Almost everything changes with time. Marketing is one of them. A huge mistake that sales and marketing executives make is relying on their “tried and true” strategies and tactics without evaluating whether they still hold true.
Marketing has made a sizable evolution recently, and big changes lie ahead. The good news? The latest marketing trends are better at boosting sales and can save companies thousands of dollars—and they are easy to implement.
Here’s our line-up of seven marketing predictions you should watch, as they are sure to impact your business.
1. The Role of Paper Will Diminish
For decades, we formatted reports, case studies, white papers and brochures in print-ready formats. Over the last several years, though, print-ready documents started being shared as PDFs. We predict that this old-fashioned, costly practice of formatting print-ready documents and emailing PDFs is about to change.
In 2019, formatting content to be visible in print will become secondary to formatting it for easy viewing online. Think of this: are your PDFs of brochures, reports and magazines easy to read? How do they compare to the ease of reading content on a website, formatted in HTML? Most of your customers will prefer viewing content in HTML, so take note of that before you spend a lot of time and money to get a report formatted for print, rather than simply posting it as HTML on a website.
2. Websites Become More Important than Brochures
This leads me to my second point. At least once a month I have a prospect call and ask me to email them my agency’s brochure. When I hear this, I scratch my head. Why would I email someone a static brochure when my agency’s website serves the same purpose, includes countless portfolio samples and is updated on a regular basis?
Over the years, the role of the website and the brochure have merged. Many companies have held onto the need for a brochure, hooked on the old notion that they needed something to mail (or now, email) to get attention. While a printed brochure is helpful when meeting someone in person, particularly at a conference, the role of the brochure is drastically diminishing—and will continue to do so. Instead, the website is taking on the role of a far more impressive, up-to-date and in-depth brochure. Do you have something you don’t want to share with everyone? Password-protected access to a page on your website can easily solve that. While we’re not saying that the world will stop printing brochures, it’s time to rethink how and when brochures are used.
3. Self-Serving Fluff Will Hurt You
It’s not just Millenials who have no time or patience for fluff. The sentiment is widespread and will only grow in the year ahead. Gone are the days of marketing and sales content that tout a company’s mission statement and corporate vision. Your potential clients care more about what you can do for them. If your company’s website, brochure, social media or any other marketing cites a mission statement or vision, in all but rare circumstances you’ll want to remove these altogether in order not to be seen as self-serving and antiquated.
4. A New Writing Style Will Emerge
In an increasingly electronic world, we are all being bombarded with information. It’s a constant struggle to sift through the noise and determine what matters. In the coming year, the days of endless paragraphs of text in marketing and sales will go the way of the dinosaur. In fact, this trend has already started and will become the standard. And because the quantity of text will be reduced, the style of writing must change, too. A more personable, direct, clear and concise style will resonate.
5. LinkedIn Use Will Evolve
By the end of 2019, we expect LinkedIn will look more like a business version of Facebook, where companies and business executives post photos and videos that have the power to connect and influence others. That trend has already started.
Until recently, LinkedIn was all business. The vast majority of images and content had been primarily stock photos and impersonal content. But in 2019, that will change, especially since LinkedIn has added the ability for users to upload not just one but several photos to their LinkedIn posts. The business world is starting to see and take advantage of the immense, far-reaching benefits of posting photos of their staff, their partners, their prospects and so much more on their LinkedIn pages. The goal is to create lasting business relationships through personal engagement.
6. Video Will Be Everywhere
The use of video used to be limited by bandwidth and technology issues. In 2019, we expect to see video used in more places than ever before. For instance, did you see that Facebook now enables you to have video banners at the top of your Facebook page? Check out our funny video banner at https://www.facebook.com/StrategicVantage/
Background video is also replacing static photography on websites, and educational content is increasingly being delivered by video. Beyond using stock videos as eye-catching background on a website, professionally created videos of a company’s staff and culture can help recruit new hires or encourage prospects to work with you.
7. Online Content Becomes Imperative
More than two decades after Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king,” it’s been said that 2018 was the year when content actually became king. That trend will only continue. A whopping 57% of decision-making is made without speaking to a salesperson, according to the CEB Marketing Leadership Council (now Gartner). Prospects are doing their own research to decide whether or not they want to engage your company, and will certainly look up your company online. But they won’t just rely on your website—they’ll also look for blogs your company has published, articles written about you or your company, and social media to determine whether to do business with you.
To effectively compete in 2019, companies should be blogging regularly. You’ll want to make sure the press is writing favorable stories about your company and that you’re active on the right social media channels. You’ll also need to make sure your website is search engine-optimized so that prospects can find you.
Our advice? Resist the urge to repeat your marketing and public relations tactics from year to year. This is the time to reconsider your strategies, fine-tune what you’re doing or plan a new execution strategy that makes sense.
If you need help figuring out how to best achieve your business goals through marketing, public relations and/or social media, or simply need help executing your goals, we’d be happy to help. From writing blogs to making your company famous, we can provide the assistance you need, when you need it. Just reach us at Info@StrategicVantage.com or call 305-971-6239.