By now, you’ve probably read numerous articles on the “Top Marketing Trends of 2018” or jotted down a list of the newest marketing tactics to try this year like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, quantitative-based marketing, and the like. While these are all exciting developments, I’d like to take a step back from all things new and shiny.
There is no doubt that as the media landscape becomes even more saturated, it oftentimes takes new and interesting tactics to attract the customer’s attention. But marketers must not lose sight of what matters.
At its core, marketing is and has always been about connecting with the consumer. Connecting in an intimate and lasting way. And it doesn’t take the newest form of tech or a giant marketing budget to do just that.
Here are three quick and effortless ways to connect with your audiences.
- Be Human
Consumers desire to interact with a brand that’s real, authentic, relevant. A brand that stands for something. Now is the time to turn your brand positioning and core values into action. Show your customers that you stand for customer service — prove it in your words and in your actions. Show your customers that you care about equality, the environment, etc. Become and embody who you say you are — in your ads, content, website, social media as well as in your actions, policies, products and services.
- Hold Your Brand to Higher Standards
No one likes the crazy uncle who starts a political rant over Thanksgiving dinner. The same holds true for a brand. Just like celebrities are held to higher standards because they are in the public eye, so too are brands. Become sensitive to political, social or environmental issues that can easily become hot buttons for your consumers and navigate those waters with poise, tact and confidence.
Don’t turn your brand’s content channels into robotic responses, but instead remain conversational in tone but sensitive to current events and hot buttons. Consumers can and will call you out for inappropriate social posts, tweets, products, etc., which could have a last impact on your brand.
- Develop and Share Valuable Content
Gone are the days of talking AT your customers. Today is about starting a conversation, and sharing with your audiences all while encouraging active participation. You know that your customers are busy. No one reads anymore (let’s be honest). But yet, everyone is still craving more and more content to consume and share.
Use photos, videos, informational graphics, etc. to tell impactful and powerful stories. Show your customers why your brand matters, what impact you are making in the world, or how your products or services make their lives better. Start the conversation, then keep it going by responding to questions, comments and shares.
At the end of the day, it’s all about viewing your key audiences as a good friend. Talk to them like a friend. Care about what they care about. Be sensitive to issues that may be upsetting, and when the road gets rough, stand up with an “I got your back.” In 2018 and moving forward, making that personal connection will mean more to the consumer than anything else.