Sure, some things about business and marketing never change, but in 2013 there are some important changes brewing. You can jump on board with them, or watch from the tracks, as the caboose recedes into the distance, and you’re left limping to the next town.The consumer landscape is changing fast. The way both private and business consumers make purchase decisions is putting ever more power into purchasers’ hands, leaving brands with one choice; crack the new code, or sit helplessly by as business goes to those organizations that cater to the new power elite; consumers.
Here are some moves your organization must make to keep the pipeline full and the C-suite happy going into 2013 and beyond.
1 – Cross Platform Online Content Optimization
Mae sure your organization’s online content is optimized for easy consumption across all platforms. Been under the Geico rock lately?, Well even if you’ve been spending the bulk of your time there, you couldn’t help but notice mobile devices are taking over Internet access. Even widget powered browsing on TVs, BluRay players, ad gaming consoles are scratching out their bit of the web browsing pie.
Guess where that browsing share is coming from? That’s right, the venerable PC, which if you’re under 20 now will be a relic you must explain to your kids when they uncover one in grandma’s attic someday. The upshot is that your content will be showing up on a veritable plethora of devices, in addition to the good, old personal computer of yore.
That being the case, ensuring that people can read, watch and listen to your stuff, no matter what they may be using, is more vital than ever. Your website and blog should be responsive, meaning that it automatically determines what device it’s being viewed with an adjusts sizing, navigation, and layout accordingly.
You’re liable to be left out in the cold if you insist on forcing those who consume your content to do so by scrolling, panning and zooming. Not a pretty picture, both literally and figuratively. Worse, most recent studies have confirmed that consumers won’t sit still for this kind of nonsense; they’ll just go elsewhere, where they’re not forced to deal with it.
If your organization has embraced BYOD, employees could be using their smart phones, small tablets, large tablets, or PCs with displays of varying sizes. If they’re going to be using your apps and and company intranet or website, it’s critical that they get the most effective and efficient information presentation possible, or nit will cost you in lost productivity, and possibly sales as well.
2 – Get Your Employees to Toot Your Social Media Horn
Your employes can be your most important evangelists. Oh, and it gets better. Many, or at least a significant percentage, of your employees are probably social media power users.
Employees can boost your organization’s social media effectiveness in several ways. First, get them to share, Tweet, and Stumble your organization’s social media offerings. You’ll increase reach and do so much more quickly this way.
Another powerful technique: Get them involved in a more hands on way. Use our staff’s most powerful social media users as social media consultants. Ask them for help with posts. Look to the for what they share and why, then use the feedback I your social media campaigns. Many of them will have great insight on what will make your social media campaigns most effective. They can help with post content, subject matter, and timing.
3 – Use Gamification to Increase Involvement and Engagement for Employees and Customers
Gamification is simply using gaming techniques to increase engagement and involvement among those you influence. Whether customers or prospects, adding gaming elements to your content mix helps engage, because after all, who doesn’t love a little game playing!
How can you gamify your offerings? It’s everywhere, actually, and you may be doing it already. Offering achievement badges leaderboards, or some kind of visual scoring representation all fall under the gamification classification. In short, give people something to achieve, and a way to show they’ve done so.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare all embrace gamification principles, as have many national brands. Your business can use them for any behavior you’re trying to encourage, either internal or external. Make it fun, use some sort of scoring to reward behavior, and watch things take off.
It’s human nature. People love to increase their score, no matter what the context. Gamification as been used for a couple o years now, but is only now starting to really gain steam. It’s definitely one marketing trend to jump on for 2013.
See this post on MarketingSherpa for more on how to implement gamification in your marketing this year.
4 – Storytelling – Spin One For Me, Baby!
Every brand has a story to tell, Are you telling yours in a way that engages your prospects and customers? Stories can be extremely compelling. Chances are there’s something in your brand that’s just dying to be told, and in such a way that people just can’t put it down.
In fact, there are probably many stories you can tell, and each can do it’s part to grab a piece of your audience and bring them home to you. That’s not to say that every aspect of your company has to be penned by Suzanne Collins, but using story form to explain why your organization is unique and the how that helps prospects is powerful mojo.
Let your passion shine through, and in so doing you’ll discover that people bond with you through your stories. You’ll engage prospects and customers, and communicate your brand’s message more effectively through stories.
If you think about it, just about everything is a story, and at least one of yours is probably just waiting to be told. You have an audience, so tell it, and if you do it well, you’ll find your audience grows and begins to share your passion too. See this article on Business2Community for more on how to tell effective stories in your marketing communications.
In short, there will be many trends to look at for the year ahead, just as there were last year, and the year before, and …. well you get the point. As we get full on into 13 though, these 4 trends are definitely ones for deserving consideration for your organization’s marketing department. They will have a positive impact and cost little to implement, which are the best kind of marketing techniques.
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