As entrepreneurs, we’re always trying to stay one step ahead of the curve. No matter what business you’re in, good and effective marketing is almost always the difference between succeeding and failing.
There are three marketing trends you will want to pay particular attention to in 2014, but perhaps the most important question you should ask yourself when marketing your business is: How can I be authentic?
Authenticity speaks louder than any advertising scheme or marketing strategy. When considering the next three trends, begin to ask yourself how you can use them to your advantage in the most authentic way possible.
1. Real Time Marketing
Marketers are all a little sick of hearing about the Oreo tweet at the 2013 Super Bowl, but it introduced a new approach to marketing. In addition to your long-term marketing strategy, you also have to be available to respond to events in real time. You can prepare for upcoming events that are relevant to your industry, but you should also be willing to respond to almost all events. What do Oreo’s have in common with the Super Bowl? Nothing, except that there is a pretty high chance that people watching the Super Bowl also enjoy eating cookies. Oreo managed to not only jump into the conversation but to dominate it. That’s the hope of all marketers, and you should expect to see a lot of that in 2014.
2. Native Advertising
Native advertising is not new, but expect to see it used in new ways this year. For the uninitiated, native advertising is when you attempt to deliver content within the context of the user’s experience. Many brands this year have begun and will continue to capitalize on the huge following they’ve built on social media. Teen Vogue recently started an advertising campaign on Instagram, where they’ve experienced the most rapid growth, using 10 influential users to participate in a live, three day Instagram “fashion show.” So if you’ve been ignoring social media, now would be a good time to invest time and money into growing your audience.
3. Mobile Comes First
You cannot afford to underestimate the power of mobile and how it affects the way people interact with your business. Mobile devices and apps are being adopted at a rapid rate, with consumers spending over 2.5 hours per day on their phones. At the most foundational level, this means that your website should definitely be responsive. But beyond that, you also have to begin to think about how people use their phones and how you can meet them where they are. Almost all apps are designed with interoperability in mind, meaning that they’re connected to other apps, devices, and social media. Similar to native advertising, you should think about how your message can be transmitted across a variety of mediums and how you can increase interaction because of the connectedness between platforms.
Authenticity is What Brings it All Together
At the end of the day, all of your marketing efforts are going to come back to one essential tenet: build relationships. The growth of social media and pervasiveness of the digital landscape in our daily lives demands that we all focus on building our personal brands. As a result, it could not be a better time to be an entrepreneur. Consumers want to trust and the like the person they do business with; it’s your job to build that trust.
Always remember that people respond to authenticity. This is where the entrepreneur has an advantage over big brands: You get to be yourself. Real time marketing, native advertising, and adapting to the mobile market are successful only when you approach those tactics as a human being and not a business. In other words, keep it real!