By Chuck Thomas / in Blog, Branding & Market Views / December 23, 2014
Management guru Peter Drucker said that “attempting to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” That has stopped almost no one from doing it, and in fact we all make decisions, major and minor, in business and all of life, based on our understanding—puny though it may be—of what the future holds.
With all of this in mind, we’ve scoured the business and marketing worlds to put together a list of 7 important predictions of what marketing trends in are worthy of our consideration. They include the rise of transparency, the move from globalization to personalization, and the rise of Generation Z.
Transparency will become the most important tool of marketing.
Customers are going to continue to exert power and influence. The idea of radical transparency is something that few brands are taking advantage of now, and most brands fight it. Next year the best brands won’t be those with the best stories, but those that will give an accurate and real time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.
Truth creates trust, the essential currency of commerce.
Marketing will shift from globalization to personalization.
The world is more connected because of technology, but marketing is becoming more localized and individualized, as consumers resist homogenization. Personalization is not a temporary trend, but a marketing tsunami that will transform how we think about and manage brands. Put away your one-to-many playbook and dig deeper into customization and personalization strategies to find the small, yet potentially profitable subsets of your market and niche offerings. Touching these customers will require research that will create the kind of one-to-one conversations you need to establish productive customer relationships.
Valcort specializes in helping you hear the voice of your customers and identifying the value you bring to them.
Here comes Generation Z
While you shouldn’t yet forget about those Baby Boomers and Gen X’rs, it’s time to get the latest generation–Gen Z–onto your business radar screen. Worldwide, there are more than 2 billion members of Gen Z (defined as anyone born after 1993. According to a study conducted by Ford, the mantra of this generation is: “Good things come to those who act.” Their dream is to make an impact on the world, and they aren’t going to let anything stop them from doing just that. Compared to members of Gen Y, 55 percent of Gen Z are more likely to want to start a business and hire others.
According to Ford’s report, the members of Gen Z would rather rent or borrow than buy. (See our earlier post on this trend). The result is an emerging ‘a la carte’ mentality that trumpets access over ownership.” It’s all part of the desire to collaborate and share with others, and to live with fewer material possessions.
The Winners will Master Marketing Agility.
Social media produces a more elusive consumer with short-term thinking. Marketers are now chasing their daily meanderings in “likes”, “shares”, “tweets” and click-through rates. The best marketers will have ever more consumer data, capable of faster adaptation, shorter lead times, and always-on, real-time marketing. Instead of the next month or next quarter the focal point for the winners becomes the next hour.
Mobile Will Dominate
Mobile is a hotbed of engagement. One prognosticator says that by 2020, 1 in 5 sales will result from data collected from wearable devices. Fine-tune your mobile strategy to encompass the totality of content execution, including audience profiling, content theme, design and distribution. Don’t assume the same graphics that did well with your target audience on the blog will have the same impact when viewed on smaller screens that require excessive scrolling and pinching to view. Employ dynamic display technology to adjust content offers and image sizes based on users’ screen resolution. Power up your social media channels with micro-content: create thumbnails (Facebook, LinkedIn), crop out images (Pinterest, Instagram), or build a slide deck (Slideshare, Scribd) to draw viewers with bite-sized chunks instead of long, overwhelming images.
An Increased Need for Professional Writers
As brands turn into publishers, their content needs will span beyond grammatical accuracy and into the finer points of writing compelling copy adaptable across platforms and written to the tastes of narrowly targeted personas. The need for well-crafted copy and visuals goes hand-in-hand with one of content marketers’ consistent pain points of not being able to produce enough to fill their content pipelines. Forward-thinking marketers will seek out either experienced content writers or outsource writing to agencies or marketplaces that specialize in writing or creating content.
Your Stories Will Need to Cross Media
In 2015 there will be a big push towards trans-media storytelling. Rather than crafting a story for an isolated viewing experience, like a blog post, a billboard or a Tweet, marketers will design stories that are pieced together across different media. The notion of transmedia storytelling is linked to a general shift towards holistic marketing campaigns that span many channels. Marketing departments will become less siloed as companies realize that treating channels like content, SEO and social media as separate areas of marketing doesn’t make sense at all; they’re actually completely intertwined. TheValcort Group’s affiliated creative and communications shop, Outside Seven, epitomizes this approach:
Outside We are storytellers and poets, artists and minstrels, improvisers. The usual way irritates us. Given a creative challenge, we blow through the ordinary just as the jazz musician plays outside the key center or the painter colorizes bland landscapes of life. We play outside the lines. Seven. We never write an article or produce a film before we have a vision for how it fits into the whole story. And that sets us apart from other firms. We are deeply strategic and thoughtful about your values and purposes, quality standards, customer dreams, and important relationships. These elements illuminate your story and build trust. We get at it by asking seven strategic questions about you and your company before we begin writing the story.