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Marketing trends to follow in 2018

2016 was the year of hype, as we heard about overwhelming phrases such as ‘artificial intelligence’, ‘big data’ and ‘remarketing’. In 2017, big brands were doing all these things, and smaller companies felt the pressure to follow suit. Now that brands and consumers have got their head around the possibilities of these technologies, this year companies of all sizes need to make sure that they are doing everything they can to engage with their customers at every touchpoint.

Let’s take a look at our top predictions for marketing trends this year:

1) Content is still king

Compared to other traditional forms of marketing, content marketing is incredibly cost effective and offers amazing ROI. On average, conversion rates are six times higher for brands using a content marketing strategy than those who don’t. Despite being the driving fuel for customer interactions, there’s a few major problems that (still) exist. These include oversaturation of content, irrelevant content, and content not finding its way to the relevant consumers.

Brands have more power than ever to discover the preferences of their customers and target them with the content that matters to them. However, consumers control over what they see is also growing, and it’s easier than ever to block unwanted ads or unsubscribe from an email. 

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This year, brands will be required to create stronger content marketing strategies than ever before.

Work out what you are trying to achieve with each piece of content, including ads, and map it out across the customer journey for each of your customer personas so that you target the right customer, with relevant content, at exactly the right moment.

2) A picture paints a hundred words, a video shows a thousand

It’s no surprise that video content will continue to dominate the marketing world in 2018. A survey by Hubspot, reveals that 52% of marketing professionals consider video to be the medium with the best ROI, while 43% of consumers said that they wanted to see more video content from marketers.

One way of the most powerful (and genuine) ways of sharing video content with your customers is through a live stream, using platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat. You’ll be able to communicate to and get feedback from your customers in real-time, save the video and repurpose the content in future. Studies suggest 80% of consumers prefer watching a live video from a brand as opposed to reading a blog, so if you’re not already incorporating live video into your marketing strategy, now is the time to do so.

2018_FeefoTrends_video.jpgFeefo’s video function allows you to collect authentic videos straight from your customers. Explore the function here.

3) AI powered business insights

Consumers started to become accustomed to the idea of artificial intelligence last year, with the increasing number of chatbots and devices like Amazon Alexa readily available.

According to Gartner, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020. So, with a stat like that- what can we expect this year?

There will still be a lot of focus on using AI applications to engage with consumers, especially with AI-powered content curation and programmatic media buying, but where brands will see the biggest gains is by using AI to create actionable business insights. For example, a machine learning program can look at the raw data of thousands of customers, see that a proportion of customers bought a certain combination of products (A and B), and that 40% of these customers also went on to buy product C. Companies can then create ads to target the remaining 60% to suggest that they buy product C.

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Feefo launched ‘Smart Themes’ last year, a machine learning function that picks out key sentiments from customer reviews and allows brands to identify the most popular themes of their products, which can help shape whole marketing campaigns.

Read more about Feefo’s Smart Themes.

4) Revival of email campaigns

Brands now have the potential to tap into more customer data points than ever before and aside from targeted ads, which were many companies’ main focus last year, brands should be using this information in their email campaigns.

Email marketing has enormous potential that brands often overlook, or don’t make a priority. It’s easy to use a powerful email marketing automation system to automate emails, but brands will see the biggest returns when they implement a full lifecycle contact system.

Segmented email campaigns, done right, receive click-through rates 100.95% higher than non-segmented campaigns. Though, gone are the days of basic segmentation. Make 2018 the year of creating a single customer view of all your customers by combining all touchpoints. You can then create highly personalised emails, incorporating dynamic content that changes dependant on the recipient’s demographics, including lifecycle position, activity level and behaviours.

On top of this, think about adding more interactivity into your emails through features such as a live shopping feed, reviews and countdown clocks. This interactivity will help to retain customers and give a more engaging approach to content.

5) Influencing marketing may be less relatable

A recent survey showed that 84% of marketers planned at least one influencer marketing campaign in 2017. Influencing marketing is now viewed by many brands as a new PR and marketing channel. Some consumers are more influenced by a celebrity or blogger than a brand’s own marketing message, which is no surprise. However, last year things were shaken up when the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) brought in new rules that require brands and influencers to clearly label paid for ads.

Influencing marketing_2018 Feefo trends.jpgThe legitimacy of these paid for ads and how consumers relate to them will clearly decrease, so the pressure for brands to showcase genuine reviews will increase - these will always hold more credibility than any paid PR.

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6) Test everything

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) - these three letters have been on every marketer’s mind for a while, yet we are still seeing websites that are cumbersome to navigate and companies are still struggling with high numbers of customers who don’t quite reach the checkout.

The solution is not just about creating a website that is easy to use, but one which optimises every single click that a customer makes, to help increase the chance of them making a purchase or encourage an upsell.

CRO is easier than many think; tools such as Google Optimize make testing on your website easy and have an average ROI of 223%. Or, if you don’t have the human resources to manage a tool like this, then using a CRO agency is a great option. Testing has the potential to increase conversions by making very simple changes, but the tip is to test everything, take risks and optimise on a continued basis.

One of our clients saw a huge 87% in website conversions after optimising their website header and basket summary page with the Feefo logo – proving the power of using trust signals.

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It’s going to be an exciting year ahead, and we can’t wait to share our latest developments that we have been working on.

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