What are the key emerging internet marketing trends? Which are the new marketing factors to take into greater consideration in the near future?
Photo credit: Absolut Vision, mashed-up by Robin Good
In this realm, some of the most frequently asked questions I receive in my inbox include:
Based on what I see, read, and believe, I have put together a simple outline of what I think are the key, most relevant and emerging internet marketing trends that I would advise any of my customers to seriously pay attention to.
Here they are:
If you want to understand in greater detail what these emerging trends entail for you and your company, please read on:
by Robin Good
One of the major shifts happening to the universe of marketing and advertising is the one represented by a deep and profound move from noise-making and attention-gathering approach typical of classical advertising and of the early, primitive use of many new media formats (from blogs to videos, Facebook and Twitter), to one of help and instantaneous utility provision. The shift is from distracting, interrupting, and light-info-gossiping into providing high-value editorial and service propositions taking many different formats and styles.
In simpler words: advertising moves from making noise to becoming as useful and helpful as it can.
Blogs move from bursting out posts and posts over a hundred different topics to produce higher quality content in much more specific directions.
Social networks specialize around specific interests and topics offering greater value and usefulness than the generic and open approach of Facebook like platforms.
This also means that marketing budgets will increasingly go to value-generating campaigns, tools and services rather than to banner and display ads campaigns. While these latter ones are unlikely to disappear in the near term, they are very likely to lose value, impact, and in the end ROI.
"Advertisers will need to not only get creative, but also ensure that campaigns and social objects are engaging, actionable, shareable, and valuable."
The truth is that statistics never tell a full story, but, depending in which way you look at them, only a version of it.
Target demographics force you to impose pre-established assumptions and prejudices on who should be your ideal potential customer, based on statistical data. While this approach may work great for large organizations and mass products, when you look at smaller markets and niches, you realize immediately that there may be lots of people outside your demographically "significant" groups that may have a high interest for your product or services. This is why, it is much more cost- and resource-effective to try to intercept such existing demand of true potential customers via search engines and social media, rather than to shoot a campaign over a generic statistically-generated target audience.
Therefore, while the traditional approach is one of going out after analytically identified demographics groups which should, represent your ideal potential customers, the new one involves the concept of "intercepting" a set of very specific needs, problems and interests, and then to identify which specific "tribe" having those interests, you are most compatible to communicate and market to. A much more fine-tuned and subtle strategy.
Online search engines and social media are the instruments that allow the monitoring, analysis and the direct interception of such specialty, niche needs.
SEO expertise and competence will become an internal asset as it cannot be effectively outsourced without either limiting its potential best use or taking inevitable large penalization and reputation risks.
Companies and professionals that publish online will need to come to grips with the idea that understanding "how the system works" and how it can be "helped" do what is supposed to do, is only an additional high-value ammunition in the new media literacy skillset.
In other words: everyone who wants to be effective online needs to understand SEO, ranking factors, penalizations, The Google Guidelines and related matters or they will risk wasting their time and potential to blogs and sites that provide little or no value but have learned how to effectively use SEO for their own purposes.
Stubbornly insisting in being purists, classical publishers, or idealistic scholars which expect Google and other search engines to do their duty, helps no-one, as the Internet and search engines work on a set of rules and algorithms, which if not understood properly, can only become a dangerous hindrance over the long run.
Free offerings establish themselves as the most popular and effective way to introduce new products, services and value to new potential readers, users and customers online.
More and more products and services offer a free version or a complementary free product to lower barriers of adoption and try-out by new users.
Free is the red carpet to offer initial, immediate value, to build relationships and to start a conversation.
Free is the natural, frictionless strategy to facilitate the initial meeting, to allow potential fans to try out your product, to appreciate your talent, and once motivated, to ask for more at a price.
Communication style keeps moving to a direct, informal, personal style utilizing the "I" and "you" format.
Online people want to have a direct relationship with people with a name and a face, not with company logos and brands which hide themselves behind anonymous and generic email and signatures.
People have lost trust in brands because by talking to each other online they have finally realized that most mass-market brands are only after their money. This is why people are looking for influential individuals online that they like, trust and who are not operating on the premise of making money out of them.
For these reasons, those who are able to move out from the formal and indirect ways of communication utilized traditionally by mainstream media, will find immediate acceptance and interest from online users who crave transparency, credibility and authority from trusted individuals.
If the individual is supreme and it is the one that can be eventually trusted, respected and followed, then companies need to pay deep attention to those individuals who gained high reputation, visibility and trust for themselves in specific areas of interest, as these individuals can be, if properly supported, the best marketing agents one could ever find.
A delicate balance must be stricken between established brands and such influencers or brand ambassadors, in a way that allows the latter ones to be supported in creating high-value content and services (possibly with tools, finances and instruments provided by the sponsoring brand) and not by directly promoting the sponsoring brand product line.
"Consumers are constantly scouring the social web to decide where to eat, shop and stay; so it comes as no surprise that brands are desperately analyzing Twitter, blog posts and reviews to understand not only who has the largest audience, but how much influence individuals have.
Klout scores are being used by The Palms Hotel in Vegas to gauge discounts for hotel guests, including through the "Klout Klub," which "will allow high-ranking influencers to experience Palms’ impressive set of amenities in hopes that these influencers will want to communicate their positive experience to their followers."
Creating thoughtful ways to leverage your influencers is the thing to focus on.
People have always said it’s cheaper to keep and please the customers you have, than acquire new ones."
Advertising and marketing campaigns employ a lot of resources to bring attention to a specific product or service during a limited amount of time.
The new marketing approach invests in building relationships to nurture over time and employs a continuum of live and virtual events to create a sustained level interest and engagement around itself.
The objective is one of building loyal communities of interest that become growing self-sustainable social ecosystems.
This is at its core the concept of X-Events.
"In new media, advertising and creative businesses are criticized for approaching social through the constructs of campaigns. While they spark increased brand awareness, activity, engagement, campaigns inherently place constraints on community and relationship development – unless designed otherwise. They start, incite activity, stop, and then disappear only to re-emerge as a completely different production when time, budgets, and events align.
Indeed campaigns are catalysts for conversation and action. However, in social, creative campaigns must now introduce continuous sequences where adjacent objectives, messages, and storylines are reinforced through ongoing participation.
Essentially, campaigns must be strung together through brand-driven conversations and connections."
Social networking is now mainstream with millions of people connecting to each other over Facebook, LinkedIn and others.
The emerging trend is one of topic and interest-specific social networks and of dedicated platforms to allow anyone to do so.
People do not just want to have a place like Facebook where they can find all of their contacts, they actually prefer having different networks to belong to, just like it happens in real-life. This gives way to the emergence of topic-specific social networks and communities of interests.
Extended events and communities of interest are tightly interwoven, as the planning and organization of any event provides many opportunities to create engagement, exchange, collaboration and networking inspired by a common specific-topic or interest.
Email and video are the two most effective communication media when it comes to marketing. They are the most intimate, direct and the ones that people enjoy the most reading / watching.
If there is ONE are where to invest to improve one's own most immediate communication skills, it should be in one of these two areas.
What I have been reading over 10 years ago in books is finally becoming a reality, providing the opportunity to serve, cut and slice content, services and products in many formats and different recipes for different tribes and fans groups.
Diversification is the name of the game in an an era of rapid change and the ability to provide services in a very personalized, custom way is going to be valued more than the actual product / service itself.
Specialty niches will gain further value as brands, large and small, will start to learn how to build engaged communities of fans around them.
Niches provide the highest return on investment for marketers who vie for highly targeted and ready-to-buy potential customers.
To provide a more comprehensive and objective view on where emerging internet marketing trends will be taking you, I have also put together my personal selection of the best articles published by other authors and magazines on key emerging internet marketing trends.
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2011 it's going to be a busy and competitive year, and in looking back at 2010 there were plenty of big developments that point to a 2011 year filled with innovation, new business models, possibilities for new technologies like mobile and tablets and continued growth and attention on social media. Here 15 key trends marketers should look forward to next year.
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Originally prepared by Robin Good, Daniele Bazzano and Elia Lombardi for MasterNewMedia, and first published on March 3rd, 2011 as "Top Internet Marketing Trends For 2011: The Best Strategies To Follow".
From Screaming to Helping - Sandor Kacso
From Targeting to Intercepting - Argus
SEO Needs to Become an Internal Asset - Stephen Coburn
Free Is the Red Carpet - Mipan
Direct Trustworthy Communication - Iurii Davydov
From Campaign to Continuum - X-Events - Yuri Arcurs
Communities of Interest - Thomas Troy
Email and Video - Andres Rodriguez
One to One Marketing and Personalization - Elena Volegzhanina
Originally written by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia.Robin Good -