The Future of Marketing

Abby Katz

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Image from Keith Hoffart used under CC license.

92 percent of people trust strangers over brands. How can that be? Why are people turning to strangers to give them information about a product over the brand that created the product? Are strangers more knowledgeable than brands? As both a consumer and a marketer, it is important to understand both sides of this statistic.

As a consumer, I can certainly recall various times when I have trusted strangers over brands. Before I make an online purchase, I almost always read the reviews that strangers give the product I intend to buy. Why? Well, to me the answer is seemingly obvious; I want to know the truth about the product. If I’m going to spend money on something, I don’t want to just read the product description given by the brand – the brand would never point out any possible flaws the product may have! Strangers, on the other hand, have no problem giving the honest truth about the product. In this sense, I bestow more trust in strangers than I do in the brand that created the product.

As marketers, we must find ways to gain this trust back. One way to do this is through influencer marketing. Influencer marketing promotes honest and sincere relationships – something that brand marketing alone has lost its ability to do. Traditional brand marketing tactics are proving to be prohibitory to consumers.

As we continue to progress into the era of influencer marketing, brands’ primary goal must be to work to rebuild the consumers’ trust that was previously lost in ads. Don’t think you lost your consumers’ trust in ads? Did you know that AdBlock usage went up 70% from last year? This means that people are consciously seeking out ways to get rid of brand messaging. Why you may ask? The answer is simple; people want people.

Influencer marketing proves to be a new concept of marketing that promotes a relationship between brands and consumers, appealing to the evolving needs of the modern day consumer. Here are a few predictions for the future of influencer marketing in 2016 from the TapInfluence Webcast.  

    1. Out with the old and in with the new – traditional marketing tactics just aren’t cutting it anymore for modern day consumers. Developed in the offline world, traditional advertising efforts act as a one-way street between brands and consumers. Brands simply utilized ads to talk “at” their consumers instead of directly involving consumers in the conversation. Obviously, the problem with this is that consumers want their voices heard. Even though consumer needs are shifting, you don’t need to necessarily ditch all your old marketing strategies. Here are some tips from Hubspot for revamping old marketing tactics to repurpose for modern day needs:
      • Solution: while I don’t suggest that you completely strip your marketing budget of funds directed towards print TV & Ads, I suggest you adapt your efforts to reach the consumer in appropriate ways. Understanding the general persona of your audience may help. You should ask yourself, “where/what are my audience members spending most of their time looking at?” If you know a lot of your audience members watch a particular Youtube channel, it may not be a bad idea to place some advertisements there.

      • Solution: don’t completely ditch the emails – email marketing is tied with influencer marketing as the most cost effective marketing method. However, it is important to make sure you are being smart with your emails. Being smart includes segmenting your lists to make the emails feel more personal and interactive.

      • Print TV & Ads: with the amount of technology available at our fingertips, it only makes sense that news circulation has become increasingly digitalized. Not only must marketers incorporate this trend to their efforts to reach consumers, but they must understand why the shift has taken place. This trend supports the idea that the modern day consumers wants things faster and on-demand.

      • Email blasts to purchased lists: this needs to stop. Not only is this annoying to consumers, but it’s a waste of money! The 21st century consumer wants a personalized experience and wants to be heard. This supports the “talking at” notion of old marketing strategies.

    2. Influencer marketing will deepen customer relationships – Influencer content is GREAT for brands. Influencers serve as the intermediary between brands and consumers, and they help them rebuild the lost trust. However, it is important you build a meaningful, real relationship with your influencer, with trust and authenticity being key. Your influencer should be an extension of your brand. As part of any relationship, brands must surrender their control into the hands of the influencers, as the brands can’t control the message – it has to come from the influencers. 51 percent of marketers say influencers produce better customers. Additionally, offers shared by influencers convert ten times more than thsoe shared by brands. For more on chosing the right influencer for your brand, check out Influencers 101

Ultimately, influencer marketing will allow marketers to be more efficient – Influencer marketing is the future of corporate growth. Marketing efforts must be a two-way street between consumers and brands. Social media now serves as the platform for consumers to get their voices heard.

 

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