The most effective marketing strategies are ever-relevant and dynamic, always ready to adapt and realign to marketing trends as they ebb and flow. With 2023 now upon us, it’s the perfect time to review your strategy for the new year so your marketing remains ahead of the curve.

So what’s changed in marketing trends? A lot is the short answer. The market never ceases to evolve, and as digital presence and new technology continues to envelope the marketing space, it’s shifting faster than ever! Data is now unavoidably a marketer’s best friend, user experience continues to pave the way for fruitful consumer journeys, influencers reign supreme and virtual reality is leaking into this reality. Luckily, all of these can significantly help the lead generation process.

To help you align your marketing strategy with what’s buzzing in 2023, we’ve compiled a list of the five most important marketing trends this year. Not every marketing trend needs to be tapped into, but you’ll quickly realize what will and what won’t work for your product or service.

Before we dive in, we’d recommend that you make sure you’ve already set the groundwork of an effective marketing strategy. That is, have a general understanding of your audiences, confidence in your offering and knowledge of where you sit in the industry. It helps to have already identified what approaches and trends performed well or otherwise last year. We touch on these basics here.

Enough rambling, let’s do it!

Data-driven marketing

The truth is: two out of three leading marketers admit that data-based marketing decisions beat unsubstantiated predictions and gut instinct. To the dismay of marketing teams yet to tap into the bounties of the data-capturing marketing trend, it shows that the assumptive nature of yesterday’s marketing strategies are no longer floating in today’s market.

So, how can you employ this marketing trend and instil your marketing strategies ahead of the curve with data-driven marketing? It’s actually rather easy! In this digital world, most businesses already have access to a vast amount of data garnered from website and social media analytics, CRMs, advertising tools and ecommerce platforms, so it’s really about putting these findings into play.

But first, what is data-driven marketing?

Data-driven marketing is brand communication informed by collected customer data. When it comes to understanding your audience, you’ll be supported by real-time facts and always be on the front foot! You’ll be able to predict target market needs and behaviors more dynamically, and adapt your strategies where you see fit.

There is a reason why data-led marketing is one of the most beneficial marketing trends. It can allow messaging to be more:

  • Personalized

    With a greater understanding of each and every customer, businesses can stray away from generic messaging and mass promotion. Instead, you’ll be able to engage audiences on the channels they’re active on with content and communication that speaks directly to them. The right messages, at the right time, in the right place.

    The payoff includes more loyal customers, increased audience satisfaction and greater conversions.

  • Persuasive

    By tapping into customer behavior through data, businesses can more effectively seek and predict what “actions, triggers or encouragements” will accelerate sales. This way, marketing strategies can take into account the motivations of their target audiences and create persuasive communications.

    Messaging that is more aligned to the “why” of customer decision-making than the “what” is the result. This allows a deeper B2C connection to be illuminated.

  • Efficient

    Data-led marketing also offers a significant cost-saving opportunity for businesses. This is because more informed, targeted and personalized marketing strategies can eventuate. Marketing teams are better able to identify the best communication channels to invest in, the locations in which to focus on and the people that are most likely to engage with their messaging.

    In-short, effective data-led marketing diminishes a lot of stabbing in the dark. It can greatly increase funnel efficiency and allow strategies to be realigned faster than ever before based on performance.

So, how do I gather the data?

Even if you’re yet to truly tap into it, most modern businesses have access to a ton of data, sometimes without even knowing it!

1. Website tracking

A paper trail of beneficial data stems from every visit to your website. You can understand how customers ended up there, how long they stayed, and on what pages they spent the most time. If you’re an e-commerce store, you’ll be able to see whether or not a visit led to a transaction!

2. Search statistics

Using Google Analytics or a marketing insight platform such as Semrush, marketers are able to measure how their ad campaigns, websites, content and products are performing in the search engine realm. They can highlight certain keywords or pages that are buzzing and drop those that are falling flat. With this vital info, messaging can be optimized to rank higher in searches and lead to more conversions.

3. Transaction data

Whether it’s online or instore, transaction history is beneficial for trend and customer identification. The products they’re buying, the location they’re in, whether they’ve returned things, used a coupon or discount code - these all help inform what marketing efforts you should focus on.

4. Social media analytics

With every like, comment and post on a social media platform is an imperative string of metrics that marketers can tap into. This outlines performance, engagement and whether or not any conversions are stemming out from content. As touched on in our article covering social media marketing for small businesses, some key metrics to note are:

  • Likes, comments and reposts – Individual post statistics are a great way to see which types of content are connecting with your audiences best.
  • Engagement – This is the number of engagements divided by impressions or reach. A high rate means the people who see the post find it interesting.
  • Account mentions – Organic mentions of a business’ account throughout a platform indicate good brand awareness.

5. Surveys

Want to be super sure you know what your audience wants? Go straight to the source! Over email, social media, in-person or through pop-ups, encourage followers, past customers and potential customers to answer a few questions about themselves and your brand. Key questions include:

  • Tell us a bit about yourself? (Age, location, gender, occupation etc.)
  • What is it you love about [your brand]?
  • Do you have any reservations about [your brand]?
  • What kind of content gets you excited about [your brand]?

How do I create a data-driven marketing strategy?

Now that you understand the benefits of a data-driven strategy and how to collect the right data, it only takes five steps to create one!

  1. Identify a goal that can be achieved through data-driven insights
  2. Gather the data
  3. Organize and isolate the best quality data and trends
  4. Inform marketing communications with data
  5. Measure performance and track metrics

Influencer marketing

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As we touched on in a previous blog, influencer marketing in the social media realm is a marketing trend that’s here to stay. You’d struggle to scroll through your Instagram feed without stumbling across a known personality or celebrity championing some kind of product or service. Why? Because it truly speaks to audiences!

In the US alone, over 72% of marketers tap into influencer marketing each year. With the popularity of Instagram and TikTok growing larger and larger into 2023, if you’re mainly targeting audiences below the age of 50, jump onboard.

The basics of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing involves the employment of social media influencers to endorse, promote and share a brand’s products or services. Brands may pay these social personalities to champion their offerings, or exchange their products or services for an online showcase.

Instagram has long been the platform of choice for the influencer marketing trend. More recently, however, TikTok has entered the arena and is not here to play games. Let’s dive into these key players.

  • Instagram

    Driven by videos, pictures and infographics and supported by a connective direct messaging and commenting system, Instagram has built the framework for what many see as the modern day celebrity - the influencer. The majority of Instagram’s users sit between the ages of 18 and 44.

  • TikTok

    Exclusively video-based and uplifted by an incredibly adaptive algorithm, TikTok has become a staple channel for younger social media users. Users between the age of 10 and 19 account for the largest proportion of “TikTokers”.

How do I choose an influencer to partner with?

Before jumping onboard the influencer marketing trend, it’s important to compile a shortlist of influencers that could best represent and showcase your brand. Understanding who your audience is, where they are, your industry competitors and the differentiating factors of your offering will be beneficial to this process. Explore our blog surrounding the creation of a marketing plan for some tips!

Things to look for in an influencer include:

  • Audience size

    An influencer’s reach is directly related to their reach on social media. As you might imagine, more followers means more eyeballs, but also higher costs. Nano-influencers have 10K followers or less, micro-influencers have 10K to 100K followers, macro-influencer have between 100K and 1 million followers, while mega-influencers rule them all with over 1 million followers. Consider the size of your business and your budget before diving in.

  • Reputation

    Trust underlines the effectiveness and persuasiveness of influencer marketing. This means it’s important to consider the reputation of the influencers you’re considering. Are they famous or infamous? Will associating your brand with someone put it in a positive or negative light?

  • Engagement

    If you notice a ton of likes, comments, shares and mentions on an influencer’s post or profile, this is a great sign that they have a loyal following. Usually, it suggests that their audiences trust their word and recommendations.

  • Niche

    The best performing influencer campaigns are the ones where the personality aligns with the vibe or niche of the brand. In many cases, the smaller, niche influencers are the content creators with the most engaged audiences. So, after noting what kind of product or service your brand offers, it may be worth digging into adjacent hashtags and finding a trusted figure within a niche community.

How do I reach out to an influencer?

Securing a partnership with an influencer isn’t as straightforward and simple as sending an email or making a phone call. Plus, depending on their popularity, they may already be in high demand. For the most success, try this five-step process.

  1. Interact with their posts - like, comment cautiously, share their content.
  2. Send a direct message - prove you’re serious about a fruitful partnership and provide as much information about your goals, their role and your brand as a whole.
  3. Adapt to their personal brand - influencers have spent time building up their identity and reach, try suggesting a collaboration where your brand and their brand can both come to the fore.
  4. Discuss pricing - The common formula is: $100 x 10,000 followers + extras = rate
  5. Create!

Focus on customer experience

You’ve likely heard the term “client-first” become more and more prevalent in the marketing space over the last decade. Why? Because putting your customers first in a marketing strategy allows an approach that personally accounts for their distinct wants, needs and expectations to develop.

In a market that values a fruitful business-consumer relationship more than ever, this considerate marketing trend is here to stay in 2023.

What is customer experience marketing?

Customer experience marketing is defined as a marketing strategy built around the customer-brand experience. It aims to build an understanding within target audiences that a business is driven and inspired by them, therefore offering products, services and experiences that personally fulfill their needs.

It stems from the belief that all aspects of a business, from its customer service team and PR crew to its copywriters and product developers, have a stake in the customer journey. Together, you’re able to deliver brand experiences that are positive, memorable and shareable with friends, family and audiences online.

Why is it beneficial in modern marketing?

Happy customers are returning customers, or at least customers that are willing to pass on the good word of your business. Combine this with the fact that your customers hold the most swaying power than ever before, an incredible brand experience is crucial to the lasting success of any business.

1. Amplifies brand loyalty

When you feel a connection with someone, you’re likely keen to see them again. It’s similar with brands: a customer is more likely to return a business’ product or service if they feel as if it speaks their language. Provide them with a good time and they’ll be back for more!

2. Encourages brand advocacy

In the current digital and social ecosystem, everyone’s opinion holds weight. In fact, 62% of consumers aged 18-34 say that brand trust is built significantly on reviews. If businesses offer their customers an incredible experience, they’ll pass it on, and it seems as if everyone’s listening!

3. Builds industry rapport

With customer experience marketing you can distance yourself from the more “proud” traditional marketing of other businesses within your industry. If you’re aiming to provide customer value from the get-go, you’ll automatically position yourself as a client-first brand.

How do I implement customer experience marketing?

Implementing your marketing strategy with a customer-focus can be as easy as focusing on three key cornerstones:

  • Understanding
  • Listening
  • Connecting

Understanding involves knowing your customers the best you can. With comprehensive target market research, consumer data, surveys and persona development, a business is able to put the customer first from the very beginning. It’s about moving from a “my product is good” approach to a “my product is good for you” emphasis.

Listening is about encouraging customer feedback and collecting real-life market insight. Google Reviews offers customers the opportunity to have their say, and their word is extremely valuable to your marketing efforts. With knowledge of what’s buzzing and what’s not, your marketing can be dynamic and reactive.

Connecting means being involved with your customers. This includes responding to reviews, inviting feedback and sharing their insights. This proves that a business is engaged, active and connected to its community.

Use of communication bots

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Robots? Don’t be alarmed, communication bots have well and truly become the norm in modern marketing and they’re here to help. Also known as chatbots, they are one of the few marketing trends that provide an automated means of communication and can facilitate around-the-clock support, guidance and sales. It’s difficult to find a website or app without one now!

Implementing chatbots in your marketing strategy can ensure that your business is ready and able to engage with potential customers regardless of whether or not your marketing and sales team are in bed.

What can chatbots do?

Most chatbots come in messenger form. This allows potential customers to interact with them as they would any personal messaging platform. They’re easy, instantaneous and intuitive.

1. Engage leads

With simple prompts such as, “Need any help?”, potential customers are drawn to respond and hopefully begin a fruitful interaction. Most chatbots can be wired to detect FAQs and provide an answer or offer direction in seconds! They can also collect basic information for future use.

2. Turn leads to conversions

Quickly convert confused or picky customers with connection. Chatbots can easily provide that little bit of personality and direction that pushes their purchase over the line, answering their last minute questions and squashing their qualms. For example, Volvo Cars Amberg employed a simple chatbot and survey and saw that their conversion rate increased a massive 200%!

3. Encourage further communication

Not everyone’s distinct questions can be answered by a chatbot, but they can connect them with your sales team at another time with a simple book-in sequence! This ensures that your leads are qualified even without human interaction.

What am I looking for in a chatbot?

Before employing a chatbot on your website or app, it’s important to take a step back and understand your marketing goals and current business needs and resources. This is essential to deciding whether you’ll need to build your own or look towards a popular bot supplier such as Intercom or Drift.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What problems need to be solved?

    Are you being overwhelmed with inquiries? Are you short on sales staff? Do you need an automated booking system? Look for a chatbot solution that has the right capabilities to suit your unique situation - there might not be a one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Does my business have the resources to solve it?

    Do you have the time to explore options or develop a bot? Does your business have the budget or the developmental capabilities? Do you have the information, links or content to inform the bot? Do you have a team that can actively manage and review the chatbot conversations? Although many automated options boast that they’re a service that services itself, there are still some things to be considered.

  • Which business touch points must they be active on?

    Website, Facebook, mobile app? It might be a case of one solution across all, or multiple bots to cover each channel.

Forms of interactive marketing

In 2023, the difference between ‘good’ and ‘great’ marketing can be summarized in two words - interactive marketing. In the simplest of terms, interactive marketing is a tactic that uses engaging visuals or video to capture the attention of your audience. This marketing trend opens the door for marketers to cut through the noise, creatively present your product or service and engage audiences at record levels.

The interactive marketing strategies predicted to take-off or continue growing in 2023 include:

  • Interactive videos

    Videos are a great way to explain a topic, entertain viewers or give them a BTS into your brand. The savviest marketers are using CTAs in their videos that encourage the audience to subscribe, participate in the conversation in real time or share the content with their audience. Some formats allow the viewers to answer multiple choice questions on-screen, while others immerse the audience in a landscape using 360-degree videos.

  • Quizzes, surveys and polls

    Buzzfeed rose to the occasion for their online quizzes and they’ve now taken it to the next level with on-site, interactive versions of their OG quizzes. These are a great way to get visitors interacting with your site so that they stay online longer, which will increase likelihood of conversions and boost your SEO.

  • Calculators

    Turns out calculators aren’t just for high-school maths and tallying up your home bills. Today, they’re an incredibly useful tool for businesses to share data. If you’ve bought a home in the past few years, you’ve probably used a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payment. This is a great example of entertaining and educating the audience at once.

Interactive marketing gives potential users an experience to remember - which is the key to success in the increasingly cluttered online space. When customers enjoy their experience on your website, they’re not only more likely to make a purchase, they’re also more inclined to share your brand with their network. An added bonus of this real time communication is that you can also get instant feedback from your target audience, allowing you to evolve or expand your offering over time.

Start 2023 in front of the curve

Marketing trends may ebb and flow, but when harnessed correctly, they can generate the leads that sets your marketing strategy and business ahead of the competition. And that’s not just now - that’s well into the future.

Look towards becoming an industry force, a consumer favorite and tech-led innovator in 2023! For more helpful tips or for assistance to start implementing these strategies into your marketing mix, check out LeadOwl’s features right here.

Where to next? Connect with LeadOwl on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to stay up to date with the marketing trends and boost your business.