Recently, the Alexandria SBDC presented their annual Marketing Trends Workshop, featuring Maurisa Potts of Spotted MP (Marketing + Public Relations). Among the trends that were highlighted for the upcoming year are the following: Interactive Content – Get people participating in your business even before they are a customer. Interactive content includes activities such as polls,… Read more »
Recently, the Alexandria SBDC presented their annual Marketing Trends Workshop, featuring MaurisaPotts of Spotted MP (Marketing + Public Relations). Among the trends that were highlighted for the upcoming year are the following:
Interactive Content – Get people participating in your business even before they are a customer. Interactive content includes activities such as polls, surveys, infographics, brackets, and contests.
Visual Content – Over 90% of marketers believe that visual content is essential for 2017. Content can be in the form of video, infographics, photos, chats, GIFs or Memes. It is important to establish a content strategy and budget for crafting visual content.
Influencer Marketing – Who are the thought leaders in your industry who establish credibility through social and traditional media outlets? Remember that a brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is – it’s what customers tell each other it is. Who is blogging in your industry? Who has the FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram followers and what are they saying about your business?
Embrace Mobile Video – It is here to stay! Make sure that the content you put out is mobile-enabled, and capture the metrics by views, reach, and reactions.
Live Broadcasting will continue to push boundaries with FaceBook Live, Periscope, and Instagram stories. Be strategic on when to use live broadcasting, use a face, and keep it short and meaningful.
Virtual and Augmented Reality – Businesses are testing how to use virtual and augmented reality to drive business results. How can you use these to create a differentiated, personalized customer experience?
Keep it short! – Content that is short in length, such as video clips, can appeal to internet surfers’ limited (8 second) attention span. Check out Snapchat, Vine or Instagram stories. Remember to keep it simple and use images.
Personalized Marketing – Consider leveraging data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers.
Direct Marketing – Remember that this is still an important tool, used in over 50% of marketing campaigns and still growing. It is important for your direct marketing materials to include pictures and to be targeted to your ideal buyer.
Test and Measure! – Above all else, pay attention to what works and doesn’t work for your business and your market. Set up metrics goals for marketing initiatives and track your conversions.
Marketing Trends for 2017 – There is always a flurry of activity from marketing and PR firms at this time of year. The event put on by the Alexandria Small Business Development Center is always well attended, and this year is no different. Maurisa Potts, Fouder & CEO of Spotted MP, talking about 2017 market trends, discussed the increasing importance of interactive and visual content; digital as in media being the unstated but nevertheless operative word. Commenting in Forbes on similar trends, AJ Agrawal listed seventeen trends for 2017, twelve of which were likewise to do with digital content. The impact of technology has of course been growing every year, leading me to wonder if/when it will finally peak. Not, it would appear, anytime soon as almost all of the topics in Pott’s presentation, i.e., Interactive Content, Visual Content, Influencer Marketing, Virtual Reality, Mobile Video, Live Broadcasts, Short Form Content, Mobile First, Personalization, and Native Content, presumed digital content.
Data Driven Marketing – That said, it may be that the saturation point is approaching, as Potts also talked about the necessity for “Data Driven Marketing” and Lee Peterson of WD Partners talking about digital integration in VMSD Forecast for 2017 pointed out that when surveyed, for 3 years in a row the digital device most wanted by customers was BOPIS, the ability to buy online and pick up in the store. If, it would seem, last year’s omnichannel marketing was about integrating the message into the larger stream, then this year is about flushing out the individual retailers best path to success. A bike shop owner might, in 2016, have been compelled to have a presence in every possible outlet, i.e, blogs, competitions, associations, civic events, publications, website, e-commerce, indeed anything having to do with bikes or bicycling. In 2017 this bike shop owner might look closely at the data accumulated from past marketing activities and then focus on what has worked, even if the answer is unexpected. For example Kathleen Jordan writing for VMSD tells us, ” Retailers must develop new ways to reach their audience and find new sources to expand their consumer base… it must be recognized that online is not always the answer.” Did you notice she called them an audience rather than customers or shoppers.
Integrated Shopping Experience – Considering that almost 92 percent of all retail sales are still being transacted in physical environments and further that many online retailers end up with physical stores, I am lead to inquire, what does all this say to those of us involved with the bricks and mortar part of retail, presuming of course that it is not going away? Clearly, creating a shopping experience is still important. Eric Feigenbaum subtitled his article in VMSD, “…Retail’s divining rod no longer moves at p-o-s, but rather at p-o-e – point of experience.”
Prioritize – From my perspective, after many years working in retail design, the answer must be about priorities. The seamless integration of technology is part and parcel of the all important shopping experience and it can only be accomplished by assimilating a clients carefully worked out digital marketing plan into a store design by partnering with the technical experts. The devices of digital marketing are, after all, physical elements and as such work better when addressed in “pre” as apposed to post design.
If there is any doubt that this is an often neglected fact, just look around at piles of wire shoved under cabinets, dangling from display cases, hap hazardously placed equipment closets, and my personal favorite, the back side of monitors at POS stations. Certainly newer wireless technologies are available but there are always performance issues to consider, many requiring additional equipment in other areas. Most clients have enough understanding of Building mechanical systems like HVAC and plumbing to expect and allow for their accommodation, but somehow the lexicon of electronic equipment has remained a mystery, not a little, I should add, because it is in a constant state of flux. Ryan Ruud, founder and CEO of Lake One, writing for “Smart Insights” identifies Random Acts Of Technology (RAT) as marketing flops resulting from the application of technology without strategy. I would argue that this applies, as well, to the physical store design whenever non integrated electronics are treated as project add ons – and okay, I liked the buzzword too!
Bring in an Expert – Finally, I would advise any retailer aiming in 2017 for “…effective in-store digital retail experiences” to introduce a suitable technology consultant into the schematic stage of a project and then keep him or her involved up through and even after store opening. Sometimes independent and small retailers assume that these services are beyond their reach. On the contrary, I have found that most electronic designers are also providers and as such their services are often included when they supply and install equipment. It is money well spent, almost – but not quite – as good as that spent on the Architect.
Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED-accredited Professional practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design, and with a comprehensive background in commercial retail design, planning and construction has completed projects for such for such well known brands as Chloe, Zegna, and Bvlgari. Her career began in tenant coordination and site planning for two well-known Cleveland developers, followed by six years in store planning for a national retailer. After a move to New York City in 1997, she spent the next years working for architecture firms specializing in retail projects. In 2011 she started her own practice in Alexandria, VA. Ms. Gaddis is the author of two blogs dealing with architectural subjects.
On Christmas Day 2015, I shifted my mindset forever. An unexpected and unwelcome event transformed my approach to my life — my work, my family . . . everything. On that day, I was rushed into emergency surgery for a twisted colon. My doctor later described my condition as “30 minutes from done.” There was no lifestyle change or good …
On Christmas Day 2015, I shifted my mindset forever. An unexpected and unwelcome event transformed my approach to my life — my work, my family . . . everything. On that day, I was rushed into emergency surgery for a twisted colon. My doctor later described my condition as “30 minutes from done.” There was no lifestyle change or good ...