Marketing constantly adjusts and reacts to changes in technology and attitudes. While digital marketing has undergone a substantial transformation in the last few years, the technology that incited the changes is growing at a faster pace than most schools can keep up with.
So, what does this mean for competitive marketers that are planning for the years to come? Schools need to look beyond the usual channels to stay ahead rather than simply jump on the bandwagon.
Here, we’ll discuss some trends that are changing the face of marketing (yet again) and give you an eye-opening look at what marketers should be leveraging in 2016 and beyond.
1) Relationship Marketing
As smartphone adoption continues to rise with an estimated 2 billion consumers worldwide expected to own a smartphone by 2016, the opportunity for schools to be connected with their audience is set to be closer than ever. Enter relationship marketing.
The goal of relationship marketing is to focus on building stronger loyalty and long-term engagement rather than on quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual ‘sales’. This helps develop strong, emotional customer connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation.
Through meaningful customer relationships and conversations, schools create loyalists and brand advocates. Establishments that do relationship marketing well set the bar high for other brands vying for more meaningful connections.
So, how can Schools develop communities and personalise their outreach efforts? Data. We now have data in easily accessible and interpretable formats through which we can develop strong relationship-marketing plans. In 2016 and beyond, personalised, data-driven marketing will become increasingly important.
Intrusive, mass-target approaches to marketing will slowly dwindle as marketers who focus on relationships grow their businesses. All solid relationships are built on trust. Transparency between customers and brands is essential, so schools must keep this in mind when mapping relationship marketing tactics.
2) Marketing Automation
As marketers today are spending at least 50 percent of their time developing content, there are more ways than ever to automate marketing. Marketing automation alone is worth $5.5 Billion and is leading the way in lead generation and prospect nurturing.
Using a marketing automation platform makes it easier to schedule emails, segment contacts, automate social media posting, manage your content, and track the lifecycle of customers in your marketing funnel. This automation trend also highlights the growth of convergence, which allows you to stay lean, focused, and as profitable as possible without compromising on quality.
With even more focus on marketing to deliver results, marketing managers and CMOs should be taking stock of their team’s skills, noting the gaps and defining a robust automation strategy to help sales through engaging prospects, qualifying leads, and shortening the overall sales cycle.
3) Virtual Reality
Virtual reality technology, like Oculus Rift, will inevitably have a huge impact on the way that marketers engage consumers in 2016 and beyond. With the ability to literally tell 360-degree stories, schools will be able to engage like never before. Imagine offering tours, sample lessons and experiences through VR technology to engage your audience… It may be a bit far fetched for some but with the likes of Facebook investing so heavily in VR, it is best to stay open minded as to the what will happen next.
4) Ephemeral Marketing
Snapchat is already moving into the space of a “standard marketing platform.” In the upcoming year, marketers will come to understand that Snapchat isn’t just a tool for fun marketing experiments; it’s a platform that users are flocking to in order to digest social media in real time.
In order to deliver integrated campaigns that make constituents feel connected, especially the younger generation of consumers you need to be offering exclusive content that has an expiration date. This “less is more,” or ephemeral, marketing is all about communication that’s shorter and more to the point. In a world where people have less and less time, this model works.
Snapchat is the ultimate platform for making consumers feel connected and at the same time, unique. Big brands such as ESPN, Vice, and Comedy Central already use it to push their messages to voracious consumers of media. With Snapchat, the advertisement becomes the product – something that competitors won’t be able to ignore. Take advantage of this huge opportunity to connect uniquely using just a small window of your audience’s time. Be organic, speak their language, and just cut to the chase.
5) Search Past Search Engines
With Facebook already working on tests for its own search engine, it seems inevitable that search capabilities will go far beyond Google, Bing, and Yahoo. As search capabilities improve within social media, brands will get an automatic boost. In addition, when buy buttons and payment messaging appear on social in 2016, an all-in-one-type platform will manifest (more convergence).
With advanced search capabilities, integrated payment methods, and the social impact that empowers sites like Facebook and Twitter, consumers will be able to make decisions, chat with their friends about experiences, and post the social proof of their new purchase. Advanced search will bring a more integrated social experience that expands to the e-commerce realm. If you cater your marketing efforts to this all-in-one, buy-and-share social media search, it’s clear that your brand will realize returns. Make the buying process easier, but also make it an experience.
6) The Internet of Things (IoT)
Wearable technology will see a user adoption rate of 28 percent by 2016 – even more data for marketers to mine. So, will this data be derived from people’s day-to-day habits? It looks that way. Every year from now until the foreseeable future, we’ll see the IoT become a bigger tool that marketers can use to engage with customers.
Maybe this means that ads will soon have the ability target people based on their every move. For marketers, this means that your data will have to become more behavior-driven and, although the power of devices may seem unsettling, you’ll be right on target. At the end of the day, people will what they want.
These 6 game-changing trends should be on your radar in 2016. By 2017, we’ll have a whole new bag of tricks to share with you – but for now, get ahead, keep thinking ahead, and see how things evolve from there!