Technology has changed the landscape of marketing and communications in pretty dramatic ways. The rising importance of social media has altered communications between enterprises, customers and stakeholders. The modern-day marketer must be equal parts creative, strategic, sales-oriented, tech-savvy, and analytical.
1. PR and marketing data sync
As social media plays an increasingly central role in communications and marketing, so does data analytics. Social media and influencer marketing connects brands with their consumers directly. Social media listening and analytics provide brands with the tools to manage the communications taking place. Data provides the foundation for optimizing KPIs, to measure ROI, and track campaign effectiveness.
The integration of data analytics into processes leads to the formulation of clearer strategies. Tracking shared performance and ROI metrics that lead to mutual goals. Nurture closer alignment between disparate departments with co-dependent KPIs, e.g. consumer marketing and corporate communications.
PR benefits from the ability to monitor individual conversations that populate the bigger picture. Tracking and measuring in real-time emerging trends or potential threats. Managing influencers and identifying critics contributing to consumer and stakeholder sentiment.
Marketing can fine-tune online promotional strategies. Comparing social media performances between macro and micro (or even nano) influencer campaigns. Metrics for ROI optimizations targeting goals of increased reach or higher engagement rates.
Enterprises powered by an optimal tech stack, operated by expert teams of digital marketers own a clear advantage in the digital age.
Interested for more? I found the Talkwalker guide to 2019’s social media trends a good source. It’s a collection of expert predictions worth checking out in preparation for the coming year. I’ve used some quotes from there in my article.
“Marketing and PR teams alike need to quantify how their areas are contributing to the C-suite in a clear, quantifiable, and relevant way — a great example is the co-alignment of initiatives and key performance indicators (KPIs) for brand health. Brands need to have an “always on” reputation measurement framework for quantifying both long-term KPIs (e.g., overall brand reputation) and short-term KPIs (e.g., earned brand social media mentions, sentiment, and traditional media mentions.)
KPIs should be fact-based, defined, derived, visualized from a single source of truth with success defined up-front, which helps elevates the discussion to business outcomes. Money talks and brands that respond effectively to a crisis in a timely and effective way (empathetic, transparent, and actionable) perform ~15% better in their stock value.”
Jerry Nichols @Jerry_L_Nichols
Head of Data-Driven Marketing, SAP Global Marketing & Communication
2. Influencing the customer journey
The customer journey takes place along many paths. Social media being one of the main points of contact for companies to connect with their customers. Consumers see it as a way to communicate with brands and vice versa. Advancements in AI and data analytics opens doors for marketers to create content and communications personalized to the individual.
Customers are beginning to expect more personalized experiences. Speaking to customer’s individuality is important in driving loyalty. Understanding the individual better, without crossing personal boundaries.
A realistic goal since data allows market analysis that transcends superficial over-simplification demo or psychographic profile groupings. Profiling that negates the need to identify the person, their gender, age, or geo-location.
It’s also not a far stretch to say that individuals of the same age and gender would likely have completely different interests or needs. Consider toys as an example, which aren’t only for either boys or girls. Actually, toys aren’t for kids alone anymore either. Grown-ups buy toys too!
The product could be anything and the customer anyone. The importance is less about knowing who they are. Rather, more about if they’re given what they want and need. To provide the customer with the right suggestion at the right moment. The right push and call to action to complete the journey to conversion.
“Stories have redefined the way brands communicate on Instagram, and creative marketers are now learning to use this format to address each stage of the customer journey, from awareness to direct purchase. We’ll see even more investments in this channel in 2019.”
Todd Grossman @ToddMGrossman
CEO Americas, Talkwalker
3. Social media commerce
Social media has been mainly about getting a product or service to as many eyeballs as possible. Social media platforms are realizing the potential to monetize reach and engagement beyond ads and promotion. Shortening the customer journey by allowing users to purchase without having to be redirected from the platform. Sending a tagged product from Instagram post directly to the shopping cart. Shoppable social media.
Combined with a micro or nano influencer strategy targeting niche customer bases. The customer journey begins even before the individual recognizes a need or want. The challenge would be for Influencers to avoid appearing disingenuous.
Clearer and more reliable metrics to measure ROI would empower enterprises to find better fitting Influencers they can trust. Being closer aligned with an Influencer creates an atmosphere for more authentic, creative and engaging UGC for the target audience.
Consumers want to buy, but don’t appreciate being sold to that much. At least not when it’s obvious. Successful Influencers know their audience and how to engage them. They worked hard to earn the attention. The key is for enterprises to know their Influencers better and understand how best to utilize them.
“In 2019, brands are going to find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain their audience’s attention on social media. The brands that develop creative content strategies that tap into themes that are culturally relevant (and topical) to their audiences, will win.
People don’t go on social to see content about your brand, they don’t care about you or your brand. They want to be educated, entertained and inspired. The sooner you realize that and start creating content that fulfills those needs, the better.”
Dan Knowlton @dknowlton1
Ranked Top 100 Digital Marketing Influencer, International Speaker, Co-Founder of @KPSDigitalMktng
Technology redefining communications
The next generation of marketing and communications will be going deeper in tech. Augmented or virtual reality, voice-search, visual recognition will create new channels and platforms to connect. Communication itself will only be happening faster and in many more places as ever before. 5G tech will make it possible for people to stay connected longer than they could before.
But as the tech gets more advanced, the focus will be on more simple and traditional marketing sensibilities. Ensuring that content is simple and authentic. Paying attention not to lose the ability to speak to the emotions of the audience. Creating authentic and lasting engagement and trust.