Innovations will explode, disruptions will shake former entrenched industries, and the marketing world will never be the same
The enlargement of a brand’s target market and its entry into niche or unexplored areas is always at the mind of a business owner and his marketing team.
But thanks to new tech and media platforms like social media, live video streaming and big data, capturing and retaining that prized audience is no longer as cut-and-dried as it used to be. Industry professionals do have to keep up with the latest developments if they are to impact a new generation of consumers, which now include the Gen-Z along with the targeted millennials.
But while the popular platforms of today may draw in the crowd, if one were to look at the actual numbers, how effectively can they be monetized? The members of likes and followers may look impressive, but how often do they translate into actual sales?
The answers are not simple, as the industry and its technologies are currently in a constant stage of evolution. However, there are game changers that one can spot, single out, understand — and then use as an effective tool, if not master.
Marketers who want to make an effective dent in their area should take a look at the following trends that will be influencing the course of the industry in 2019:
First, more personal chat and messenger groups are drawing in Gen-Z and their older siblings, the millennials. Facebook and Instagram are still ruling the top of the charts as far as social media are concerned.
But critics have pointed out that Mark Zuckerberg’s predominant audience belongs to the older crowd, aka the Gen-Xers who are in their 40s to 50s. Instagram is no longer the main turf of the millennials, either.
According to Nix Eniego, the marketing head of Sprout Solutions, this visual-heavy social media is becoming known as “the new Facebook” because it is drawing in the Gen-Xer’s as well. Interestingly, the millennials and Gen-Zers who value their privacy and prefer to work in close groups are doing their social networking with their own close friends in the private communities they have built on messenger platforms like Viber and Telegram. At one point, this exodus has alarmed industry observers who warned that if this behavior continues, it could pose a threat to Facebook’s dominance.
Meanwhile, what’s important for marketing professionals to realize is how to approach and engage these youngsters who are building their own sanctuaries in the messenger groups. This particular Holy Grail has not been found yet, but whoever does discover it will reap the dividends in the long run.
The second trend to watch out for and get involved in is analytics and with it, a more in-depth understanding and skillful use of big data. Many marketers and advertisers today will concede that analytics is integral to their study of their target publics and the improvement of their campaigns to engage them.
However, that so-called awareness or recognition of this particular reality still remains at the peripheral of their consciousness.
It’s akin to most people who will agree that a healthy diet and regular exercise will improve their health, but only a few will actually put in the time to go to the gym and follow a nutritious meal plan. In the same way, marketers realize that the numbers and statistics can probably boost their campaigns, but they are at a loss as to where to start.
Questions immediately arise: should they hire an analytics expert or outsource this task to an analytics company? Should the marketing manager himself take a crash course in the subject? And once he has learned all that he needs to learn, how does he convince his executives, the big bosses who write the checks, to invest in this area?
Studying analytics and implementing it on a certain level in day-to-day marketing would be a good first step. The numbers and charts may look intimidating, but, inevitably, this is an expertise that has to be mastered or at least skillfully wielded if an organization is to succeed.
Companies in the United States and Europe are continually looking for skilled, if not experienced, data analysts to help them study their market, anticipate market behavior, and come up with the campaigns that can help them emerge at the top of the mountain. Filipino marketers who want to increase their value and attract equally valuable employers should equally invest and immerse themselves in the field today.
Finally, nothing beats a good story as well as the most human, moving way one can tell it. This is one principle I’ve heard emphasized in the marketing events I attended last year. Numbers and statistics may show the direction of a market, but, in the end, it is still good old storytelling that touches the heart, that wins an audience and keeps them loyal to a brand.
For example, a look at the recent Christmas video commercials shows that, regardless of the product being promoted, the messages of the various brands emphasize the importance of family, the strengthening of relationships, and the value of reaching out to loved ones — all of which strike a chord in the Filipino soul.
In the same way, the brands who have hit or surpassed the mark several times with their videos in recent years were the ones that highlighted the triumph of family closeness over a failed romance, or again family ties remaining strong during a member’s crisis or unexpected coming out.
That kind of earnestness, free of the bells and whistles that usually animate commercials, also conveys one important message to the customer: authenticity. That projection of being real and being true to oneself and others is hard to dismiss in an age of photoshopped images and fake news. It is probably the one message that will magnetize any target market to try out a brand, regardless of their age, gender, and segmentation.