Secrets to Success: 2011’s Marketing Trends

by Mark Wisz, OtherWisz Creative

This year, your business can stand out by keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in marketing.

Social marketing matures in 2011 as businesses continue to value and respond to consumers feedback. People are online talking about the brands they like and dislike — and their friends are listening. Your business needs to take notice and be aware of what your customers are saying. Here are a few of the ways you can stay ahead of the conversation, and competition, this upcoming year.

Social Media Grows Up
With easy-to-target demographics of social media, you can put your products and services in front of people that have already expressed an interest in what you are selling. For example: ads posted on the popular social networking site, Facebook, can be targeted to consumers by geography, age, gender, and personal interests. You can cast as wide or as narrow of a net as you like and receive measurable results almost instantaneously by tracking ad views and click-through rates to your website. When you consider the value of reporting tools and targeted focusing, social media is an affordable, viable marketing and sales tool that you can take advantage of.

Mobile Will Continue To Grow
With the proliferation of smart phones — experts predict over 500 million will be in use by the end of 2011 — consumers are now accessing information once obtained through their computers right in the palm of their hands. Mobile versions of websites and phone apps give your audience what they need, when they need it, wherever they are. A smaller, compact version of your company website can be a useful tool and might be a marketing priority in 2011. Custom apps offer unique opportunities to build brand enthusiasm within your target audience.

Transparency: If They Love You, They Will Tell You
Consumers are involved in the development of company brands like never before. Blogs, Tweets and Facebook friends can make or break a new product, as users share their opinions with anyone willing to listen. This new, stronger consumer voice develops the brand quickly — and it would be careless not join the conversation. You have the opportunity to connect with your audience: instantaneously if you like. The medium gives you an opportunity to interact directly with your customer: opening your company policies and procedures to customer scrutiny, by answering questions and responding to suggestions and resolving complaints. Company transparancy, coupled with swift feedback and response demonstrates to your customer that you care about what people are saying. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to hone your message, build loyal relationships and define brand identity.

Content Is Still King
People want to scan through search engine results and find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Flash and fluff can interfere with your search engine ranking, while websites populated with useful information about your product and services rise to the top. Keep your website current by offering your audience something to keep them engaged — latest company news, industry trends, tips and tutorials, new product announcements — and they will keep coming back. (Another example of brand loyalty.)

Print Is Not Dead: Offline And Online Marketing Go Hand In Hand
One thing never changes: a successful brand message is a combination of multiple forms of media presented both online and in print. While many businesses will see a continual increase in their online marketing budget, keeping a foot in traditional marketing methods is still the key to online success. Print is not dead.

Your website is the means for potential customers to learn about your company, serving to represent your company when you aren’t there. Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean customers are going to find you. To drive customers to your site, all of your printed marketing collateral should have your website address listed. Your website and printed material should compliment each other with visual and verbal continuity.

The right formula to building a strong brand identity: put your message where your audience can find it, keep it steady, strong, and make it memorable.

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