2013 was an interesting year on the business front. We took another few steps deeper into the digital marketing era, thanks in large part to mobile and internet traffic increasing yet again. What does 2014 have in store? The menu has already been laid out and prepared. Here is what the New Year has cooked up in the way of advertising and PR (public relations).
If you thought content marketing was huge in 2013, you haven’t seen nothing yet. According to a recent survey, B2C and BCB firms will both be increasing their spending in a number of channels, including social media, paid search, and display advertising. Ironically, that same survey found that companies are cutting back their spending in traditional channels. Content marketing is on the rise, but instead of TV and radio, the focus is shifting to more flexible channels that enable brands to have direct, often real-time interactions with the members of their audience. This multifaceted approach offers almost limitless reach and opportunity.
Create and Publish Regularly
Whether you pour more of your 2014 budget into traditional or new media channels, you’re going to need content and plenty of it. In the internet realm, Google and other search providers have tweaked their systems to favor fresh, original content. As a result, brands have been pressured to deliver more often at a higher level of quality. From blog posts to engaging video, your content marketing team needs to be ready to deliver. Revisit your production strategy. Bring in new talent. Do what must be done to publish and distribute good content on a regular basis.
Watch Your Brand Image
Organizations. Government agencies. Bad boyfriends. They’ve been getting away with far too much, for far too long. Scorned consumers are taking to the social networks and online review sites to slam brands for a light sneeze. A brand’s image will have taken a severe licking by the time word of negativity spreads, which tends to happen pretty rapidly with such an array of channels in the mix. Proactive companies need to get out in front of the stories about their brand and tackle the response with effective public relations strategies. It will be these organizations that take the lead in their respective industries.
If it hasn’t already, 2014 should be the year your business gets serious about damage control. Customers are ready to let you have it for the slightest the mistake. It is now more important to invest in listening tools and strategies that allow you to quickly react to what’s being said. The faster you act, the better your ability to minimize the damage. Obviously, the worst thing you can do is ignore the landscape and how it has shifted far out of the brand’s favor.
Demonstrate Strong Leadership
Leadership can make or break an organization. It actually happens all the time on both sides. Some of the most powerful corporations have spiraled out of existence due to poor leadership at the helm. The best leaders represent their brands in iconic fashion. The personality. The beliefs. The core values. They embody them all. While the importance remains at an all-time high, the role of the leader has changed. With trust on the consumer side being shaky at best, enterprise commanders must find new ways to make an impact. Savvy leaders are daring to be innovators, weaving together storytelling and other approaches to drive engagement, effectiveness, and sustainability for their respective companies.
Explore New Advertising Options
The advertising game has changed a lot and there is plenty more room for further growth. Businesses have more options than ever, able to choose from visually rich formats that reach mobile to social media and beyond. In 2014, brands will experiment further, but many will seek out models that are not only more intuitive from the user perspective, but more organic for the marketer. The answers are being uncovered in the sponsored content concept.
Sponsored content is one of the most popular trends in the digital advertising arena. So far it, has been adopted by Facebook, Tumblr, and other major players in social media. In these channels, it is a method designed to make ads appear more relevant and natural. For instance, with LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates, users may see units that highlight market data on a particular topic. It’s a friendlier format that tends to aim for storytelling opposed to sales pitching and offers, all while bringing the content to more people in a bigger portion. A similar model is being deployed on blogs and other sites as an alternative to display advertising.
Draw up a Budget for Mobile
The mobile arena has created another lucrative channel for ads to thrive in. Mobile ads already exist in a wide variety of formats, enabling marketers to reach audiences through text messages, video, social media and other ways. Experts are expecting mobile ads to have a breakout year in 2014. Development teams are working on new models that better engage the user. Brands are allocating budgets that will allow them to finally try their hand at reaching consumers across this fast-moving environment. Mobile ads look poised to make a huge splash this year so now is great time to jump in.
Realize That Platform Differentiation Matters
In the beginning, the so-called gurus of enterprise mobility were stressing that we go mobile at all costs. Now they’re starting to get a bit more specific. In order to hit their mark with fine precision, brands must focus on specific platforms rather than mobile as a whole. It may not seem like a big deal, but elements such as subject lines, body text, and video are handled differently depending on whether they’re routed to a desktop machine, smartphone, or tablet. Then you have to factor mobile operating systems and actual devices into the mix. The platform issue is one brands can no longer afford to ignore.
The wait is over. 2014 is here. Have you allocated an advertising budget for your business? Is your PR department ready for what the new year has in store?