We Should Be Skeptical Of Popular Marketing 'Trends'

Looking at what's hot right now is not the best way to please your customers


By now, you've most likely seen many agencies, publishers and marketing gurus make predictions about what will completely redefine marketing in 2017. They'll tout things as turning points and say some new thing will revolutionize the way in which marketers work. Groundbreaking changes, major milestones and entering new eras of this or that happen every year. In an industry that never seems to slow down, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Here are three marketing truths to keep you grounded as you embark on to another year full of buzzwords, evolving tech, new platforms and more.

What platform is hot this year?
Is it snap stories? Instagram? Pinterest? Facebook ads? Sponsored content? Are people still doing Twitter ads? Should we be doing Twitter ads?

Don't worry about which platform is trending. Instead, find out where your target audience is hanging out. Focus more on your customer journey. People watch what they want, when they want, and where they want (which screen, which channel, etc). Where is your target audience? Brands should think about each aspect of the customer's journey and design an experience relevant to each touchpoint.

What form of content gets the most views and engagements?
Should we focus on long-form video or bite-sized clips? What about podcasts? Blogs? Is email still a thing? Should we try VR? What about AR?

Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything because you hear a few success stories and don't limit yourself just because something isn't working for another brand. Well then, what are you supposed to do? Appeal to your audience by adding value to their experience instead of interrupting it. There are multiple touch points in the consumer journey. Customers go online for many reasons - to learn something new, to make a decision or to get something done. Know their journey and focus more on providing valuable content at each step.

Which metrics are the most important? What KPIs should I focus on? ARR? MRR? CLV? CAC? DOGG?

Not all metrics are created equal. Some may be valuable to your competitor, but not to you and vice versa. Think of KPIs as a compass. Many travelers are headed north, but some are going to Scotland from Morocco and others going to Italy from Cape Town. The KPIs help guide your brand based on where you are in order to get you to your ultimate destination. Ask yourself these two questions before defining KPIs.

  1. What is your goal? What are you trying to achieve?
  2. How will you know you succeeded? Be specific.

Here's an example. XYZ brand is fairly new to the market and they have two goals: 1) to increase brand awareness and 2) increase sales. For them, one of the key indicators for increasing brand awareness is website traffic.

By applying some effective marketing strategies, XYZ brand is now getting significant traffic to their website. They defined lead conversion rate as their KPI for their second goal of increased sales. However, they ignored a significant metric. What did they miss? Visitor to lead conversion. Are the people driven to their website staying? Are they showing interest by signing up on email lists, checking out the blog or connecting with the brand? Know what you're trying to achieve and how you'll measure your success.

No matter what year, here are some things that will always stay true when trying to get your customer's attention:

  1. Know who they are, where they are and what they care about.
  2. Tell stories. This means more than just a glorified 'About Us' page. Use stories to genuinely engage with customers. Connect with them emotionally.
  3. Leverage technology to help you. Whether it's targeting a customer at a certain point in the buyer's journey or tracking which channel or campaigns are outperforming others, there are tools to help you measure effectiveness and reach your goals.
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