Marketing is crucial to any organisation and Internet marketing should be part of any marketing mix. There aren’t many marketing channels with the speed, efficiency and reach of the internet.
When planning your marketing strategy its worth making sure that you allow sufficient time and budget for your online marketing to maximise your reach, growth and ultimately your revenue.
To help, we’ve put together a list of current trends (along with some examples) that are worth considering when planning your marketing initiatives.
There are now more than 5 billion mobile users worldwide and 1.1 billion of those are using smartphones specifically. The iPad is the fastest growing technology product ever, because of this many brands and organisations are planning how to best connect via mobile channels. As more people view web content on their mobile devices, they expect to be able to interact and use the same content in an optimised manner on their device - to do this web agencies around the world are working out new methods of building websites so that they adapt to their environment and work well on smartphones, tablets and desktops without forcing the viewer to double tap to zoom in or not see content that they would otherwise see on a desktop. A nice example of a fully ‘responsive’ site is the WWF - if you view it on your desktop and then your smartphone you’ll see how it re-displays its content accordingly. www.worldwildlife.org
Multi screen environments
More and more people are ‘multi-screening’. Surfing the Internet while watching television has become the norm in many households. Because of this many marketers are making sure that they have a multi pronged approach to their marketing strategy, where, for instance, they may broadcast a campaign on multiple platforms or devices, and simultaneously use the internet to engage with the viewer encouraging greater levels of interactivity.
For example - 20th Century Fox recently produced a new three-minute trailer for the movie Prometheus. It was screened simultaneously online, on Channel 4 and on the social TV app Zeebox. Viewers were then encouraged to tweet about the film using the hashtag #areyouseeingthis. During the next ad break, Channel 4 screened a 40 second spot, which included viewer’s tweets about the trailer. The campaign was a success in terms of getting people to talk about the film, with the volume of tweets peaking at more than 4,000, while the hashtag was trending for a while. At its peak the Twitter activity reached more than 15m users.
A recent report detailed that over 50% of marketers that were surveyed considered that video to have had the best contact ROI. More than 4 billion online videos are watched every day, with 68% of video watchers sharing video links. What puts this into perspective is that after 72 hours the typical person retains about 10% of text that they have read, 65% of an image that they have seen or 95% of a video that they have watched. With production costs becoming more and more affordable and sophisticated video techniques becomes easier to create, it’s clear to see why video is now more than ever becoming so popular within marketing.
Vine is a new mobile application (recently bought by Twitter) that enables its users to create and post (and embed) short video clips to Twitter and facebook. Video clips created with Vine have a maximum length of six seconds and can be shared or embedded on a variety of social networking services, such as Twitter or Facebook. Sometimes visual inspiration can really get people excited about a new product you have in the works. Nintendo uses Vine to give fans a preview of their upcoming video games. But many business can use Vine to show products outright or to use Vine videos as teasers.
Content marketing is the creation of storytelling material that attracts readers, viewers and listeners to a brand. It is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that by delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty. More and more organisations are using content to attract followers. The most marketing savvy organisations consider this to be an integral part of their marketing plan. For more on this, check out our article on ‘Content creation - what you say matters’.
This is no great surprise; social media has been a hot topic for the last few years, and it’s rare to find an established brand not using it in some form or another, but how we use social media is ever evolving. Even organisations who haven’t wanted to get involved, are finding that simply ignoring it isn’t an option anymore with the likes of Google indexing social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
A nice example is Crystal Ski Holiday’s use of Twitter. Each of Crystal Ski’s Holiday resorts has their own twitter feed, where they engage with their customers on a daily basis. They regularly update on their Twitter pages to include details of their current excursions, snow conditions, to post pictures and answer ski holiday questions. Check them out @crystalski
What is Pinterest? It’s an online ‘pinboard-style’ sharing website that allows users to create and manage ‘image tiles’ into collections including events, interests and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images and inspiration and then 're-pin' images to their own pinboards, or 'like' photos. Pinterest users can upload, save, sort and manage images, known as pins, and other media content (e.g. videos) through collections known as pinboards.
Esty - the online marketplace for handmade and vintage items, have really embraced Pinterest. Their content already has great visual appeal, and they have used this to their advantage by creating themed boards such as weddings, fashion, holidays to really speak to specific audiences. They’ve even gone one step further and featured boards by ‘Guest Pinners’ and pinned DIY projects from other sites. They’ve integrated 'Pin It' buttons that share images along with product prices on their site. Etsy is a great example of using Pinterest as a very creative marketing tool. www.etsy.com
Email marketing has gone full circle and is now proving to be a popular marketing channel once again. The rules have changed, but in essence it’s currently re-emerging as a targeted, powerful way to communicate with a target audience and clearly monitor how they’ve responded. The end viewer should always be kept in focus though, which does force marketers to direct their communication to the individual needs and desires of the recipient. The key to success is combining very dynamic tools found in applications like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor which offer campaigns access to faster, better targeted and more effective real-time reporting and ad hoc reactions to actual individual user behaviour, advanced email analytics and extensive, automated testing methods.
A great example of an e-mail marketing is a campaign that was run by British Airways (BA). They developed a highly targeted mobile email campaign to promote their Executive Club mobile app. Customers received tailored emails optimised specifically for the type of handheld device they were using. BA produced four different email creatives to support iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and desktop users, and then used more customer data to understand consumer habits and further tailor the content. Open rates for mobile exceeded those for desktop users and were in excess of 50% for iPhone and Android devices. The campaign generated over 250,000 downloads, more than double the targeted number, and more than 70,000 clicks to BA.com/apps.
We’re sure that 2013 will be another year in which we will see Internet tools, techniques, and technologies continue to develop. This in turn will have continued impact on marketing strategies across all industries, facilitating change and innovation. I for one will be watching with great interest!