If you haven’t read ‘Age of Context’ by Robert Scoble yet, you should. It will help you understand how technology is being used by the most powerful brands to effectively reach out to millions of customers – one at a time. Selling today is all about context. Where is your customer? What device are they using? What are they looking at online at this very moment? What have they already shown interest in? What communities are they participating in?
Google, Amazon and Facebook are leading the way in context-driven marketing. But the technology and tactics they’re using will soon be adopted by every consumer brand that wants to stay competitive.
Personalization is really a subset of context, but it’s worth mentioning here. New technologies around big data now allow brands to dig into information they’ve gathered and create a distinct marketing tactics for every one of their customers. This is a sea change. It’s not complete yet, but it is happening in every category from banking, to travel, to retail and beyond. How do you sell more product? By getting precisely the right message to a specific customer at the moment when they are most interested.
3) CONTENT MARKETING AS ADVERTISING
If advertising in the past was primarily a ‘product sales message’, content marketing is much more about ‘why this matters to you’. It’s story rather than sell. The line between these two approaches will continue to become less distinct in 2014. There have been a number of blogs recently stating we’ve reached the saturation point for content marketing, but this is like saying there are too many commercials on television. As long as people are online, that’s where marketers will reach out.
4) SURVIVAL OF THE MOST CREATIVE
Since every brand with a marketing budget is going to be pushing out content for the web in 2014, this means that only the cream will rise to the top. It’s going to be a shoot-out for your attention. Uninspired videos, Vines, and standard photos on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest simply won’t cut it. Today it’s not enough to create content on a regular basis. You need to explore imaginative ways to reach the the heart of your target. Make their personality yours.
5) THE BATTLE OF THE APPS
About a month ago – on the recommendation of a friend – I downloaded an app called Vivino. It’s for wine geeks. Vivino lets you take a photo of any wine label (no matter where you are), and then provides extensive reviews & pricing info. You can share you own reviews with friends, too. When you show it to other people who are into wine, it’s a kind of magic. It builds community. It’s fun.
As smartphones become repositories for ever-greater numbers of apps, the same creative standards are going to push out those that aren’t truly enjoyable to use. It’s not a matter of having 1-3 mobile apps anymore. What’s much more important is having one truly great one. Make the required investment in the right kind of talent and you’ll get there.
6) KEEPING UP WITH THE MEGA-BRANDS
CMOs in numerous consumer (and even some b2b) categories are looking over their shoulders to find that Amazon is taking substantial chunks of their market share. It’s sometimes hard to remember than Amazon started as a bookseller, and now provides everything from musical instruments to data storage in the cloud. They’re able to do this through the power of big data that they’ve harvested and put to use. In order to compete, less iconic brands are going to have to adapt the very same tactics.