By Paul M. Rand, President and CEO, Zocalo Group
Is Your 2017 Marketing Ready?
Still finalizing your 2017 marketing plans? Every morning our “Agile Content” team sources thousands of data points to get a real time pulse on what’s hot and what’s coming. Below are five key trends we’re closely watching and building into all of our client plans. You’ll likely want to as well.
SOCIAL COMMERCE GOES MAINSTREAM
With more brands learning about the positive impact of social commerce, we expect this to be something that expands rapidly in 2017. Studies have shown that 71% of people are more likely to purchase a product that is referred by a friend on social media – a number that has been steadily growing over time. Additionally, that purchase is even more likely to happen if the product is easy to see and easy to buy (i.e. directly within your audiences’ social media feeds, and attached to a seamless purchasing interface). As more social platforms launch their own in-app purchasing tools, people will begin to grow more accustomed to buying things directly through social media, snatching up the products they see their friends and trusted influencers enjoying in their posts. If brands aren’t planning their social commerce strategy today, they’re going to be missing out tomorrow.
WE ALL CALL BS ON FAKE NEWS AND ‘ALTERNATIVE FACTS’
Last year ended with everyone talking about the prevalence of fake news, but 2017 will be the year where we think people will say enough is enough. Germany has talked about implementing fake news fines and Facebook has tools and groups at the ready to help expose the truth. The rise in the popularity of Live Video will also help aid in the fake news battle, as more people use live streaming to capture real-time events, offering indisputable evidence of the facts. Just looking at the recent trending topic of #AlternativeFacts shows us that people are calling out for authenticity, and brands are going to need to be aware of this, too. Companies should be mindful of what they—and their influencers—say about their products and be ready to back up their own claims with confidence, and evidence. The truth is going to be expected—even demanded—from everyone, everywhere.
PRECISION MARKETING GOES FROM CREEPY TO CONSUMER EXPECTATION
This year, precision targeting will start to move away from feeling creepy and move towards feeling ordinary. Consumers will expect relevancy when it comes to the ads they’re served, and brands will need to fine tune every detail of their targeting—including choosing the right apps for their content—in order to be welcomed in fans’ news feeds. The greater the precision targeting, the less likely the content will feel intrusive. Ads will read more like a thoughtful recommendation from a like-minded friend than a random product promotion. A recent survey from Mindshare showed only 59% of mobile phone users are concerned about the privacy implications when it comes to companies knowing about their shopping habits, and while that may still seem high, that number continues to drop as people become more accustomed to being tracked. Thanks to the popularity of apps like Uber and PokémonGO, people are becoming more complacent in offering up their data as long as the benefits of that data collection outweigh the creep-factor. Soon enough, we’ll wonder how advertising was ever done without precision targeting, and we’ll laugh about how many people were concerned about all that ad-blocking software nonsense.
WE BECOME IMMERSED IN IMMERSIVE CONTENT
AR, VR, 360˚ and Live Video: We saw a massive influx of new media opportunities in 2016, and that trend will only continue to grow this year. We’ve never had such a variety of channels to play with, and brands now have an opportunity to truly immerse audiences in their content. Recent massive engagement efforts from Go Pro and Star Wars: Rogue One just scratched the surface of these unique, compelling experiences. However, every brand needs to have immersive content on their radar in order to get noticed in 2017
YOUR VOICE BECOMES YOUR KEY TO THE WORLD
Last year, we were introduced to products that might become new members of our families: A.I. home companions like Amazon Echo and Google Home. More of these voice-enabled devices are coming our way in 2017—be it in our homes, our cars or even our messaging apps. With an increase in voice-driven devices, brands have yet another new opportunity to reach their consumers. Voice search on these platforms will require as much consideration in brands’ strategies as standard SEO does today. In 2017, more people will begin interacting with the Internet through the sound of their voice, and brands need to start thinking about what their voice will sound like.
About the Author
Paul M. Rand is the president and CEO of Critical Mass/Zocalo, a divison of Critical Mass and Omnicom Group. His book, “Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Business was published by McGraw Hill.