As veteran marketers are well aware, the craft of marketing is a dynamic one — and tactics that produced big successes a year or two ago can begin to lose their effectiveness as time passes. That is also the case as more competitors begin adopting them and making them more commonplace. But new, highly effective marketing trends are always emerging, and the brands and businesses that leverage them early often have the opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.
To ensure that your brand or business has its chance to be an early adopter of the tactics shaping today’s industry — and potentially put yourself ahead of the pack — consider these seven 2023 marketing trends that are already making waves in the industry, and promise to further shape the landscape over the coming year:
1. Zero-party data drives more decisions
For 21st century businesses, consumer and market data has become more accessible than ever before. And the brands and businesses that leverage it to better inform their decision-making can use it to constantly improve their marketing campaigns and lower their customer-acquisition costs.
But with new privacy-focused laws and practices putting serious limitations on the effectiveness of data-gathering tools such as third-party data tracking and cookies (more on that later …), businesses must find new ways to gather consumer intel. For this reason, we see zero-party data — information that consumers intentionally and proactively share with a brand — becoming increasingly important to brands’ marketing efforts. In turn, strategies for harnessing this data, including tactics such as quizzes, polling, surveys and form building, will gain popularity as ways to get more insights on what drives consumers and their purchase decisions.
Brandon pro insights:
Obviously, the more consumer data a brand can gather, the better insights it can gain into its business and its customers. And zero-party data is a particularly valuable source of this information, as because customers are voluntarily (and directly) sharing it with you, it’s always current and fresh. (This contrasts with third-party data, which can often be outdated if it’s not updated regularly, and is sometimes even fraudulently collected.)
Another advantage of zero-party data is that it’s typically more personal and relevant than third-party data. Because customers are sharing it voluntarily, it’s more likely to be pertinent to their interests and needs — as opposed to third-party data, which is unlikely to have come from your actual customers, and thereby is often less relevant or even irrelevant to them.
Once zero-party data has been collected, it can be used to guide your brand’s consumer messaging and marketing efforts — and establish deeper connections with customers via a deeper understanding of what drives them. It can also fuel machine learning accuracy, can help your brand create look-alike audiences for use in campaign targeting, and can be a big part of your brand’s predictive modeling efforts.
2. Conversational marketing gains more steam
Often employing AI tools such as chatbots with machine learning and natural language processing, combined with highly targeted and timely messaging, conversational marketing is a form of relational and digital marketing that enables brands to save time, effort and money. Through the use of automated, real-time conversations on social media or the company’s website, it also allows companies to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships with their customers.
Further, by leveraging conversational marketing, brands can engage with potential customers when they’re actually researching or looking to make a purchase. Considering that such two-way, real-time conversations can both add efficiency and boost conversations, we see the conversational marketing trend becoming more and more prevalent in the near future.
Brandon pro insights:
E-mail campaigns, FAQs, forms and chatbots are perfect examples of conversational marketing tools that brands can harness with relative ease — and that can deliver big results. In this article, we’ll focus more specifically on chatbots and voicebots.
Instantaneity and interactivity are both cornerstones of an effective conversational marketing strategy. And with the development of the internet and instant messaging, the demand for interactive services and spontaneous conversations has become more and more widespread. Customers like to get precise information quickly, and delivering in-the-moment answers to their questions has become a near-requirement for businesses to grow many of their customer relationships. Further, by being present on various communication channels, companies can have an impact on and attract people from wide-ranging age groups and backgrounds.
The bottom line: Conversational marketing strengthens your brand’s relationships with its customers. It allows you to interact with your customer and understand his or her immediate need. It also builds trust and can be the cornerstone of building a strong ambassador community. For brands looking to maximize the number of customers they attract and retain, conversational marketing isn’t a forward-looking idea they should consider pursuing sometime down the road — it’s a powerful growth tool that they should leverage today.
3. Interactive content increases engagement
The internet is filled with static posts and passive pages containing content such as blog articles and product descriptions. These can be great ways for businesses and brands to attract consumers to their websites, educate them on their offerings and share their industry knowledge, along the way establishing them as experts in their particular subject fields. But when it comes to truly grabbing attention and boosting user engagement, interactive content excels.
From a marketing perspective, interactive content is any type of brand-communications material that conveys its message by encouraging user participation — with prime examples including calculators, games, contests, assessments and quizzes, along with any e-books, videos and animated infographics that include an element of user interaction. As a result of the interactive nature of such materials, a consumer’s experience with the content evolves from passive consumption to active engagement.
All of these assets excel at capturing consumers’ attention and keeping it by making them direct, active participants in the sharing of the content. This is why we see such dynamic, captivating continuing to increase in popularity among marketers in the coming year.
Brandon pro insights:
At Brandon, we look for opportunities to add interactive elements to a range of the marketing assets we create for our clients, and we consistently see increased consumer engagement when such interactive content is deployed. Some examples of the ways this content can promote user participation include:
- Interactive ads that encourage users to get more information or view an associated video via an embedded QR code
- Interactive social posts that ask users to answer an interesting question or share their opinions via voting in a poll
- Interactive landing pages that invite users to play an on-page game or answer a few questions to receive guidance on their perfect product choice
- Interactive emails that include image carousels that readers can flip through or embedded videos for recipients to watch
4. Consumers place a higher priority on user-generated content
Speaking of user engagement, when the most actively engaged of users create content related to a brand’s offerings — including such shareable assets as unboxing videos, reviews, product-centric imagery and branded hashtags — brands should pay attention and take advantage. Why? First, all brands should strive for authenticity in their messaging to consumers, and it’s hard to get more authentic than when users directly share their love for a brand and its offerings. Further, according to research, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to trust user-generated content over brand-created content. So, when brands discover user-generated, organic content that sheds a positive light on their business and its offerings, the smartest ones will find ways to spotlight it so that other consumers will see it — which we think will become a more common tactic among marketing professionals in the coming year.
Brandon pro insights:
There are a range of ways to encourage your brand’s customers and social followers to create user-generated content that you can leverage in your marketing efforts and communications. Some of the tactics we’ve found to be especially effective at Brandon include:
- Reaching out to customers for feedback after they’ve made a purchase, for example, by sending an email requesting a review and linking to a popular review site where they can provide details about their brand experience
- Asking verified buyers to provide a star rating for and/or comment about the product they’ve purchased, then hosting the feedback on the product page on the brand’s website
- Creating a unique hashtag focused on your brand or its specific offerings that customers can use in posts related to your business on social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter
- Running contests on social media platforms that require users to create and share content such as photos and videos featuring your brand’s offerings for entry, then driving added participation with an appealing prize offering
- Asking thought-provoking/interesting questions on social media and asking followers to share their opinions with an answer
Whatever route you take to encourage the creation of more user-generated content, be sure to share the content that portrays your brand in a positive light — and especially the most compelling user-generated assets — on your website and social channels.
5. The cookie begins to crumble
Google has delayed its plans to phase out the third-party cookie on the Chrome browser, giving marketers until at least late 2024 to figure out a replacement for the widely used tracking and targeting tool. But other browsers are also phasing out the third-party cookie, and we think 2023 will still see moves toward putting alternatives to the cookie in place gain major steam. A handful of alternative targeting solutions designed to help marketers make their consumer-facing content and ads more personalized are already being tested and even put in place, and we anticipate that the search for other solutions will intensify in 2023.
Brandon pro insights:
With the third-party cookie soon becoming a thing of the past, brands that utilize them should start familiarizing themselves with other options sooner than later. Some of the leading alternatives to third-party cookies that are currently available include:
- First-party data collection via on-site consumer registration, which brands can accomplish by offering value-added content such as newsletters, gated articles and forums
- Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which uses a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to supply advertisers with data on ad targeting, conversions, spam prevention and more
- Google’s Publisher Provided Identifiers, which are identifiers that publishers can assign to users when they log into a website and that can be shared between certain partners so that personalized ads can be served to users in a privacy-centric manner
- Contextual advertising, which serves ads based on the content of a web page rather than a user’s personal data
- Universal IDs, which are created to identify and track users based on first-party website cookies and users’ personal data such as email addresses, phone numbers, user IDs, etc.
6. Micro-influencer marketing makes strides
Influencer marketing has been around for years. And the appeal makes total sense, as typical consumers tend to allow those in whom they place trust to inspire and/or guide their shopping and purchase decisions. But to be effective, an influencer doesn’t have to have a million followers on social media. In fact, according to research, more marketing-budget-friendly “micro-influencers” with 1,000 followers generate an 85% higher level of per-capita engagement on average than influencers with 100,000 followers. That can make tapping into influencers with smaller, more targeted and loyal audiences a big win for brands. With this in mind, we expect to see more small- to medium-sized brands to tap into this powerful marketing tactic in 2023.
Brandon pro insights:
To leverage the right microinfluencers and get them working for your brand, consider these steps provided by Brandon’s media and digital strategy team:
- Plan: Confirm your program goals, audience demographics, budget and volume of content needed.
- Identify the right influencers: This can be done either organically (by searching through your social platforms, seeing who messages and DMs you, and looking through your followers for strong candidates) or by leveraging a platform such as Tagger to find creators that align with your brand.
- Recruit: Use email, social media or the influencer-focused platform you’ve used to identify your candidate(s) to reach out to them and propose a partnership.
- Discuss payment: Possibilities here include a product partnership or asking for the influencer’s rate card.
- Pursue a healthy partnership: For best results, brands should work to develop long-term relationships with their influencer partners.
7. More marketing/sales alliances elevate campaign effectiveness
Unfortunately for businesses and brands looking to create more consumer conversions, sales and marketing teams often work in their own silos, each focusing on their own unique day-to-day tasks. But while their specific tasks may be different, these teams’ ultimate goals of increasing sales align — and each often holds powerful data and insights that could help the other thrive and achieve more success. Here at Brandon, we’ve said before that sales and marketing alignment is critical to both teams’ achievement. And in 2023, we think that more businesses and brands will tap into the possibilities this strategic in-house partnership can deliver.
Brandon pro insights:
Some of the leading steps toward achieving a strong marketing/sales alliance for your brand or business include:
- Defining common terms, such as agreeing upon a shared definition of what makes for a qualified lead
- Mutually defining the teams’ common goals and strategy, with an eye toward clarifying and formalizing a trio of key metrics: lead scoring, lead-generation metrics and service level agreements
- Creating joint KPIs that the sales and marketing teams can work together to achieve, with possible examples including the creation of a target percentage for boosting lead generation within a specified timeframe or generating a set increase in deal closures during a certain time period
- Replacing the traditional sales funnel, which unfortunately tends to silo the sales and marketing teams, with a revenue cycle, which can help the teams work together to deliver more personalized attention to prospects
- Structuring the sales and marketing teams such that each has its own clearly defined, separate roles that serve key business needs (The marketing team should include roles focused on the top end of the sales funnel, such as demand generation leads, product marketers and content marketers, while the sales team should be focused on the bottom end of the funnel and driving conversions, with roles including inbound and outbound sales executives.)
- Combining strategies, workflows and communications so that all team members are on the same page when performing their daily activities and tasks, and all understand how each function of the marketing team helps accomplish sales objectives, and vice versa
- Uniting your external messaging such that customers are hearing the same terminology and being exposed to a consistent message/marketing approach from both the sales and marketing teams
- Moving forward in lockstep, recognizing that both teams share the same business goals and can achieve greater successes and increased revenues by working together
Looking to maximize the effectiveness of your brand’s marketing efforts in 2023 and beyond? At Brandon, our team of seasoned marketing professionals and certified brand strategists stays on top of all the latest marketing trends — and harnesses them and our clients’ consumer data to elevate the effectiveness and ROI of their marketing campaigns. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing efforts, contact us today.