Your Business Marketing Plan Part 6: Marketing Trends


Your Business Marketing Plan Part 6: Marketing Trends

As we approach the end of another financial year, marketing teams around the world are well ahead of the curve in planning how they will engage their customers in the new financial year and beyond. With a global pandemic dramatically influencing and shaping how we connect with others, trends and platforms have shifted accordingly and continue evolving rapidly.

For those businesses who want to keep their finger on the pulse, let’s look at the two most prominent marketing trends that will dominate customer engagement strategies and how they could benefit your business in the new year ahead.

marketing trends

Influencers, UCG and the power of people

Influencer marketing is here to stay, and there’s a “face” for every brand and demographic out there. Finding the right influencer that represents your brand and aligns with your values is not always straightforward, especially with a sea of faces and talents to wade through.

So, why has influencer marketing continued to dominate marketing trends in recent years (more than 90% of marketing professionals utilise them)? Think of it as a contemporary approach to the good ‘old-fashioned “word of mouth” marketing or referral. You’re likely to trust a recommendation for a product from a good friend or family member, and with the rise in a bizarre parasocial sense of connection to influencers, it’s no surprise that customers are looking more and more to those popular profiles for their “seal of approval” on brands.

Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, boost your sales or conversions, engage further with your target market, increase trust and more, it’s all about the people and the brand ambassadors you invest in.

But who to work with? Well, that’s the tricky part. Depending on your budget, you’ll have a certain realistic range of influencers who will “take your call.” In that sense, if you have a big chunk of change to pour into an influencer marketing campaign, work out your A and B list of dream influencers and work your way down. Now, you might initially think more followers = more sales, better R.O.I. Not necessarily!

Today, customers are savvier than ever and want to connect with creators truly – if you pay your way onto the pages of an Instagram influencer with over 5 million followers, you might see an increase in your own engagement for a short time, but it may not have the long-term impact you were hoping to see. It all comes down to authenticity and brand values – micro-influencers (less than 50,000 or even 10,000 followers) are finding their stock rising in recent years, as you’re much more likely to see high engagement from followers – comments, questions, favourites etc.

Followers of smaller influencers that really fit your brand (the right look, values, and audience) can champion your product or service with a tone and genuine interest that generates real sales.

In short, influencers matter, but look for quality, connection and alignment over sheer stats.

What do you stand for?

Customers don’t just want to buy the best product at the best price; they want to know if your values align with theirs – and they are even willing to pay more for a product if they know the brand voices their thoughts on events and issues that are important to them.

For those Millennial and Gen Z customers coming up after them, what your business stands for matters – what is your business stance on equality, climate change, sustainability, diversity and changing unhelpful industry practices? Like many marketing trends popping up in recent times, it calls for you and your team to examine your mission and focus on growth and sales and your business legacy.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to start filming in-depth videos voicing your opinion on every global issue but focus on those things that really matter to you. Perhaps it’s a great working environment and work-life balance for your employees or a charity your business always donates to.

It comes down to humanising and giving your brand a face and personality, which is increasingly important for all business leaders and their online presence. For the next financial year and beyond, make time to comment on issues that overlap with your industry, that you are passionate about, and give your business a voice on social and political issues where fitting – your customers will respect you for it, and you’ll stand out from competitors who fail to do the same.