The digital landscape continues to surge, shaped by the need to share information and gain mindshare in a more complex — and competitive — business environment. Audiences are consuming an ever-increasing wealth of digital content daily… and brands that have not yet fully incorporated digital content strategies into their marketing efforts must evolve to stay even more relevant with both customers and prospects.
Following are three digital trends that building product marketers should be fully integrating into their brand strategies.
The growing influence of blogger engagement
Influencer marketing is, of course, not new. Word-of-mouth recommendations have always been a powerful means for persuasion. Just consider how much an endorsement from a trusted friend resonates, when solicited for their point-of-view. Research confirms that a solid majority of audiences trust an influencer’s opinion of a product or service more than the claims of a shameless, self-promotional advertising campaign.
Fortunately, as of 2020, nearly 32 million bloggers were active in the U.S. And many of these bloggers routinely partner with brands as part of an influencer marketing strategy. As we’ve written about before, sponsored blog posts are an accessible and impactful way for building product marketers to deliver their content — and brand promises — compellingly. To inspire confidence. And build trust.
The most effective bloggers cater to specific audience segments. For example, parenthood or “Mommy” bloggers educate those who are raising families… on which products may be best suited for like-minded households and lifestyles. Green bloggers, focus on stainability and wellness, and — as such — provide an ideal communication partnership for building product brands that promote eco-benefits such as indoor air quality and resource conservation. Similarly, bloggers who focus on design trends assist audiences in selecting home and building products that complement a particular sense of style or aesthetic.
As with any marketing program, building product marketers need to ensure that the content provided is genuine. And will complement each blogger’s unique personality. Audiences follow influencers on social media channels for a sense of connection — not to be “sold” — so the delivery style should convey authenticity and credibility.
Video takes on a new role
Video bloggers, a.k.a. vloggers, are rapidly becoming a particularly important segment of the influencer landscape. This is an exciting development for home and building product manufacturers… as a video blogger can capture an entire renovation or remodel in an engaging and easy-to-digest format. Instructional “vlogs” serve as important tools for brands to share installation techniques for educating consumers, while empowering trade professionals.
Videos allow a brand to tell its story on both a visual and auditory level. Video content can range from explaining a brand’s story… to exploring a product’s features, benefits, and experiences. Or, perhaps most importantly, for sharing intimate and engaging testimonials.
Fortunately — with today’s technology — videos don’t always require a broadcast-quality production crew. Many hand-held, moderately priced devices are quite capable of producing a compelling video that captures brand promises in authentic ways. Graphics and animations can create interesting content variety, and inexpensive stock video options are available to highlight existing messaging. What’s more, compelling video content can be produced — leveraging photographic “still” images — suitable for applying techniques like pans and dissolves, using the Ken Burns effect.
While videos are vital to attract and educate potential prospects, they also provide SEO value. YouTube, after all, is owned by Google and, as such, is highly searchable. That’s why, when posting a video, it’s important to apply the proper key phrase tags in the descriptions. And don’t overlook the many opportunities for a video to be used as a powerful addition to both social media platforms and a brand’s website… designed to increase the time that visitors spend with your messaging, which will help to increase organic SEO.
Streaming services are gaining serious ground
According to A.C. Nielsen Company, the average American spends more than four hours a day consuming content on a screen — which equates to 250 billion hours of viewership in a year. While these numbers are impressive, traditional broadcast television is losing ground in a battle for consumer’s attention… reflecting an ever-increasing influx of streaming and on-demand content.
Before the 1990s, digital video (streaming services) was not robust, as the bandwidth didn’t exist to accommodate the level of content that TV-style shows produce. Today, of course, that bandwidth has grown exponentially. Streaming service providers have been making steady gains, and the pandemic has only accelerated that momentum. In fact, in 2020, digital video viewership by U.S. adults grew by 25 percent, as audiences yearned for both education and entertainment.
Building product brands that wish to reach customers and prospects should pay attention to the rise of digital TV opportunities. After all, digital commercials are typically less expensive than their broadcast counterparts. As every marketer is all too often made aware, marketing budgets are finite. And promotional dollars need to be invested in the most effective ways possible.
Unlike traditional TV, which may be limited to a specific DMA — or designated marketing area — digital commercials enable brands to more easily segment and “fine-tune” audiences. Digital services also facilitate data collection… enabling marketing teams to analyze metrics and gain valuable insights into their target audiences. Another important benefit is the ability to stream ads and related content on multiple device screens: televisions and computers as well as tablets, laptops, and smartphones. As pandemic restrictions ease, this accessibility across devices will become even more critical.
Digital tactics are here to stay
We’ve shared just a few of the digital tools that make up a brand marketer’s toolbox. Keep in mind that — while traditional tactics are still relevant — the best approach for most brands is an integrated plan that provides a balance between new digital marketing approaches and historically-effective promotion methods. Most importantly, marketers must share with their sales team the digital campaigns they are developing to leverage co-creation opportunities and ensure vital alignment. The sales team, after all, has valuable experience and perspective to impart when it comes to which messaging may resonate best with a particular audience.
At K&A, we abide by a structured, “80/20” process. We recommend that brands review marketing plans once a quarter to assess what’s working and what’s not as effective. We maintain the 80 percent of programs that are performing best. Then, prune the 20 percent that is not measuring up to established goals. And replace those tactics with innovative opportunities from our incubation lab.
Need some assistance in developing your digital marketing strategy and attracting — and converting — more customers? Send an email to Steve Kleber at SK@Kleberandassociates.com.