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As the demand for great marketing increases, many old digital marketing strategies are losing their effectiveness. To stand out, marketers need to start using new strategies to reach the audience.
Here are some top trends you should expect to see in the coming year — and the ones you should look forward to making the most out of.
1. Company Incentivised Personal Branding
Many companies that didn’t exist five years ago have become category leaders using great funding and personal branding. If you are active on LinkedIn, you have seen that many of your favorite companies have employees that have followings larger than that of the company.
It makes sense that your ideal customers would prefer to follow a person over a company page. We like to follow people like us. So companies that want to start winning will educate, encourage, and foster the personal brand growth of their employees.
Though there are many forms this could take, the best approach we’ve seen is a good “lunch and learn” matched with a quarterly challenge to see who can post the most consistently, get the most engagement, or see the largest percentage increase of followers. If you have a way to track sourced revenue, this option works incredibly well as to attach revenue to personal branding incentives.
One of our recent podcast guests Nick Bennett shared that he’s been able to track that his personal brand has sourced at least $500K in revenue. If you want to dramatically increase the reach of your brand, start looking to incentivise the creation of personal brands.
2. Video More Actiely Used in Sales
Video has continued to dominate as the ultimate content format of the future for marketing. With numerous tools, creating video has become easier than ever. And if you aren’t already using video in the sales process, you need to make this a priority.
While it isn’t a new thing to leverage video content in the sales process, video has already been shown as a highly effective way to create a more close connection with your prospects and shows a bit more of genuine care.
You can’t automate a personalized video. And given the personalized nature of account-based marketing (ABM), video just makes sense in the sales context.
3. Creating Retention Marketing Programs
When you think about Marketing, most people think about driving acquisition of new customers. And typically companies prioritize customer acquisition more than customer retention (Invesp), but the past couple of years showed many businesses that they had been lacking on a customer retention effort.
Many Lifecycle Marketing roles have started to appear which is a clear sign that companies realize it’s going to be all about retention marketing programs. Loyal customers spend 67% more with a business than new ones (Thanx). Many companies are starting to see this and veer away from the traditional new-customer-only mentality.
Looking ahead, there's a huge opportunity to reach revenue goals through retention marketing programs. And marketers will need to start shifting their focus to create a better customer experience from start to finish to see those revenue goals realized.
4. More B2B Referral Programs
The past few years have really helped the B2B community come together. There are more virtual masterminds, online communities, and genuine one-to-one connections that have happened across industries as a result of people being more willing to hop on Zoom meetings.
And as a result of stronger communities, there are more referrals happening before a buyer has ever considered a demo. With the B2B buying process taking so long, people simply ask who they trust what products or services they are using. And it shows in the conversions.
According to B2B marketers, the average conversion rate for referrals is 11%. The average conversion rate across all industries is 2.35%. A referred lead has a 30% higher conversion rate than contacts that comes from other marketing means.
If you are looking for your best opportunity for growth, identify your most influential customers, and figure out a way to activate them as evangelists of your product.
5. Tech Stack Re-Evaluation
During 2021, many marketing teams invested heavily in their Tech Stack. As the annual renewals come up in 2022, it’s likely many marketers will take a hard look at their tech stack to truly understand where they should put their dollars. With so many pieces of tech that all largely have the same marketing automation features, it’s likely that many of the one-trick marketing tools will be phased out in favor of tools that have more robust functionality.
Tools like HubSpot have the features you need from email marketing, conversational marketing, and marketing campaign management that it makes sense for marketers to favor using one tool over numerous tools to accomplish the same tasks.
6. Marketing Will Build Real Relationships
There’s been a large push for this concept of Human to Human marketing. Many marketers have already adopted the idea of making marketing more human in concept. It’s now time that this idea becomes actionable.
Many solo creators have built large followings with a shoe string budget because the information is authentic and real. Similar to why organizations will start looking to help build employee personal brands, many companies will start looking to build their own communities.
The main goal of most email marketing strategies is to build a list and an audience. With the inbox becoming more and more flooded, the ability to build an engaged audience in the inbox has started to dwindle (with a few notable exceptions like the Morning Brew).
So companies will start to build communities, mastermind groups, hybrid events, and retreats to create real relationships with their target audience. Everyone likes to buy from people they like. Building real relationships through a community is a great way you can ensure your target audience likes you the most.
7. Influencer Marketing in B2B
The trend towards more emphasis on people will continue to be the trend. And today people are looking more towards the most influential people in their industry for guidance on what they should do next. As a result, the concept of influencer marketing will become a staple of brand marketing strategy.
And to clarify, this doesn’t mean TikTok dances with teenagers. This means forming intentional partnerships with your audience to drive awareness and brand association. If you are associated with the largest player in your space, that simple brand association will drive more revenue.
This doesn’t have to look incredibly crazy. It could simply be a podcast episode with a guest (ex. a power user of your product or service that has a large audience) who speaks on how they are driving results in their organization. If they are a power-user of your product, it will come up naturally and they will speak highly of how you are helping them drive results. Then you post-produce the episode and spread it everywhere you can.
Additionally, it could be giving your product to a more influential person for free and asking them to leave a review and parrticipate in a video testimonial.
Influencer marketing can help create more organic opportunities for your product or service to be a part of the conversation among peers.
8. Podcasts Become the New Blog
(The irony of this point isn’t lost on us. We will touch on the role of a blog today in a moment.) Numerous companies over the past couple of years have scaled their marketing efforts through building a podcast. And it makes sense.
We have become more on the move and a bit frustrated by keyword stuffed blog content. Podcasts offer genuine expertise and are a way to create a one-to-one relationship with the guests, while also building trust with the audience.
Through a podcast, you start to really get to know the host, their expertise, and their personality. Again, people like to buy from who they like. Though podcast listeners never speak with the podcast host, the listeners feel they are getting to know the people on the podcast in a way that a blog often can’t emulate.
And, consider the effort it takes to produce a great piece of blog content vs. a podcast. A podcast takes the recording time, and a bit of editing on the back-end. A blog takes a fair bit of time to conduct an interview with a subject matter expert, write, edit, and publish. So when speed is critical in marketing today, a podcast can be accomplished far more quickly than a blog.
With that said, people do still read blogs, but the best marketing organizations will repurpose their podcast interviews into blog content and content for social media posts. The podcast will become the content marketing pillar that fuels the rest of the content moving forward.
Now that you have seen the top eight marketing trends that are on the rise right now, what do you do with this information?
Review your current strategy. Identify your greatest gap.
- Do you a referral system in place?
- Do you have great content?
- Do you have a retention problem?
- Is sales struggling to close the deal?
- Do you have tech you aren’t using?
Once you’ve identified the greatest gap, have a plan for how you want to bridge that gap by the end of the week. Then start doing what it takes to execute that plan. Run it up the flagpole, or dive into the work yourself.
If you can execute one of the eight ideas well within this year, you will see an increase in revenue and brand authority. And isn’t that the job of marketing?
Allison found her love for marketing while studying business alongside her theatre degree at Indiana University. She loves offering simple solutions to complex problems (and tacos). In her down time, she loves a good run and staying involved in theatre (which landed her in a SuperBowl halftime show alongside Madonna)
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