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What Does the Future of Marketing Look Like?

From conversational marketing to emotional engagement, here are a handful of top trends.

A lot of the columns I write here in Residential Systems are about the state of affairs in marketing as they are now and trends that we are seeing currently both with our clients and within the industry. Equally as important, and as we move into the new year, is what is next for your marketing future. Here, we’ve put together a few trends that are developing in the marketing world that should prove to be prominent in the near future. Start thinking about these concepts and where they might fit into your strategy as you begin planning for Q1 marketing and beyond!

Marketing graphic
Getty Images

#1 Two-Way Conversations. Conversational marketing is two-way communication during a real-time conversation. It might be chatting with someone who is visiting your website with the goal of not only helping them but converting them into leads. This kind of marketing is fantastic because it is nearly instantaneous. You don’t have to wait for someone to, say, fill out a form in order to engage. By chatting with website visitors, you can help figure out what they need right away and create a better experience between your brand and your customers.

It also puts the customer at the center of the conversation instead of everything being about selling your products and services. Another huge benefit is that it takes the onus of your sales staff via early prospecting and information discovery. You’ve seen chatbots that do this on websites you visit, no doubt. Amazon is a good example of chatbots that are used to help resolve support issues.

Using chatbots to help guide your web visitors can be beneficial, but real people on the other end of the two-way communication between brand and consumer is almost always a better experience for the customer. It helps resolve customer support issues and establishes trust, generally humanizing the experience. Want to dip your toe in the water? Try using conversational marketing for something like support and see how your web visitors respond.

#2 Emotional Connection and Empathy. You might wonder how these two things are related to marketing. These days, they are everything! The perception of your brand begins and ends in the minds of your customers, and if they don’t feel like you are connecting with them on an authentic and emotional level with a deep understanding of what they are going through, you will lose them.

Customers demand personalization and to feel connected with the brands they choose. We’ve written many columns on this in the past, such as “Be a Brand to Believe In” [Residential Systems, June 2021], where you can get more detail. In short, there can be no disparity between your storytelling and your company’s actual beliefs and principles. Consumers can see right through posturing and will only be loyal to those brands that walk the walk. Every ounce of marketing that you do should ultimately align with the company’s core values.

If a customer is unhappy, this is where that two-way conversation can come in. Apologizing for their experience, empathizing, and trying to correct the situation will put you on the path to making it better, both via live chat and even publicly in social media comments. There is a degree of emotional intelligence required here, but it’s crucial that you coach your employees or anyone communicating on your behalf about your company’s best practices for communication. Those best practices need to be customized, of course, so they don’t sound like scripts and don’t come off as disingenuous or inauthentic.

#3 Social Media Optimization.  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) should be part of every marketer’s strategy. We preach this constantly at KMB. Finding customers organically is changing, however. And although indirect, there is a definite link between SEO and social media. For example, social media influences SEO because it can drive quality (high-authority) traffic to your website, which improves your rankings in search engines. This means you must create quality content that drives people to want to click. Social media messages should be intriguing and well-crafted, but, beyond this, the subject matter you are linking to on your website needs to be equally captivating. Design your content to attract people and they will come, and hopefully, your following will become brand advocates to help further engagement with your brand and your content.

It goes without saying but is worth mentioning that social media is really the pulse of your organization. It has never been more important for brands to engage on social. Take whatever time and resources you have been putting toward social and double them. Then see where you are. The proof is in the traffic, the buzz, and, ultimately, the sales. You can get better results from your social media if you align keyword research with your social media posts, share your best, highest-traffic web content on social media platforms, optimize your images for social using the 80 percent image/20 percent text rule, and tag, tag, TAG everyone you mention in both images where you can AND in the social post itself! This takes time but encourages sharing, and, obviously, increases the number of people who will see your post and click your link.

Optimize your social media profiles, as well, making yours engaging, informative, and professional, and make it easy to contact you!

We know it can be overwhelming to stay up to date with the pace of today’s innovative marketing strategies and to deploy them. We can help. Drop me a line at [email protected].