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14 Feb

Six Digital Trends to EMPOWER Your Brand in 2016

Today, online marketing is no longer considered as the not-so-popular cousin of the star attraction – Traditional Marketing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Having a website that’s search optimized, engaging with your audience on social media, incorporating email marketing into your day-to-day marketing strategy has become second nature for most companies.

In a bid to develop a successful online marketing strategy, companies need to keep their hands on the pulse of the latest online trends. While early adopters manage to get a leg up on their competition, endearing themselves to new markets as well as establishing their reputation as industry leaders, those ‘non-believers’, who choose to wait, miss out on the full benefit of these opportunities.

Now, if the past few years are anything to go by, keeping up with latest online promotion techniques can easily be compared to being involved in a high speed chase sequence from ‘Cops’ with no seatbelts. Technology, fashion, user preferences can change in a flash. For the marketers the ride in itself is quite thrilling, but they need to adapt quickly or risk being detained.

Therefore it is imperative for marketers to know, “What’s Hot?” and “What’s Not?” for 2016.
And just like last year (& the year before that…) marketers are starting to forecast what’s to expect in digital for 2016.

So, here is a list of digital marketing trends that will continue to be on the up and up in 2016:

1. Realise the power of content marketing

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Every noble & popular king knows that focusing on the needs of the subjects is what dictates the success of the kingdom. And as they say, “Content is King.” Customers that feel like their needs are being met can become very powerful advocates for the brand. Take Zomato for instance, since the beginning of their digital journey, they have managed to keep their focus on ‘quality above quantity’. Unlike other brands they don’t follow the strict one post a day rule on social media. They focus on delivering great content in optimum number and promote it well on social media.

With the changing buyer consumption patterns in this web-driven world, having a good content marketing strategy can not only help you with Search, social media interactions (here’s where your crowd sourced brand content would come into play), online advertising, among others, but also help brands demonstrate their own expertise. Ensure your content move around 4 things Educate, Inspire, Entertain and Convince.

2. Bet Big on Big Data

“In God we trust. All others must bring data.”
– W. Edwards Deming

An increasing number of companies are waking up to the importance of data as a strategic resource. The biggest driver of this change is the unquenchable need to gather more insights about the business and customers. Here, speeds of things – faster response time, faster time-to-decision – also play a pivotal role.

The web now provides us with the data that we can utilise to determine what works and what doesn’t. This eliminates the need for guesswork as using the right data marketers can boost their brand performance, understand market sentiments, analyse competitor strategies, drive innovations, monitor online reputation and much more.

3. Marketing automation is the Rising Star

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
– Henry Ford

The days of manually collecting data from disparate systems is long gone. We are at a stage, where automation and technology are increasingly becoming inseparable from marketing, especially online marketing.

The importance of marketing automation cannot be denied, as more and more marketers are starting to rely on complex marketing tech solutions to not just score and nurture leads, but also deliver personalized, automated messages, and enhance their customer relationships beyond the point of sale. Study shows that marketing automation not only increases sales but also saves the marketers time. So, it’s a win-win for them.

4. Kickstart Video Marketing this year, if you haven’t already

“A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.”
– Karen Lamb

With the Video play button becoming the most compelling call to action on the Web, marketers need to understand the huge role that video plays in the customers purchase journey.

Marketing is essentially the “science of storytelling.” And using Video marketing to tell your story is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand. Video length, imagery, voice-over, graphics, music, personalization—all of these can affect the way a potential customer absorbs the story marketers intend to tell. In 2016, as our measurement metrics related to those elements improve, we’ll be able to create better, more powerful video marketing content.

Find out more: 4 Reasons Why Video Marketing Is One Of The Most Effective Ways To Reach Millennials

5. Being Sensitive on Social Media Marketing

“Am I too much for the world, or is the world too much for me?”
– Kelli Jae Baeli

Social Media Marketing is a great way for even the little guy to shine. It can also make or break a business before it gets off the ground. Some of the biggest brands are guilty of the same and have faced the dire consequences and PR nightmare that follow. For example, in April last year, post the horrific Nepal Earthquakes, online shopping portal Lenskart sent out a tweet with a message that read “Shake it off like this Earthquake”. The SMS sought to advertise its range of sunglasses with a special discount, which lead to a major PR fiasco for the brand.

Social Media undoubtedly offers a great way for brands to connect with the consumers, build emotional rapport and have a personalized connection with the audience, but as they say, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” So, be responsible, not reckless.

6. Think Mobile, Be Mobile

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
– Charles Darwin

Mobile is no longer referred to as the ‘second screen’, but has become the ‘preferred screen’ for most. Take Facebook, for instance, with over 75% of its revenue coming from mobile, it becomes clear that mobile should be a big part of the marketers focus.

Study indicates that mobile usage will completely eclipse desktop usage in 2016. Currently, most companies have a two-pronged mobile strategy – create a responsive website and create a mobile app that allows consumers to transact.

To truly embrace mobile in 2016, brands will need to figure out how to integrate mobile in their omni-channel journeys and create mobile experiences that fit in well with the overall consumer journey.

In conclusion, the online marketing tends to evolve at a rate unlike any other industry. And 2015 was a landmark year for growth across all things digital. It was the year where digital changed the way businesses engage with customers. But now it’s in the past.

It’s time to look ahead & move on.

In order to best your competition this year, you just need to stay ahead of the digital curve and this list will help you do just that.

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