The Top 50 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

Advertising market trends

1.Programmatic Advertising

What is programmatic advertising? It means advertisers automate ad buying to target more specific audiences. This type of automation results in faster and efficient bidding. Advertisers then, have to spend less time and effort planning the ad bidding and buying.

How does programmatic advertising work?

Step 1 – a user clicks on the webpage

Step 2 – the publisher puts the ad impression for auction

Step 3 – the ad marketplace holds an auction where advertisers bid for the impression

Step 4 – the advertiser with the highest bid wins the right to display their ads

2.Marketing Personalization

If something we learned from 2020 is that to succeed at marketing in 2021 you need to personalize your marketing activities, including content, emails and ads. Great examples of personalization are Netflix and Amazon, with their tailored content and products suggestions.

The more personalized the content, the higher the customer engagement and loyalty.

3.Google Ads Smart Bidding

This system allows Google to manage advertisers’ PPC campaigns through Google’s AI system. The system then optimizes the advertiser’s budget to maximize their ROI. Advertisers can choose many criteria for their bid optimization, including device, physical location, remarketing list, ad characteristics, interface language or browser. Anti Ad-Blockers

Many websites have ad-blockers, preventing ads to be served to users. This causes serious revenue damage, which can range up to 40% loss from adblocking. Therefore, one of the trends we are seeing for 2021, is the popularization of anti-ad-blockers.

Anti-ad blockers are useful software solutions that bypass ad blockers. Not all the solutions work for all the ad blockers. You can also opt to work with an ad network that serves ads that bypass ad-blockers. However, not all ad networks work with all the ad blockers.

4.IoT Advertising

To be connected nowadays goes beyond, smartphones, laptops and tablets. There is a world of connected devices, from smart cars to smart houses. These type of connected devices are called the Internet of Things.

Companies have tried to use the Internet of Things for advertising. For example, including ads in smart cars systems, or include sensors in spirits bottles. As more connected devices are developed, more opportunities for IoT advertisement will appear.

Social media market trends

5.Influencer Marketing

What’s an influencer? An influencer is a person that, as a referent, can carry a brand message to their market. Influencers are not only celebrities, but Instagram or YouTube personas, that have their niche of followers. Their audience can go from a few thousand to millions. Influencer marketing has become more popular recently because of the following reasons:

  • It’s organic
  • It’s authentic
  • Connects with the customer

Many companies are leaving traditional advertising in favor of pairing with influencers that carry the word about their products or services. For example, GoodFoods, partnered with 60 influencers to produce content and recipes using GoodFoods products online.

How do you find the right influencer for your company is another story. Luckily, there are AI solutions that allow companies to rank and score influencers by niche, followers and ROI potential.

6.Social Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are not only for communicating with your friends. With more than one billion monthly users active on Facebook Messenger, companies are taking the opportunity to connect with their audience through messaging apps.

Social messages give businesses the chance to send messages to customers directly, answer queries, and conduct direct sales. It works as a live chat for customers to reach you, then you can provide assistance, remind them of abandoned carts, send event invitations, and more.

7.Stories on Social Media

Instagram and Facebook allow users to share stories, and since their appearance, they became really popular with users. Here are some statistics:

  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day
  • More than half of Instagram users become interested in a brand after seeing it in an Instagram Story.
  • Half of the users say that they are interested in purchasing a product because they saw it in an IS.

8.From Social Media to Social Marketplace

Social media platforms have added eCommerce features in 2020. The goal is to provide users with a seamless journey from discovery to purchase. We can expect the trend to grow in 2021, with brands using social media platforms as a marketplace. The next section explains what tools they will likely be using.

9.Social Commerce & Shoppable Posts

As mentioned above, social media platforms are investing in adding ecommerce features to social posts. For instance, Instagram shoppable posts:

How do you do it? You can add tags to the products on your stories or posts, the tags will take your customer to a page where they can purchase the product.

10.Facebook May Have Reached its Peak

According to the recent 2020 Facebook performance update, there is reason to think that the network is entering plateau.

The network is showing less monthly and daily new users. Why there are less users is not clear, but the network is completing its second decade, and there are other competitors appearing.

11.Focusing on the social media channels that work

With so many social media channels available, companies can feel overwhelmed to try to keep relevant on all of them. Therefore, reducing their social media channels to focus on what it really works for their audience is likely to be a necessity for 2021.

12.The rise of UGC (user-generated content)

User-generated content will become a central part of marketer’s strategy in 2021. Advertisers are using AI to create ads that work with user-generated content. Brands like Lush cosmetics use Instagram hashtags to drive UGC to work for them.

Another example that uses user generated content is Aerie. They usually #regram — taking a post from another user account and reposting on your own — as a social media strategy.

SEO market trends

13.Content Marketing Is Still King

Content is king, we are used to hearing. The reality is that search engines like Google, prioritize well-written content and useful links when ranking sites and presenting search results to users.

In recent years, the changes in Google algorithm prioritized, even more, the relevance of content for SEO. The effects on marketers were fast to follow:

88% of marketers are realizing that creating content that is useful to their audience presents their organization as a credible source.

Moreover, investing in content marketing can be a cost-effective way to attract customers to your site and engage them.  

“Content marketing has lower up-front costs & deeper long-term benefits than paid search, says @JuliaEMcCoy.

With search engines prioritizing well-written and useful content, it is safe to say that content marketing is a trend that will continue well into 2021.

14.Branding focus

Consumers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options they have every time they research something online. With this marketing landscape, having a distinct, unique, and recognizable brand is key for success.

As most companies moved online last year, the problem of too many options is even worse. In 2021, you’ll see more companies focusing on branding strategies than on hard selling. One of the reasons branding is so critical now for survival is that search engines prioritize ranking brands over sites. More in the following section.

15.EAT

E.A.T is one of the most important criteria Google uses to rank brands and sites. It stands for:

  • Expertise: your pages need to have quality content written by an expert in the subject.
  • Authority: you need to build your brand’s authority on the subject.
  • Trustworthiness: your site needs to connect with other authorities on the subject.

These criteria measure the quality of a web page. It works because all websites need to have it if they want to get ranked in a search engine. The higher they measure in these three criteria, the higher the rank. E.A.T measures how a page fulfills the purpose of helping users. As Google says in their terms:

“Websites and pages should be created to help users”

16.A/B Testing for SEO

A/B testing is used across industries, not only in marketing. But it is safe to say that currently, much of modern marketing is about testing and analytics. Long gone are the days of measuring a campaign’s success by trial and error.

By applying A/B testing to SEO, you actually test the content beforehand. Then, you can identify which version of the site is generating more results.

What can you use A/B testing for? 

You can use A/B testing to experiment with:

  • Meta titles and descriptions
  • URL structures
  • Headlines
  • Calls to action
  • Sales pages
  • Product descriptions

17.Interactive Content

Interactive content is one of the trends that grew faster last year. With our lives moving online, consumers wanted to replace as much as possible personal interaction with the brands. Examples of interactive content include:

  • Quizzes and polls
  • Augmented reality solutions
  • VR ads

The key is engaging the user and offer an immersive experience. Online retailers, for example, let you know what is your exact size with online calculators. Beauty brands use AR to let you try hair color with a virtual assistant to check how a specific hair color will look on you. The possibilities are endless to make the experience more memorable for the user.

18.The Rise of the Featured Snippet

What is “position zero”? The term refers to the topmost position in SERP results. This position is usually occupied by the featured snippet. 

What is a featured snippet?

This is the useful summary of information Google presents first on the page to answer your query. Why is it important? Well, this coveted space answers a user query without the need to click a link. If you get to rank in this space, you found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Moreover, featured snippets are used to answer voice searches. Since a third of Internet searches are done using voice search, you can get your content to answer the question.

19.SEO Is Not Dead – It Uses Structured Data

The term structured data refers to any data organized so search engines can crawl and categorize it. Structured data can give your site’s SEO a boost, since your content will be more useful and easily to categorize. Structured data can get you in the coveted position zero, as a featured snippet or a Knowledge Graph Box.

Structured data generates “rich snippet results”, the snippets with images, pricing and statistics:

Rich snippets are great for driving traffic and clicks, especially with mobile users.

20.Cumulative Layout Shift

This metric measures how visually stable your page is. To put it simple, the CLS score helps you understand how likely your page is giving an unpleasant visual experience to users.

According to Google, a good score for mobile and desktop pages is less than 0.1. A score greater than 0.25 is considered not good.

What can cause CLS?

  • Many different fonts in the page
  • Ads that shift the content

Why is it important? Unsurprisingly, a high CLS causes conversion rates to drop and bounce rates to rise. After all, few users will stay and purchase on a site that gives a rugged experience. That’s why we are likely to see more sites analyzing their CLS in 2021.

21.Pillar Content

Unlike what you may think, in 2021, the usual under 1000 posts won’t get you anywhere. According to experts like Neil Patel, posts that are around 3000 words long attract the most traffic and engage more readers. The length offers readers the opportunity to explore subjects in-depth. A content creator that produces long-form content regularly can establish itself as an authority on a subject.

A study found that long-form content helps more with SEO, as gets three times more backlinks than short articles. Want more proof? When you search a query on Google, chances are that the top 10 results are longer articles. Some benefits of pillar content include:

  • Longer time-on-site
  • Reduced bounce rate
  • More backlinks and social media shares
  • Higher Google ranking

22.Image and video SEO for visual searches

This was a game-changer. Instead of trying to describe what you want to search, you can upload an image and get more specific results.

You just upload the image of what you want to look and Google offers similar images:

Visual search is so convenient and useful that many companies jumped into the trend. One example is Pinterest Lens, a visual search tool that lets you take a picture of an item to search for similar products, view pin boards about it or find out where to buy it online.

The success of this tool shows how much visual search is engaging users. Since the beta version, Lens recognizes 2.5 billion home and fashion items and it drove Pinterest searches to skyrocket.

But not only Pinterest is taking advantage of this, Google and Bing also launched similar visual search engines.

23.Semantic Keyword Research

All content writers have heard it: Write for people, not for Google. A blurb of 4000 words won’t get the results you want if it is not matched to user intent. When Google analyzes your content to check if it matches a specific query, it doesn’t take only into account lone keywords.

The engine makes a semantic analysis to discover what exactly wanted the user to achieve with this question. When you write with the user intent in mind, these semantic keywords give Google a better idea of what your content is about and how it can help users.

24.More Investment in Analytics

As we explained before, today’s marketing is all about metrics. Therefore, more companies are investing in better analytic tools that go beyond the basics of Google Analytics. Better analytics result in better business intelligence and support decision-making.

25.Increased Security

As more people conduct activities online, the need for more security to protect the websites is greater. A secure website makes a user feel safe to hang around.

Data breaches happen to everyone, small and large websites and platforms. Therefore, most consumers think that how you manage their sensitive data can be a deal breaker when consuming your content, products or services. In 2021, increasing web security is not an option.

26.Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

You have responsive sites that work on mobile as well as on desktop and you have mobile apps. Now, this new trend, Progressive Web Apps, is basically websites that work like mobile apps. For web developers, this can be a one-in-all solution to have a website and an app all in one.

As the number of mobile users increase, more companies will leverage this type of web app.

other engines have appeared with the intention to provide users with more privacy. One such example is Privado.com. This engine focused on private searching, gives the users the possibility of searching without being tracked. The engine doesn’t store personal information, nor uses cookies or any means of tracking. The goal is to provide the user with an absolutely private search experience.

28.Artificial Intelligence

Back in 2017, Gartner predicted that AI would be in almost every software product by 2020. And they were right. The artificial intelligence market is expected to reach $190 billion by 2025.

AI can collect and analyze data from social media and customer interactions to evaluate customer’s behavior. AI searches patterns, allowing you to understand your audience preference.

29.Chatbots and Conversational Technology

Last year, conversational technology exploded as a contactless way for consumers to connect with companies. According to Gartner peer insights, the conversational platforms that are driving trends include:

  • strong Natural Language Processing capabilities,
  • supports voice and text input
  • Use personalization for natural conversation
  • Allow media and document sharing
  • Provide dialogue management
  • Multiple chatbot orchestration
  • Data maintenance

Why chatbots?

  • 24 hrs service
  • Provide an instant response to customer queries
  • Allows to triage and solve simple issues.

For example, Olive, the assistant of Woolworths, Australia’s supermarket chain, lets you order and upgrade your mobile SIM card.

Brands, like Sephora, are leveraging on chatbots to provide help and product recommendations to potential customers.

30. Big Data and Deep Learning

Big Data and deep learning will continue to grow in 2021, according to a report. More importantly, more companies will use big data analysis to improve their business efficiency and drive innovation.

One downside is that while more companies are using big data, the requirements of protecting the management of consumer data increase. More regulations like the CCPA and GDPR entering effect.

31.Augmented Reality (AR) & Immersive Technologies

Companies like Facebook are diving deep into the use of augmented reality to enhance the customer experience. Facebook Oculus gives users the opportunity to play without pushing buttons, transforming the gaming experience into an immersive virtual reality one.

Marketers can take advantage of this technology to provide immersive experiences for their customers. Some brands, like IKEA, Tom’s shoes, Patron Spirits, and even Marriott International, are already giving customers a VR experience.

Other ways you can use VR to provide meaningful experiences to your audience:

  • Augmented Reality ads – for gaming and consumer products
  • 360-degree videos – for real estate, tourism.

32.`Predictive & Augmented Analytics

Predictive analytics consists of the combination of data mining, predictive modeling, and machine learning to identify patterns and come with forecasts. More digital marketing companies are using predictive analytic tools to predict consumer behavior and identify trends. 

Gartner defined augmented analytics in 2017, claiming it to be the future of data analytics.

Augmented analytics is the use of enabling technologies such as machine learning and AI to assist with data preparation, insight generation, and insight explanation to augment how people explore and analyze data in analytics and BI platforms. It also augments the expert and citizen data scientists by automating many aspects of data science, machine learning, and AI model development, management, and deployment.”(Gartner)

Putting it simply, augmented analytics use machine learning to deepen the understanding of the data and take even larger datasets.

33.Live streams (TikTok anyone?)

Streaming is every day more popular, and the explosive growth of TikTok confirms it. With Instagram adding Reels with in-video shopping capabilities and Tik Tok on the way to do the same, it won’t be longer before live streaming in social media turns into a real-time marketplace.

34.Companies pivots may stay that way

2020 changed the digital landscape for good. It is unlikely we will come back to pre-2020 conditions. Consumers are enjoying the convenience of online commerce. Hence, companies that pivoted to adapt last year, may find now their customers expect them to continue on the same line.

35.Purpose-driven campaigns

Last year marketing campaigns were tinted with a purpose: helping customers overcoming the pandemic as much as possible. Purpose-given campaigns will be still relevant in 2021. These campaigns promote social activist themes, for example, the campaigns about Black Lives Matter. The issues resonate with customers and increase engagement with relevant audiences. These campaigns are effective because customers identify with the same social issues the brand cares about.

36.Voice search

Smart speakers and voice assistants are no longer a trendy item to purchase. Statistics predict over half of American homes will own a smart speaker (Google Home, Alexa, and others) by 2022. People use the voice assistants not only for routine activities but for voice shopping. The voice shopping market is expected to reach $40 billion in 2022.

37.Virtual events are here to stay

In 2020, companies and individuals shifted to virtual events out of necessity due to the pandemic. Chances are that in 2021 many events will continue to be virtual because of the benefits it brings to companies. Virtual events can reach a wider audience and allow for higher attendance. So in 2021 we will continue seeing more virtual events.

38.Monetization marketing

If 2020 saw a growth in online activity, it also gave a lot of opportunities for companies to make money from their digital properties. Display ads, search monetization, and in-app advertising are some of the monetization trends we may see growing in 2021.

39.Growth of Geo-Fencing

Geofencing is a marketing approach where you put a geographic limit around a point of interest. If a user’s mobile enters the area, the geofence triggers an alert and delivers relevant ads. Here are some of the benefits of geofencing:

  • Mobile ads with geofencing have double the click-through-rate
  • It is compatible with most of the smartphones.
  • 53% of consumers visited a retailer after receiving a message that is location-based

40.Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is the use of conversational technology for marketing purposes. For example using chatbots as “sales assistants”, or SMS marketing to communicate with customers. Several big names are using this technology: Domino’s, Sephora, 1-800-Flowers.

41.Video Marketing

This is one of the most important marketing trends today. Here are some statistics that show why you should incorporate video marketing to your strategy:

  • 86% of companies are using video as part of their marketing strategy.
  • 93% of these marketers say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy, from a 91% in 2019.
  • The videos with most success are explainer videos (73%), followed by social media videos (67%)..

42.Personalized Email

Email personalization uses personal information from subscribers to produce tailored emails. It allows you to send highly targeted email marketing campaigns. Why should you use email marketing personalization?

  • 82% of marketers report an increase in email open rates because of email personalization.
  • Personalized promotional mailings have 29% more open rates than non-personalized.

43.Browser Push Notifications

With the boom in online commerce, push notifications rose, with most online stores using some type of push notification. They tend to be more effective than a newsletter. You can send abandoned cart reminders, product suggestions, and more. Because of that, we’ll probably see more companies using personalized push notifications in 2021.

44.Omnichannel Marketing

You probably heard about omnichannel marketing in 2020. Is an approach of marketing that uses multiple platforms (for instance, social media, blog, email marketing) to connect with leads. It gives the benefits of providing a cohesive brand message across channels. Omnichannel marketing tends to show higher engagement rates and conversions than using a single channel. Simply put, you broaden the number of touchpoints.

4 5.Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is not new. Back in 1999, Harvard scientists conducted the first MRI research as a marketing tool, starting the neuromarketing field. This is a research field that analyzes people’s brain activity through head scans to find out the type of content they like. The first studies were conducted for retail marketing. One of the results of neuromarketing is the eye-maps, which measure the interest of a viewer on a website according to where they look on the page. Companies use this information to optimize their content and strategies.

46.Blockchain Technology

A blockchain is a connected series of data records. The records are stored in immutable blocks, secured and connected to each other via cryptography in a neutral computer.

According to Investopedia, “the blockchain is copied and spread across a network of computers, not storing any of its information in a central location”. 

Although usually associated with finances and supply chain transactions, it is starting to get implemented in digital marketing. Since Blockchain eliminates the intermediary, we may see digital marketing companies using blockchain to track media buys, verify online identities or protect personal data.

47.5G Technology

This trend, the fifth generation of mobile technology, will bring many changes to digital communications. Telecom companies aim to achieve a fully mobile connected society, bringing high-speed data transmission to far-reaching areas. Yet, it is more than that, it will give way to more integrated technology.

48.Privacy Marketing

Privacy protection is not only a way of protecting data. These days, with data breaches happening every now and then, consumers need to know they can trust companies will keep their data safe. Thus, marketing teams need to focus on gaining the trust of their audience. One of the ways is protecting the privacy of users by not saving personal data in records. This ensures that in case of a breach, an attacker won’t have sensitive data to steal.

49.Gamification

Keeping your customers engaged can be a challenge. Companies like Starbucks use gamification techniques to connect with their customers. The app uses purchase history and location data to personalize the customer experience and encourage the use of their loyalty program. The app increased their revenue to over $2 billion.

Digital Marketing Landscape

Here are the key statistics you need to know to understand where the digital marketing landscape is heading for 2021.

  • Spending on digital marketing decreased in 2020.

2.Spending Is Recovering

Digital spending is recovering, and it is expected to reach $389 billion in 2024, from $332 billion in 2020. The increase is driven by the market bouncing back and trying to tap into the customer’s increasing online activity. The trend doesn’t stop there, with an expected growth of  $525.17 billion by 2024.

  • LinkedIn ads spending grew 40% during 2019-2020

LinkedIn ad spending reached $1 billion in the US, establishing the network as a solid advertising channel for B2B marketers (eMarketer).

  • Personalization is going strong

Most marketers would focus their personalization efforts on improving the customer experience through service and product recommendations.

From the consumer’s side: 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. (Instapage)

Digital Marketing Basics

If you want to succeed in digital marketing, there are a few basic pillars that you need to master: digital presence, branding, and relationships. These three core concepts can help simplify what may be a multifaceted field.

Digital Presence

This is the key to any digital marketing you may start. These days, a digital presence is equal to having a presence at all. It is not enough to have a website or a social media page. You need a clear strategy that drives how and where you should build your presence.

Unsurprisingly, it all starts with your audience. Here are a couple of questions that can give you direction when building your digital presence:

Where does your audience spend their online time? 

The golden rule of marketing is to know your customer. So, if you want to reach your audience, first find out where they spend their online time. What type of content do they consume? What social networks do they spend time on? What search terms do they use? This will help you define which channels are the most effective to build your presence.

What’s the purpose you want to achieve with your marketing strategy?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your online presence. Do you want to raise brand awareness? Here, your strategy shouldn’t focus on the hard-sell. If your goal is to increase conversions, then landing pages can help you close the deal with clear direction and calls-to-action.

Branding

Your brand encapsulates what your company stands for. It includes everything, from your company name, color scheme, mission statement, slogan, logo, and more.

To stand out on a sea of brands, your brand needs to showcase what it makes it unique. Keeping strong brand awareness is one of the most critical ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. Yet, it is not enough to stand out in the marketplace, but you need to stand out online too. So, refine your online branding strategy in a way that search engines recognize your brand instead of your site. In fact, the Google algorithm considers a strong brand one characteristic of a “good quality site”

Relationships

Your digital marketing strategy should not be limited to trying to appear on Google’s first page. Social networks, blogs, forums, social apps, and other similar platforms can help you build a relationship with customers online.

When we talk about marketing, relationships will always be the foundation of good business. Building an online presence will get you noticed, but creating a relationship with your audience will get you conversions.

To form effective relationships with customers, you need to be personable and personal. Using social media and good content, you can connect with your audience and let them know your brand message.

 5 Challenges for Digital Marketing in 2021

  • Less spending in marketing 

Marketing budgets took a hit in spending in 2020. While marketing companies are recovering, the spending is not yet at the levels we expected before 2020. Although the e-commerce ratio increased dramatically, companies have yet to catch up with the new needs in digital marketing.

  • Driving engagement across multiple channels

In 2021 it will become even more relevant to connect with customers where they are. Creating engagement will become more challenging, via adopting mobile messaging channels, and leverage personalized and dynamic content to improve the customer experience and customer loyalty.

  • Mobile-first strategy

More people are browsing and shopping from their smartphones than ever. A mobile-first approach allows your customers to consume your products/services on the go, anytime and from anywhere. So, when creating your marketing strategy for 2021, think about a mobile-first approach.

  • Establishing Omnichannel Marketing

Customers are active on multiple devices and platforms. Marketers need to combine online and social media strategies. This aims to make it easier for your audience to reach you wherever they are. Omnichannel marketing allows you to focus on the platform where your audience is most active. The key is to provide your customers a smooth customer experience when they change from a channel to another.

  • Complying with Privacy and Data Sharing Regulations

Marketers will need to adapt quickly to evolving privacy and data sharing regulations. Since many of the regulations target across frontiers, marketers need to take that into account. The phasing of third-party cookies compounds the challenge for marketers to understand a customer’s purchase intent.

The future of Digital Marketing – top 3 predictions

After analyzing the major trends for 2021, we explored the top predictions for 2021:

  • From digital marketing activities to experiential events

When the pandemic hit, customers pivoted to use new technologies and performing activities online. But in 2021, many people are already exhausted from living their lives online most of the time. Keeping customers engaged will depend on how rich is the customer experience they provide. Marketers should evaluate their digital experience and refine engage customers without producing “digital fatigue”.

  • Customer experience integrates with other functions

In the report, Gartner predicts that by 2023, a quarter of organizations will see marketing integrated with sales and CX into a single function. The goal is for customer-focused functions to work together with synergy.

  • Content curation and moderation become more important

By 2024, Gartner predicts a third of organizations will consider moderating user-generated content a priority. Using software and tools that allow companies to monitor, moderate and manage user-generated content to prevent impact on their brands.

The bottom line

Hopefully, these trends we have aggregated and shared at CodeFuel will help guide your marketing strategy for 2021. Partnering with an expert in monetization can maximize your marketing efforts, and increasing the ROI of your strategy. Start monetizing today with CodeFuel.

Source: The Top 50 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021 – CodeFuel

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References

Kim, Angella J.; Johnson, Kim K.P. (2016). “Power of consumers using social media: Examining the influences of brand-related user-generated content on Facebook”. Computers in Human Behavior. 58: 98–108. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.047.

Why Conscious Branding Is the Secret to Your Success

Today, more consumers than ever are demanding that companies become transparent and take  hands-on approach to making the world a better place. They’re looking for what experts call “,” companies that embody a higher purpose by having an intentional purpose or embracing . Think: Tom’s Shoes or ’s Honest Company.

According to a report by MWWPR, not only do 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to patronize companies that take a stand on social and public policy matters, 80% say they’ll even pay more for products from such brands.

But you don’t have to be a big name in order to transform your into a conscious brand. Follow these three steps to make sure that your actions resonate with your ideal customers, helping you multiply your revenue and make a lasting impact.

1. Be clear about what you stand for

Ben & Jerry’s is an iconic conscious brand. Climate justice, LGBTQ quality and Black Lives Matter are only a few of the socially responsible causes the company has advocated for over the years. And it only makes people love their brand even more.

As people become savvier, trust in is growing more vital each day. It’s not enough to just offer a great product or excellent customer service. Customers want to do business with companies they like, trust and align with.  Those brands that sit on the sidelines regarding important issues are coming under greater scrutiny. Meanwhile, those with the guts to take bold but strategically sound stands are being rewarded.

Follow B&J’s lead and include your views and values in your marketing. Share your beliefs, and ask your audience to take part alongside you in supporting the causes you believe in. By intentionally integrating social responsibility as part of your daily business routine, you can ensure you are doing your part in practicing social and environmental responsibility and be seen as a thought leader in your niche.

Related: In 2021, Consumers Are Looking for Something Extra From Luxury Brands

2. Take action

It’s one thing to talk about the causes you support, but it’s another thing entirely to actually do something about them. People are jaded by outdated marketing techniques,  and businesses and influencers who don’t walk the walk. While building and running a conscious business requires more intentional and an uncompromising commitment to the mission for good, the reward is the creation of a movement that leads to unparalleled success and impact.

is a noted leader in environmental and social responsibility. Their mission statement reflects this well: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” From supporting grassroots activists working to find solutions to the environmental crisis to suing the former president of the United States, Patagonia has taken action on the most pressing environmental issues facing our world.

There are countless ways you can become part of the change for good: collect donations, offer scholarships, take part in . Use the resources you have — your voice, your business and your community — to take action. When you weave these actions into your company culture, and it’s embodied by employees and customers alike, you create a movement. By embracing ethical business practices while creating transparency and accountability, and providing immense value, your brand will rise up over the competition.

3. Cultivate partnerships based on values

Co-branding with another company is an effective way to double the awareness around an issue, increase the impact of an effort and, ultimately, expand the visibility of both organizations. Who you partner with has a direct impact on your reputation, your bran and your potential customer’s perception of your business.

As reported in a recent Hubspot post by Sophia Bernazzani, “In 2015, Target partnered with on a campaign called Kid Power, which committed Target to one of UNICEF’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). The retailer sold kid-friendly fitness trackers encouraging them to complete various fitness activities, which ultimately helped deliver food packets to underprivileged children around the world.”

To ensure that you’re making smart partnering decisions, choose partnerships that align with your values. If you have not yet determined your brand values, make it a top priority. The best way to do this is to follow my 3S Method. First: Source. Do a Google search of “brand value words.” Choose as many words as possible that you resonate with and feel are important.

I like to put them on index cards (or you could use digital Kanban boards) to make step two easier.  Second: Sort. Group the index cards with similar words. For instance, honesty, integrity and truth would go in the same pile. Finally: Select. Choose your final words from the groups by what you feel best represents your deepest values.

Related: Only Conscious Brands Will Survive The 2020s

Now, use these brand values as your North Star. Refer to them any time you are making decisions, such as who to partner with, who to hire, which clients to work with and more. Doing so is sure to help you stand out amongst the noise online and attract raving fans with similar values.

Tiffany Neuman

 

By: Tiffany Neuman / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Source: Why Conscious Branding Is the Secret to Your Success

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How Brand Management Impacts Your Negotiations

How The Pandemic Stoked a Backlash to Multilevel Marketing

For decades, multilevel-marketing companies had it easy. Cutco knives, Tupperware containers, and Pampered Chef bread mixes were inoffensive products sold at weeknight wine parties and, later, in themed Facebook groups. For the most part, they were an unremarkable part of women’s lives.

Multilevel marketing—a form of direct selling in which a major chunk of a person’s income comes not from the sales they make themselves but from the sales made by people they recruit into the company—was often regarded as exploitative by consumer advocates, but it rarely encountered a serious threat.

During the pandemic, distributors for many MLM companies have used this lack of pushback to their advantage: On Instagram and Facebook, women have tried to persuade their followers to use their stimulus checks to join a company that sells shampoo or weight-loss products. They have used economic collapse as a recruitment tool, offering MLMs as the solution to lost income and increased precarity.

The same social networks that multilevel-marketing distributors are called upon to exploit—their friends, their family, their followers, their “mutuals”—are now the social networks through which women are pushing out a completely different message.

(Though men participate in multilevel marketing as well, they do so in much smaller numbers.) On Reddit, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, a huge community has coalesced around the anti-MLM sentiment, bringing together disenchanted former salespeople, curious independent researchers, and thousands of women who are just tired of getting Facebook messages about selling essential oils.

#AntiMLM is still diffuse and disorganized, but its rise poses an existential threat to multilevel-marketing companies that rely on the constant recruitment of new participants. And its newfound popularity is already presenting challenges for the community, which critiques capitalism on commercial platforms: If criticizing multilevel marketing is a good way to get views and followers and personal attention, how long will it be before that becomes the reason to criticize multilevel marketing?

On the Reddit forum r/antiMLM, members mock the industry all day long, referring to distributors as “hunbots” who lead off every conversation with a faux-warm “Hey, hun.” There is plenty of anger and caustic humor, but the community is tightly checked by moderators who insist that all screenshots have names and identifying information obscured.

Self-promotion of any kind is entirely forbidden, as is commentary on the quality of MLM products, good or bad. Shaming victims is out of bounds, and nobody is painted as a dupe: “If the post does not highlight a core problem with the MLM business model, it does not belong here,” the rules warn.

The moderators restrict discussions that take away from the mission of the subreddit—to map out and dissect MLMs—and encourage conversation about the system over anecdotes about low-level bad actors. The first major gathering place for people who shared the anti-MLM sentiment, the forum was started in 2011, but had only 2,000 members before suddenly taking off in August 2017.

Now it has more than 680,000 members and serves as the hub for a growing, informed discontent. Rainbow, the TikTok creator, refers to the Reddit community as the “OG anti-MLMers,” and calls it “the heart of the movement,” responsible for most of the significant work.

On Reddit, users hit the same points over and over, often explaining them from the top for newcomers who want a second opinion on what looks like a great opportunity: As a multilevel-marketing company gets bigger, the opportunities for the people who came in most recently get smaller and smaller, and many end up going into debt by buying their own products to keep their sales ranking. Others will recruit and recruit on social media, desperate to fill in their “downline” with new sellers. The industry is known for releasing very little information about the money its independent distributors make or lose, but the information that does come out is incredibly bleak.

From Reddit, the anti-MLM internet took off. At first, a handful of YouTubers in the beauty-vlogging space pivoted to testimonials about their experiences with multilevel-marketing companies. After the collapse of the leggings MLM LulaRoe in 2017, which came as thousands of sellers gave up on the business model, “Why I Left LulaRoe” became a standard video format on YouTube in the months that followed. Soon, creators who had never been part of an MLM felt compelled to research them anyway, with many diving into r/antiMLM for insight. By 2020, YouTube had a whole anti-MLM creator community, led by massively popular personalities who received tens or hundreds of thousands of views on videos pulling apart the mythology of beauty-product companies such as Arbonne and Monat, or listening in on team calls for weight-loss giants such as Beachbody.

Josie Naikoi, a 34-year-old anti-MLM YouTuber from Missouri, told me that when she left the MLM world, she was diagnosed with depression, and spent a year saying nothing publicly about her experience. “I was really struggling mentally and emotionally with what I witnessed in the industry,” she said. “Who was I to complain? I made money when so many people didn’t.” But the pandemic contributed to her visceral feeling that people were being scammed. Then, in April, the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to 10 multilevel-marketing companies that were openly exploiting the pandemic to make sales and recruit new distributors, and Naikoi made her first video about her experience a few weeks later. The 35-minute video, “WHY I QUIT THE MLM INDUSTRY AT THE TOP,” is now the third-most-popular anti-MLM video on YouTube, with more than 640,000 views.

Naikoi feels confident that the anti-MLM community has these companies scared—back when she was a seller, she remembers, administrators in private MLM Facebook groups deleted links to anti-MLM YouTube videos as soon as they were shared and chided whoever posted them for “negativity.” In newer anti-MLM spaces on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, people discuss pushing for regulation, legislation, or class-action lawsuits. Since TikTok banned MLM recruiting on its platform in December, creators have mentioned that other social-media companies might take similar action.

There is little information about the size of the multilevel-marketing industry, which is just one form of direct selling—but it is undeniably a large presence in Americans’ lives. Direct selling more broadly is—according to its trade association—a $35 billion industry in the United States, involving more than 6.8 million active sellers. But there is some evidence that the industry is struggling to recruit new participants, which Naikoi noted as tentative proof that viral videos and massive comment threads may be working. The industry needed charming influencers and exciting social-media messaging to keep it growing, and now those things are being weaponized against it.

While the Reddit anti-MLM community is rigidly anti-commercial, the other platforms where #AntiMLM is spreading were built to inspire self-promotion and sales.

In “Sounds like mlm but okay,” the most popular anti-MLM Facebook group, with 67,000 members, enthusiasts can buy anti-MLM merchandise, including a coffee mug with pink flowers and the message Your MLM sucks and so do you in curly script. YouTubers, many of whom have pivoted from other types of content and see greater success with anti-MLM content, also tend to offer lines of hoodies and T-shirts with anti-MLM slogans in bright bubble letters, or stickers declaring the buyer a member of the “Anti-MLM Club.”

Setting aside the silliness of mugs with rude slogans, the incentive structures of YouTube, which at the moment seem to be rewarding anti-MLM content, have complicated the community’s self-perception. Videos that go viral often have dramatic, clickbait titles about “SHOCKING HORROR STORIES” and “CULTY” overheard phone calls. These clips make money from ads, and extremely popular creators can even ask for membership fees from subscribers. There is regular talk of “drama” and in-fighting among these YouTubers, and reaction video after reaction video whenever spats play out in public.

That’s led to broader conflict and meta-arguments about whether profit is appropriate: Naikoi said that it’s not usually a problem for YouTubers to offer merch or monetize their followings with ads—making high-quality videos takes money. She feels that most creators are doing this for the right reasons and putting in a ton of work. But in the Reddit forum, the relatively small circle of popular anti-MLM YouTubers is discussed as a distraction from the anti-MLM mission; they are the flashy faces of a movement that is really made up of “hundreds of thousands of people who share their stories,” in the words of one r/antiMLM commenter.

And the YouTube community does appear to get easily derailed by arguments over who is getting paid for what, and what their motivations are for participating. Earlier this month, for instance, the anti-MLM YouTuber Kimbyrleigha denounced the community and joined Monat, one of the companies that the anti-MLM community hates most. On Instagram, she apologized for “showcasing [Monat] in a negative way” and vowed to work as a distributor at least until she could pay the company back the $6,541.86 she made off her YouTube videos. “I felt like I was in a cult when I was in [the anti-MLM] community,” she told me. “They are full of hatred.”

That move inspired plenty of reaction videos, and it briefly shook anti-MLM YouTube into chaos. (Kimbyrleigha sent me screenshots of YouTube comments calling her a “snake” and a “charlatan.”) Kimbyrleigha “is confused and she misled her audience and left a stain on the anti-MLM community and it’s sad,” Naikoi told me. “One day she’ll recognize that she too became a victim.” Kimbyrleigha refuted this, and said she doesn’t see anything wrong with trying out a YouTube trend and then moving on.

Opportunism is a common pitfall for social movements large and small, but particularly for those that happen online and rely on platforms that reward individuals for bogarting attention. This doesn’t necessarily mean that #AntiMLM is doomed. Rather, it could be a sign that the community is on the way to figuring out a more coherent self-image. Megan Sawey, a graduate student at Cornell who is writing her dissertation on the anti-MLM boom, told me that the community is “a huge phenomenon,” but one that’s still far too young to define.

A large group of mostly women is pushing back against an industry that has targeted them for years. Is it a movement? Or is it a collection of individuals expressing dissent, and sometimes leveraging that frustration into a personal brand? It seems to want to be the former, even though platforms encourage a slide into the latter.

Kaitlyn Tiffany is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers technology.

Source: Multilevel Marketing and the Rise of ‘Anti-MLM’ YouTube – The Atlantic

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Study Reveals Instagram Reels Better For Brands, TikTok Better For Influencers

Social Media Logos

There are so many different ways for influencers and brands to use social media to connect with audiences. Some might say too many. Instagram alone offers a dizzying mix of platform extensions, from static posts to IG Stories to to IGTV to Guides and more. And since August, 2020, the company has added Reels to the mix in an attempt to compete with the meteoric rise of TikTok.

Bite-sized videos with useful how-tos, relatable memes and viral dances are clearly here to stay, so should you throw your weight behind the tried and true Instagram and invest time and resources into Reels, or should you stay hip and focus on the new kid on the block? Well, that depends on who you are.

Markerly, an influencer marketing agency, recently analyzed posts from 80 influencers and 10 brands on both TikTok and Instagram and found Reels is currently the best place for brands, whereas TikTok remains Queen of influencer and celebrity culture. According to the study, celebrities and influencers received almost double the likes and engagement on TikTok as compared to Reels. Meanwhile, brands such as the NBA demonstrated that the same post on TikTok received over 63K likes versus 425K on Reels.

“When looking at brands, Reels received higher engagements and we speculate that’s due to the presences they’ve established and cultivated for significantly longer than on TikTok,” said Justin Kline, co-founder of Markerly. “TikTok made its name on authentic, fun and creative content led by real people, so it’s no surprise that individual users still win out against brands on the app — TikTokers come to see dance challenges, songs and pranks, not overtly branded content.”

A Good Influence: How Influencers Are Pivoting To Social Good Campaigns

One could argue that users don’t go to any social media platform to see overtly branded content, but we’re much more accepting of it on Instagram. Aside from the audience sizes on each platform, the demographics of users count for something here. Most TikTok users are Gen Z, with the largest age bracket being 10 to 19-year-olds. This is a generation that’s grown up with influencer culture, so it makes sense that it would engage more with individuals rather than big brands. The largest age demographic of Instagram users, on the other hand, is 25 to 34 — Millennials who still remember the days of having to watch impersonal commercials in between episodes of Friends and Will and Grace.

It’s also far easier and more authentic for an individual influencer to jump on the viral dance and challenge trend than it is for a brand. For example, a Christmas-themed Justin Bieber post shared across both platforms garnered 8.9M likes on TikTok, while on Reels it received 4.8M.

So should influencers keep to TikTok and brands to Reels?

Absolutely not. Kline said almost all posts are worth cross-posting.

“If you want your message to really resonate and the content and format itself is suitable for another platform, you need to get it in front of a potential customer as many times as possible, and cross-posting is an easy way to do that if it’s done effectively,” said Kline.

Even though the design and format of Reels, which was basically just cloned from TikTok, is better for influencers, it provides anyone with the tools to make really creative, eye-catching content. And as Kline pointed out, now more than ever, audiences expect far more from brands than the standard ads and spon-con. We want them to entertain us and engage in the broader discourse.

“Not only will this improve your brand visibility over time and open up opportunities to receive honest feedback on your products and strategies, but a well-timed and witty customer response, meme or reaction can go viral, boosting your brand to the top of everyone’s minds,” said Kline.

Brands need to think strategically about how to use influencers

TikTok and Reels have similar algorithms and user interfaces, but TikTok’s community allows for more rapid and viral sharing. It’s still the ideal venue for making an effective impact with branded content and influencer campaigns, said Kline. So a brand that wants to build its presence on TikTok would do well to find celebrities and influencers to work with on the platform for promotion.

That said, Reels is still very important for brands because it has the advantage of being built on Instagram, which means a stronger presence from brand pages and a captive audience that’s perhaps more inclined to engage with Reels rather than download a new app.

“Whenever possible, brands should customize messaging and posts to best fit the platform, medium and audience found there,” said Kline. “Influencers who are experts on each platform are great resources to help with these efforts.”

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I write about social media, innovation, technology, cities and culture.

 

Source: Study Reveals Instagram Reels Better For Brands, TikTok Better For Influencers

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How Brands Can Better & Effectively Use Influencers

https://miro.medium.com/max/1200/0*uPEXSSv59uAYEmc7

Influencer marketing isn’t as simple as choosing an influencer with a high number of followers to post an ad for you. In 2019, there have been a multitude of changes that have taken place in the influencer marketing world which brands need to factor into their strategies to get the most ROI.Consumer expectations around authenticity, an increase in influencers making it harder to reach their target market, and the need for solid evidence of the success of a campaign or post are the key trends we’re seeing shape the changes this year.

Below is a list of things to remember before engaging an influencer for your brand, to ensure the highest success rate.

  1. Influencers are people too

It’s clear that brands need to identify an influencer that suits their image and has an audience appropriate to them, as it’s obvious it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Think of the basic advertising and marketing principles such as brand consistency across its messaging, imagery, stunts etc. All of these principles also apply when it comes to selecting influencers.

For effective market penetration in the influencer space, brands need to change the way they see influencers. It can feel a little strange at first because we’re so used to having our own perception of them through a screen, but brands need to challenge themselves and stop being transactional and start building genuine relationships.

Doing this, not only will your brand foster beneficial relationships for future activity, but the synchronicity between the influencer, brand and audience is the key driver to the most genuine engagement and success of the campaign.

Of course, there is always the irony when it comes to using influencers since brands pay for influencers to post an ad, so it can be perceived as anything but genuine. Therefore, it is important to be mindful that influencer marketing is actually a partnership and when working together, both reputations are on the line.

2. Video is the new black

Like all key moments in pop culture, trends come and go but some stick so well that they stay popular through the generations. The 20s had smoking and flapper dresses, the 60s had the flare pants and tie-dye, the 80s had the boombox and the 90s had the blackberry.

In 2019’s digital climate, the legacy that millennials and Gen Zs have left is the ubiquitous use of social media. This demographic has propelled the amount of user-generated content full of memes, live streaming of stories and videos, which is why video is currently on trend.

Since 90% of Gen Z and 83% of millennials are spending at least two or three hours a day watching videos on their smartphones, brands need to capitalise on creating fun video content and memes that can be easily shared with their peers as it resonates well with this generation more than any other form of media.

3. Authenticity is key

When followers feel like influencers are real people they can relate to and even share similar experiences with, that’s when the magic happens. The most successful influencers have a highly captivated audience because of their ability to produce authentic and relatable content.

Since millennials and Gen Z’s are digital natives to social media and advertising across these platforms, they are naturally more switched on when it comes to recognising when they are being overtly marketed to.

According to a study by Deloitte, 72% of millennials use social media as a good way to stay connected to news and topics that are important to them, while 65% of millennials said that they are happy to receive targeted content if it aligns with their interests – proving they are savvy when it comes to their consuming of digital content.

If businesses want to engage an influencer to market to this demographic, they need to be mindful about content that’s not consistent with the influencer’s audience and brand.

Brands need to change their thinking to view their relationships with influencers as adding a ‘human element’ to their marketing approach, as opposed to looking to influencer marketing as another means to just sell their products.

4. Data is king

Influencer marketing has always been seen as an enigma, with traditional marketers often questioning whether it can yield actual commercial results.

The reality of it is that it can. One of the best examples is homegrown company Hi-Smile. Founders Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic started the company with $20,000 of their own savings using solely influencer marketing, which then grew the company into a $40M business with over 100,000 customers across the globe in just three years.

Measuring ROI and using data to track the success of a campaign is important, not just because you can say with authority that investing the marketing budget into the influencer space was a wise move, but so you can optimise your campaigns.

Influencer marketing is still relatively new and there’s a huge potential to lead the market.

5. Talking to Gen Z

By next year, Gen Z’s are expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers, not to mention social media has become one of the key driving forces for this generation to purchase products, accounting for 80% of purchases.

Instagram (44%), Snapchat (21%) and YouTube (32%) are the core outlets making the biggest impact in this space and influence everything from purchasing decisions, lifestyle choices and even political perspectives.

After almost a decade of focusing on millennials and Gen Y, brands that haven’t started factoring Gen Z into their strategies are shooting themselves in the foot.

Given Gen Z’s have an attention span of about 8 seconds, capturing their attention requires authentic and engaging content that they can contribute to, interact with, or be a part of. They want to feel like they are part of an actual community attached to authentic causes.

Despite the digital landscape’s challenges, there’s an opportunity for brands and businesses to market to consumers in a more flexible way to adapt to this new digital era. With so many opportunities for brands to utilise this generation of social media lovers to their benefit, remember the five key tips to ensure success and tap into a savvy, yet highly engaged type of audience.


Nathan Ruff is the co-founder and CEO of Hoozu, a data driven content creation business that uses creators and content to convert sales for its clients. Nathan has a wealth of specialist knowledge across industry trends, managing risk and ensuring accountability in a relatively unregulated space. He has also successfully founded five companies, including Market Engine, Urban Geek Media and VOLT Media. Nathan has been instrumental in helping to disrupt the influencer marketing industry and bringing accountability to the discipline.

Source: How brands can better and effectively use influencers – Dynamic Business

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7 Costly Mistakes That Can Be Avoided By Brand Research

Branding strategies can make or break an organization. There’s a lot that goes into developing a successful brand, and the best companies around the world put substantial time and effort into brand development and image. Creating a successful brand requires time and research commitment and is an ongoing strategy that can yield amazing results.

However, small businesses at the start of their inception can potentially create crucial branding mistakes during their initial stages of development that costs them a lot of customers, money, and time. Even major brands make big branding mistakes, like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and Amazon’s Fire Phone.

Brand research services for positioning strategies, brand mapping, and perceptual mapping can help you, whether you’re a small business or a long-time market player, to avoid pitfalls and the costly mistakes of failed brand positioning.

Common Branding Mistakes by New Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Do you remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy in 1995? You might not because it’s one of Nintendo’s biggest failures in the history of the company. It didn’t offer what it promised, a true VR experience, resulting in incredibly low sales and quick removal from the market. What about Amazon’s Fire Phone in 2014? It only lasted one year because of its limited availability and features that didn’t resonate with audiences. Even major companies like Nintendo and Amazon have to be careful about product or service branding that can tarnish their reputation and result in massive profit loss.

Even small branding mistakes can cost a company. Not only will your efforts and time spent towards planning to be lost, but you will have cost your business a lot of money and even potentially tarnish your reputation permanently, which can be completely devastating for the longevity of a brand.

Below are seven mistakes that you can avoid when it comes to brand positioning so that you learn more about them and avoid them altogether:

  1. Lack of Competitor Research
    You have to learn about your competitors if you want to be successful. How do they position their brand? What types of products and services do they offer? How are they perceived in their respective industry? How are they succeeding? Do you have a potential opportunity in the market where they do not? You don’t want to identically replicate your competitor’s strategies. But you do have to learn everything there is to know about the successes and failures of your competitors so that you know how to uniquely position yourself in the market.
  2. Brand Messaging Doesn’t Suit Target Audience If you can’t develop a brand message that fits with your target audience, nobody is going to buy from you. You have to learn everything about your target audience like demographics, what they like to buy, where they shop, what times of the day or times of the year do they make purchases related to your offerings, what colors motivate and drive them to make purchases, what parts of the world are they located, how does culture affect purchasing, and many more.
  3. Failed Market Study
    Effective market research needs to be obtained about how people are reacting to your brand, products, or services. Survey analysis can be obtained to further your market research and understanding, or a complex study of social media research and analysis can help you to understand how people review or perceive you in the market. If you don’t analyze feedback from your customer base, you will be making a costly mistake in your brand research initiatives.
  4. Association or Dissociation with Events and Motives Just because you want to create a product or service or build your brand around a particular design or niche space in the market, doesn’t mean it will be successful. You can’t just build and sell tablets just because iPad’s are popular, create a bottled water company because you feel people will always need to drink water, or design makeup and cosmetics because there is a popular trend in that space this year. You have to delve deeply into your brand research strategy to truly understand the reasoning behind purchasing decisions and product and service popularity.
  5. Inconsistent Corporate Identity Everything about your brand identity has to make sense, from the colors that you choose to represent your company, to the logo and fonts that you use throughout your campaigns, to the style of writing, tone and messaging that you implement to speak to and reach audiences. Everything has to remain consistent so that people understand your brand values and what you are offering them. If you fail, you could spend a lot of time rebranding and causing confusion to your audience and miss a lot of opportunities.
  6. Poor Product Packaging

    Product packaging is the first thing people see when looking at your brand, whether they are online or physically in store locations. Everything from materials, graphics, size, shape, and color all are important elements of packaging designs. You could spend a lot of money rebranding your packaging if your product performs poorly. On the other hand, you might spend money rebranding your packaging when it isn’t even necessary and have to revert back to the way it was. Effective brand research is going to help you understand the best elements and packaging designs that will help your company thrive.
  7. Making the Wrong Impression If you are selling premium services, you don’t want to use commodity branding. You will deter audiences from your brand. There is a reason why so many fast food restaurant chains use the colors red and yellow, like Burger King, MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Carl’s Jr., and software companies use blue and black like Intel, IBM, Apple, or Google. People associate certain attributes to particular products and designs. People won’t understand what you are offering them if you make the wrong impression. Pay particular attention to detail and use the right research and analysis to make a lasting impression that makes sense with audiences.

How Brand Research Can Help

Brand marketing research is integral to the success of organizations in the modern world. In fact, no business out there that is successful in today’s market leaves home without brand research.

Brand research improves your competitiveness, visibility, and messaging and can help your business take a strategic position in the market using proven data from effective research and analysis services. Here are some of the major benefits of effective brand research:

  • Integrated Metrics: You can see the impacts of your project decisions and forecasts with measurable and tangible results.
  • Allocate Market Spend: Understand how to make investments that will lead to successful outcomes.
  • Identify Competition: You can not only find out who your competition is, but you can find out how and why they are successful in the market, or even discover how to position your brand in areas where your competition is lacking.
  • Develop Accurate Strategies: Create informed decisions built on a foundation of research and analytics with a better understanding of market developments, pricing, and positioning.
  • Capture Target Audience: Better understand consumer behavior and create effective marketing and advertising strategies.
  • Brand Perception: Truly understand how audiences feel and react to your brand, products and services.

Effective Brand Research for Organizations Across Industries

Research Optimus (ROP) has top research and analyst specialists who are tenured in market research, business research, customer analysis, and brand research services that provide the required insights to take the appropriate steps towards building effective and long lasting business brand awareness, brand marketing, and positioning strategies. Apart from services like market research, product research, and risk analysis, contact our team today to jump start or further advance your journey into brand research and obtain the targeted insights you need to avoid branding mistakes.

By: https://www.researchoptimus.com/

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Decision Analyst

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Will the Rise of European Remote Work Lead to a Boom in Omnichannel Marketing?

With news of a Covid-19 vaccine bringing hope worldwide for an eventual end to the pandemic that’s left a trail of destruction across 2020, many workers are eager to continue working remotely. With a recent McKinsey & Company study suggesting that one-third of Europe’s major economies could continue their remote work, it may be time for marketers to consider their omnichannel marketing approach. 

While some bosses may be reluctant to allow their employees to work from home (WFH) when it becomes safe to return to office commutes, research indicates that many employers are seeing improvements in the productivity of staff while they WFH.

Major European economies have seen significant rises in remote work as Covid became increasingly prevalent. The UK, Germany, France and Spain were among the global leaders when it came to WFH, with potentially as much as 46 percent of workers going remote.

According to Harvard Business Review, the vast majority of countries that display the ideal infrastructure to facilitate WFH come from northern and western Europe, indicating that there’s plenty of potential for workers to continue operating remotely across the continent. 

Shifts away from high streets and brick and mortar stores to spend more time at home means that businesses will be looking to appeal more to audiences through the various digital platforms that they use. Omnichannel marketing, of course, aims to make the shopping experiences from online to mobile to over the phone to in-person as seamless as possible.

In an era that’s driven by digital engagement, we may soon see a boom in omnichannel marketing. But how will marketers look to use omnichannel to reach their consumers?

Marketing during the rise of remote work.

Remote work across Europe looks set to continue as the world transitions into the “new normal” period of recovery following the virus. Due to the development of remote technology and communications, this trend may never reverse. 

According to the European Employer Covid-19 survey Report, nearly 70 percent of European employers plan to continue remote work for employees unless their jobs require them to be in the workplace. While 80 percent of respondents are requiring or considering to recruit more employees to WFH. 

Respondents say that they’re considering these shifts to achieve more productivity (41 percent), address the difficulty and price of introducing new safety measures (38 percent) and to allow for the closure of offices (25 percent). This may mean that the future of office spaces may change from a place to get work done to a place to meet for performance reviews and client discussions. 

The implications of closing offices and fewer opportunities for workers to leave the house will have huge ramifications for other industries, and marketers will need to adapt quickly to the rise of remote work by creating better engagement opportunities for users within the places they’re most likely to consume their media. 

Let’s take a deeper look into how omnichannel marketing methods can help businesses to reach more potential customers at home:

Understanding the changing journeys of customers.

The first thing marketers will need to understand to adapt their post-pandemic campaigns is how customer journeys are shifting. 

Where traditional journeys revolved heavily around physical store visits and platform-based eCommerce, Deloitte notes that this pattern is moving towards a ‘life on the cloud’ diversity of co-existing models, with fully integrated eCommerce, social media, live-streaming, influencers, vertically-integrated platforms, official brand websites and private traffic. 

Significantly, the reach of marketers looks set to change to focus heavily on social media, digital entertainment and eCommerce platform campaigns.

While pop-up stores had been a popular way of engaging audiences over the past decade, the pandemic appears to have forced marketers to adapt to more digital platforms to continue to find customers. 

Understand where your audience is

It’s vital to gain an insightful view of your customers to gain a full picture of what they like and don’t like — as well as their purchasing habits, preferences, and how they behave across all channels. This data can help you to create a more enhanced customer experience.

By collecting and analyzing relevant customer data, a brand can establish the personality of their target audience which helps them to use the right tools and technology at the right time in the buying cycle. It’s also important for businesses to test out their buying experience offered through the eyes of their customers. This can help to make the experience seamless, more user-friendly and free of any barriers.

Different businesses have customers who behave differently online. While customer behaviour tools like BrandWatch and Heap can provide strong insights into who your audience really is, a strong level of customer research can still be conducted manually. 

By learning more about the social networks your customers use and the type of entertainment platforms they use, it’s much easier to build campaigns to not only suit their tastes but also to appear where they’re most likely to see them. 

Reapproach your content.

Like with all campaigns, your content will be the foundation of your omnichannel efforts. You can begin by surveying your existing content to collect assets that align with the needs and interests of your target audience at different phases of the buyer’s journey. Here, it’s important to remember that the best content always attracts, informs and engages your audience while still promoting your brand. 

Be sure to adjust the format and presentation of your content to fit the context of each channel that you’re working in. Each piece of content needs to stay relevant to the channel it appears in while maintaining a consistent experience across channels. This will help to smooth out the experience for users across channels and devices.

Despite the need for adapting your content across channels to suit their respective audiences, it’s still worth repurposing content from its core message and meaning across all the channels you operate in. This process isn’t too time-consuming, and condensing ebooks into whitepapers or taking infographics from webinars can help to generate significant traffic for existing work. 

The necessity of digital analysis.

Because of the significance of shifting your marketing operations towards omnichannel campaigns, it’s vital that you track your progress using analytics to help you recover quickly if setbacks occur. 

Platforms like Google Analytics and Finteza are effective ways of keeping track of how traffic arrives and interacts with your pages. If some channels are creating lower volumes of visits, it’s important to reconsider your approach, or the type of content you’re creating, or even checking whether you really do have as large of an audience to connect with via this form of marketing

Covid may have caused widespread disruption to a range of industries across the world, but in remote work creating more digital audiences for businesses to connect with, there may be an opportunity for marketers to create more effective and adaptable campaigns that can spread further across channels and reach larger volumes of people. 

With more research, multifaceted content, and time taken to analyse progress, businesses could yet turn their shortcomings from the pandemic into a significant opportunity for the future.

Dmytro Spilka

By: Dmytro Spilka Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP CEO and Founder of Solvid and Pridicto

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Professor Wolters

Omnichannel marketing is the ubiquitous nature of today’s marketing. Marketers need to be on all platforms as they never know when customers will be looking for information on products and services. #marketing#omnichannel#principlesofmarketing​ Topic 4: Digital & Social Media Marketing YouTube Advice Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…​ Help Support Marketing & YouTube education and become a Patron at http://www.patreon.com/woltersworld​ Grab some of the gear we use to film our Professor Wolters videos. Grab one of Professor Wolters shirts or other merchandise at http://www.woltersworld.store​ Microsoft Surface: We travel with a Microsoft Surface everywhere we go. I edit my videos on it & use it to backup my pictures and vides while we travel. It’s light and the best travel laptop on the market in my opinion. https://amzn.to/2L55pDR​ Lights: Mount Dog 18’ Ring Light Kit. It will light up your filming space so your videos will look clearer and film better. We started using it and it makes all the difference. https://amzn.to/2YEIQ0J​ Sony Alpha Camera: We use Sony Alpha series cameras to film our videos. They are compact so you don’t look like a super tourist when you take great pictures and videos while you film on location. https://amzn.to/2WbTNFH​ Manfrotto Tripod: We use Manfrotto Tripods. They are compact, travel well, and honestly I would not use another tripod for my nice cameras. https://amzn.to/35AWqUs​ Follow Us at: http://www.facebook.com/professorwoltershttp://www.instagram.com/professorwol…http://www.professorwolters.com

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The Secrets of Viral Marketing: Optimizing Your Content for Engagement

Also called buzz marketing, viral marketing gets its name because it spreads through a population much like a virus – from person to person. Viral marketing involves spreading your message quickly through your target market. Social media is considered a particularly fertile area for viral marketing because of the potential for engagement with your content to amplify your message. Viral marketing is basically WOM (Word of Mouth) on steroids that also increases the trustworthiness of your message when shared by friends.

However, viral marketing is a myth when it comes to building a sound digital marketing strategy. Yet, I hear this all the time from clients and prospects;

I want you to create a viral marketing campaign that’ll really send my brand over-the-top

The myth of viral marketing

OK, first, I can’t guarantee a post, white paper, image, infographic or another piece of content will go viral and no one else can either. Nobody can guarantee an action will generate viral marketing and, if they say they can, make them back it up with some money. In other words, require a substantial discount if their efforts don’t generate viral marketing results.

Of course, I can use elements “likely” to make a post go viral (and we’ll discuss these later in this post), but I wouldn’t want to bet real money on the whims of social media folks because any number of factors conspire to reduce the virality of your marketing strategy, including many that aren’t under your control.

A good example of a campaign that went viral is Roto Rooter’s Pimped Out John contest, depicted in the image below. The image is so outlandish, folks just HAD to talk about it. Users shared the heck out of the image, commented snarky things that generated more comments, and even the media picked up on the outlandish elements of this contest, garnering an estimated $1 million in free publicity according to the Marketing Director, who was surprised with the unexpectedly high results of the campaign.

Virality

Rather than perpetuating the viral marketing myth, let’s talk about virality — that’s the advice of successful journalist, Benny Johnson of Buzzfeed.

In his presentation, Benny said you can never predict which content will go viral (hence why I suggest the strategy of creating viral marketing is a myth). You can’t form a marketing plan around something so idiosyncratic.

Virality, to a large extent, is beyond your control because it depends a lot on serendipity, as I mentioned earlier. You might publish 100 pieces of really great content only to have some mediocre piece go viral, blowing all your notions that you control virality. Among the uncontrollable factors that contribute to virality, are:

  • It’s a slow news day. I often see some virality around the holidays, when fewer brands publish content.
  • Your post appeals to someone very influential. For instance, one of my posts caught the attention of Mari Smith, a Facebook influencer, for some unknown reason and she retweeted the content. Views of that piece of content when through the roof. The same thing happened recently when Google Analytics chose a post about their platform to retweet (see the Retweet below and pardon the bad crop job), despite ignoring numerous similar posts published before and after.
  • Your post gets featured on an important site or covered in the media. Whenever my post gets featured on the front page at Business 2 Community, website visits spikes.

Certainly, creating great content increases the chances that your content goes viral, but it’s no guarantee.

The ROI of viral marketing

But, the bigger question is: When content goes viral, does it HELP your brand?

And, too often, the answer is: NO!

This brings me to the topic of today’s post: Myths about social media.

Next to the definition of myth in the dictionary, you’re likely to find the viral marketing myth. The viral marketing myth, believed by most digital marketers is so pervasive, I’ve even seen marketing materials touting the firm’s viral marketing prowess. Well, let me say emphatically, viral marketing is a myth!

Now, that doesn’t mean that some content doesn’t go viral — it does. For instance, I published a post on a client’s blog, shared it on his Facebook wall, and got a 1000% increase in website views when the post when viral. Dissecting the success of this post, I found it contained both a provocative title and a captivating image. The post struck a chord that MADE readers want to know more.

Of course, views aren’t conversions so we didn’t see a big shift in that critical metric.

Read More…..

By Angela Hausman

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Social Media Worldwide

A viral campaign on social media is simply posts that have been shared many, many times from one social media user to another. And, the results of a viral campaign can be extraordinary in terms of increasing brand awareness, leads and sales. Although post engagement in terms of comments and likes is still very powerful, nothing on social media is as powerful as shares because it means that your post is potentially seen by the friends or followers of the person who has shared the post.

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Prioritizing Your Inbound Marketing Strategies for 2021

Marketing is a continually evolving landscape. You know this. We know this. But 2020 presented a different challenge than previous years, leaving marketers to dig deep into what they need to do to attract and nurture leads and customers.

2021 will be no different – which shouldn’t make you panic! Part of marketing is doing your due diligence, and we’ve combined resources to come up with some powerful strategies to consider prioritizing in 2021.

SMS Marketing

The popularity of SMS was already accelerating pre-COVID, but the pandemic made the importance of quick, timely, relevant messages more necessary than ever. People needed fast updates on everything, from closures to switches to remote learning. And SMS marketing provided that, plus an average 98% read rate.

SMS marketing is also useful for both leads and customers in non-COVID-related campaigns, as you can implement various campaigns that are engaging to both audiences. For example, for current customers, you can send them text reminders of appointments or meetings. For leads, you may consider sending them branding awareness campaigns or coupons that may encourage them to buy from you.

The best part? With a platform like SMSZap, getting started with SMS marketing is a breeze. You can set up your account in a few minutes, link up with your contacts in HubSpot, and send personalized and engaging messages.

Content Marketing

COVID restrictions sent most people home at one point – to shop or work, or both. This made the demand for digital consumption skyrocket. What does that mean for your efforts in 2021? Your content needs to be high-caliber and plentiful, as well as:

  • Interactive
  • Emphatic
  • Engaging
  • Relevant to current events (2020 saw everything from social change, major elections, and COVID)
  • Made for the diverse crowds

That translates to creating and sharing educational, quality content about your products, services, and your company to your prospects and customers. You can use various resources like blogs, ebooks, infographics, social media, and videos to deliver your messages. No matter what type of content it is, it should address your target audiences’ specific pain points at every stage of their buyer’s journey, including the awareness, consideration, decision, and delight stages.

Video

Video can technically be considered a part of your content marketing – but its importance in our “new normal” isn’t something to shrug your shoulders. People longed for some human connection that they couldn’t get in person. Think about how you can use video in your previously “typical” marketing efforts. Are you switching to more online conferences, events, or webinars? These remote types of content are not going anywhere soon.

Similarly, video is just proven to be a useful tactic. In fact, 79% of consumers reported that a brand’s video convinced them to buy a piece of software or an app. A whopping 92% of those viewers also said they shared videos with others. That alone should help you realize the value of investing in video creation and distribution.

Chatbots and Customer Support Automation

When COVID initially hit, people scrambled to cancel flights, hotels, concerts, trips, appointments; you name it. The importance of a quick and solid customer support experience was integral. But customers weren’t the only ones dealing with the consequences of such an uncertain year. Support agents were hit with an influx of tickets to their helpdesk. Fortunately, chatbots and other customer support automation helped and will continue to in 2021.

Chatbots automate specific tasks and conversations by speaking with a customer or prospect through an easy-to-use interface. They lighten your teams’ workloads by tackling more straightforward conversational functions that are necessary but can eat up time. Advanced customer service automation can offload a large portion of support tickets with a high degree of accuracy. These resources also delight users because more and more people want information as quickly as possible and don’t mind speaking over a chat application.

Social Media

2020 certainly had a prevailing theme, and it was that a lot of people were at home for a good portion of it. Because of this, more people were also on their phones searching for news and updates from their favorite brands. One of the most common places to find this is generally a company’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Brands recognized this too. In fact, social media budgets accounted for 24% of all marketing budgets during the second quarter of 2020. And the momentum kept. There’s tremendous opportunity to ride these coattails and continue engaging and re-engaging with new and existing customers through fun, engaging social media campaigns or advertising.

SEO

When the pandemic subsides, businesses with brick and mortar locations will likely want to send as many people as possible back into their stores. Local search engine optimization (SEO) can help. Try:

  • Optimizing your “Google My Business Page”
  • Including local keywords throughout your website content
  • Strengthening your social media presence and including location-specific content

Position Zero, or Google’s featured snippet, should also take precedence in 2021. As humans become more reliant on technology, they expect the best answer as fast as possible. Position Zero has the most relevant information that answers that user’s question without clicking on any link. Some advice on getting a featured snippet includes:

  • Figure out what your company can get a snippet for
  • Writing out the exact question you’re trying to answer in your website or blog content
  • Use lists or tables
  • Research related questions and answers – any question can lead to another!
  • Create high-quality content that isn’t stuffed with keywords .

Another vital thing to consider when tackling SEO is to remember that people are searching for things differently now. People are asking more questions or phrases rather than just words. They’re also using devices like Alexa or Google Home. Search engines recognize this more nuanced context, meaning, and intent to deliver results, so keep it in mind for 2021. 

By: Kelly Groover

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Clwyd Probert

https://www.whitehat-seo.co.uk/ This presentation was made my Karen Rafferty from HubSpot as part of a seminar at the London HubSpot User Group in London. This video will show you the best tips for implementing a great inbound marketing strategy. You can download the free eBook here: https://info.whitehat-seo.co.uk/tips-… The full transcript of the video can be found here: https://blog.whitehat-seo.co.uk/inbou… Slides can be downloaded here: https://info.whitehat-seo.co.uk/londo… A summary article covering the main points is available here: https://blog.whitehat-seo.co.uk/tips-… We propose is to start to deploy a strategy to both your sales and marketing activities in your business.

It’s important just to reiterate here that with inbound marketing what we’re essentially doing is trying to focus on attracting good fit leads or opportunities for your business. And we do that through producing meaningful content that can enable you to have meaningful interactions with potential customers. It’s about just having good social etiquette. I’m, it’s not about interrupting people, it’s about actually being helpful, being responsive. Being very human in the way that you employ your marketing and your sales strategy. Which of the strategy from the video works best for you in 2018. Let me know by leaving a quick comment below. Details of the next London HUG event #LondonHUG can be found here: https://www.whitehat-seo.co.uk/hubspo…

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How To Stand Out As a Leader In a Saturated Online Market

Fit in, or stand out? Serve existing markets, or serve those in untapped markets? As the online marketplace becomes increasingly saturated for entrepreneurs, and the amount of information available to us online leaves us feeling increasingly overwhelmed, we reach a point where we have no choice but to pull back and reassess what is important to us.

What is commonly referred to as the red or blue ocean strategy, business owners can create an offer so unique and differentiated that they can stand out in the market instead of drowning in a blood-stained red ocean. 

Here are 3 ways you can stand out in a saturated market online, more so from a humane level rather than a strategic level.

Realize what is true for you, not what is true for others

It is easy for people to follow the cookie-cutter strategies of how things have always been done. But as the world, society, and humans evolve, so does the way we do business.

Many find this challenging because they lack a deep level of awareness and trust in themselves. They’re afraid that if they tapped into their own intuition and deep inner-knowing, it might not bring them the success they see everyone else achieving.

Long-lasting and sustainable success in business comes from doing what feels good to you, every step of the way. While you can achieve success following other strategies, if it doesn’t feel good to you, it will leave you feeling uninspired and unfulfilled.

Related: Go WIth Your Gut: How To Use Your Intuition To Succeed In Business

Challenge the status quo of business

As humanity evolves into heightened levels of awareness and consciousness, we naturally begin to create a new paradigm of business.

Challenging the status quo is not a common desire amongst leaders. According to Harvard Business Review, 72 percent of leaders say they rarely, or never or rarely challenge their status quo in business.

Leading and serving from the inside out means we learn to know ourselves first and foremost. This can be a fulfilling journey of self-discovery for many, finding their own purpose and truth, which can become largely suppressed when we work in a typical traditional job that isn’t aligned with our highest desires. 

To challenge the status quo of business comes with making one fearless and courageous decision at a time.

Related: Is Your Status Quo Killing Your Business?

Find your “Zone of Genius”

Gay Hendricks identifies 4 different zones of genius in his book, The Big Leap.

In the “zone of genius,” we can zone in on and capitalize on our innate gifts and abilities that come naturally to us. In this zone, we become in flow and realize what we are uniquely gifted at, often finding ourselves skilled in a specific area more so than others. 

In Hendricks’ book, he prompts you to ask yourself what you do you do that doesn’t seem like work, and what brings you ultimate joy, satisfaction, and abundance at the same time.

Related: 8 Reasons To Find Joy In Your Job

Ultimately, standing out in a saturated market online is about identifying what comes naturally to you and capitalizing on that unique gift and skill. We often attempt to do things that come naturally to other people, mimicking their steps and strategies while ignoring or denying our truest and inner-most skills and gifts. 

To live a whole and fulfilling life, we must enjoy what we do, including how we run our business on a day-to-day basis. By focusing on what feels good to you (and not others), we can ultimately achieve the levels of joy and freedom we are all seeking. 

Kelly Wing Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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