Do Consumers Understand Your Brand?

Marketing communications will be greatly influenced by technological advances and expectations this year.

January 22, 2014
Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock®

Online shoppers will give brands no more than 76 seconds of their time if their needs aren’t met, according to a 2013 LivePerson study. This prompts Direct Marketing News to ask, “How can brands possibly reverse this trend?” 

This message about fostering consumer loyalty continues to say that loyalty is elusive for a variety of reasons, including “technology, omnichannel engagement, and the economy—all of which will figure prominently in 2014.”

But within these challenges lie opportunity and answers to the consumer engagement issue. A perception of “true value” instills loyalty. How do you offer value to your members?

Technology, too, both opportunistic and challenging—you must meet consumers’ technological expectations and demands.

Technology provides the opportunity to “revive customer loyalty” as information you collect while monitoring consumer behaviors, responses, and expectations allows you to develop effective marketing strategies that attract and engage consumers.

Research this week zeroes in on marketing trends and strategies that will help you help members understand your brand. Consider the role technology plays in marketing with new and evolving ways to invite consumers, interact with them, and keep them loyal to your institution.

‘Anyone can sell product by dropping their prices, but it does not breed loyalty.’—Simon Sinek, business writer

Technology Drives Marketing Predictions for 2014,” notes a Small Business Trends post. “Technology is reshaping the way customers find and purchase products… So they should be reflected in your marketing plan.”

Three predictions on the direction of marketing in 2014:

1. Growth of native advertising. Native ads integrate messages in the online experience as display ads do not—think tweets, social media, and blogs. “Consumers were 18% more likely to purchase… with native ads” than traditional ads.

2. Maturation of image marketing. Image-based sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram help consumers learn visually. A bonus is that images are easy to incorporate in mobile channels.

3. Mobile is crucial. Not only do you need mobile functionality, “you should be investing in mobile-centered marketing initiatives.” Note that “mobile geo-targeting” is predicted to account for one half of mobile advertising dollars by 2017 as providers market on the spot.

Similar sentiments are echoed in “20 Captivating Marketing Statistics That Will Drive 2014,” an infographic cited by MarketingProfs.

“Marketers will use dynamic content to deliver highly personalized experiences to the right audience at the right time,” this post notes. Further marketing mix activities: over the next five years, social marketing budgets are expected to double, and “emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by 158%.”

With regard to content marketing, customer testimonials get accolades for the “highest effectiveness rating” at 89%. And, further exploration on the importance of images in marketing reveals “65% of your audience are visual learners” and “visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text.”

Take note of “The Top Digital Priorities for Marketers in 2014” when considering objectives for your marketing plans. “Increasing conversion rates is a top digital priority for 47% of marketers,” and 45% want to increase/improve brand awareness.

Collection, measurement, and use of behavior-based data rounds out the top three objectives, with 29% of marketers indicating this is on their radar.

This infographic further reveals expenditures in digital budgets. Namely, only 2% of marketers plan to decrease spending in digital while 98% “plan to increase or maintain their digital budgets.”

Among the areas of increased expenditures are data and analytics, email marketing, social media marketing, and content management.

‘The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity, and accountability.’ –Simon Mainwaring, social media specialist

Are you adequately prepared for “Five Big Social Media Trends for 2014”? 

Social marketers should know these key insights in consumer engagement:

1. Smart marketing techniques will see brands making content useful, not just promotional;

2. Social analytics are important for brands as audiences are monitored and engaged in social channels;

3. Integration of channels is necessary in social business—currently only 26% of companies have a holistic approach;

4. “Online meets offline” as marketing campaigns make impact with audiences; and,

5. Relevant, real-time content is what counts.

Among the six mobile marketing trends to leverage in 2014 are personalization and “narrowcasting,” the practice of targeting prospects based on their experiences, according to CIO Asia

Also, the article suggests delivering shorter messages when reaching out via the mobile channel.

Another thought is that gamification is appealing via mobile as users enjoy competition and interactive content.

How will you entice users to provide content for your marketing and branding efforts? An Intuit blog reveals “6 Ways to Cultivate User-Generated Content.”

Marketers will find success in this endeavor by requesting reviews, asking for testimonials, creating FAQ pages that facilitate conversation, and enabling user profiles. One bonus is that participants will find a sense of community as they identify themselves.

‘Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.’ –Warren Buffet

All of this innovation in marketing technique does not come without scrutiny and concern. Indeed, “Business Leaders See Challenges in Customer Data, Digital Channels,” according to an interesting article from eMarketer.

Eighteen percent of surveyed business executives say “businesses were not ready to deal with leveraging consumer data, while 17% thought companies ill-prepared to handle digital channels.”

Interestingly, concerns varied somewhat by industry. “When asked which industries would see the most success with big data by the end of 2013, U.S. business executives ranked the retail sector second at 42%, just behind finance (49%).”

Are you poised for success in leveraging consumer data?

Marketing communications will be greatly influenced by technological advances and expectations in 2014.

Be creative. Be bold. Be savvy.

Use new messaging opportunities to tailor your outreach as you communicate your value, impart your brand’s unique presence, and invite and retain loyal members. Consumers will assist with feedback and engagement, and will share the word about who you are—rewarding the challenges posed by technology.

In 2014, technology will help you make them understand the brand.






Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.