Marketing Strategy is a broad term that focuses on how you will put your business in a position where you want to dominate your niche. Planning your marketing strategy for the upcoming 2020 is a perfect head start for your business. The Weekly Trends magazine invited some of the experts who are doing this in their own business or as an expert in this industry. We asked these experts as to what Marketing Strategy will dominate in the upcoming year.
Marketing Strategy to Focus on this Upcoming 2020.
In 2020, your business website should be part of your main marketing strategy to win your target business industry. Year by year, the internet increases their speed and connection targeting not just a person who is using the internet directly, but also those who are integrating the internet in their home and office space. Having a business website is an edge in your business considering that most of the people nowadays are using the internet in all transactions. Things like design, user experience (UX), speed, ranking, content, optimization, and your website’s authority are some of the checklists for you to consider on your website.
Contributor: Barjunaid Cadir
Bio: Barjunaid Cadir is a Freelance Writer, Web Developer, SEO Content Manager, LinkedIn Specialist, and a University Researcher at Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey. Founder of The Weekly Trends Magazine and owner of Remote Lad agency.
Audience Insights-Based Strategy
Go explore your audience, find out something interesting about how they engage with your brand/product/vertical, and then build a whole marketing strategy around it. If you’re a fast-food retailer and you learn that soccer moms in your market have time to kill between games and practice, build a snack promotion around that hour. If you sell travel experiences and learn that most of your audience has use-it-or-lose-it travel day policies with their employers, develop targeted digital ad campaigns a few months before end-of-fiscals. Learning about the nuances of your audience will definitely give you a huge edge in 2020 as consumers seek more engaging and personalized brand experiences.
Contributor: Matt Seltzer
Bio: Matt Seltzer owns S2 Research, a Market Research and Strategy Consulting firm. He’s spent the last 15 years conducting complex market research and creating award-winning marketing campaigns, working at ad agencies and brands across travel and tourism, gaming, hospitality, consumer goods and services, for-profit education and commercial real estate. He holds degrees and certifications in marketing, organizational psychology, data analysis, and data visualization.
Personal Connection Marketing
There is an online marketing and real estate crisis happening right now. Corporations are buying up online real estate, competition has never been higher, and everyone is starting an online business. The marketplace is saturated. People are desensitized and they are more separated and isolated. Marketing experts say more ads and more automation but that is not sustainable. In 2020, the way through this to the other side — so the pendulum can swing back in the other direction — is to create more human connection in the digital world and my feeling is that we can do that best through video.
Video is the most effective way to create a human connection in a digital world. What you see is what you get — the energy, the transparency, the love, and the vulnerability. Everything that you put forward in the video is going to make people feel something in a way that text or audio alone can’t anymore. You can use video to guide people through their customer journey on your website and social media platforms, all while developing a personal relationship and attracting the right type of customers.
Between your customer journey and integrating video everywhere, that is going to catapult you forward into attracting and converting qualified buyers with your website.
Contributor: Amber Vilhauer
Bio: Amber Vilhauer is an online digital marketing expert who supports authors, speakers, and coaches to establish a powerful, integrated online presence that gets results and empowers them to make a difference in their industry. She supports entrepreneurs through branding & website development, done-for-you online marketing, and bestseller book launches.
Let’s imagine that a tech startup is preparing an initiative with several partners in the SaaS community to include each other in their marketing efforts. Then every move they make has an amplified effect. For example, if the startup’s team is writing a guest post, they’re going to mention several partners so that they can get extra exposure and backlinks. At the same time, partners will return the favor so that for each guest post (or a roundup entry, interview, etc.) the startup will get 4-5 mentions and links instead of just one. It’s a great way to get more for less and make excellent marketing advancements on a shoestring budget.
Contributor: Carsten Schaefer
Bio: Carsten Schaefer is the founder and CEO of crowdy.ai, a set of social proof and notification tools. Inspired by principles and mechanisms of social proof, Carsten is currently on his way to help businesses become trustworthy and thrive in the digital landscape.
Artificial Intelligence – Powered Chatbots
Using artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots interact with customers via instant messaging. Customers enjoy their personalized support, while businesses save time and money. Chatbots are the new and modern customer support assistants. They answer questions and resolve issues within seconds. Chatbots learn more about you as you share more information with them. The banking and pharmaceutical industries rely heavily on chatbots to look after small tasks and answer repetitive questions.
Artificial intelligence will push customer service into a new age. AI is at the heart of this new chatbot trends. It analyzes consumers’ search patterns and pulls information from social media channels to better “train” the chatbot. This also assists brands in understanding how to better serve their customers.
Contributor: Nedelina Payaneva
Bio: Nedelina Payaneva is a marketing specialist at Asian Absolute for more than two years. Holder of a degree in Advertising and Marketing, Nedelina’s career before Asian Absolute saw her managing the web presence of a global brand of full-service hotels and resorts. This role was a natural fit for Nedelina, a passionate marketer who has interests in marketing, traveling, and languages.
The Power of Influence – Leading Marketing Strategy with Customers First
In 2020, the best marketing strategies will shift from simply using influencers and social media marketing channels to push out information to utilizing customers as the ultimate influencer powerhouse.
While the marketing world and the way customers interact brands are constantly changing, the power of word of mouth marketing never seems to desist. The best-laid plans will incorporate real, authentic customer stories and brand ambassadors to build a powerhouse community of voices who share your story for you. Consumers are looking for authenticity and real conversations with brands, and who better to help tell this story than trusted customers and brand ambassadors?
This flips the script on the traditional model of marketing where businesses simply push out their brand message to the audience, often paying to get in front of the right people, and brings customers to the front of the conversation. With insights from data, social media and influencer marketing continually on the rise, bringing a refreshing realness to your marketing will be the strategy needed to break through the crowds and build trust with new audiences.
Contributor: Meg Prejzner
Bio: Meg Prejzner brings proven marketing strategies to life drawing from more than 10 years of experience working with Fortune 50 enterprises, international organizations, national franchise brands and small businesses alike. Now, Meg is the CEO and Founder of Hackett Brand Consulting, where she helps businesses build brand and marketing strategies and teaches them how to apply those strategies to business to drive real, measurable results.
Influencers online can create honest, genuine recommendations for your brand in its content. Whether they’re reviewing one of your products or using your products to create a tutorial, influencers can create content that will get the word out about your brand.
Influencer marketing is also set to grow by billions of dollars, so your brand could be at the forefront of explosive growth in this type of marketing. When working with influencers, your brand can send products to influencers in exchange for content. The influencers can then share giveaways, reviews, unboxings, tutorials, or anything they like with the products that you’ve sent. They’ll link to your brand’s website and generate traffic for your site. It is a really simple concept that can yield big results for your brand!
Contributor: Sarah Donawerth
Bio: Sarah Donawerth is the content manager at Carro. Rated #1 influencer marketing app on Shopify, Carro helps you discover all the influencers who already love your brand!
For businesses that rely on leads to sell products and services (like a car dealership, a general contractor, or a cosmetic dentist), generating leads is very important, BUT how you handle and manage leads should be your number 1 priority heading into 2020 and beyond. This is where most agencies fall flat and most businesses/ business owners are in the dark. Just because someone calls your business or submits their info from an online form, it does not mean they are ready to buy right now. Sadly most businesses think the opposite way. By incorporating a strategy that is part automated with well written emails and texts, and part organic with real people engaging the prospect in a way that allows the phone consultant to get on the prospect’s page and understand their needs, a business will be able to turn far more leads into appointments that now have a greater chance of closing.
Contributor: Todd Friedman
Bio: Todd Friedman is a former exotic sports car mechanic turned digital marketing agency owner. Todd brings the attention to detail and problem-solving skills he learned while turning a wrench on some of the most complex and expensive vehicles in the world to the table when working with his clients on their marketing. www.kiralymarketing.com
Client Outreach Marketing
The key to a successful business is a happy client who shares their positive experience with others and is a return client. In 2020 I will focus at least 50% of my marketing budget on maintaining and building relationships with past clients through quarterly client appreciation events, recognition of birthdays and anniversaries, and reaching out with a personal call or visit at least quarterly. I will reflect genuineness in all of my interactions as I am truly appreciative of their business. My business thrives on referrals and repeating clients. So it makes sense that I would focus on nurturing my client base.
Contributor: Robyn Flint
Bio: Robyn Flint is an insurance specialist at ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and is a founding owner of a real estate rehab company. She is also a licensed realtor, freelance writer, published author, and owner of a direct sales business.
I have spent much of my marketing career working for world-class brands including Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola. A brand is a promise in the hearts & minds of your customer of a consistent experience. You know when you walk into a Starbucks or McDonald’s and you order a Frappuccino or Big Mac exactly what you are getting whether you are in Omaha, Santa Fe or Boston. It will be the same everywhere and that is comforting and reassuring. Brands deliver promises, they will be there as promised. We have come to expect that and it makes us happy. It is important for a company to own specific real estate in its customers’ brains so that when they need that specific product or service they know exactly where to go to find it. Brands help you stand out from your competition. Without a brand, you are a commodity so you have to compete on price. A brand is what makes you visible and considered by customers.
I prefer books by practitioners because they are more relevant and have current examples from pop culture vs. theories based on research. It is easy enough to google the 5Ps and 4Cs to get the textbook info you need so here are the books I recommend:
Anything by Seth Godin especially Purple Cow shows you how to stand out and be remarkable, Permission Marketing the subtitle says it all, it teaches you how to turn strangers into friends and friends into customers, Unleashing the idea Virus is the bible on the power of the customer and how ideas spread and become viral, Small is the New Big is a collection of his most popular blog posts and articles, a treasure trove of insights here.
Anything by Malcolm Gladwell, especially The Tipping Point, teaches you the power of connectors and how finding the influencers will help your ideas grow, Outliers shows you the power of discipline, anyone can practice and get better, no one is born successful it shows how random things like your birth date can influence your accomplishments, Blink shows how we make irrational decisions unconsciously so once you are aware you can make better decisions, you can change your unconscious attitude by meeting new people and embarking on new adventures.
Anything by David Meerman Scott another real-world practitioner who has lived the job from the front line and knows where things can break down, starting with Real-Time Marketing and the New Rules of Marketing. These are all branding masters who share their experiences and lessons learned.
Contributor: Paige Arnof-Fenn
Bio: Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens & Moguls based in Cambridge, MA. Her clients include Microsoft, Virgin, The New York Times Company, Colgate, venture-backed startups as well as non-profit organizations. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. Paige is a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.
Brand enablement (Branding) is a strategy that proactively ensures a strong brand personality, identity, and voice through every customer touchpoint. The core philosophy behind brand enablement is ensuring that every interaction with your brand is a good one. That can be difficult to achieve in reality, because there are hundreds of ways your brand is exposed and distributed in today’s world. Marketing is often responsible for the distribution of assets and so the best way to protect the brand is to centralize all outbound collateral. The centralization of content acts as not only a convenient repository for marketing, sales, and other teams, but also can come with workflows and rules to make sure branding standards are in place before distribution.
Brands are strongly tied to the company’s values and if the outbound efforts of marketing are misplaced then the values of the company will be misplaced as well. The value of a brand is sometimes difficult to measure, but the strategies behind brand enablement can be an easy win. We can all think of a time when a company has taken a wrong turn and the value of that company plummets. The realization of the value of the brand becomes so clear at the moment of its steep decline when it might not have been known before. Why is that?
The power of a brand grows over time. It is both a prerequisite and a culmination of a strong company. As a company’s brand grows, every aspect of the business improves. Revenue may increase because the awareness of the brand is strong, retention of customers is high because consumers give allegiance to companies they align with, and the presence of a strong brand can demonstrate control in a market. It takes years to get to a point where a brand can hold this much influence. Unfortunately, a single event can bring it crashing down and that’s why the value is evident after such a collapse.
Small businesses or startups benefit in a lot of ways because their brands have a clean slate. The most important thing they can do is to establish branding goals and organize a team to protect the brand. However, the main challenge small companies face is getting their name into the market and that struggle will only intensify if branding is inconsistent. Getting buy-in from the executive team and having them be aligned on the company’s branding goals is a major step in the right direction. Once that understanding is set, implementing processes will be easier and more efficient. A Digital Asset Management system is an easy way to implement brand enablement and help protect the brand – and having a DAM system is as valuable for a small company or a large enterprise. The scale of usage changes, but the core issues it solves for does not.
Contributor: Matt Roberts
Bio: Matt Roberts is the VP of Marketing at MarcomCentral, a modern digital asset management company. He’s spent his career consulting for startups and now oversees marketing efforts for B2B SaaS companies. Matt focuses on building marketing teams that produce results and have fun while they’re doing it. When he’s not at work, Matt is an accomplished triathlete having qualified for the 2020 World Championships in New Zealand. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife and three boys in San Diego.
A podcast is a form of media where consumers can download audio in the context of a show. Think a morning talk show centered around a specific topic you can listen to through Apple Podcasts, GooglePlay, or Stitcher Radio.
Marketing is all about meeting your customers where they are and providing a content experience that caters to their wants and needs. This is why podcasting needs to be a part of your 2020 marketing strategy. Podcasting gives your business the opportunity to do the following things: provide your value to your customers, provide the value of guests to your customers, and really hammer down on your brand’s message and promise. Podcasting is a unique opportunity to literally get in the head of your customers, for an extended amount of time, where you can control the narrative. It’s their perfect marketing medium!
Some tips to get started podcasting would be to use the tools you already have access to because you probably have more free tools than you think. Use your laptop or smartphone to collect the audio, interview guests that can provide value to your audience, and be sure and use a reoccurring intro. Another great tip is to utilize a distribution tool that can get your podcast on all the big platforms. We prefer the Libsyn. It will place your podcast in Apple Podcasts, YouTube, SoundCloud, GooglePlay, and more! Remember, the key is to make sure your Podcast can easily access it.
Every organization from a personal brand to the biggest international conglomerates has an audience. That audience is most likely outward-facing, but it can also be internal employees. Podcasts can be used to introduce yourself to new prospects, increase brand reach, solidly a message, or even to enhance company culture for internal podcasts. The trick is to define a theme or goal for the show and stick to it.
Our favorite tool is by far Libsyn. Libsyn will place your podcast in the top download platforms, provide embed codes to place the podcast on all of your web properties, and haze some incredible reporting tools. Find out who’s listening, how much, and track the success of your show.
Contributor: Christopher James Foust
Bio: Christopher James Foust has over 13 years in high-end marketing & branding, working with brands in the entertainment, healthcare, and fitness industries. He has a passion for building teams, promoting inner company culture, and helping brands turn their employees into brand advocates. https://motuscreativegroup.com
Podcasts offer brands a unique opportunity to get in front of a hyper-targeted audience. With over 750,000 shows available in 155 counties and 100+ languages, podcast advertising reach is wider than ever before.”
“Podcast listeners are vastly unique. The podcasting industry refers to listeners as the ‘unreachable’ audience because regular listeners are generally less exposed to TV ads. A 2018 study done by Deloitte showed that podcast listeners user ad blockers and opt-in to pay more for subscription services, like Hulu Plus, in order to avoid ads altogether. Furthermore, according to Edison Research, about 54% of podcast listeners say they’re more likely to consider purchasing a product they heard about on a podcast and about 67% report actually enjoying listening to the ad. And while the research is interesting, our own experience suggests that despite the fact that we’re asking a lot more from podcast listeners (active listening, remembering, acting on the message), when targeted correctly, podcast listeners really are more engaged with ads they hear about from podcast hosts.”
Contributor: Kat Shereko
Bio: Kat Shereko is a Content Team Lead at Portent and a Western Washington University alum. She graduated with a B.S. degree in psychology with a focus on research. She got into marketing because of her desire to understand and help improve the human experience. In addition to Content Strategy, Kat comes has a background in sales, SEO, analytics, organic/paid research, and outreach.
Customer Advocacy Program
With a customer advocacy program, your customers essentially become part of your product, marketing, and sales teams. A happy client’s referral to a colleague is often far more effective than a cold call from a marketer or salesperson. Customer advocacy programs have two parts: first, building an authentic relationship with your customers by listening to their product needs and adding the features and enhancements they are looking for in the product. The second part is to provide opportunities (and incentives) for your happy customers to tell their networks about your offering, through case studies, testimonials, reviews, etc.
As I noted, research from Gartner shows that 80 percent of a company’s future revenue will come from 20 percent of its existing customers. By tapping into this resource of existing, happy customers, your marketing campaigns gain credibility and effectiveness, the sales cycle shortens, the company builds a product based on customer needs and drives revenue.
Prospects use a wide range of sites on the internet to research and leave their feedback on products they love or hate. These channels can range from Yelp, Google, Reddit forums, big social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), to trusted third-party review sites, for example, G2 and Capterra for software reviews. You can post customer case studies that include testimonials on your own website and owned channels with links to reviews on other sites.
Contributor: Sonya Pelia
Bio: Sonya Pelia is a C-Level B2B SaaS and Enterprise Software/Hardware Marketing Executive with expertise in Product-Led Growth in SaaS startups, a strategic transformation of traditional marketing to digital marketing in hardware and software companies, and creating brand and vision for companies and CEOs. https://cirasync.com/
YouTube Influencer Marketing
I see the opportunity for baked-in ads on YouTube channels increasing in 2020. As more YouTube channels come online and grow in viewership in the next year, I see channel hosts increasingly turning to offer baked-in ads to keep their channels going and to capitalize on the income that is available to them.
YouTube hosts have something that is irreplaceable in advertising: they have the trust of their viewers. When they recommend a product, their recommendation carries weight. We have already seen a lot of success for our clients who choose to advertise on YouTube with baked-in, host-read ads. We have seen a decrease in CPA, an increase in acquisition and conversion, the addition of an engaged community of evangelists and increased brand awareness through advertising for our clients on YouTube channels. It’s exciting to watch a brand grow as a result of marketing on this growing platform, and with sizes and prices of channels varying to the extreme, it is easy to find affordable options for a wide range of budgets, from small businesses to enterprise-level corporations on the tens of thousands of channels offering sponsorship.
Contributor: Hilary Thompson
Bio: Hilary Thompson leads the Outreach team at Portent. With a background in digital marketing strategy, content strategy, journalism, and PR, she has been able to land valuable placements by nurturing relationships with top-tier publications and media outlets, boosting organic visibility and brand awareness for her clients.
Content marketing is about distributing and creating valuable, relevant content to attract traffic with the objective of driving traffic to your website. SEO is about leveraging that content so you can improve the rankings for the keywords of that content in relation to your website. By having content published on other sites, you earn links, citations, and credits for this content which in turn makes you more relevant to it and helps your rankings.
The saying “content is king” is truer now than it has ever been. Google’s focus is to match user intent with the best content available. One of the ways they evaluate what content to serve first is by establishing authorship expertise. The more you contribute content and write about your industry and offer valuable and authoritative content, the more you will be seen as an expert in your field.
Contributor: Jonathan Kelly
Bio: Jonathan Kelly serves the industry of Digital Marketer and Web development/design for 15 years.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to show up in search engine results for certain keywords. So, you can optimize one of your pages to rank high for “Christmas decorations” and you’re increasing your chances of getting valuable traffic from Google search results.
SEO is important because it’s a cost-effective way to get new customers. Simply put, a piece of optimized content will give a return on investment for months. It’s cheaper than any other form of marketing when you consider how long the effects can last if done right.
A small business or startup can take advantage of SEO if they do the proper research and do some optimization on their own. There are now quite a few tools that can help you do SEO. All it takes is some dedicated reading of SEO materials, which are mostly free.
The one site and app which I would highly recommend is Ahrefs. You can learn quite a lot about SEO and best practices on their blog, so you can get started and understand SEO at its core. Their tool is the best in the business for analyzing your website and finding opportunities for new links.
Contributor: Adam Hempenstall
Bio: Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals, simple proposal software for creating beautiful, high-impact proposals in minutes. Having helped his customers at Better Proposals win $120,000,000+ in one year only, he’s launched the first Proposal Writing University where he shares business proposal best practices.
There are two key ways brands can market on TikTok. First, from an organic marketing perspective, brands can create their own channel and share engaging, relevant content with more effects than you can currently achieve on Instagram stories. The unique aspect of TikTok, compared to other social media channels, is that its “For You” feed allows for greater discoverability resulting in the faster audience or follower growth if you are producing great content. Second, related to faster audience growth, there is a growing base of micro-influencers that are popping up on TikTok. This creates collaboration opportunities for brands with a lower price point relative to other influencer marketing on social media.
As every other social media platform has matured, the first movers on a platform reach a critical mass as far as the audience before the platform goes mainstream. That gives a significant advantage to marketers of brands who invested in a platform early. The common phrase you hear from folks right now when you ask if they’ve checked out TikTok is a fairly dismissive “I’m not 14 years old.” That type of reaction tells marketers like myself that it’s still early enough to have an early mover advantage on TikTok.
Contributor: Thomas Kutzman
Bio: Thomas Kutzman is Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Prevu, a digital home-buying platform focused on saving homebuyers money, and is responsible for the company’s marketing. Prior to Prevu, Thomas spent over a decade in financial markets focused on investing in technology companies at asset management firms and top-tier investment banks.
Balancing Offline and Digital Tactics
Small businesses need to make sure their marketing strategy is diversified and includes a variety of tactics, both in the digital world and in the real world. A great marketing strategy is all about showing up wherever your target audience is, with a clear and consistent message. Thinking you can just operate online or avoid digital marketing will hamper your growth. You need to show up and be heard and noticed as often as possible. Based on your target audience, you should test and uncover the right balance of online and offline tactics including SEO, SEM, email campaigns, direct mailers, signage, referral programs, out of home advertising, public relations, social media (paid and organic), and events (exhibiting and networking.)
This is important for small businesses who typically have smaller marketing budgets. With the growing noise of digital channels, it is becoming harder and harder – and more and more expensive – to stand out in the noise. We hear about digital marketing all of the time, so it can be easy to focus there, but offline channels require less expertise to master and can be much less expensive.
The exact right balance of offline and online tactics will depend on the type of products or services you offer and your target audience. Talk with your best clients – or if you are really just starting out, your ideal customers – and find out where they spend their time. Where do they go to find out about new providers? Do they listen to certain podcasts or read specific publications? Do they attend events or belong to associations? Do they rely primarily on friends or review sites for recommendations? Ask what channels are most effective, take your best guess at how to divide your budget among the top options, and then track and refine over time… cutting out underperforming channels and trying new ones as time and resources allow.
Contributor: Ellen Sluder
Bio: Ellen Sluder is VP of Marketing at RingBoost, the nation’s largest provider of custom phone numbers, where she oversees all brand building, marketing outreach, and lead generation activities including SEO, SEM, marketing automation, digital and content marketing, public relations, and partnership development. Ellen has worked as a consultant and in-house branding, marketing, and sales roles in a wide variety of industries including business services, aviation, healthcare, software, technology, education, data science, and non-profits. She has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Business and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.