If you want your digital marketing strategy to succeed, it’s important to keep track of the latest trends in consumer behaviour and the world of online marketing. Not only does this help you keep in touch with what’s new and give you some inspiration for your campaigns, but it also keeps you in touch with what consumers are looking for in a brand or business. Here are some of the latest trends you should be aware of.
#1 – Data Privacy and Ethics
Data privacy is fast becoming a mainstream concern for consumers. Earlier this year, a change in WhatsApp’s data policy saw a surge in movement towards messaging platforms that consumers felt were more secure. Signal, a competitor, was downloaded 17.8 million times between January 5 and January 12 alone. Of course, there is a lot of misunderstanding about how data is used and what data is safe for consumers to put out there, but the bottom line is that people want to know that businesses are keeping their data secure and that they are using it ethically.
Businesses need to be open about how they are protecting their consumers, what data they use and when, and show that they actually care about the privacy of their consumers.
#2 – Meaningful Sustainability Gains Ground
As consumers, we’ve become more aware of our own impact on the environment and people around us – and the pressure is on for businesses and industries to join the sustainability movement. Search terms like ‘local food’, ‘veganism’ and ‘sustainable’ are trending on Google’s algorithm, and consumers are increasingly savvy about the ecological and societal impact of a consumer society.
Becoming part of this trend as a sustainable company can be incredibly rewarding. Many sustainability measures help to save significantly on operating costs, and there is such a wide scope of sustainability measures (from using solar power and saving water to using ethical suppliers and packaging) that there are accessible, impactful solutions for every business, large and small. Everything you do will help make the world a better place – and your consumers will support you for it.
But be aware – this should not be a superficial publicity stunt. Consumer awareness on these issues is high and it’s passionate, and the last thing you want is to be called out for simply paying lip service.
#3 – Simple, Accessible Marketing Automation
Marketing automation helps make the process of managing your campaign and communicating with your target audience simple, personal and effective, saving time on repetitious administrative tasks. It’s utilised in Facebook and Instagram social media advertising campaigns, as well as email marketing campaigns. But it has to be done right. This means developing an effective sales funnel, writing up professional content that reflects your business, it’s offering and values, and – importantly – putting consumer trust first.
Because marketing automation utilises consumer data, this information has to be treated with respect and a high level of ethical responsibility. Be transparent with your audience and tell them how you are using their data in your marketing automation process – emphasise that this is about customer service and communication, and give them the ability to opt out easily.
#4 – Social Media as a Purchasing Platform
Social media and retail have always had a strong relationship, but it was primarily based on helping people discover businesses and their offerings, channelling them to the store or website to make the actual purchase. Thanks to improved functionality, however, social media platforms are becoming a place where you can have your online store, not just advertise it.
Facebook, Instagram and even SnapChat have great functionality for this, and are ideally suited to small and medium-sized businesses. With our increasing reliance on our smartphones and more remote lives, social commerce is booming – quickly becoming a rival to traditional ecommerce. According to research, Generation Z spends 2-3 times more shopping over social media than the average consumer. The reason for this trend rising so quickly and so powerfully is clear – it’s all about the seamless online experience, allowing all your shopping needs to be instantly met right where you discover them.
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