Marketing is a dynamic, ever-evolving industry. Trends come and go, but with the right strategies, you can stay ahead of the game. Of course, sometimes there are seismic shifts that drastically change the way brands go about marketing themselves. For instance, Facebook’s recent headline-dominating data scandal has not only caused marketers to reevaluate their ad strategies due to concerns over brand safety, but it has also encouraged many of the major social platforms to bulk up their privacy policies, lest they join Facebook at the whipping post for violating consumer trust. When drastic changes like this take place in such a short timeframe, it can render marketing strategies obsolete and leave brands feeling lost or disconnected from their target customers.
Here are four easy ways you can position yourself to stay on the bleeding edge of marketing trends and be prepared for those sudden watershed moments.
1. Stay focused on what’s happening today without losing sight of the big picture.
It’s easy to get lost in the immediate response to a paradigm shift without thinking about how the changes will affect strategies down the line. Changes to third-party data policies in the wake of the Facebook scandal have made it significantly harder for marketers to target consumers with ads. Many are scrambling to make immediate changes to keep their campaigns on the rails, but are they thinking about how these adjustments will play out in the long run? With platforms guarding data more closely, it follows that advertising will become increasingly expensive. In order to justify ad spend, marketers should be placing greater focus on conversion rates and customer lifetime value than ever before. If marketers are primed to stay calm in the heat of the moment and think about more than just putting out the fire, they’ll be in a better position for long-term success.
2. Build a network of marketers and communicate with them regularly.
In this day and age, by the time something hits the news, it’s already stale. This is especially true in marketing. Having a network of savvy, like-minded individuals who share and distribute information as they get it is crucial to staying up-to-date. Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups where people share news, industry studies, and other valuable content. According to a 2016 MarketingProfs content marketing study, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn and 87% use Facebook. Take advantage of what these online communities have to offer – and remember to not only observe, but also engage! Being an active member of these groups will help you stay on top of industry trends and may often lead to business partnerships.
According to a 2016 MarketingProfs content marketing study, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn and 87% use Facebook.
3. Read (the right) leading industry publications and blogs.
In a time where information is everywhere, it’s important to always be in the know. In addition to regularly attending conferences and industry events, having a solid list of publications you skim on the daily is crucial to staying informed. Top marketing publications (my personal favorites are Adweek and Ad Age) provide fantastic insight into the marketing ecosystem and are incredible resources for breaking news, data and analysis, industry forecasting and event listings. Build out your reading list and follow a variety of outlets including periodicals, newsletters, bloggers, and any other source of interesting content you come across that gives you inspiration or knowledge. But remember – there’s a lot of noise out there, so make sure you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole.
4. Communicate with your team and share knowledge internally.
Nothing beats face-to-face interaction, and your team members may (and probably should) offer different perspectives from your own. Real, insightful dialogue with your peers and subordinates is the best way to explore new concepts and plan for the future. At Hawke, our channel directors are experts in their fields. These guys and gals spend all day in the trenches, living and breathing their particular vertical. If I need insight into a specific trend or topic, they’re usually the first ones I turn to. Make sure communication stays open within your company, not just within teams, but across channels. You or someone you work for hired these people for a reason – take advantage of them!