Sunday, December 27, 2015

Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2016

In 2015, what marketers did right and where they missed the mark: 
In 2015, marketers understood the importance of mobile. We also observed increased use of videos and images too this year. 
It's said that by 2020, there will be over 5 billion internet users, with over half of them accessing the internet over handheld tablet devices and 80 billion connected devices worldwide! 
With increasing internet users & connected devices worldwide, marketers will push more content to their audience. While some marketers are already overdoing content, good quality content will triumph quantity.
"Storytelling" as a jargon has been used quite a bit  by marketers in 2015. However, not many have mastered the art of storytelling just as yet. Marketers must first understand their audience and what kind of stories they are likely to respond to. It's imperative to build the story in a brand's DNA, amongst its employees, content and finally in the marketing efforts.  
Time & budgets likely to be spent by marketers in 2016
According to Gartner. marketing budgets in 2016 are set to increase on an average to 11% of total company revenue. 
As we saw increased focus of marketers towards mobile and video, it's expected that marketers in 2016 will be $pending heavily on mobile and video. WithGoogle pushing video "micro moments", it will be interesting to see how brands will capitalize on videos. The purchase journey of a consumer has been fragmented into hundreds of micro-moments.
It's important for brands to be present in those moments with relevant, useful videos to establish brand equity and connect with their consumers. 
A study by Web Video Marketing Council says that 96% of B2B marketers are now using video marketing. 
Needless to say, content marketing is set to rise in 2016! As per the Content Marketing Institute (@CMIContent), 51% of B2B companies plan to increase spending in content marketing in the coming year. 
It's the age of data and it makes every spend accountable and measurable which implies analytics will be big in 2016. According to @brandanewco, expenditures on marketing analytics are set to rise by 60%. 
Smart Marketers will also reserve some $$ for organic/earned & engagement! 
Wearable technology & smart devices expected to gain more traction in 2016
As more people strap technology to their wrists, wearable devices are set to become powerful platforms for customer engagement. Wearable devices will give marketers an opportunity to analyse habits, attitudes & behaviour patterns to better serve consumers. 
Healthcare industry will be one of biggest beneficiary of wearables in my opinion. 
A report by @McKinseyDigital states that wearables are set to become $11 trillion market!  
Evolution of Paid v/s Organic 
Convergence of earned, paid and owned media will remain the sweet spot for marketers. Smart marketers will find the right balance between the three that will work for their customers. 
While it is said that paid is taking over organic growth, I believe in the long term organic growth helps build trust and loyalty with the customers and eventually lead to sales. A paid campaign can get you more eyeballs, but organic still has a long tail!  
So, what are your marketing trends and predictions for 2016? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Note: This topic was discussed during the #SocialPowWow Twitter chat and the full transcript can be read here: 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Role of a Community Manager

I often come across people who think the role of a community manager is to manage the social networks of a company/brand! Little do they realize that the role of a community manager goes way beyond managing social networks of a company/brand. 
Community manager is the "human" behind the brand who talks to its audience online.
That doesn't mean their role is restricted to posting updates & engaging with the audience on various social platforms. 
An informed community manager:
  • Uses social listening & analytic tools to track conversations around the brand & industry
  • The analysis of such conversations can help businesses take informed decisions for their content or marketing strategy
  • Ensures that the community grows and stays vibrant; makes new members feel at home and enforces rules of engagement
  • Creates a platform of conversation to help marketers engage with desired target audiences
  • Helps build relationships within the community and between the company and community. Some community managers plan events, run forums and more
Strengthen relationship beyond a virtual handshake
A community manager strengthens relationship with it's audience/customers beyond a virtual handshake. Listening and responding genuinely plays a big part in strengthening relationships. We strive to deepen relationships one-on-one as we're so grateful for each customer and friend. It's important for a community manager to be personable and not just act like a machine responding to its customers/audience.
It's so great when a company can "come to the rescue" in times of frustration
Surprise & delight the community
It's imperative for a community manager to go beyond the screen! A simple 'Thank You' note is more powerful than just connecting virtually. Such initiatives cement a brand's place in people's mind and are shared & treasured by all! Surprise and delight is all about strengthening the one-on-one interactions with intangible ROI. 
While a community manager does all the above to manage and build a strong community, a company's values also contribute to the well-being of a community.  
If you have a culture of collaboration, your company will succeed for better. 
Managing a community, keeping them engaged, surprising & delighting them at all times isn't an easy task. Community managers face challenges in their roleto create a close knitted and strong community: 
  • Time management - is the biggest problem for community managers. Not only do they manage the brand pages but also listen to what their fans and followers have to say about them. Solid listening tools can help ensure that the community manager is able to respond to all the great mentions. It can help to have different team members "own" different areas/platforms so they ensure all mentions are covered
  • Content strategy - community managers have to prepare content that appeals to various segments of audiences, creating unmatched value proposition for all 
Trust your intuition and be yourself while building a community.  Take the time to invest in one-on-one relationships by listening, responding, sending gifts (of any kind!). Continue to care & share, tweet by tweet & post by post! 
Note: This topic was discussed during the #SocialPowWow Twitter chat and the full transcript can be read here: 

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Power of Community Building & How it can Benefit your Business

A community is real or virtual place where everyone with similar thoughts come together to discuss about a subject they are passionate about. Communities share their ideas, experiences and learn from each other on an on-going basis. An online community is a group of people with similar goals, interests, passion to connect & exchange information digitally. Thanks to social media that communities aren't restricted geographically anymore but are now global!
Build community with a purpose
Community building starts by understanding the needs and wants of your community. Who, why, what? Take time to understand who you will connect with & who is connecting with you already AND why you are building a community. 
Find that common thread of interest & bring them on a platform that lets them contribute to it effectively! Once you really know who your community is, you can begin to think about how you can benefit one another.
Importance of community building for your business 
Every business needs a community. Advocacy is key purpose for marketers; one of the most potent long term goals attained via community building! 
Those who regularly interact with a brand are the ones who share and spread content, recommend your brand and are repeat customers. When you invest in your community, you invest in the future and are ready to build a better business together.
Powerful community have positive impact on your business
Brands + communities have the power to bring change together and make positive ripples in this world together! It is the first defensible asset if something goes wrong. A powerful community will ALWAYS stand by you. 
Communities definitely impact your bottom line with word or mouth. Give them something to love you for, make it positive!
It spreads your word around, protects you when you're facing crisis, becomes a sources of ideas and content.
So start building your community today if you haven't yet! 
Note: This topic was discussed during the #SocialPowWow Twitter chat and the full transcript can be read here: