At the end of every year comes an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed.
What went well, what could have gone better, what can we do in the next year to capitalize or meet more of our targets? All of these are good questions and as business leaders they are questions that need to be asked and answered.
One thing is almost always at the top of every business owner’s list and that is the desire to sell more. And while direct selling may still be the method of choice throughout the integration industry, we have reached a day where people like to do more of their own research and this means marketing has to become a greater part of the business development plan.
However, just marketing won’t guarantee more business; it is going to take a bit of trend-spotting and a savvy for efficient execution if you want to get the most out of your marketing dollars.
For integrators, distributors and manufacturers interested in getting a bit more bang for your marketing buck, here are five emerging trends in marketing that your business must consider if you want to see a better ROI from your marketing efforts.
1. Website Brochures Move Toward Extinction. If your website hasn’t evolved to dynamically be adding content from new services to case studies to live video and blogging then you likely have nothing more than a stale print brochure hogging a web URL. With so many choices and instant information at our fingertips, companies are going to make sure their web presence has a consistent drip of fresh content and ideas so visitors don’t feel like they are reading another terrible marketing pamphlet a la 1997.
2. Mobile Won’t Be Ignored. More than 70% of mobile users have zero patience for a mobile presence that reduces usability or information, however many websites in the integration space have limited compatibility with mobile. With 2014 being the year that mobile use surpassed desktop use, it is in 2015 that integrators will get the clue and make the necessary changes.
3. More Video Please! Following the mobile theme will be an explosion of video as a means of better marketing. From client testimonials to product demonstrations and even employee training, video is going to find more and more use in the integration industry. The mobile explosion also impacts this because many people would prefer to consume video on their mobile device as opposed to reading about your business or learning about your services in a text-based format.
4. Social Finally Gets Backed By the C-Suite. Let’s face it, this industry has a resistance to social media in the c-suite. If you want proof, go on Twitter and look for integrator executives. Sure, perhaps they don’t have time to be chatting it up but that isn’t what it is about. Instead, it is about connecting and having conversations with people who can drive business decisions. Conversations are part of relationship building, so learning that social isn’t just selling will be key.
5. The Rise of the Media Hub. This is my most aggressive prediction by far because the rise of the media hub is really just starting in many industries. However, for those that enjoy consuming content on Open Forum, CMO.com or Coke Journey, you have seen a media hub. For integration companies particularly up the channel, having a rich content hub that embraces blogging, white papers, slideshares, videos, chats and social engagement, may open the door to building a powerful digital community that will lead to more loyal and connected customers and advocates. While I think few companies will accomplish this in 2015, by the following year we will see this in a big way.
Next year is going to be a pivot year as more and more companies try to connect to the digital and omni-channel buyer. Customers aren’t anywhere specific, but rather everywhere and it is up to us as business owners to put the content we want them to see in the places where they most likely are.
It’s almost a journey back through time to get us to the future … because the future of marketing ROI for the commercial integrator will use new media channels to get back to having more 1:1 conversations.
What about you? What are your biggest marketing predictions for 2015? Leave us a comment below.