First, let’s get the formalities out of the way. This might be a bit late coming, but Happy New Year! If you’re a global marketer, then 2016 promises to be another important year.
The good news is that those in the know don’t see any completely new developments or disruptions in the coming year. Instead, we expect see the continuation and extension of the digital revolution that has gripped the online world in the last two to three years. Central to this is the development of seamless customer experience strategies.
With that in mind, here are the international marketing trends set to take 2016 by storm…
- Putting customer experience strategies into practice
By now, most online companies worth their salt will understand the importance of customer experience strategies, but understanding the process and putting the resources in place are two very different things.
The key is to align brand touch points with every stage of the customer’s journey, wherever they are in the world. If the customer is still at the research stage, you should provide them with helpful resources that answer their questions. If the customer is weighing up possible alternatives, classifying the products available and evaluating the benefits of each can help to support their decision.
While international online businesses are going global with their customer experience strategies, they should remember that the best customer experience is always a local one. Brand touch points should always be localised to appeal to, and satisfy the needs of, the local market. Here are some excellent pointers to help you along the way.
- Think mobile first
The days of marketing and designing for mobile devices as an afterthought or as an added bonus are well and truly over. 2016 is set to be the year when mobiles completely dominate desktop devices. In 2015, Google announced that mobile traffic had overtaken desktop traffic in ten different countries, and this is a pattern that’s set to continue.
2015 was also the year Google released its mobile friendly algorithm update, dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’, which favours websites that have been optimised for mobile users. It’s clear from this development that mobile traffic is Google’s priority for the foreseeable future. Those sites designed for desktop devices alone could see their hard-fought search engine rankings suffer.
- Social ads and interaction
Managing the entire customer journey and defining the moments that matter is a complex process. As a marketer, social media is one of the key weapons in your armoury to make your brand present at those key moments.
The success of social media has made it abundantly clear that global customers want to interact with brands until they’re ready to make their purchase. Customers commonly arm themselves with the information they need online, before heading in store to make their purchase. At this point, cross-channel marketing strategies are the final piece of the puzzle, such as discounts offered through social media for use in store.
- Content personalisation
When selling to a global audience, it’s more important than ever to take a local approach to your marketing. This is why content personalisation was so high on the agenda at last year’s International Content Marketing Association’s annual conference.
Quality has always been the leading content differentiator, but now personalisation is hot on its heels. Producing great marketing content is not only about creating brand communications that people want to spend their time with, but also about creating communications that change their behaviour in some way.
According to Ed Couchman, Facebook’s Head of Agency Relations, content not only has to be “thumb-stoppingly good”, but brands that create materials with an element of personalisation are also twice as likely to be clicked on. Localising your website content by changing your updates, images and videos in line with the culture, behaviour and geography of your audience can build trust and provide customers with the best possible user experience.
- Video ad dominance
There’s certainly nothing new about video advertising, as the growing breed of YouTube entrepreneurs will be quick to tell you. But in 2016, the landscape is set to undergo a seismic change as Google looks set to launch its very first in-SERP video advertising.
What users want, Google aims to provide, and this move shows browsers are starting to become more accepting of video ads online. Of course, Google’s ownership of YouTube adds an element of the inevitable to this move, but it’s certainly one that international brands will be sure to follow closely.
What are your thoughts?
What do you think are set to become the biggest international marketing trends this year? Perhaps you’ve already seen a shift in behaviour in the first month of 2016? We always love to hear from our readers, so please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.