It’s high time to start planning your digital marketing strategy!
At the dawn of each new year, you face the challenge of having to conduct a review, identify the most successful marketing channels of the previous year, draw the right conclusions and develop a schedule that will guide you through the coming months.
A solid marketing strategy needs realistic goals and should focus both on convincing potential customers and retaining existing ones. In short, it is your plan of action – which measures you will take, what you will invest, where you will invest it and which tactics you will use. For this purpose, it is important to look for new trends and efficient steps to reach your customer and make the most of your budget.
This blog post intends to inspire you when it comes to mapping out your marketing strategy for 2019 and give you some ideas on how to achieve your marketing goals.
1. Take the Buyer’s Journey into Consideration
‘How can we attract, convince and delight more customers?’ might be your major question for 2019.
Take a look at their everyday life! Think about your buyer persona, your typical customer, and where your marketing efforts could reach them. People will not come to you; you should know where to pick them up. Consider what a typical persona’s day looks like and how you can accompany them with your ads.
While commuting, during their coffee break or at night on the couch, people are spending an increasing amount of time on their social media feeds. With Snapchat and WhatsApp ads from 2019 onwards, tech-giants are making this easy for you with new formats and platforms for effective advertising popping up daily.
2. Reap the Benefits of Data-Driven Advertising
If you have been working in the field for the last couple of months, there is no way you won’t have come across the concept of data-driven marketing. Planning, implementing and measuring the success of marketing has never been more data-driven. Big Data is arguably one of the buzzwords of the year and the marketing world is embracing it: The majority of marketers already employ data-driven marketing or at least recognize its strategic importance.
What is it actually all about though? In the context of data-driven marketing, Big Data is all about new uses of data and new insights gained through it, rather than the data itself. Data is collected, analysed and interpreted with the single goal to better understand customer behaviour. Based on your findings, you can build data-driven campaigns and activate people by treating them in a personalised, hyper-relevant manner. In the advertising world, customer data analysis enables you to select highly relevant, data-driven personalised advertising for your customer. A good way to spend some of your budget!
In a nutshell: Customer data is your key to success when it is used and analysed with expertise. By providing a better understanding of customers as well as superior design and execution of marketing programmes, data can drive competitive advantage.
Wondering how to make the most of your data? In the context of our consulting services, we offer customized workshops for digital natives and leaders of tomorrow.
3. Include Alternative Forms of Advertising
Advertising is constantly reinventing itself — use this to your advantage. Look at the new formats and think about which could be most appealing to your customer and also fit your company. The following are two examples of formats that excel at accompanying your customers throughout their day.
This charming ad format, also known as engagement advertising or immersive advertising, made the world rethink the standard banner. 360-degree video, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) turn advertising into the real experience the viewer is looking for.
Especially when talking about mobile, people are accustomed to interacting with their screens and do not expect less from an advertisement. Interactive ads are your opportunity to spend more valuable time with the consumer. Let yourself be inspired by what the major platforms offer (say Snapchat 3D world lenses, Facebook canvas ads, 360 experiences or the well established Google lightbox and trial run advertisements).
Interactive ads are a wonderful way of being both creative and highly efficient. For interactive ads, VR and AR play a major role. Although Virtual Reality advertising is arguably still in its infancy, Augmented Reality is rapidly gaining traction. Take Snapchat: It is already running AR campaigns on its platform.
If you are thinking about spending more of your budget on programmatic on multiple platforms, native might be the right choice for you. People’s attention today congregates on the feed, no matter what device they are using. Consumers spend their time either on the feed or with their mobile apps all day — on the train, during coffee breaks and at night before going to sleep. It comes as no surprise that advertisers want to engage mostly in-feed as well as in-app and publishers concentrate on it increasingly to monetise their impressions. As interest grows, both feed-based and mobile creative native ad formats will continue to develop. The biggest selling point of native advertising is its non-intrusive nature. When native is done right, it blends in perfectly with the feed, mobile application or any other platform.
And there is more: if you add the the right time to the right environment for your advertising, you create a truly valuable user experience. Owing to programmatic, a regular advertisement can turn into a recommendation for the viewer when it contains truly relevant information. Imagine a special offer from a design shop for exactly the chair you intend to buy, or a great rental car offer for the place you just booked a flight to. This is the opportunity for brands to come across as authentic, helpful and engage with prospective customers more naturally.
Looking for an experienced partner to guide you safely through the world of online advertising? Read how we helped METRO Cash&Carry to move away from conventional display advertising.
4. On That Note: Try Something Different!
Ad tech is presenting us with whole new opportunities for 2019. From greatly improved data management to incredibly precise targeting, there seems to be no limit to further development in the advertising space. Have you ventured into the world of programmatic advertising yet? Programmatic advertising is the process of buying advertisements with a software in an automatised way while relying on algorithms to deliver accurate results – no more manual buying, many more publishers available and no middleman needed.
And there is more to it: Programmatic allows you to place your ad at the right time, in the right place and in front of the right person. For that reason, engagement levels are high – and we expect them to grow sustainably with more data available and more uniformity in the measurement analysis. No wonder programmatic ad sales are growing 21% worldwide and, according to the Publicis Groupe Zenith, 67% of display ads will be programmatic by 2019. Good reasons to join the party.
5. Invest in the Quality of Your Content
No matter how much we can automate today, the best way to capture a person’s attention is still by being creative and telling a story. From childhood on we learn to love stories, and it’s high time for you to incorporate storytelling into your marketing strategy.
To understand why storytelling works so well, we only need to take a look at why most other forms of advertising don’t enjoy the same success. It’s all a matter of numbers. Given that there are about 700,000 Google searches every 60 seconds (for live data click here), 5.3 trillion ads shown every year, and consumers process over 100,000 words every day, we have become accustomed to skimming rather than reading, ignoring rather than listening. Getting somebody to pay attention to you is gold.
The secret behind storytelling is that it stands out. A good story comes across as authentic and relates directly to real human experiences. Stories are capable of connecting with human beings in a way that standard advertising cannot.
If the story is good enough, customers will want to find out what happens next, build up excitement, and, above all, a willingness to listen! Masterful storytelling shows that the company understands the problem and how their product solves it. You don’t need to list advantages; a good story tells your customer why your product or service is the right choice.
How and where your story is told depends entirely on yourself. This is the beauty of it: A story appeals to literally everyone. GenZ, children or senior citizens — nobody will say “no” to a good story! Programmatic advertising can help you to place your story in front of the right audience, in a context where it is likely to be heard. Just make sure to meet them where they are and preferably through multiple formats, such as written, visual and audio content.
Did you know that due to the outstanding targeting options and improved data, you can include features such as weather targeting in your programmatic campaign? Just imagine offering a special discount for a ski hotel to a ski enthusiast on the very first snowfall of the season
6. Take a Customer-Centric Approach
Despite all the justified hype about ad tech: do not forget what this is all about. Technology is meant to improve the quality of advertising in order to serve the human being, not the other way around. At the heart of everything you do should be an all-encompassing obsession with your customer.
Why should you place so much focus on the customer?
Because it’s simply all about them. It’s the customer you want to listen to, the customer you want to delight, the customer you want to convince. The digital age has completely transformed the way people buy. Buyers are highly informed, have done their research and have most likely compared a variety of options before they make a purchase. Your best chance to still reach them is through amazing advertising that brings real added value, rather than driving them up the wall with annoying adverts. In this sense, programmatic is an excellent choice to help you offer real value in advertising through precise filters and retargeting.
Despite this clear shift to a more empowered buyer, most marketers still neglect the customer and think solely of their own products, strategy and numbers. As things are, however, you will only be successful if you are able to look at things through the eyes of your customer and know their buyer journey from the beginning to the end.
7. Do What Worked Well for You Last Year!
This is a no-brainer and a simple one to execute. Look at your 2018 strategy, keep what worked well and throw out whatever did not bring you any positive results. The benefits are just as obvious: This is easy to plan, saves time and effort, and guarantees a short budget approval process.
Be cautious though, in marketing you should never close your eyes to innovation and change. Don’t be inflexible about any of your strategy points. A year is a long time and you want to check on your plans every once in a while!