Repost from Chief Marketer
By Dara Treseder
Funneling money into the latest trends without purpose is a waste, yet a surprising number of brands still operate without a North Star to guide them.
Your marketing tactics are only as good as the strategies behind them, and the only way you’ll succeed is by focusing on your core strengths. Pick and choose the right tools, platforms, and events for the right job, and you’ll gain much more than by simply following the herd.
There’s Danger in Being a Follower
Focusing on your core strengths and building from there isn’t as exciting as latching onto the latest trends and tools. But it’s the best way to become indispensable to your most valuable customers. Brands need to define themselves and stick to their convictions.
That’s not accomplished with an exhaustive list of trends and tools. It’s achieved through market research to understand how current and prospective customers view your brand. Consumer trends, after all, constantly change. A good example of this is Snapchat. In 2017, brands and consumers were flocking to the social platform, but it had a day of reckoning in 2018. After rolling out a user experience redesign that confused pretty much everyone, Kylie Jenner, once one of the platform’s most influential users, tweeted her frustrations. As a result, Snapchat’s stock lost $1.3 billion. Additionally, the redesign removed branded content from users’ main feeds—a move that sent a clear message to brands: You’re going to have to pay to play. Where brand content was once integrated with organic content from users’ good friends, Snapchat has now erected a barrier between brands and their target audiences.
Chasing vanity metrics on these social platforms won’t yield the same results as it used to. Meanwhile, the pushback against “fake news” is affecting consumer trust of sponsored posts across the board. All this is to say: Brands have less of an incentive to be on the once-trendy platform. Perhaps that’s why Maybelline took to Twitter to ask its followers whether the platform is even relevant to them anymore. And brands that invested too much stock in this platform may find themselves in a tricky spot.
Building a Brand That Lasts
Trends come and go, but meaningful customer relationships stand the test of time. If you understand who you are and what your brand stands for, you can reach your customers through thick and thin. Here’s three tips:
1. Target Micro-Moments
Smartphones are practically glued to consumers’ hands, and consumers are using this valuable tool to gather information on brands and make purchasing decisions. Studies show 82 percent of smartphone users pull out their devices to help make in-store decisions. The complete consumer journey needs to be mapped out in micro-moments. And it needs to be a comprehensive, multi-device journey.
Whether online or off, it’s imperative to provide the right information to customers during every step of the journey in real time based on where they are and what they’re expecting in that moment.
2. Combine Content Marketing and SEO
People are increasingly ignoring advertisements, so it’s more important than ever to be a subject matter expert. SEO is evolving as voice assistants and mobile devices guide consumers to the information they want. The only way you can appear on search results with the stiff competition in today’s market is through content clustering.
Your SEO and content marketing strategies need to be combined so you have clusters of specific content relating to every keyword you want to rank for. This covers each step of the sales funnel while signaling to Google that you are the subject matter expert. No matter what questions customers may have, you need to be the resource they choose.
3. Invest in Marketing Automation
Of all the trends mentioned across marketing publications, automation is one you need to take part in. Marketing automation software usage is increasingly growing, and it’s giving a competitive edge to adopters. By 2025, the marketing automation industry will be worth $7.63 billion a year—and with good cause.
Automation speeds up repetitive processes and can accomplish much of what I’m discussing in this article. The right marketing automation tools can help you identify strengths and weaknesses, map consumer journeys, and find the right avenues to market your brand.
If you’re still struggling to validate the return on investment of your marketing spend, there’s a reason for that. In rushing to stay on top of every new trend, you lost focus on your brand’s original vision. It’s time to step outside the trend bubble and get back in touch with your core audience.