What does 2016 hold in store for marketers?
While two-thirds of marketers expect their budgets to grow in 2016, knowing precisely where to invest spend is a difficult decision. Here we share some of your views on where you plan to concentrate marketing efforts in the upcoming year.
Targeting and personalisation
Right content, right place, right time continues to be a key theme. Highly relevant, quality content is essential to draw in consumers and keep them engaged.
Hayley Dyche, Marketing Manager at Lighthouse Healthcare says, “In the health and social care sector we will continue to focus on building relationships with those who purchase our services and ensure that marketing messages to our target audience are relevant and timely both online and offline.
"Ensuring we know who our key purchasers are, when they want to hear from us and what they want to hear about enables us to streamline our communications. The importance of the 'human touch' in terms of phone calls and face-to-face contact is another aspect of our personal approach to communication."
Targeted ads are generally considered twice as effective as non-targeted ads. Mobile marketing and micro targeting allows you to focus your marketing efforts more efficiently.
"We already do this via our Facebook page, for example targeting specific geographical areas and interests of users", says Hayley. "We'll continue to adopt a 'less is more' approach, focusing specific campaigns and content at a small set of customers. With the bespoke services we offer it is important that we send the right messages, to the right people, in the right place and at the right time. This means that our niche market are aware of who we are and what we can provide but are not bombarded by irrelevant communication from us which could lead to our messages being deleted or marked as spam."
Omni-channel user experiences
Put simply, omni-channel is about placing the customer at the centre of your strategy.
John Bowden, Senior Vice President of Customer Care at Time Warner Cable explains omni-channel like this: "Multi-channel is an operational view – how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent.
Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution. Making these complex 'hand-offs' between channels must be fluid for the customer. Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!"
Your customer lives on all channels simultaneously.
They can be looking at reviews of a particular product on their smartphone while evaluating it in your shop. They can book a holiday on their iPad while watching your advert on TV. As marketers, we need to recognise that consumers engage with our businesses many different ways, across many different platforms and create a seamless user experience that reflects their behaviour.
At its most basic level, the term ‘disruptive marketing’ describes a strategy where a business innovates to create new markets by discovering new categories of customers in established sectors.
Tom Dibble, CEO of Screen Pilot talks about how hoteliers need to focus on expanding their marketing initiatives in order to adapt to an ever-changing market. "Since its founding in San Francisco in 2008, Airbnb has grown at a staggering pace. Now a global enterprise, it offers 800,000 listings in more than 34,000 cities in nearly 200 countries. In an economy that is growing increasingly entrepreneurial, 'disruption' seems to be the word du jour, and it's easy to see why.
"Young people with fresh ideas are approaching age old institutions and turning them on their heads.
"In the hospitality world, one that has historically been slow to adapt to change, the idea of disruption conjures either fear or confusion for hoteliers. Some aren't sure exactly how Airbnb works, while others deny that their core audiences are the same. While there is some truth to the latter statement, "the times they are a-changin'" as the old saying goes. The app that once catered exclusively to budget travellers, has aggressively expanded into mid-range, luxury, and most recently, business travel."
Tom goes on to add "While I am slow to join the fearmongering camp who warn that Airbnb will kill the hotel, I must also caution those who are quick to dismiss disrupters in our industry. As they grow and adapt to shifts in market trends, sharing models will become more and more acceptable to core hotel guest segments. Hotel brands that choose to ignore this threat – or label it a different business – do so at their own peril."
Marketing analytics and data
Business leaders have high expectations for marketing to drive commercial growth through customer relationships. Those on the ground need to be able to deliver results and prove ROI.
Hayley at Lighthouse Healthcare says "2016 will see an even bigger shift towards increased expenditure for companies on their marketing analytics. With budgets in some sectors tight, every penny will need to be accounted for and ROI demonstrated on marketing activity."
With the vast amount of data consumers generate, marketers will be investing more in technology such as call tracking to validate their returns on each and every marketing campaign.
"Call tracking has helped us in terms of streamlining our print advertising" says Hayley. "We are able to monitor response rates to our adverts and amend accordingly – whether that is the content or the platform we are featuring in.
"Call tracking will continue to be a focus for us in 2016, but we are looking to delve a little deeper by incorporating dynamic call tracking and campaign tagging into our reporting. Monitoring search traffic into our website is a focus for us moving forward. Cross-referencing this data against the keywords and PPC adverts that have driven this traffic will help us strengthen our online presence and allow us to see in more detail which pages prompt visitors to call our services. This in turn helps us ensure that we continue to produce relevant and engaging content that visitors to our website can act upon."
Where is your focus for marketing in 2016? We'd love to hear your views below.