Malls have started putting up their Christmas decor, people are getting stressed about clearing their leave and planning for the family holidays, retail outlets are abundant with Christmas promotions and cinemas will soon be filled with blockbusters. Yes, the end of the year is here!

Most companies would have pretty much completed their 2018 Marketing (and other department) budgets but if you haven’t, here are the six 2018 marketing trends that you should be looking out for.

  1. Video Content

A recent survey by Kantar TNS Malaysia and Google Malaysia, interestingly found Malaysians prefer watching online content daily on their mobile devices over normal broadcast TV. In fact, the average YouTube watch time of Malaysians lasts for 80 minutes, double the global average watch time of 40 minutes.

Bringing video content into your marketing strategy might seem like a big task, but you can (and probably should) start small. It doesn’t have to be the sole focus of your budget or even the biggest portion of it to be valuable. Before jumping onto the bandwagon, consider the following:

1. Know why you’re doing it

When you add video to your documented strategy, outline the how and why of your decision to dedicate more resources to video. What drove you to the decision, what will you be looking for, and how will you go about it?

Include everything here: goals, metrics, benchmarks, audience personas, distribution strategy, etc. Finish this before you start creating video content. The more you know ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be to respond to unexpected challenges.

2. Understand your audience and where it lives.

Are your target audience members consuming media on social networks? Which ones? Where do they typically engage with types of content other than video?

If your product is meant for senior citizens with high blood pressure, creating a viral video for this product may not even reach them. By evaluating audience behavior ahead of time, you can ensure your videos will be seen by the people most likely to watch them.

3. Start Small

Start by adding videos to existing written content, such as blog posts or product or service pages on your website. Promote these existing pages to get more views on the additions, and compare page performance.

Attention spans are getting shorter especially past the Xennial stage. Keep initial videos short — about 15 or 30 seconds long on social media. If you’re not yet equipped to film, simply use existing still visuals, and edit in some text to add a dynamic element.

4. Test, test, test.

You have gone beyond smaller videos and are now regularly producing high-quality videos that people love. Hang on- you’re not through yet. Just because a few videos are popular it doesn’t mean the rest will be.

Continue to evaluate your approach and adapt as needed. Monitor performance, A/B test new content, and make adjustments as your metrics indicate you should.

Keep updating your written content plan to view your timeline of successful video content. If your videos appear successful, but you’re still not hitting the initial goals you set for your strategy, dig into the data, and change tactics if needed.

Video content can be a powerful tool in the right hands, but like all powerful tools, it requires a skilled user to make the most of it.

2. Voice Search

I personally feel more comfortable written searches (I don’t even like using WhatsApp Audio).  However, more consumers are going off-screen and relying on voice-activated personal assistants to search for information, with some analysts estimating that as much as 50 percent of all searches will be conducted through voice by 2020. Your marketing messages need to be crafted with voice search in mind, which means targeting long-tail keywords and featured snippets.

3. Chat Box

An ATG Global Consumer Trend study found that 90% of customers consider live chat helpful and an survey found that 63% were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.

Live Chat helps cut down on expenses as employees spend less time on the phone, They can multi-task during chat conversations and cut the waiting queue to a fraction of its former size when compared to a call center.

Chat Boxes help increase sales as customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break a sale. This helps eliminate bounces away from retail websites and ensure that full shopping carts make it through check out.

Live chat provides immediate access to customers’ pain points. When customers use live chat, they’ll try to ensure that a product will perform as advertised or that a promotion will provide the discount they want. In addition, as live chat representatives talk to customers, they can find out ways to improve a company’s products and services.

4. Content Personalization

Back in 2015, technology market researcher Gartner published a statistic that sent waves throughout the marketing world: By 2018, companies that have “fully invested in all types of personalization” will outsell companies that have not by 20 percent. 20 percent!

Digital services like Amazon and YouTube are famous for placing personalization at the center of their products—programmatically generated “Recommendations for You” are everywhere. Retail and CPG companies from Johnson & Johnson to Tiffany&Co  have also made personalization a critical part of their present and future.

With the help of marketing automation and personalization tools from Google Optimize 360, HubSpotOptimizely personalization, Marketo , Salesforce,  digital marketers are enabled to improve visitor engagement, customer experience and conversion rate optimization.

Personalized content is a good way to connect at scale, but if you can meet members of your audience in person at industry events and conferences, that’s another powerful way to connect.

5. PR and Content Marketing Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

If you’re stuck deciding between PR or content marketing and focusing all your efforts on one over the other, it’s time to look at what you stand to gain by aligning the two.

So you’ve got a content marketing process that works for you. Your content is engaging the right people, and you’re seeing great results but if you want to take it to the next level, PR can give you the validation you need.

Rather than blow your own horn, your brand looks and sounds more genuine when you’re not the only one writing about how great you are. When influencers and leaders in your space sing your praises in reputable publications, the work you’re doing gets a serious boost of validation and credibility.

You would know by now that content marketing done right is not about pushing your product or service into people’s faces. Educating is the way to go but no matter how much educational content you create, it’s pretty hard to start conversations with your audience if no one really knows about you. That’s what PR is for.

PR is promotional, and it builds awareness about your organization, making your company’s name and brand more familiar. Consistent PR placements and mentions help you reach people and introduce yourself to them, and content allows you to continue that relationship with educational content. And when your PR and content align, it becomes easier for you to build trust and meaningful relationships with your audience.

6. Content marketing distribution

With so much noise on marketing channels, you’ve got to think about how you can distribute your content better than anyone else in your space. This goes beyond social shares, especially as Facebook’s and LinkedIn’s organic reach is dropping significantly. Particularly in 2018, it’s crucial to put together a comprehensive content distribution strategy to get your message to the right people when they need it most.

It takes a lot of effort to create and publish content for your business, but if you’re letting your content strategy end at publication, your content strategy will surely fail, and all your content creation efforts will be wasted.

An effective content distribution strategy will maximize the reach and value of your content marketing efforts, ensuring your content accomplishes your goals.

This comprehensive guide will arm you with the tools that you need to create a content distribution strategy, including:

Unheard-of strategies that can give your content an extra boost
Info on how to use your content to have an impact on marketing, sales, and HR KPIs
Tips to ensure your content stands out on social media
A case study on how one company used content distribution to reach more than 21 million readers online



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