This is truer than ever in marketing today. Remember how newspaper advertising was commonplace and now digital advertising and AI are robbing us of our sleep? The tools marketers use to achieve success vary, but those of us who are slightly ahead of the learning curve will invariably enjoy a healthier sales curve.
Here are 10 learnings we can lean into:
1. Long-form content still wears the crown: A great way to build engagement, awareness and loyalty is to go beyond the sale. You can do this by providing long-form educational content that answers and guides your audience about what matters. Whatever media you choose, be mindful of striking the right balance between a sales pitch and solid, actionable advice.
2. Short-form video is the king in waiting: With TikTok and IG reels ruling the roost, snippets of instructive or entertaining content are gaining popularity. Think of it as the rebirth of the 30-second commercial on your smartphone, and which will help break clutter and get messages across pointedly and precisely. So, deploy long-form for deep-dive engagement; but use short-form video for doom-scrollers and users who want to pass the time. Hopefully with you.
3. Conversational AI and chatbots are talking: AI-powered chatbots respond 24/7 (and they don’t get migraines). Customers love that. The era of AI-driven marketing is here and marketers are fast developing skills as prompt-engineers to generate a host of connections with their audience. And because the technology is becoming more lifelike, it’s harder to tell the difference – given its ability to gather, crunch, analyse and provide actionable data to improve user experience.
4. Voice search is getting more vocal: If your business is online, expect people to find you via voice search – since over 50% (of searches) according to Google are mobile and 20% of those are voice searches – and growing. With voice-controlled devices on the rise, a quick way to land on the frequency is to provide detailed, but conversational, answers to all the FAQs your customers have about you.
5. Data is for storytellers: By banishing storytellers, we will never know how to use the data we collect. When customers share their digital footprint with advertisers, they expect some sort of reward (customisation, deals, plans, offers, coupons). This can only happen if advertisers allow storytellers into their datasets. So that after all the machine learning, augmented and engineered decision analytics, visualisation and automation are done, an investment of imagination will yield meaning and purpose to their campaigns.
6. Social is only growing: Worldwide, social media users are expected to jump to six billion by 2027. So it’s clear that it’s here to stay. But it’s also evolving. Leveraging social intelligence or social listening tools will help brands mine deeper insights and remain relatable through effective storytelling, genuine interest and connection. Which means, even micro-influencers will be rewarded for niching down on a particular subject, expertise or skill.
7. Decentralised finance is becoming centralised: DeFi (decentralised finance) refers to crypto currency (‘crypto’ means of ‘unknown origin’ by the way); blockchain (to verify, guarantee or enforce transactions); and NFTs (more than art, Non-Fungible Tokens have applications in supply chain management and tracking). Adoption of these tools will continue to rise despite recent setbacks.
8. The Metaverse will start rhyming: The Metaverse will be today’s blend of VR, AR and AI in a rhythmic ‘phygital’ universe where the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds will blur into an immersive 3D experience. This blend will result in astonishing virtual innovations, from ‘gamevertising’ to direct-to-avatar (D2A) business models. Apple’s Vision Pro is just the start of the journey.
9. No more cookies: Customer privacy concerns coupled with tighter regulations mean that cookies may soon be a thing of the past, leading advertisers (and Google) to contemplate cookie-less tracking. This is no easy task, considering how the industry has come to rely on cookies for all their targeting. To make the most of ad campaigns, now is the time to become adept at using cookie-less tools that replace the current standard.
10. Diversify. Diversify. Diversify: Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is the name of the game today. It’s more than an HR policy. The consuming public wants to see diversity being reflected across the line as a mirror to the world around them. Diversity is a magnet for brand prosperity, and empathising with racial and gender diversity is an example of this standard of responsibility.
In the end, principles remain but the rules change. As Allen Adamson of NYC’s Stern School of Business said, “What technology has done overall is magnify what was always true. Changes in technology haven’t altered the core concepts of marketing, but new technology does magnify every triumph and failure.”
May your principles lead you to your triumphs.
Faraz Maqsood Hamidi is Chief Creative Officer & CEO, The D’Hamidi Partnership, a worldwide partner agency of WPI.