We’re already well into the New Year, and it’s now that all your good intentions may be beginning to falter. Are you still going to the gym? Eating that celery? Leaving work early? De-cluttering the house?
And what about in business? Did you call out any big goals or strategies for this year? Are you planning a re-stage of your website? Are you seeking to increase conversion? Are you building your organisation’s capabilities? Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions you absolutely should keep in 2015 when it comes to marketing your business…
1. Find your purpose
Consumers now are looking for much more than just a product benefit or brand name in order to give you their money and their loyalty. In fact, it’s not just consumers but employees as well: 60% of Millennials are looking for “a sense of purpose” when choosing which company to work for. Dove has been running their popular Campaign for Real Beauty since 2004, while 2014 saw the powerful Always #likeagirl campaign, which came out of research commissioned by the brand that found that 50% of girls report a drop in confidence after their first period. As an example of what not to do, just look to Victoria’s Secret perfect “body” fiasco, which led to a backlash with women responding that #iamperfect, thank you very much.
Brands like Toms and Warby Parker are also now showing that it’s possible to do good, with a social mission right at the heart of their business model, while making a profit. So what meaning can you bring to your business? What do you believe in? What’s your underlying purpose? Why should consumers care?
2. Embrace the newsroom approach
People are engaging (or not) with your brand 365 days of the year: they’re complaining on Twitter, sharing on Facebook, creating wish lists on Pinterest. Sometimes you just can’t plan ahead – remember the Oreo Superbowl #blackout? Static strategies written in PowerPoint last year will do you no good and agility is key, especially as the environment in which your business is operating is so rapidly changing. One big success of 2014 was the Adidas ‘All in or Nothing’ campaign during the World Cup. It was expensive but arguably paid off spectacularly, making it the most talked about brand and hashtag #allin while Adidas was even the sponsor for both teams in the final. The approach was also risky, and engaging real-time with consumers does bring with it any number of pitfalls: see J C Penney trying to be funny during last year’s Superbowl and Delta’s ignorance during the World Cup, or Build-a-Bear wanting to mark the anniversary of 9/11.
You may get lucky with a few interns who come up with something funny now and then, but to be really successful in real-time engagement you need a robust combination of planned, anticipated and reactive content, with a multi-functional team ready to respond with the right message at the right time.
3. Get geeky about data
In order to engage in real-time marketing, you’ll need the right information and data at your fingertips. The internet is a gold mine of customer intelligence, but companies are not yet taking full advantage of this. Attempts at re-targeting are annoying rather than helpful: adverts for products you’ve already bought, hotels you’ve already booked are following you all across the web. Then there was the case of Target congratulating a girl on her pregnancy before she had even told her parents. Oops.
Analytics are critical to understanding how your website is performing, what content people are engaging with in social, and what you should be doing to improve.
4. It’s all about integration
Consumers don’t think about your brand in silos: every interaction on desktop or mobile, Facebook or Twitter, online or offline, should be seamlessly working together as one holistic experience. If a product is out of stock, the shop assistant should be able to take you onto the website and order it online for you – likewise, when browsing an eCommerce site, you expect to see availability in your nearest store. And integration is not just about the digital and the physical world: we are also seeing a need to integrate across different parts of a business, with marketing having to align with everyone from customer service to PR to legal; work on content creation feeding into web and SEO, social media, email; different social media platforms needing to work together; and so on.
You may need to drastically think your organisation in order to address these changing needs of the business.
5. This really is the year of mobile
Every year has been called out as the year of mobile for as least the past five years if not more, and yet we’re still not reflecting this shift in our activities. Mobile has already overtaken overall desktop traffic on the internet. Half of Google’s search queries come from mobile but many websites are still not responsive for different screen sizes (Google recently a mobile-friendly testing tool for a quick check of how your site is performing). More than 70 per cent of Facebook activity is now via mobile but many brand pages have apps that only work on desktop.
It really is time now to take mobile seriously, with mobile-driven, short-form video on the rise, mobile payments becoming more and more common, and proximity messaging and hyper-targeting more and more effective.
So will you be sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions? You’d better, if you want a business that thrives in this fast-evolving digital landscape.