Thinking of dusting off your marketing plan from years past and revising it here and there for 2015? Not so fast. In today’s constantly connected world, your brand needs to feel up-to-the-minute fresh. Any hint of outdated messaging and technology and you risk losing customers.
To help you prepare to keep with 2015, here are the five areas where your marketing dollars will have the most impact. Be sure to budget for:
1) Cross-Platform Web Presence
As of January 2014, according to the Pew Internet Project, Americans who own smart phones and tablets represent 58 and 42 percent of the population, respectively. And that’s only going to grow. So let’s hope your website isn’t optimized for desktop viewing only. For the most effective cross-platform Web presence, remember that people researching your brand on different devices have different agendas. Determine what those are and have your phone, tablet and desktop experiences reflect them.
2) Customer Reviews
It’s now widely known that the majority of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. So how are you responding to this trend? Are you leaving it to third-party sites, such as Yelp? Or are you creating a forum on your own site where customers can share their experiences and leave a review? By being transparent about the customer experience, you can help to build loyalty before a transaction is ever conducted. And, if you’re worried about negative reviews, don’t be. A negative review here and there actually makes your brand more believable.
Sure, there are a lot of silly videos on the Internet that help us all kill time. But there are also a lot of educational ones. With video, you can show people the benefits of a product or walk them through a process, rather than asking them to read a written description or follow written directions. Videos that are quick, informal and educational should be your focus. And remember that they should reflect your brand personality, just like your website does. That’s not to say that a video is the best solution to every communication problem. It’s to say that, if you include video in your budget, you’ll be able to utilize the medium when it’s most effective.
4) Brand Refresh
A brand isn’t a build-it-once-and-forget-it kind of thing. While remaining true to its key tenants, your brand needs to evolve with the times. Now that you’ve added mobile websites, social media, email campaigns and videos to your marketing efforts, it’s a good time to look at the brand as a whole. Are your messaging and persona aligned across all of these mediums that you now populate? And how can you take your brand to the next level and transform it from a product only into an experience? Experiencing a brand, such as through events, is much different than purchasing a brand. When your customers do the former, they are more likely to do the latter.
Yes, the digital revolution forever changed your marketing game. That doesn’t mean your collateral should fall by the wayside. Beautifully executed collateral can still differentiate your brand, especially against all of the brands with a strictly online focus. The bottom line is, you should put your best face forward in every touch point with customers. Your logo, tagline and messaging should work just as well in print as it does online.
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