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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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6 Things That Can Undermine Your Small Business

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business success

It’s not easy running a small business, as anyone who has undertaken that challenge can attest to. You need to work harder than the bigger companies around you, with a smaller budget and a smaller team. However, while there are plenty of external aspects that can make it difficult to build success, sometimes the damage happens internally, too. Many small business owners end up inadvertently undermining their business, without realizing it. Below, we take a look at some of the more common mistakes that company owners make, as well as provide some tips on how to overcome them. 

Jack of all Trades

You might know that you’re a small, one-person operation, but there’s little value in shouting it from the rooftops. Your customers don’t need to know that, or at least not from their very first interaction with you. It just doesn’t always look so great if a person is the receptionist, accountant, support person, and expert in the company. If you’re handing out business cards, put your name and your main role as the title. You may also consider outsourcing your receptionist duties to another company. Both these things will make your small venture look bigger than it really is.

A Bad Employee

However, it’s not as if you’re out of the woods just because you’ve got a team of staff. The more people that you add, the more potential there is for something unprofessional to occur; at least when it’s just you, you’re aware of what’s going on. Because of the impact that your employees can have, it’s really important that you take steps to develop a robust hiring policy, one that’ll lead to professional and courteous employees coming on board. Don’t forget: everyone at your company has the potential to undermine your professionalism. 

Inconsistent Branding

It’s important that you’re firing on all cylinders if you’re going to make the most of your business. As we said earlier, you’ll be competing against bigger companies, so there’s little margin for error. In your quest to deliver your best, your branding will be key. If you get this aspect of your business right, then you’ll appear much larger than you really are. However, in many cases, business owners don’t take their branding as seriously as they should, and it shows. The message and the visuals used to portray that message can be used inconsistently. As such, it’s recommended that you use a Corporate Identity Management platform, which will help ensure that all your visual assets are used correctly. Ultimately, it’s all about creating a solid image of your business in the eyes of your potential customers.

Lack of Updates

You might have worked hard to develop an excellent website when you first got your business up and running, but alas, it’s not as if you can just sit back and enjoy your work. If your business is going to stay relevant, then it needs to be updated. This doesn’t mean changing everything; it just means showing that the website is actively managed, rather than dormant. You could have a blog, for example, or slightly change your design to match whatever is happening seasonally (such as Christmas or Halloween). The same principle applies to your social media channels. They can be excellent tools for your business, but only if there are regular updates. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a company’s Facebook or Twitter page that hasn’t been updated in months. It can make people doubt if the company is still in operation.

Untidy Environments

So far, we’ve talked about the things that you pump out into the world, such as your website and branding and so on. But from time to time, you may find that you have visitors to your work premises. This is another area where things can be undermined, so it’s important to look at your environment and ask some questions, such as: is it tidy? Does it reflect your company well? Is there anything that would give someone an unfavorable impression of our business? People do, rightly or wrongly, make snap judgements about, well, everything. If your offices fall short in any way, then it could be a mark against your business. 

Suppliers and Practices

Finally, it’s always worth interrogating your working practices to ensure they’re in line with modern standards and expectations. If they’re not — say, you’re using practices that harm the environment and/or people — then there could be a backlash. It pays to have an ear to the ground and move as times change.

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One-click home cinema: benefits of watching movies online

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Movie with Friends

For years the cinema has been one of the most popular entertainment activities for people, a satisfying activity and ideal for a moment of leisure, relaxation and distraction. Movies have not gone out of style and continue to be the most popular entertainment option in the world. Over time, this has not changed, only that it has been presented in different forms, increasingly accessible to more people, and with broader content to satisfy all tastes. There are many ways to watch movies comfortably, and that adapts to different circumstances. Technology has been part of change to meet new user demands.

This practice has changed over the years, in the beginning it was necessary to go to a theatre or cinemas to see a film, then began to appear the shops, also known as video clubs, in which you could rent the films of your preference for a certain period of time, so that the cinema not only became more accessible to everyone, but also allowed you to enjoy it from the comfort of your home. 

With the internet revolution, we gave way to the possibility of transmitting movies online with the creation of web pages and streaming services both paid and free, that took to the next level the enjoyment of movies, series and documentaries. 

Although there are popular streaming or video-on-demand services, they have a series of disadvantages, among which the limited catalogue of films, series and documentaries stands out. However, on the Internet it is possible to access free of charge a wide range of audiovisual content of quality as well as preference and according to the taste of each user, thanks to websites such as 123movies, which allow you to bring entertainment to your home.

These modalities give you the option of not only spending time with family or friends, but also allow you to enjoy your favourite movies when and where you want, as well as follows series at your own pace without having to be aware of schedules and programming on your television, is an option that has certainly adapted to the tastes and needs of each person. This is the possibility of enjoying good quality content from any electronic device with Internet access, that is, you can access it from your computer, tablet or Smartphone. 

With all the comforts of home 

While going to a cinema to see the premiere of a movie you’ve been waiting for months can be a unique experience, it can also be exhausting, expensive and annoying, especially if it’s a highly publicized movie, because you’ll have to deal with long lines and live with the anguish that tickets may run out before you can buy them. 

You may also have to deal with uncomfortable situations such as rooms full of noisy people, fans who love spoilers and even children crying, all situations that may ruin your experience, which is not the case when watching movies online from home. 

No subscription required 

As mentioned above, there are several streaming and video-on-demand platforms on the Internet; however, in order to access this content they require a subscription, which not only limits access to this content but also requires a monthly payment that usually further limits the time in which each user can enjoy this content. 

With the websites available to watch movies online. Access the content of your choice without having to spend a significant amount of money, as well as the possibility of enjoying it at any time of day and place, since it is only necessary to have an internet connection. And even, many of these sites offer the possibility of downloading the content of preference and high resolution.

Availability in all genres

One of the great benefits of these websites is that most have a content organization system that is easy and simple to use. In which not only are located according to the most recent releases, but can also be viewed according to gender preference, allowing filtering the content according to personal interest and tastes. 

Also, it is increasingly possible to access the latest high resolution releases more quickly, so it is no longer necessary to wait months or even years to see them from home or wait to have some free time and extra money to go see them in theatres. 

One of the concerns when using the Internet is to enter fraudulent websites that can represent a risk to the life of your electronic devices. Fortunately, there are several reliable websites not pose any risk to your electronic devices.

The reality is that more and more people are turning to the online options available to them for various activities, whether for work or entertainment and watching movies online is just one of those. The advantages of this modality are infinite.  There is nothing like enjoying a quiet afternoon from the comfort of your home. 

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Little money savings around the globe

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Discounts Shopping

Nowadays, most families around the world struggle with their household economy. Thankfully, most grocery stores are aware of this and offer occasional sales. By comparing different stores flyers, you can hunting for the lowest prices out there. This will help you save money in a really easy way.

Finding the best discounts in the US

Many stores offer different discounts you can benefit from all across the United States. Multiple shops across the country hold weekly discounts on their products. You can find discounts on all sorts of items, from food to electronic equipment. The best way to keep up to date with those small sales is by regularly keeping an eye on the store’s flyers.

You can find discounts on products like the following:

  • Automotive discounts: Companies like Toyota, Chevrolet or Ford are the ones with a bigger number of sales along the year. The discounts these companies offer range from cars to automobile products like motor oil. 
  • Department and Grocery Stores discounts: these type of discounts are the ones that benefit families more directly. Companies like Dollar General, Club foods, Family Dollar and Hannaford. It only takes a quick look to the Hannaford flyer this week to find discounts on products we use on a daily basis, such as ice cream or potato chips.
  • Home and Garden discounts: companies like Menards or Crate & Barrel offer many discounts in home appliances, furnitures and garden apparels, so you can make your house a gorgeous makeover for a cheaper price.

Some other sectors that tend to hold sales across the United States in a less regular basis but that you should definitely check out are the ones related with babies and children products, the clothing sector, the pharmaceutical sector, the electronic sector, the furniture sector, etc. 

Saving money in the UK

Residents on the United Kingdom can also rejoice. Companies offer all sorts of sales all across the country, so families there also get their chance to save money. After all, every extra pound does count at the end of the month. If we check the British flyers, we find that the bigger discounts you can find are usually in the following sectors:

  • Automotive discounts: companies like BMW and Toyota are the ones that offer a bigger number of sales on UK soil. They generally offer discounts on a wide range of vehicles, mostly cars or motorcycles. 
  • Home and garden discounts: we can find a big number of discounts on products like home apparel or outside furniture from companies like Homebase or H&Q. If you are looking to do some reforms on your household, you definitely should check flyers beforehand so you do not miss out on any good deals.
  • Hypermarkets and Supermarkets discounts: there are many discounts available for products our families use and purchase on a regular basis from those sort of stores. In the United Kingdom, the company that features a bigger selection of sales in their products is Lidl. A quick look to the Lidl leaflet this week in uk is enough to find discounts on products like desserts or electronic devices. 

If you look carefully enough, you will also be able to find discounts on products like kid items, clothing or perfumes all around the country.

Canadian store sales

Canada is a country that also get its fair share of sales. Families across Canada enjoy many sales, but the products where we can find the bigger amount of discounts offers are:

  • Department and Grocery Stores discounts: we can find a big amount of discounts on products regularly used by our families from the hand of companies like Longo’s, Walmart or Giant Tiger. If we check the Giant Tiger flyer in Canada, we can see that it offer a lot of discounts on products we use regularly at home, like juice or bread. 
  • Automotive discounts: companies like Volkswagen or Princess Auto are the ones that offer a bigger number of automotive discounts in Canada. You can find discounts on everything, from car apparels like a Oil Change Dispos-Kit to offers on vehicles sales.

If you live in Canada, you can also find a big number of discounts on products such as furniture, sport supplies, etc.

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