6 lessons marketers should take from 2017

2017 was another digital #PersonalBest – revving up paid media ads to $580 billion. From Salt Bae ‘spicing up’ his video with 2.4 million views in 48 hours; to Taco Bell destroying a Snapchat record with a filter that turns people into tacos; or MasterCard’s sound meter app for sports fans to measure how loud they are. The list goes on. Digital truly has the power to revolutionise your brand overnight. Salt Bae gained overnight fame that did wonders for his restaurant chain from one video that went viral.

Key learnings from killer campaigns and impromptu UGC videos suggest that creativity is the key ingredient to success. It is time for digital pace setters to chew on the most significant digital marketing takeaways, to position for unrivalled success in the new year.

Honour the 3C’s – Customer, Content and Context
The customer should be at the centre of the digital experience and expects real-time one-on-one’s, personalised replies and transparency. They don’t like aimless wondering and want a clear call to action. Don’t repay their attention with irrelevant content – ever. They space out when they see pop-ups and banner ads (some just lose it) – so ensure super valuable content meets them where they’re at. Content ‘in context’ is the new king.

Ride the mobile wave
In South Africa, fast-growing mobile penetration is begging marketers to make “mobile first” strategies a key priority. Anything ‘mobile’ is becoming second nature and fuelling on-the-go consumerism. Get your flag in the ground and start spotting and fulfilling on-the-go needs – even if you have to invent a few yourself.

Prepare for the video storm
Video is consumed by the truckloads on YouTube and now across all social media. The booming uptake of video on Facebook and Instagram is a clear statement that video content is not only viewed, but shared. It is high time to break the “video is expensive” stigma and get with the program. Consumers don’t expect Hollywood blockbusters but will shut you down in three seconds if you fail to deliver a compelling hook and valuable content. Whatever your goals with video (which should include going viral); remember that content quality trumps video production quality every time.

Cut to the chase with data analytics and data visualisation
There is an insane amount of data out there that grows daily by 2.5 quintillion bytes – three guesses how many zeros that is. What will really bake your noodle is the fact that 90% of all data – ever – has been created in the last two years. For consumers, that’s an enormous pile of hashtags to dig through. To get your brand on top of the pile, start thinking differently about big data. It is only useful if you can extract valuable insights and a competitive edge with data analytics and data visualisation. The latter referring to charts, graphs, bars and maps to help you connect the dots and make quick decisions.

Make the influencer circle bigger
With too much choice stressing them out, consumers are calling for guidance from online peers and objective experts. Get authentic brand advocates rooted in your brand strategy, especially on social media. Celebrity endorsements are immensely influential but don’t overlook the potential of brand advocates in your community. Ordinary citizen influencers, who have acquired online fame for their topic authority, personality or lifestyle, often have the credibility to sway consumer decisions, especially during crisis.

All hail algorithms
Programmatic advertising is on the rise with increasingly sophisticated algorithms to automate and optimise online ad spend in real time. As a result, marketers are shifting from site-centric strategies (basic metrics like page views and time spent) to audience-centric media buying strategies that places your ads in front of those who have shown an interest or are actively seeking similar offerings.

Companies new to the digital space shouldn’t be intimidated by the medium but rather dive in headfirst. Personal passion and boldness goes a long way when facing the unknown and marketers should create “digital first” strategies that are agile, on trend and breakthrough.

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