Want the edge in 2017? Staying on top of the latest marketing trends can help catapult your events into the spotlight.
With the arrival of Generation Z as fully-fledged consumers and constant developments in technology, times are a-changing and marketers are scrambling to react.
But whether you need fresh ways to reach a new demographic or tactics to reinvigorate a jaded generation, these marketing trends promise to get your events the attention they need to thrive in the new year.
- Video content
According to a study by Cisco, by the end of 2020, video consumption is predicted to account for a staggering 75% of total mobile data traffic (it’s already responsible for more than 55% of total mobile data traffic).
More than 90% marketers agree video is important and more than two-thirds plan to increase their budgets for video content creation this year. Indeed, speaking at INBOUND 2016, HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan suggested that half of the content that marketing teams are producing in 2017 should be video.
Video and visuals are particularly important for engaging the younger generation who have embraced image-led Snapchat and Instagram as their social platforms of choice, over older social networks like Twitter, where growth has been flatlining.
The good news is that communicating with consumers through video doesn’t have to necessitate a big investment in professional video production. According to HubSpot’s Halligan, today’s buyers want short, easily consumed, informal content that feels like it has been created by real people.
This means that rather then spending thousands on a slickly produced corporate video for your event, you could create a number of ‘talking head’ videos explaining to different buyer personas why they should attend. It enables you to be a lot more personalised, which continues to be a key trend.
Meanwhile, new startup Seenit lets you turn members of your event community into a film crew. Simply select a group of people (these could be a mix of attendees/colleagues/exhibitors/bloggers) and armed with their smartphones and Seenit’s app, they’ve got everything they need to shoot and submit video.
You provide the group a list of shots you want for your video, such as highlights of the keynote speech or people networking, and it becomes something of a scavenger hunt. How you choose to reward your contributors is up to you. Seenit also offers a community of editors to put the footage together, giving you an authentic, user-generated promotional video for not a lot of money.
While traditional advertising will always have its place, finding individual brand advocates to shout about your event will become increasingly important this year.
According to Inc. 84% of marketers plan on launching at least one influencer campaign within the next 12 months.
Influencer marketing is on the rise because people tend to trust recommendations from those they see as thought leaders. Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Influence-Central, tells Forbes: “We find ourselves awash with more information than has ever been available to us as humans, and we simply can’t process it
“As a result, we’ve increasingly come to rely not just on curated information, but on the people we most trust to curate this information for us in a way that resonates with our lifestyle, interests, and values. In 2017, consumers will be on a mission to find peer specialists with niche expertise to filter recommendations that meet their needs in a customised way.”
However, the key to successful influencer marketing is authenticity – organisers need to work with influencers who genuinely believe in their event, and can pass that trust on to consumers.
The first step is to identify your event’s natural advocates and look at ways you can collaborate. Proposing ideas which increase that individual’s influence, such as talking at your event or attending an exclusive networking session, rather than purely offering them money, is the foundation for authentic influencer collaboration.
- Mobile messaging
Text messaging might seem like an out-dated marketing communication tool but SMS is actually the UK’s fastest growing marketing channel, with savvy businesses making it a key part of the mix.
The reason is simple – it’s a vastly under utilised channel and enables businesses to cut through the noise of consumers’ email inboxes and Facebook feeds to put offers and updates straight in their pockets.
According to Textlocal, 98% of text messages are opened and 90% of them are read within the first three minutes – better stats than any other marketing channel.
What’s more, research by mobilesquared reveals that 33.67 million mobile users in the UK have opted in to receive text messages from brands and businesses in 2016 – a figure which accounts for 65% of mobile users aged 18 plus, or 52% of the total population. A further 15 million people are expected to opt-in to receive branded and business communications over the next four years.
In fact, according to OpenMarket, 76% of Millennials prefer to receive texts from companies because they see them as more convenient and less disruptive.
It’s not just about simple text messaging, the versatility of modern SMS marketing means event organisers can send customers personalised messages with links, attachments, vouchers, tickets, videos and surveys, and easily track engagement.
- Mobile first
Since more searches now come from mobile devices than desktops, Google is rolling out a mobile-first index. This means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users.
For those with separate mobile and desktops sites this could cause a problem. You’ll need to ensure all of the content on your mobile site matches up with what users can find on your desktop site and that you don’t simply offer a stripped back version – otherwise you’ll be penalised. Optimising sites for ‘mobile first’ will therefore be a priority for marketers in 2017.
- Virtual reality
The global market for VR software and hardware is projected to reach $22.4 billion by 2020.
With widespread consumer adoption of VR headsets expected to begin this year, consumer demand for content on these platforms will dramatically increase. For marketers, this means VR will become another channel to reach audiences on.
We’re already seeing the possibilities; to promote its involvement with The Wimbledon Championships, Jaguar created a VR experience for tennis fans to ‘fly’ into Centre Court and ‘feel’ what it would be like to be current British Champion Andy Murray stepping on to the historic court (watch below).
Meanwhile, Rum brand Havana Club fused a real life pop-up bar with a full-sensory VR experience. Attendees were invited into a storeroom to put on a headset. The storeroom was recreated digitally and, from this location, participants were transported back in time to 1950s Cuba.
After learning about the history of Havana Club rum and the ingredients for their famous ‘Silver Pineapple’ cocktail, they found the drink had magically appeared in front of them when they returned back to the real world. Watch the video here.
Using VR, creative marketers can offer consumers fully immersive experiences before they even step through the doors of their events – it’s the ultimate advert.
Keeping up with marketing trends means you can stay relevant to your audience and reach them in the ways they want to be reached. How many of the the above tactics will you employ in 2017? Let us know your plans!