Bold Marketing Changes that Companies are Making in 2018.
Growth Matters. Here are 10 big changes in marketing that you need to know about for 2018.
Growing businesses are paying attention to the dramatic changes that continue to pile up in digital marketing. 2018 is delivering a whole new round of opportunities that impact almost everything about the way you meet customers online. And online is where they look first — the decision to purchase is largely finished by the time they make contact. Big shifts in how people find you through search along with what they need to experience when they arrive on your website have combined with new ways to get connected to audiences online through social networks. Bottom line – you have to adapt or fall behind.
To be clear, the 10 growth strategies for 2018 that we’re sharing here are not just emerging opportunities (like experiments or new social networks), they are documented trends that will reshape winners and losers in 2018. They come from both our experience as well as the insights of other experts that we trust.
About Us. Our dedicated team combines cutting edge software with focused marketing strategies to deliver real growth. Story Collaborative Offers Strategy, Web Design, Inbound Marketing, Search Strategies, Social Advertising & Video… and HubSpot to Bring it All Together.
1. Search Strategies Evolved.
What’s the impact of a multi-year stream of “quality updates” plus the suppression of keyword tracking by Google?
Relevance Over Keywords.
It’s a major shift in how businesses earn top rankings on search pages. There has been no change in the impact of earning the top placement on a search page. The top spots still gain the vast majority of clicks. However, what has changed is how those spots are earned. Google began hiding specific keywords in analytics a couple of years ago, and the amount that is hidden has reached 75% today. That means that when a marketer reviews the online traffic, three quarters of the keywords are listed as “not provided.”
At the same time that this shift has occurred, a constant stream of minor and major updates have been applied which prioritize the quality of online content over other factors. When you take these together, the result is clear. The quality of content now takes priority over former technical search engine optimization (SEO) strategies like keyword placement. While there are still ways to reverse engineer some of this information, if you have the right software, what is now required is a more holistic approach to gaining these top slots. Search strategies now must take into account a content strategy plus a whole list of technical factors to help businesses gain and keep the search placements that result in market share.
How Story is Responding: We offer Search Strategies that are holistic and make the most of online assets and emerging opportunities online. We blend content and technical SEO to get the right results.
2. Win on Value.
What makes you special as an organization – your differentiators – need to be front and center online.
Unlock Your Value Online.
Google and customers are looking for the same thing online – valuable information that meets needs and answers questions. What makes you special as an organization – your differentiators – need to be front and center online. That not only means a shift of how clear you make your value proposition, but also how you share the special kinds of information that people can only receive from your organization.
Instead of hiding the valuable content behind a popup and requiring customers to give up their email address, put it out there in the open. Discover the most valuable things you can offer to customers and share them freely. Focus on what your organization is most qualified to offer online. What kind of content could you offer that is world-class and the best on the internet?
In the past this kind of content has always been hidden behind a form that requires a subscription or email submission in order to access the information. But hiding this information behind an “information wall,” is one big change for 2018,
consumers want to get answers without having to “pay for them,”
with an email, and business buyers expect to explore your products without getting spammed as a result. (Tip: If you want to get an insight about how to make this change while still continuing to build your email list schedule 15 minutes with David Mills.)
How Story is Responding: We track online success against your business goals and place the most valuable assets in high visibility locations that are highlighted by graphic layouts or media. We build content clusters that help your unique differentiators rank well on search pages while at the same time offering maximum customer value as they discover insights that only you can offer.
3. Video Ate the Web.
Video will represent 82% of all IP traffic by 2021, amounting to a million minutes of video every second.
Include Video in Your Marketing
It’s not just consumers. When executives have a choice between video and text, 59% will choose video. In social networks, video generates 1200% more engagement than both text and images combined. Organizations that want to grow are including video throughout their digital presence.
Effective video that works in the socially powered digital world carries with it many of the characteristics of social networking. It is less highly produced, more authentic, and engages the viewer using both short and longer formats. Video should be carefully applied throughout the customer journey which spans customer awareness, consideration, and decision making. Read more statistics from Wordstream.
How Story is Responding: We are unleashing an army of co-located Video Journalists who are ready to help your organization maximize the impact of effective video that is integrated into your marketing plan. We offer multiple types of video for use in different parts of the customer journey and we tie them to analytics.
4. Facebook Messenger vs. Email
What’s more personal than an email, lives on your smartphone, acts like a text message, connects you directly to your social networking, and offers the ability to share with one click? Hint: it’s not email…
It is the app that 1.2 Billion people use on their smart phone: Facebook Messenger.
Marketing messages that are shared on FB messenger create a much higher rate of response – 200% or more when compared to FaceBook posts/marketed ads. Smart marketing is moving to Facebook Messenger to stay connected and more personal with consumers.
How Story is Responding: We are integrating Facebook Messenger into marketing plans as a priority, additional communication channel.
5. Creating a Smart Web Experience
Customers are expecting more from the websites they visit. I mean… don’t you?
Experiences are in High Demand
Customers have been conditioned by their personal experiences with streaming video and online shopping and want the experience they have on every website to provide the right kind of experience. That means your organization is up against the online experience of the best websites on the planet. Websites are becoming more sophisticated technologically, while they become easier to use and simpler to experience. In the words of the buyer, these terms should describe any website you are building or maintaining:
- Mobile: “Works well on my mobile device.”
- Lean: “It provides just the right amount of content, along with easy to use menus. Graphics and videos are available throughout.”
- Personalized: “Websites know my preferences and help me find exactly what I am looking for quickly. They remember me when I return.”
- Talk Back: “If I don’t find an answer quickly, I can chat with a human or a bot to find the answer in moments.”
- Smart: “The content that fits my location and preferences is displayed first when I visit.”
Secure- “Security doesn’t get in my way, but I can tell it is there while I am browsing or conducting business online.”
How Story is Responding: We are building smart mobile first websites using Growth Driven Design approaches that help websites to continually improve their impact. HubSpot brings personalization, smart pages, tracking, social, chat, content, and advertising together in a single back-end operation that dramatically improves the customer experience.
6. Social Audiences.
Social advertising is changing the rules about how digital marketing helps organizations grow.
Grow First with Social Audiences
By definition, ads are “rented space” – unfortunately, in the past we’ve always used ads to purchase a share of someone else’s audience for a limited time. As social advertising has developed, building a real audience of your own drives down marketing costs and increases conversions (a lot). The process of social audience building creates a marketing asset like an email list always has, but with conversion rates and targeting that is much more powerful. Social advertising can deliver 3 to 8 times the number of conversions that traditional digital ads can.
How Story is Responding: We are offering social audience building as a “growth first” strategy to allow organizations to make getting new visitors and leads their first marketing step with STORY. When we add video to a social audience – amazing things happen.
7. Marketing Requires an Agile Team.
Social and digital used to be much simpler. Ten years ago, if you had an active social presence and a decent website with good keywords built in, you would get and convert traffic. But complexity has crept in making DIY a thing of the past and team expertise a must have.
Marketing & Technology Change Fast
Things have become much more complicated. In addition to the many requirements for specialized data on your website, listings in external locations (at least 90 or more), digital ad management, you also need code that is mobile friendly, and implementation of your brand on diverse social networks that include multiple graphic and video formats. And the requirements for these items (and more) change regularly. One mark of rapidly growing companies versus those that aren’t growing quickly is the size of their tech stack. It takes the right tech to touch all the bases.
Three things you will need if you are going to keep pace with the complexity and rate of change in the world of marketing: 1) a holistic team and 2) an agile approach and 3) the right tech stack.
- The Team. You need a multi-disciplinary team that can address all the varied requirements that you face in up to date marketing. From brand, to search and content strategies along with social, video and ads, we provide a truly holistic team. (This is a big part of the method behind our name- STORY Collaborative.
- Agile Approach. You don’t need to just purchase the right list of tactics – selecting from an endless array of marketing “widgets”, with each vendor selling their own. You need a team that can regularly complete a cycle of assessment followed by flexible goal setting. Your marketing team has to be able to ask, respond, and be held accountable to a single question – what is the most significant thing that I can do to improve your marketing impact during this work period? As the the answer changes, the work must change. An agile team uses the approaches found in agile development applied to the work of marketing.
- The Tech. Putting together the right technology to manage marketing and how it interacts with social, analytics, customer service, customer relationship management (CRM) and sales is critical.
How Story is Responding: Our teams function using an agile cycle and are moving from tasks to a responsive, prioritized focus that is based upon points. With STORY you get an entire team that is setting priorities to deliver the most value in the fastest way possible. We are certified Hubspot Partners with agile certifications and rich holistic experience in putting all the pieces together and keeping them connnected.
8. Live Video.
Live video is expected to grow 15-fold, by 2021, opening new opportunities for growth.
Video is Immediate, Real, Unfiltered
Live online video provides a more immersive experience for online uses. As a result, video has greater impact on the user – more sales that come from ads and much higher engagement. It is a big upgrade from simple social networking to really “being there.” Live video is the experience that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook says comes from the “TV camera in your phone.” One example of that engagement is that fact that Facebook live videos are watched 3x longer than regular video.
Live Video Can Build Your Brand
- 80% of audiences would rather watch live video than read a blog.
- 82% prefer live video to social posts.
- The market value of live streaming (no including use for sales) is $71 Billion by 2021.
How Story is Responding: Live video pushes organizations to the front edge of social networking, but because it is live it can feel riskier. That is exactly what consumers like about it. Since it is new to many organizations, Story is helping customers in 2018 hold one or more live video events to help them become more familiar with the process. Story is also demonstrating this approach in live experiences online during 2018, so that our customers can experience it for themselves.
9. Look Who is Busting Silos Now.
Social networking and new technology has changed the rules about how digital marketing helps organizations grow.
Real Collaboration Across Organizational Functions.
It may come as a surprise, but it’s changes in marketing that are driving silo busting in places like customer service, human resources and sales. The combination of social networks, new approaches to building audiences online, and the impact of martech (marketing technology) has moved marketing into the top role for driving integration and coordination across departments. Inbound marketing with HubSpot is fostering new cooperation across many industries and sectors diverse departments including customer service, human resources/recruiting, sales, and e-commerce are all connecting teams together in new ways online through marketing software. Whether you are in healthcare, education, technology, or another industry, you can gain valuable staff efficiency and customer impact by connecting the dots with HubSpot’s all-in-one solution.
How Story is Responding: Story is a Certified HubSpot Gold partner and implements integration tools that bring CRM, Marketing, Sales, Social, Video and Tracking together to break down silos. We provide training and foster cross team interaction that makes organizations more effective. Schedule 15 minutes with David Mills to discover what kind of impact HubSpot might have on your growth.
10. The road to more customers is paved with miniature connections (lots of them).
Tracking online behavior has advanced dramatically in the past ten years. You’ve probably noticed this when you see ads follow you all over the internet, once you indicated even the faintest interest in a product or service. What has resulted from this improved analysis is the ability to see the actual process that people follow when they purchase.
An additional trend, the rise of mobile devices online, has changed the way that consumers behave. They expect to get answers and have a variety of options, right now. They expect to be able to “know, go, do or buy” (to quote Google) anytime they want. Meeting them online in that “micro moment” to answer their need, connect them to information, or to facilitate a request is changing the game.
Consumers now expect us to anticipate what they will be need and to be there when they ask. This initial “micro connection,” is simply being present in search and providing valuable, easy to consume information. Being relevant and useful, makes that connection valuable for the consumers. We also have to be accountable online, which means that we’re responsive to answer questions, provide quick customer service, and respond to reviews. Each of these activities represent a micro encounter with the consumers.
Being easy to find online and browse on a mobile device is the first important micro experience
Because we can track the journey to purchase much more closely, we can also construct small commitments to go with those connections. Commitment bias (people will make a second commitment much more easily than the first), allows us to ask small things first, and then follow those small asks with additional requests and options. One example is to click a button to get information, or watch a video. These small commitments make the next one easier.
How Story is Responding: Story Collaborative combines effective tracking of online behavior with carefully designed and monitored response tools throughout the journey to purchase. Painstaking developing of these tools and frequent analysis means that companies see more people move along the buyers’ journey more quickly. Schedule 15 minutes with David Mills to discover how our dedicated team can join you in the path to growth in 2018.