If there’s one place that you should avoid falling short of, it’s San Francisco, the host of the 2018 American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) Annual conference.
The City by the Bay has long been a hub for creative, influential thinkers, and digital marketers take note: the 4A’s conference this year will undoubtedly inspire, challenge, and thrill you.
Here, we’ve collated a list of the top online marketing challenges in and around San Francisco.
The Audience Is Changing
We’re not in Kansas any more. Thanks to the rise of platforms like YouTube and Instagram, consumers are finding the content they want to see when they want to see it. If you’re not evolving and adapting your approach accordingly, you’ll struggle to connect with your audience.
The good news: you can start by making simpler, more accessible content. More and more people are choosing to consume the content that interests them, rather than content that is forced down their throats as part of a sponsored campaign. If your content isn’t fresh and captivating, you’ll lose out on the attention of your audience.
The importance of SEO and content strategy cannot be overemphasized. As a business owner, marketer, or agency creative, you need to be thinking about how to bring more people to your site, and ensuring that your content reaches the right audience at the right time. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to engage with your audience, and keep them interested enough to come back for more.
The Economy Is Changing
Speaking of audiences and audiences’ changing preferences, the economy is evolving too. Thanks to the rise of the sharing economy and the subsequent shift to online shopping, customers are now more likely to be looking for bargains than they are to be lining up to spend lots of money on luxury goods.
If your business depends on customers traveling to your stores to buy your goods, this evolving market can pose several challenges. If you’re not prepared to adapt your marketing approach to reach these customers where they are, you’ll find it difficult to get the word out about your products.
The good news: you can take advantage of the sharing economy and the resulting market transformation by becoming a local, digital marketer-slash-entrepreneur. Startups like UberEATS, DoorDash, and Postmates have created thousands of jobs, and given life to a new generation of microbusinesses.
Instead of fighting the change, embrace it. Work with brands that are aligned with your vision and ethos, and use the changing market conditions to your business’ advantage. Make sure that your team is equipped for the economy of today, not just the economy of yesteryear.
Content Is, Sometimes, More Effective When It’s Re-Purposed
You’ve probably heard of content curation, the practice of finding and sharing the best content regardless of its source. Essentially, content curation is about creating content that is relevant, useful, and interesting to a specific audience. When done well, content curation can be more effective than organic content because it is usually more specific, and probably more engaging for the reader.
However, content curation isn’t just limited to articles and blogs. Video content is being curated and shared on social media, image searches are becoming more and more focused, and even livestreams can be curated and shared.
If you’re planning on reusing or repurposing existing content, it’s important to do your research. There are several tactics that you can use to make sure that the content you’re using is relevant to your target audience. For example, if you’re writing a blog post for the general public, make sure that you’re including the keywords that people are using to find your content.
User-Generated Content Is Changing The Face Of Marketing
According to HubSpot Blogs, 68% of consumers have posted product reviews online, and 55% have left feedback on sites like Yelp. Additionally, 14% have uploaded photos to online review sites, and 11% have commented on them. While some of these consumers may have once relied solely on traditional marketing channels to find information, today’s consumers are more likely to utilize different platforms to find the products that they want.
If you’re interested in experimenting with user-generated content, or have a background in UX, you can try your hand at product validation. By validating user-generated content, you’re providing feedback and guidance to content creators on whether or not their content is useful, appealing, and, most importantly, relevant to your target audience. Using tools like UserTesting.com can help you find the gaps in your knowledge, and close them with a specialist. With a little preparation, you can become an authority in your industry, and continue setting the pace in your market.
Customer Data Is Changing
Large corporations like Amazon and Google know a lot about our customers. Thanks to them, we can track consumer trends and preferences, and target our ads and marketing content toward them. As a result, customer data has become incredibly valuable, and not something to be ignored.
This trend shows no signs of slowing down, and to keep up, marketers must ensure that their tactics and strategies are utilizing customer data in a meaningful way. One key challenge is figuring out how to measure the impact of your marketing efforts. While you may not need to track specific results to prove that an ad campaign was effective, you can track the overall impact that your marketing has on your bottom line.
For example, if you’re promoting a new brand or product, you can measure the reach and reactions of your social posts, website traffic, display ads, and any other marketing efforts you may have undertaken. The more data you have, the better your chances of making a successful marketing push. Don’t just focus on raw numbers when analyzing the success of your online marketing efforts. Instead, look at the bigger picture, and consider what will make your efforts more effective in the long term.
Content Is, Sometimes, More Effective When It’s Done By A Third Party
If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of your target audience, you can ask them yourself. With a little bit of preparation, you can ask users about their demographic, lifestyle, and psychographic details. Without going too far back in time, you can even explore the origins of where your audience is coming from, and what previous experiences they’ve had that make them more or less suited for your product or service.
Taking the time to get to know your audience is incredibly important. With a little bit of research, you can learn a lot about them, and guide your content strategy toward something that will connect with them, and encourage them to engage with your material.
The World Is Changing
Since the beginning of time, marketers have tried to figure out ways to connect with consumers. However, with the rise of platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, marketing via creative content that engages an audience is more important than ever.
Thanks to these social platforms, consumers now have the power to discover content that interests them, and connect with creators and businesses that they find valuable. If your content isn’t readily available on social media, or if it isn’t engaging enough, your audience will quickly find another creator or business that does provide the content that they’re looking for.
The good news: you don’t necessarily need to be on social media to be able to utilize this power for your business. If you want to promote your business or product on social media, by all means, do so; however, if your goal is to engage with your audience, consider creating content that is more informal, and easier to share on social media.
The world is changing, and if you aren’t changing with it, you’ll struggle to stay relevant.