Hello 2018! So nice to meet you! We may be a couple of weeks in, but here at MWI we are still real excited about all of the changes coming in our industry and how we plan to help businesses large and small navigate these waters. So over the Christmas break, our experts got together to list the one thing they’re focusing on for 2018. Check it out below:
Context is King
We started hearing the mantra “content is king” at digital marketing conferences in the early 2000’s. While this statement has rung true for many years, it is often repeated to the point that it has lost all meaning. Not all content is king. In fact, any content created for the sake of creating content alone is more of the court jester. Dilly Dilly!
Content should be personalized, relevant, useful, timely, and engaging, but how do we apply these principles to specific brand strategies? We must study the context. Not all brands need a blog. Not all blogs are worthwhile. Not everything could or should be turned into an infographic.
Is the brand local? Is it e-com? Who is the specific target audience? What are their interests? Many facets need to be considered and every content strategy should be laid out with an end-goal in mind. Ask yourself this question with every piece of content you create: What are we trying to accomplish with this content and how will success be measured?
Broader content strategies are essential in a digital landscape where search results reflect a users intent (more closely than ever) and brands and media outlets are flooding the view with content. In 2018, let’s ditch the old, worn-out “content is king,” and instead focus on the truer, more relevant realization that “context is king.”
The Year of Outreach – Video, Audio, and Text
2018 is going to be an exciting year for the MWI Growth Team. With a new website launched at the end of 2017, content marketing has become a real focus for us. That means more articles, blogs, and information to share with our customers and the rest of the industry. We plan to continue to spotlight key entrepreneurs, share our insider information and marketing hacks with the world, and of course share Josh’s awesome updates from Influencer Inc.
The MWI Marketing Podcast will continue to expand and grow as 2018 continues. The podcast educates potential partners on all things digital marketing, as well as inspires action that will yield results for them and their businesses.
Finally, MWI will be focusing on creating more video content to better engage with the marketing community. We will be discussing current trends, resources, best practices, and more. Video is going to be a great addition to our content this year as we assist potential and current clients reach their 2018 goals.
Personalized Experiences via Bots, Machine Learning & Big Data
The rapid advancement of machine learning and artificial intelligence coupled with access to big data analytics paves the way for a highly personalized customer experience. You can already see this with voice controlled speakers, Facebook chat bots that can run through the entire customer service experience, or advertising campaigns that get smarter as they run longer.
This trend proves to be beneficial not only to the customer, but to your ROI. Statistics show an increase of 20% in sales generated from personalized web experiences, and emails that have personalized content are 26% more likely to be opened. It’s crucial for marketers to be in tune with their customer’s intentions every step of the way. Being able to see what customers are searching, watching, buying, reading, etc. opens up an exciting opportunity for marketers to engage their target audience in new and innovative ways.
The Power of a Personal Relationship
Marketing personalization based on audience and user intent is not just a nice feature, but it’s the new normal come 2018. As the need to personalize marketing strategies increases, so does the demand to customize each client’s experience with their marketing agency. For us account managers, that means getting back to basics. It’s more important than ever for a fully integrated partnership between agencies and client businesses to effectively reach their customers.
This makes good account management an imperative bridge between the agency and client. While this concept is certainly not new, in 2018 the agencies that don’t address this piece will lose business. Given the rapid technological changes within our industry, the casual email relationship between client and agency are not going to be enough to ensure agency survival, let alone growth.
The role of your client services department is to individualize the integration of the agency into the client’s industry in order to personalize marketing strategies in such a way as to create real growth.
As the Rules Change, Your Remarketing must get Smarter
On May 25th the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR will go into effect in the EU forever altering the way personal data is collected. And just because you are located in the US, that doesn’t mean this won’t affect your business. If just one datapoint is collected from an EU source, or one consumer visits your site from Europe, you will have to abide to these new policies.
Companies need to start preparing today before they lose their remarketing ads or even worse, find themselves with a hefty fine. MWI is adapting to the changes to ensure the correct measures are in place for all clients.
In the end this will be good for the industry. Remarketing ads will be forced to the qualified consumer, and it will lead towards the end of the never ending stalker ads. But companies that want to stay ahead of the curve will need to continue to segment their audiences to get the most out of that warm lead.
Steps to take to get ready:
- Awareness – Inform decision makers of the changes
- 1st Party Data – Know how your data is collected and ensure accuracy
- Communication of privacy info – Privacy notices code of practice
- Individual rights knowledge – Know the procedures to cover all the rights
- Subject access requests
- Laws for processing personal data – Update the privacy notice to explain the practices
- Consent – Review, record & manage consent
- Children – Does an under 18 consent need to be addressed
- Data Breaches – Data protection design & impact assessments
- Data protection officers – Who is going to handle the data protection compliance
How we Make it all Worth Your Time and Investment
No matter how great/groundbreaking/smart/whatever your marketing is, it can be all for naught without proper reporting and analytics. And as marketing has become more sophisticated, so has measurement. Gone are the days of just reporting the last click attribution all of the credit. As marketers, we’re pretty familiar with the buyer journey, and for any purchase/decision there are multiple factors that affect that choice along the way before arriving at the final decision. Consider something you’ve purchased recently, did you just one day have an epiphany that you needed an Alexa Echo – then bought on Amazon / Google Search? Or instead, were there multiple steps (friends / content marketing / television commercials) that led to that final purchase. Smarter measurement and proper attribution models are helping us attribute that purchase to all of the steps of the journey, while weighting importance.
Though we haven’t set on a model that we like the most yet, the most important part is to look at the entire process and judge accordingly. If a great Facebook Ad introduced your new product to your key audience but the paid search deal made them purchase, it’s important to attribute some of that success to the Facebook ad.
This also goes for actions on a website. Creating a measurement plan and adding goals to your website is one of the simplest parts of proper reporting, but a step often missed. A company newsletter sign-up, a video view, a cart abandonment. All of these steps to a purchase show intent and interest along the way. In digital marketing, we call them micro conversions and are all worthy of measurement and attributing to marketing efforts in this new age of analytics.
Beyond just analytics, MWI is improving the way we measure ourselves and internal capital. In 2017, MWI opened offices in London and Shenzhen to connect our clients and their customers around the world. With the focus on global expansion in 2018, it’s important that our systems and processes communicate in real-time so we can turn data into decisions. Scaling the business and teams on three continents while maintaining our quality standards is no small feat. Part of our formula for success is attributed to the people we hire. We believe in hiring the best in our industry to ensure the long term success of our partners. Human Capital Management will continue to be a priority for the executive team as we grow teams in the United States, United Kingdom, and China.
We look forward to growing with you in the upcoming year!