Digital marketing evolves as fast as technology itself—which is to say, fast. But the industry should see some especially rapid advances in 2023. Businesses must not only prepare for these changes but also seek ways to make the most of them. Here are four marketing trends to prepare for in the coming year—and some advice on how to keep ahead of the competition.
Email Is Old – And Tired
Email as a digital marketing outreach tactic is on the wane. If you’re like me, you spend the beginning of your day just going: Delete, delete, delete. The email channel seems to have been so overused by marketers to the point that it’s no longer effective.
To some extent, I get it. Often, the only information you have about a customer or prospect is an email address. So, of course, marketers will continue to use email. But in 2023, marketers will come to the realization that outreach can’t begin and end with email.
Instead, email has to be one of the many marketing tactics you use. Personally, I’d like to see more marketers return to traditional strategies like out-of-home advertising, which includes everything from billboards to bus shelters to benches. After all, if you see one of my billboards while driving, you might be more inclined to open the email I send you. Yes, out-of-home is hard to track. But I do think it’s a lost art that will be rediscovered in the coming year.
Newsletters Are Yesterday’s News
If I never see another newsletter again, it will be too soon. If grabbing my attention is tough on a three-sentence email, it will be even more challenging to get me to read a 2,000-word newsletter. Very few companies are going to get that kind of attention from me.
Newsletters are just too big an ask in an era where we’ve all been conditioned to have the attention span of a butterfly. When I open an email, no matter who it’s from, I look at the length first and decide if I have time to read it right away. If it’s long, I might keep it in my inbox and read it later. If it’s a newsletter, I’ll delete it.
And here’s the other thing about newsletters: It takes a lot of time to produce a really good one that’s punchy and contains valuable content. As a marketer, you may find yourself taking a whole month to produce a good newsletter covering a variety of topics related to your business—only to find that by the time it’s done, it’s old news. And time to start the next one.
I think in 2023, digital marketers will realize that newsletters just aren’t worth the effort.
Websites Are Back
In 2023, digital marketers will go back to using the good-old website in a more meaningful way. Websites are the virtual concierge for every business. They’re the first place that people go to get answers. And they expect to find what they’re looking for when they visit your site. That’s why it’s imperative to have the right content and tell the right stories.
Today, websites tend to be the least-funded item on marketing budgets. That should change. Because if people make it as far as your website, they’re more likely to buy from you than not. They’re in the process of gathering information and forming their purchasing decision. The job of a website is to close the sale. But it can’t do that if the content is lame or has the same homepage images from two years ago. And it certainly can’t do it if the website is not mobile-friendly.
Now is a great time to reinvest in your website and feed it a regular diet of fresh content. This shows your customers and prospects that you care about your website and, by extension, that you care about the product or service you offer. If you give people the same old static images and bland, general content, this implies that your attention to detail and quality control is lacking. Instead, give them a full serving of content with a high level of personalization. If you’re not leveraging your website, you’re missing a vital opportunity to effectively engage with customers and seal the deal.
Marketers Must Defend Themselves With Data
In downtimes, the first place many companies make budget cuts is marketing. In 2023, digital marketers must prove to the CFO that their programs should be the very last place the company can afford to make cuts. More than ever, marketing will need to demonstrate its value with metrics and data.
I often ask new marketers why they chose this profession. If the response is “because I don’t like math,” this may not be the right career for you. Today, marketing is as much science as it is art. We must measure everything and precisely quantify what we bring to the business.
Video, for instance, is a strong example of how marketing uses storytelling. But how do we measure the success of videos? One way is what I call the “goosebump” metric. If I get goosebumps after watching a video, that’s an immediate measurement of an emotional “win.”
But there’s more to it than that. We also need to accurately quantify its impact. We need to know how many people watch that video, as well as how many engage with us after viewing it. Because that’s how we can defend our video budget to our CFO and keep it off the chopping block. Having that kind of data at your fingertips will be crucial to marketers in the coming year.
Digital marketing solutions evolve so quickly it’s virtually impossible to predict the future. By staying on top of trends emerging in real time, marketers can gain a competitive edge. If you’re in marketing, it’s essential to know what tools are working best right now and use them to generate demand, strengthen relationships with current and new customers, and move successfully into the landscape that lies ahead.
Originally published on fastcompany.com.
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