, car and the like. These aren’t decisions you make with a click, you instead turn it over, you look at it from several different perspectives, you ask your friends, you really think about it. It’s a lot of money and you don’t want to spend it wrong.
The guy who only has digital assets may be at a disadvantage unless he’s constantly bombarding those leads with text messages or other smartphone reminders, which can get really annoying, or emails, which just turn into white noise and get ignored (that’s not to say that newsletters have no value, just that daily emails are kind of a waste). While the volume of physical advertisements you ran 10 years ago is probably going to be far too high, that’s not to say that you should stop advertising in the physical world. There are still so many outlets for different products in places that most small advertising firms completely ignore, including local magazines and newspapers, as well as those leaflets or brochures that your potential customers will take with them to ponder over later.
Print is not dead, that’s my point. Print is very much alive, despite this weird urge to kill it.
Change Has Come, But Some of the Old Tricks Still Work
Digital marketing is definitely an important part of advertising businesses today, but it’s not everything. There’s plenty of room for marketing in both digital and physical realms. You should explore both worlds to get the most out of your ad budget. Of course, this all depends on who you’re selling to — it’s a very different picture if your main audience is Millennials as opposed to Boomers — but in general, your audiences are likely to be as scattered as everyone else’s. The real challenge is how to reach all of these people and bring them together while still keeping a lid on spending.
Your marketing plan should be as unique as your company, whether you’re looking for physical, digital or a mix of assets. In The Cloud Copy is located near you in the DFW Metro area and ready to show you what we’re made of! Email us or give us a call at 817-796-9393 today.