If you look at the predictions for 2017 marketing trends, you’re probably going to see more of the same: Personalize things. Focus on customer experience. Start using Facebook Live. Think more about video.
There’s no big paradigm shift happening. Marketing channels are maturing. Engagement is dropping. This year, rather than looking around for the next quick fix — something that gives you big, meaningless numbers — marketers should look at what has worked in the past and think about how to optimize it further.
The past few years were all about experimentation. Marketers should make this the year of optimization. Here’s how you can start:
1. Use data for something other than monthly reports
Yes, data is important. It’s great that so many companies are investing in analytics tools, trying to track social media ROI and diving deep into what customer experience looks like.
But, other than a bunch of numbers to show off at a meeting every month, how are you really using all that data?
Marketers should dedicate at least one meeting a month — maybe even a week — to poring over not only what the numbers say, but what the numbers say about upcoming campaigns. And then create tactics based on that data.
2. Make videos people want to watch
Since the dawn of YouTube, people have been raving about how video is the future of content marketing. The problem is that very few brands have figured out how to make videos that people want to watch. Not only that, there’s rarely a concrete goal for the video content itself beyond “making stuff for YouTube.”
If you want to create video content, come up with a calendar and a strategy. How can you work it into your overall goals?
At Bitly, we have decided to use videos for educational purposes. This year, we’re going to incorporate in-product video content as part of our onboarding process. As for things that go “viral,” we’re leaving that to the experts.
3. Make social media interesting again
Wendy’s Twitter handle has been getting some attention lately. That’s because the fast-food chain has decided to do something few brands have: poke fun.
From challenging a follower’s conception of Wendy’s beef (and quality therein) to roasting competitors, the account is lively. And that attracts attention — and loyalty. Social media is a chance for brands to develop a personality. Few take advantage of it, which is why people take notice when a brand is even a little different.
What’s your brand’s identity? How can you build that to maximize engagement? Take your messaging and see how you can convert it into social-friendly material. Join conversations, share knowledge, and start interacting.
4. Build an Instagram strategy
This year, plan out how to fit Instagram content into your marketing strategy. At Bitly, we are interviewing influencers, partners and friends in our new Instagram series, #TechiesOfNY. As the year goes on, we are hoping to create a community among tech professionals by highlighting their goals, ideas and strategies for 2017.
5. Talk to sales
In too many companies, everyone in marketing is heads-down. There’s little interaction between marketing and sales, customer success and product. Sales is on the front lines when it comes to pitching the product and handing content to prospects.
Marketing should regularly be meeting with sales to make sure everything is aligned. Otherwise, you risk creating all sorts of messaging and content that go unused. Research shows that:
- 87 percent of sales training content is forgotten after 30 days.
- 40 percent of a rep’s time is spent looking for content or making content to fit an unmet need.
- 60 percent of content goes unused.
You won’t just be making sure that sales has all they need — you can get insight into customer and prospect behavior alike.
Looking ahead by staying focused
When you’re starting a new year, it’s easy to get overly committed to the Next Big Thing, whether that means investing big in a new channel or revamping your entire strategy. The risk with pushing ahead too aggressively, though, is that you lose focus on what’s already working.
In 2017, marketers should assess the triumphs and failures of 2016 before doing anything else. And then it’s time to optimize, optimize, optimize.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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