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We’re heading for another big shake up in marketing next year (what’s new?). And now that it’s December, it’s time to roll up our collective sleeves and get stuck into the changes that will be coming our way. As always, what actually happens is going to be very different to how most of us imagine it to be. Chatbots, not people, will be talking to our customers, and marketers are going to be getting more and more invested in the ad blocking arms race as savvy consumers try to hide their personally identifiable information from businesses and governments they see as a threat.

Check out these interesting and sometimes outright weird marketing trends expected to arrive in the year ahead.

ROI Metrics Will Dominate

At the moment, companies are using things like CPMs to measure the performance of their websites. The idea is that the higher the rate of conversion on their websites, whether it’s downloads, signups, or purchases, the better. But the problem with these data is that they are very mono-dimensional. Companies aren’t able to measure what the return is on their investment very easily. After all, different conversions have different values, and converting one set of customers can be a lot more costly than converting another set.

In the coming year, it is expected by Forbes and other experts that ROI-based performance metrics will come to dominate. Companies will be able to get real-time information on how much it cost them to generate an individual conversion, as well as how much that conversion cost relative to the amount of value generated by it. This new approach will then make it easier for companies to dedicate their precious marketing dollars to those instances that will generate the highest return.

Businesses Will Uncover Dark Social

Knowing where customers came from online is important. But right now, many people are choosing to keep their identities hidden, thanks to ever-increasing intrusion on their lives by governments and to a lesser degree, companies. This has led to the widespread adoption of encrypted, private messaging apps that effectively block out the ability of businesses to collect data. The problem with this is that companies rely on knowing which channels people are coming from to optimize their marketing strategies. If for instance, they’re getting lots of traffic from Facebook, but not very much from Twitter, it doesn’t make sense to plow investment dollars into Twitter.

Next year, companies will get tools that will help them uncover the world of dark social. GetSocial.io, for instance, can help firms find out where their customers are coming from, without revealing any personally identifiable information. It’s the best of both worlds, where consumer data remains private, and where companies get the information they need to better target their marketing campaigns.

Third-Party, Social Media “Buy Buttons”

social media apps

The future of ecommerce looks surprisingly different from the present. At the moment, the paradigm is that online retailers have to have their own website to which their customers arrive and make purchases. There’s a lot of money being spent right now on these sites to make sure that they have high visibility on general search engines.

But thanks to the fact that people never seem to tire of social media, social media itself will soon become a shopping platform in its own right. Facebook and Pinterest and currently investigating ways to include buy buttons next to products or items. For Pinterest, this is a particularly interesting idea, since it is a site dedicated to hosting and organizing photographs, usually of beautiful, bespoke products. Companies wouldn’t have to invest their marketing efforts trying to improve their rank on Google; they’ll be investing in enhancing their visibility on platforms like Pinterest and making sure that they produce the most alluring photographs possible. New social media marketing is something you can learn more about at Simplilearn here.

Marketing That “Gives Back”

Customers want the brands that they consume to have a feel good element. They want to know that when they buy a product that at least some of their money will be going to a noble cause. There are all sorts of companies that are doing this already. Take Warby Parker, the online glasses seller, for instance. This company proudly promotes the fact that “for every pair purchased, a pair is distributed to someone in need.” Regular, everyday companies need to think of ways of resonating with their customer base and making them feel as if they are improving the world with every purchase.

Native Advertising

Internet users are getting more and more savvy to the marketing tactics of online advertisers, hence the growth in the use of adblockers. Next year companies will have to focus more exclusively on native advertising – advertising that is expertly weaved into the content of an article or a video. Advertisers are going to need to target bloggers and vloggers and get them to incorporate their own products in a way that adds value to consumers. People don’t want yet another banner ad promising to save them money: they want something that actively helps them to understand something or somewhere that gives them unbiased information about a product. Product reviews, as well as videos showcasing how much fun a product can be, will form the lion’s share of marketing going forward.

Yet More Market Segmentation

You might think that we’ve reached peak personalization for online marketing, but according to experts, it’s going to be going up another notch next year. Personalization means targeting advertising based on a person’s habits and preferences online. The basic idea is to give consumers only the advertising content that they want, rather than bombarding them with information that they are not interested in. In a world of information overload, this may be the only approach marketers can use to get their message to stick.

Marketing Will Become Mobile-First

mobile marketing Social media apps windows phone

Long gone are the days when the PC was the dominant platform through which people consume online content. The market has spoken, and it turns out that people prefer their mobile devices, despite the fact that they only provide a fraction of the screen real estate. This new reality means that businesses are going to have to optimize first for mobile, and then for desktop after, to make sure that they are prioritizing their experiences in the correct way. Right now, many website builders have a desktop-first approach, which will have to change as we go forward in 2017.

Chatbots Will Talk To Your Customers For You

If you’ve ever gotten interested in artificial intelligence or computer science, you’ll have heard about the Turing test. The Turing Test was a test devised by Alan Turing, the esteemed computer scientist depicted in the film The Imitation Game. It said that artificial intelligence was achieved if an expert couldn’t tell whether he or she was talking to a person or a computer.

It might surprise you to discover that we’re not far off the world that Alan Turing envisioned. Today’s chatbots are being developed by the world’s most advanced AI companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon. They’re all in a sort of arms race to build an AI that is able to chat with customers on behalf of business, find out their preferences, and feed all those data into a central repository where it can be analyzed and made use of. Chatbots, as they are called, will soon provide users with news updates on the products that they are interested in, as well as personalized responses to their queries, slashing the costs customer service in the process.

Companies Will Deliver Their Own Breaking News

Top tech companies are already making a habit of live streaming their events. You can now watch the biggest product launches, right from the comfort of your own computer as they happen in real time. As we go into 2017, live streaming technology will continue to push boundaries. For example, Instagram has now integrated its live stream option into its new “Stores” feature, meaning companies are able to keep users apprised of the very latest developments at company HQ.

Without Influencers, Companies Will Be Nowhere

We’ve already discussed just how important it will be for companies to find bloggers and vloggers who can act as hosts for their native advertising efforts. Next year, they’ll have to reach out to these influencers more than they ever did in the past. The reason for this is that people tend to trust influencers a lot more than they do the company’s own, direct marketing. Smart companies realize that to be successful, they have to reach out to influencers to gain credibility and sell their product. They need people who are seen as leaders in their own particular social field to promote, review and use their products if they are to be successful.

So there you have it – the big marketing trends to look out for next year. We haven’t even talked about things like VR or interactive content here because they are enormous topics in their own right. Suffice to say that 2017 is going to be very different – again.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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5 Ways To Find New Clients For Your Business

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If you’re looking for ways to find new clients for your business but you don’t know where to begin then don’t worry, you have definitely come to the right place. Whether you’re a new business or you’ve been in operation for years, you need to be sure you’re regularly approaching new clients that could be interested in your business. Luckily, there are lots of ways for you to do exactly that. From attending events to speaking with local businesses, you may be surprised at the things that you can do. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to find new clients for your business: 

Attend Events And Conferences (Both Online And Off)

One of the best ways to find new clietns is to attend events and conferences within your business. With everyone there to network, you will be able to speak to people when they’re open to discussing their needs as a business. Face-to-face conversation goes a long way in sales and with that, events are the perfect too. 

With the COVID-19 curently affecting the events industry negatively, online events are also a great way to meet potential clients. Although networking may be a little harder, you still have lots of opportunity to meet new clients. For a guide to events during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can visit this site here. 

Speak With Local Businesses

If you have lots of businesses in your local area and you think that they could be a potential client for your business, get out there and speak to them. Whether this means sending them an email or picking up the phone, you may be surprised at how far a quick conversation can go. 

Use Online Platforms That Help You Find Leads

Although you may not be aware of this, there are lots of online platforms that allow your to find leads. Whether you’re searching through online tenders or looking a job listning boards for freelancers, you can find a lot of your clients simply by searching the right site. For more information when it comes to online tenders, you can visit etenders here. 

Invest In A Sales Team

By investing in a sales team, you’re investing in people who can help your business make more money. It may be a scary investment to start with but by the time they start bringing new clients on board, it will be worth it. For a guide to building a sales team, you can visit this site here. 

Use Social Media To Advertise

Social media is a great way to market your business and in turn, it can bring you more clients. Although it takes a lot of work and dedication, it’s definitely worth it. 

With lots of great tips and tricks to bear in mind, you can be sure you’re doing all that you can to find new clients for your business. What else could you do? Did we miss anything off of the list? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. 

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Tips For Organizing A Successful Business Event

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It doesn’t matter your industry or the nature of your business. There will likely be a time when you’ll want to throw a business event of some sort.

It’s essential that you review the following tips before you get started planning so that all goes over smoothly. You can rest assured that your event will be a success when you start planning early and map out your tasks and set deadlines for each to-do. Remember to have fun with this project and to make a note of what didn’t go over well so you can make changes the next time around.

Assign A Planning Team

Events can give your business the competitive edge it needs to succeed. It takes a team to plan a successful business event. There’s a lot that needs to get done so avoid trying to do all the work yourself. Put one person in charge of the event, so you know who to turn to for questions and to get an update on the progress you’re making. Make sure you sit down and talk about who’s doing what so there’s no overlap.

Set A Budget

Another tip for organizing a successful business event is to set a budget and to do so right away. It’ll be helpful to know how much money you have to work with before you start to sign contracts and put down deposits. A budget will help guide your decisions and ensure you don’t spend too much. Keep your budget handy throughout the planning process so you can refer to it when you’re completing your tasks.

Choose the Right Location

Your event will be much more of a success when you pick a prime location to hold it. You must have the right size venue and ensure it fits your theme. Tour spaces and see your options before making a choice. Once you have a venue, consider hiring First Traffic Management to ensure your guests get to your event safely. Let them handle the logistics and any permits so you can focus on being a good host.

Get the Invites Out Early

Your event isn’t going to go over very well if there are no attendees. Therefore, once you secure a date, time, and location, then you should send out the invitations right away. You want to have an idea of how many guests you can expect and for the invitees to put the event on their calendars and save the date. Create a marketing plan to help drum up excitement and get the word out about your business event.

Discuss On-Site Roles & Responsibilities

The night of the event is just as important as the preparation and planning leading up to it. You’re going to want to have a staff of people who can help ensure all goes over seamlessly when it’s show time. Get your staff together and discuss roles and responsibilities so each person knows what they’re in charge of and can be useful at your business event. Talk about logistics and ensuring everyone involved has a job to do and knows how to answer any questions the guests may have.

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How to Give Your Business a Competitive Edge

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Due to the current financial climate, it is more critical than ever before for companies to stand out against their competition. The damage caused to the economy by COVID-19 has led to job losses and business closures. Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show that real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 5.0% in Q1 2020 and then dropped to 31.7% in Q2 2020. While you may not be able to control the events that caused the economic downturn, you can take steps to ensure that your business has the best chance of success and survival in these challenging times. One crucial way to protect your business for the longterm is to find ways to give your company a competitive edge. 

A competitive edge enables your business to become a major competitor in your industry and differentiates your company from the many similar businesses operating in your sector. You need your business to be the one that consumers think of first, when they have a need for the products and services that you offer, and you want them to keep coming back time and again. The question is, how do you develop a competitive edge? Read on to find out:

Differentiate Your Company From the Competition

The phrase USP or unique selling proposition is one that you would hear bandied around a lot in marketing departments in the past. Nowadays, the term USP is so well worn that it is practically overlooked. However, the importance of finding a way of differentiating your business from your competitors is a lot more than mere marketing jargon; it is an essential tool to ensure that your business stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

Ask yourself, ‘what makes my business different from the many others out there?’ Then use this to your advantage by communicating it to your customers.

Spot Opportunities

Being the first in your industry to capitalize on an innovative new trend or idea is an excellent way to edge your way ahead of the competition. To spot these opportunities, you need to be on the lookout for ideas and inspiration. A perfect way to spot opportunities that your competitors may have missed it to keep up with news from around the world by reading the international press, for example, israelnationalnews.com. Keeping up with international news will enable you to spot potential markets for your products and services and to capitalize on these opportunities.

Offer Exceptional Service

While there are many ways that you develop a competitive edge for your business, it is vital that you don’t neglect the basics. Offering exceptional customer service is crucial for keeping a step ahead of your competitors. Many consumers become frustrated when a business attempts to attract new customers while neglecting existing customers. Ensuring that both returning and new customers are offered the same level of outstanding customer service is sure to give you a significant edge over the competition.

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