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By SCOTT KEFFER 

Believe it or not, direct mail aligns perfectly with the preferences of Boomers.

In the unending search for the holy grail of marketing, financial advisors are lately tempted by promises of quick and easy client acquisition through digital marketing miracles. From buying digital leads to endless social media posts, content marketing and webinars, the financial industry has embraced the allure of online strategies with hopes of waves of new affluent clients.

However, starting with a method is marketing backward. Marketing should always begin with your ideal client. Knowing their mindset is the recipe for success – embracing their desires, mastering their language, and resonating with their values.

The ideal client

The first and foremost consideration is defining the ideal client. Seeking to be everything to everybody positions you as nothing to no one.

My definition is an E.L.K. — Easy. Listen to you. Keep paying you the most — who is successful, serious and salt. Successful financially ($2 million to $25 million), serious about their money and future and salt-of-the-earth (loyal and trustworthy). Most importantly, they are in a position to become a client today and move their money to you now (ages 64-74).

That’s a Baby Boomer. Boomers own 51 percent of all wealth in the United States, have the most wealth per household, have the most money in retirement funds and have the most money in stock and mutual funds.

The normal and natural test

Prospects do what is normal and natural.

Think about this: Would an affluent Boomer normally and naturally go online to find a CPA, attorney, heart surgeon or financial advisor? The answer is no. Sure, there are always exceptions. However, in marketing, relying on exceptions is foolhardy and costly. Marketing must be sustainable and scalable to be successful.

Many mistakenly assume that the majority of retail purchases are made online. Not true. In 2023, only 15.6% of all U.S. retail sales occurred online, according to Statista. Furthermore, 84% of Boomers prefer visiting a physical store for their shopping needs.

Understanding the mindset of Boomers, who grew up in a world devoid of technology, unveils a picture of their unique set of values and preferences. Growing up with catalogue shopping, green stamps, waiting for the mailman, service stations, rotary phones, telephone operators, sending postcards while traveling, adjusting the antenna on the single black-and-white TV, vinyl records, having milk delivered to a box on the front porch and getting news from Walter Cronkite has stamped an indelible set of values and preferences on them.

Not surprisingly, Boomers align with traditional values, are most comfortable with conventional communication, and value information from trusted sources.

Typically, three kinds of people go online for financial information: 1. Hot tip investors seeking the latest stock “intel,” 2. DIYers seeking “how to” information, and 3. Price-shopping penny pinchers seeking a deal. None of these are the kind of people who make the best long-term, loyal clients.

The ideal marketing medium

Direct mail aligns perfectly with the preferences of Boomers. They trust the tangible.

According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), 92% of Boomers check their mail daily, with 91% stating that sorting through mail doesn’t stress them. Furthermore, 82% express a greater likelihood of buying from a business that sends them direct mail, considering it more personal than digital communications. These statistics reinforce that Boomers trust direct mail more than any other marketing channel.

Even Google and other popular brands rely on direct mail to get businesses to advertise with them. In a 2018 Vox article, they report, “Yet over the last few years, brands — including hot, digitally savvy, direct-to-consumer ones like Casper, Harry’s, Wayfair, Rover, Quip, Away, Handy, and Modcloth — have taken to targeting customers in the mail.”

Better yet, mailboxes are less cluttered these days, which means less competition. As advertising spending overall grew 50% (2015-2021), the dollars that went into Direct Mail dropped 17%, per Statista.

Here are five keys to make for direct mail success

1. Personalize the mail: Make it unique — Craft your message as if it’s a letter written to a friend. Address the dreams, desires, and concerns of a Boomer. Make them feel seen and understood, establishing an immediate connection. Use their name, acknowledge their individuality, and tailor your communication to resonate on a personal level with authenticity and sincerity.

2. Invest in presentation: Make it hard to ignore — Design your mailing package to be visually arresting. Invest in quality paper, eye-catching graphics, and a layout that demands attention. A well-presented letter not only reflects professionalism but also intrigues prospects, urging them to want more.

3. Appeal to both the heart and the head: Mix emotion with reason – Strike a balance between emotional resonance and logical persuasion. Connect with them emotionally and support your claims with rational arguments, data, and evidence. This harmonious blend creates a persuasive narrative that speaks to both the heart and the head, leaving a lasting impact and setting you apart from the crowd.

4. Include high-value content – Provide information that adds genuine value. Offer statistics, trends, and insights that position you as a source of exclusive knowledge, elevating the perceived value of your message. By sharing relevant and intriguing content, you position yourself as an indispensable resource, fostering trust and credibility.

5. Use familiar analogies and metaphors – Communicate complex ideas using relatable analogies and metaphors. Create a bridge between unfamiliar concepts and your prospects’ existing knowledge. Analogies serve as mental shortcuts, making it easier for your reader to grasp the essence of your message. By using familiar comparisons, you enhance accessibility.

In a world barraged with online noise, the key to success with affluent Boomers lies in delivering messages that are normal, natural, and, above all, trusted by them. Financial advisors can unlock a deep gold mine of affluent Boomers with little competition by embracing direct mail and crafting personalized, engaging marketing.

By SCOTT KEFFER 

ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK® CONTRIBUTOR

CEO, Scott Keffer International. Scott Keffer is an Advisor Growth Coach, Best Selling Author and Keynote Speaker, who you may have seen in or on NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CNBC, Worth, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, among others. Scott and his team help financial advisors DOUBLE their income with HALF the clients, staff and stress!

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By JOY GENDUSA

Here are a few common pitfalls business owners encounter when creating a marketing strategy — and how to address them.

Have you ever taken blurry, out-of-focus pictures before only to figure out it wasn’t your photography skills that were the problem — it was the camera lens? After cleaning the glass, your pictures were perfect. Oftentimes, in business, it’s the same way. We can operate within a fuzzy lens and not even realize it.

My business has worked with over 115,838 business owners (and counting), so I know that sometimes business owners have blind spots in their marketing. We’re all guilty of it! We don’t know what we don’t know.

But the first step is taking a hard look at your perspective — the lens through which you see your audience and business objectives. The challenge is to break free from any limitations and expand your view so that you can reach more prospects with the right message.

Here are some common pitfalls business owners run into when creating a marketing strategy, and how you can expand your mindset to increase annual revenues and build strong customer loyalty.

You’re too laser-focused on digital marketing and neglect offline touchpoints that provide a 70% higher recall

Oftentimes the familiar feels comfortable, and for younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, there’s a stigma that they’re glued to their phones 24/7. Yet, the unfamiliar can sometimes strike a stronger cord. Print advertising, like postcards and letters, actually excites younger generations because they are outside of the normal scope for them.

One study found that 57% of 18 to 34-year-olds said they found direct mail extremely or very useful, and another survey showed 63% of Gen Z consumers were more excited about direct mail in 2023 than they were in 2022.

In fact, scientific studies have also proven that direct mail holds a more lasting impact than digital media. Researchers found direct mail holds people’s attention for 118% longer and stimulated 70% higher brand recall than digital advertising.

Whether you are a young business owner who has relied on digital marketing because it’s always been your go-to, or you assume all prospects naturally gravitate toward online content, it’s time to think outside of the box and get more creative with how you present your products or services in the tangible realm.

Give direct mail a try, track the results, and you may find that recipients respond even better to printed content. Remember, a postcard can stay in a home for months while an email often gets ignored or trashed within seconds of opening.

You don’t research the competition to discover new ways to grow your business

It’s possible to be so focused on your own business that you have no idea what your competitors are up to. But this is a huge blind spot. It’s crucial to take the time to get to know your competition. Get started by blind shopping, such as signing up for their newsletter, visiting their website, analysing the shopping experience and following their social media.

You may not want to copy what they are doing, but you can analyse what they do well, what they aren’t doing well and how you can offer something unique that fills in those holes. For example, your competitor may have an amazing social media presence, but they don’t have any in-person events or tangible touch points for their followers.

You could create more opportunities for prospects to interact with you in a personable way, such as shopping events, meet-ups, in-person consultations or trainings if it applies to your industry. Or if a competitor does a lot of email marketing, you could make an effort to do the same but include a tempting offer that is far better than the one they are giving out.

As you continue to analyse other businesses — not just your competitors, really any business you may interact with — save any marketing materials or ideas you like in a folder and use them for inspiration.

You never ask your customers why they like you over competitors to find the secrets to brand loyalty

After doing some secret shopping and gathering inspiration from other businesses, I suggest you ask your customers directly what they love about your products and/or services, and why they ended up choosing you over the competitor.

Some questions you could ask include: How much research did you do before making a decision? What was the determining factor after you looked into your options? Was there anything that stood out to you that you liked about us that was different from everyone else?

You may have a couple of loyal customers you are in regular contact with that you feel comfortable reaching out to. But if you don’t, you can always use a survey site, like SurveyMonkey, Jotform or Mailchimp.

You’ll never know what your customers are really thinking until you ask them, and you have nothing to lose by trying!

One way to bring in more surveys is to offer a discount or free item to them for completing it. You can also motivate your employees to provide feedback by giving them merch or a small bonus if their marketing ideas get used and are successful.

By remaining open-minded and inquisitive, you’ll enter new realms of growth for your company and even learn more about your mission and brand along the way.

By JOY GENDUSA

Founder/CEO of PostcardMania. Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998 with just a phone & a computer (no funding or investments), and today we generate over $100 million annually with 365 staff. I’m passionate about helping small businesses succeed at marketing and grow — because when small business does well, we all win.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By Kristy Snyder

Move over print ads and direct mail: Internet marketing is the new trend. Digital marketing accounts for 56% of total marketing spend, and the industry as a whole is expected to reach over $786 billion by 2026.

This means that if your company isn’t already dabbling in online marketing, it needs to be. Use this beginner’s guide to internet marketing to learn more about the basics.

What Is Internet Marketing?

Internet marketing—also known as digital marketing—is the process of using online channels to help an audience learn more about your products. Using tools such as websites, email, online advertising, social media and more, you can reach potential consumers, educate them on your offerings and hopefully convert them into customers.

Types of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is far more than just setting up a website. There are many different approaches to leveraging digital platforms. Here’s a look at some of the most popular types of internet marketing. Keep in mind, many of these overlap, which is why it’s best to utilize several when crafting your overall internet marketing strategy.

Content Marketing

Content marketing encompasses all consumable materials you might use to promote your company. It includes everything from blog posts to infographics to podcasts. The goal of content marketing is to establish your expertise, promote your brand and provide some sort of value to consumers. That might be by educating them on a new subject, providing a relevant tip or even offering entertainment.

To effectively utilize content marketing, you’ll need to pair up with copywriters, video editors, graphic designers and more. Define your objectives for each piece of content by planning and researching, create the content and then distribute it across various online channels including your website, email newsletters, guest posts and more. Depending on your strategy, content marketing can bleed over a lot into social media marketing and SEO marketing.

More and more small businesses are throwing weight into content marketing. In fact, 30% said they’d be increasing their content budget up to 10% in the following year. If your business jumps in as well, you can enjoy increased audience retention, higher conversion rates and increased brand awareness.

SEO Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing involves perfecting your content so it ranks highly in search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to just 1.7% for outbound leads, so getting listed higher on Google can definitely be financially worthwhile.

This doesn’t mean paying Google to place your ad higher. Instead, it means following Google’s E-E-A-T criteria to naturally hack the system. What does E-E-A-T mean? It stands for:

  • Experience: Your content is created by someone with first-hand experience in the field.
  • Expertise: Your content is highly researched or created by an expert.
  • Authoritativeness: Other sites link to your content.
  • Trustworthiness: Your content is accurate and your site has good security.

Of course, there’s more to SEO marketing than E-E-A-T. You also want to use good keywords that potential customers are searching for and optimize your on-page title tags, meta descriptions, headers and images. Also, this should go without saying, but your content should be well-written, relevant and not filled to the brim with keyword stuffing that makes it hard to read.

Social Media Marketing

In social media marketing, you’ll use platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to promote your brand and connect with potential customers. And there’s a lot of them out there—an estimated 4.89 billion people spend an average of 151 minutes on social media per day.

Running a social media marketing campaign is not as easy as it sounds, as you’ll need to stand out in a crowded sea of competition. This involves planning out posts in advance, creating a posting schedule and setting an advertising budget. Posts on social media usually include a mix of photos, videos, text and stories based on your brand and your products.

Using social media marketing gives you the chance to interact with followers, humanizing your business and brand. You can also use it as a way to drive traffic to your website, generate leads, increase brand awareness and build relationships.

Affiliate Marketing

Humans are easily influenced. That’s likely why affiliate marketing has grown so much in recent years. It involves partnering with a highly influential individual or entity that can promote your product or service to their followers. For every sale or lead they generate, you’ll pay them a commission.

While affiliates can promote your product on their blog or website, social media is the most popular platform. As many as 61% of Gen Zers and Millennials trust recommendations from social media influencers, and 33% and 26% have bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation in the last three months, respectively.

Don’t worry—you won’t have to go out into the wild yourself to find affiliate marketers. You can often sign up for an affiliate network that links you up with eligible influencers. Then, you’ll give them a personalized tracking URL and any assets or guidance they need to promote your product. The rest of the campaign is in their hands, meaning you don’t have to worry about anything.

Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending targeted, personalized and relevant emails to a specific audience with the aim of promoting products, services or fostering customer engagement. These aren’t just random users; instead, they’re people who have willingly signed up for your email newsletter, whether that was through a promotion or after creating an account.

Email marketing can drive a return on investment (ROI) of $36 for every dollar spent. That’s more than any other type of marketing. To take advantage of that potential, you’ll need to provide meaningful content to your subscribers. It should educate them on your products, announce important updates or even inform about special promotions. Design and formatting are also crucial for establishing a brand identity.

You can monitor the performance of your email campaigns by using an email marketing platform. You’ll want to track open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates and unsubscribe rates to measure the effectiveness of your emails.

Internet Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

While internet marketing and traditional marketing can share the same goals, they’re actually quite different. Each one has a distinct approach to promoting services, products and brands. Here are the key differences between the two.

Communication Mediums

For an internet marketing campaign, all of your communications take place online. You might use a variety of platforms, including websites, social media, emails and search engines.

Traditional marketing, on the other hand, takes place off-line. Your ads are shown in person, such as on billboards, direct mail flyers or print publications. They can also be in non-digital media, including radio, television or podcasts.

Demographic Targeting

One of the great things about internet marketing is that you can custom-target specific demographics. Maybe your ideal audience is women in their 30s who are interested in Taylor Swift. Platforms such as Google, Facebook and Instagram let you narrow down the exact type of people you want to show your ads to, making your promotional spend more effective.

Unfortunately, traditional marketing doesn’t always offer such highly targeted approaches. Often, it involves targeting people who live in a certain geographical area. You may be able to somewhat tailor television or radio ads based on the time of day or show that’s on, but there’s still no way to guarantee who is watching or listening.

Budgeting

On the whole, internet marketing is cheaper than traditional marketing. Consider the cost to reach 1,000 people (also known as the cost per mille or CPM) in each category. In 2022, the CPM for social media marketing was $8.15. Reaching the same number of people with direct mail, on the other hand, could cost anywhere from $300 to $3,000.

Lead Tracking

It’s incredibly easy to track internet marketing campaigns. You can collect data on impressions (how many times people see your ad), the number of clicks and even conversions. It’s simple to compare different versions of an ad to see which is performing better, or even look at the actions customers took after clicking your ad.

With traditional marketing, all of this is a lot more complicated. Sure, you can monitor website traffic and sales after starting a new campaign, but you’ll never really be sure if it was the ad that increased your traffic or another factor. Calculating your ROI can be a lot more challenging.

Interactivity and Engagement

If done correctly, internet marketing facilitates two-way communication. For example, imagine you run an ad on Facebook. Users can comment, like and share the ad, giving you greater reach than you’re paying for. You can also reply to their comments and messages, directly answering any questions that arise so they’re more informed on your solutions.

This isn’t quite as intuitive with traditional marketing. Sure, it’s possible to offer a phone number or email address for people to reach out to, but it’s an additional step that many won’t bother to take.

Global Reach

Obviously, internet marketing can reach a lot more people than traditional advertising. The world is just a few clicks away, and you can set up ads that people will see across the globe.

But for many businesses, that’s not always necessary. For example, if you’re a localized business that only services American customers, it’s probably not helpful if you run ads that go viral in China. You may appreciate the limited geographical reach of traditional advertising, especially if you’ve found good niche publications or programming to advertise with.

Internet Marketing Strategies

Now that you know a little more about the ways to market your company on the internet, exactly how do you go about doing it? These internet marketing strategies can guide your efforts as you initialize your first campaign.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As part of SEO marketing, you’ll need to optimize your website so it stands out in SERPs. You can do this by strategically using keywords in your content. You’ll also want to craft compelling meta tags and descriptions—these are what show up in Google search results.

Optimizing headings and content, structuring user-friendly URLs and effectively linking within your site are a few more good tips. The technical aspects of your website are also important, including site speed, mobile responsiveness, sitemap structure, URL structure and overall user experience. There are plenty of SEO tools that can help you if you get stuck figuring this stuff out.

Don’t forget about off-page SEO! It involves building high-quality backlinks, engaging in social media, collaborating with influencers, contributing guest posts and participating in relevant online communities.

User-Friendly Website Design

Did you know that 88% of online users won’t return to a site after a bad experience? Furthermore, 61% of users say they’ll bail if they can’t find what they’re looking for within five seconds. All of this means that you need to nail your website design.

Users want a site that’s easy to navigate, especially if they’re coming to a landing page from one of your ads. Make sure to include well-structured menus, a logical flow of content and an efficient search function. They’ll also want it to load fast, so optimize your image sizes and enable caching to improve site speeds.

Also, make sure your site is responsive and accessible. Responsive design ensures your website functions well and appears correctly on various devices. To improve accessibility, use readable fonts, suitable font sizes and proper colour contrasts to enhance readability.

Social Media Outreach

Actively engaging with your social media community is essential for building a loyal following. Responding to comments and messages and participating in discussions demonstrate your brand’s genuine interest in its audience. That’s especially true if you’re running an ad and people have questions. Leaving these concerns unaddressed can cause people to lose trust in your brand.

And your social media outreach doesn’t have to stand on its own. Link up your posts with your content strategy so you don’t have to come up with all original content.

Finally, choose the social media platforms where your target audience is most active. This lets you tailor your content and engagement strategies accordingly.

Customer-Centric Approach

A customer-centric approach means you place the needs, preferences and satisfaction of the customer at the forefront of all marketing efforts. The primary objective is to deeply understand your target audience, empathize with their challenges and provide tailored solutions that meet their specific requirements.

To do this, you’ll need to do lots of customer research and profiling. Develop detailed customer personas to create a clear and accurate representation of your ideal customers. Then, map out the entire customer journey—from the first interaction to conversion and beyond. Identify touchpoints where customers engage with your brand, and try to understand their motivations, concerns and expectations at each stage.

Using this information, create tailored messaging and content. Establish a feedback loop where you regularly review customer feedback, analyse data and adapt your strategies accordingly.

Pay-per-Click Advertising

It’s totally possible to craft an internet marketing campaign without spending any money. But if you want to guarantee people will see your content, then you’ll want to try pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This is when you pay advertisers such as Google or Facebook to display your ad to relevant audiences.

The good news? You’re not paying for every person who sees the ad. Instead, you only pay whenever someone clicks on the ad. Now, there’s no guarantee that someone who clicks on your ad will make a purchase or create an account on your site. However, at least you’re only paying to reach interested consumers.

There’s a lot more to PPC ads, including bidding and ad placement. If you’re interested in trying out this strategy, we recommend checking out our guide on PPC advertising, which dives deeper into the nitty-gritty of it all.

Bottom Line

Internet marketing is a powerful tool that’s cost-effective, reaches a global audience, helps target the right people and provides measurable results, engagement and insights. In short, it’s a must-do for your small business.

There are a lot of different methods you can utilize to reach online audiences, but we recommend pairing several together to see the best results. That way, you can tackle your marketing efforts in every digital frontier, from social media to email to video. The result? Hopefully, your business will see a boom in sales, brand awareness and customer trust.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Kristy Snyder

Sourced from Forbes

By Jane Wareing

Space & Time’s Jane Wareing examines a ‘halo effect’ from Meta ads – and outlines how to optimize your advertising strategy to make the most of it.

Space & Time on Meta ads’ halo effect / Ramez E. Nassif via Unsplash

In digital advertising, understanding the true impact of your campaigns is crucial.

While Meta ads don’t always see the highest last-click return on Google Analytics, they can be highly effective at driving consumer discovery. That’s a significant halo effect. And through search tracking via custom conversions, we can begin to shed light on how it works.

Meta and search tracking 101

Meta’s custom conversion feature means that you can create metrics in the platform, allowing you to track the number of people who have landed on your website via a search engine, after seeing (or clicking on) a Meta ad.

This this works by setting up conversions using Meta’s ‘referring domain’ and ‘URL contains’ parameters and inputting filters to ensure you only pick up website visitors who came through search domains. Depending on how your paid search URL tracking is set up, you can split this simply into ‘paid’ and ‘organic’, or you can dig deeper and split them by campaign types – for example, ‘brand’, ‘non-brand’, and ‘performance max’.

This further split allows you to see the effect of your ads on these different campaign types. For example, in a brand awareness campaign, you may further prove the effectiveness of your advertising through A/B testing and comparing branded search conversions alongside typical brand awareness metrics.

Setting your objectives

Tracking Meta’s halo effect can benefit various types of campaign, targeting different stages of the conversion funnel. This is especially valuable for products or services with longer purchase cycles, as it can illustrate the more immediate impact of your Meta ads and the role they play in driving last-click conversions from other channels.

Either way, there are three key reasons to set up search tracking for your Meta activity, regardless of your product or service.

First, it helps you to understand the true value of Meta ads. By tracking how these ads influence your website traffic, you can measure their effectiveness and make data-driven decisions to test or amend audiences or creative.

Second, you can use it to drive consumers earlier in their purchase journey. Meta ads can act as a catalyst for potential customers to start searching for specific keywords, especially branded keywords. Understanding this can help you create more engaging and educational content to guide them through the conversion funnel.

Third, it opens up the opportunity for highly engaged retargeting audiences. By knowing which users arrived at your website through search engines, you can create retargeting campaigns that specifically target them, increasing the chances of conversion.

Does it work?

We’ve tested this with clients. With one, for example, we gained increased insights into the discovery our Meta ads were driving, including over 86,000 landing page views after searching on Google or Bing during the first month of recording this data.

We also set up a retargeting audience based on those who had landed on a client’s website after searching on Google. Testing this against our original dynamic retargeting campaign, the retargeting campaign delivered a 4.3x higher return on ad spend and 71% lower cost per purchase, as well as a 39% higher click-through rate when looking at Meta attribution data.

When diving into Google Analytics last-click attribution data, we saw even more favourable results, with an 18x higher purchase rate and 4.96x higher return on ad spend for the search retargeting audience compared to the original dynamic retargeting audience. This shows the value of specifically targeting this highly engaged audience, and Meta’s value as a final driver to purchase for this group.

Using search tracking to understand Meta’s halo effect allows you to make informed decisions to optimize your advertising strategy based on key results, as well as offering new retargeting audience opportunities. While customer journeys are available to view in GA4, concrete results within the Meta platform showing the effect of its advertising on other channels can go a long way in proving that Meta ads have a more significant role in driving discovery and conversions than traditional last-click attribution might suggest.

Feature Image Credit: Ramez E. Nassif via Unsplash

By Jane Wareing

Sourced from The Drum

By Rob Davinson 

In 2024, affiliate marketing will see brand-creator alliances rise, TikTok vs. Amazon competition, programmatic opportunities, and more, says Awin’s global head of content, Rob Davinson.

Affiliate marketing mirrors the broader digital landscape, with trends at the macro level resonating in our microcosm. In 2024, we’ll see emergent trends (artificial intelligence (AI), social commerce and retail media to name just a few) that will impact affiliate marketers.

Here we breakdown the key changes (and challenges) that affiliate marketing is likely to encounter this year, and what they mean for the industry.

1. Brand-creator affiliation will rise amidst social media slowdown

With global digital ad spend growth slowing (Dentsu predicts only 6.5% growth in 2024, after a historically low-growth year in 2023), and social media facing a similar slowdown as new user growth plateaus, brands can combat this by directly partnering with creators, as influencer marketing proves more resilient than paid social.

Major brands like The Body Shop and Walmart are two examples that launched large-scale creator affiliate programs in the last year, tying social awareness to controlled marketing outcomes. We see this trend further developing in 2024, as it not only counters platform-dependent risks, but benefits influencers seeking stable incomes,

Awin’s platform witnessed a surge of registering influencers in 2023 (over 10,000), foreshadowing continued growth in 2024.

2. TikTok vs. Amazon: Affiliate model’s value amid new competition

As major tech giants mature, Amazon transitions from a shopping marketplace to an ad space, while TikTok evolves from entertainment to a product purchasing platform. This encroachment on each other’s territory is likely to intensify competition, with TikTok employing an affiliate-type model, mirroring Amazon’s commerce flywheel.

Both platforms embracing affiliate strategies validates its efficacy. Brands may channel more ad budgets into these tech giants, necessitating a choice between entering new marketplaces or driving traffic to their e-commerce sites.

Opting for the latter requires enhancing the shopper experience, supported by affiliate tech partners, as exemplified by Nike’s livestream shopping collaboration with Contester, enhancing the Cyber period with engaging content on their site.

3. Programmatic challenges will propel affiliate ad spend growth

In 2023, the programmatic ad industry faced serious challenges, as reported in the ANA’s Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study. Among its findings was the fact that there is $22bn of wastage from the $88bn programmatic supply chain.

Advertisers often grapple with misaligned incentives, prioritizing cost over value, resulting in diminished ad quality. In contrast, affiliate marketing’s performance model, linking ad spend to tangible outcomes like sales, proves more valuable.

It says a lot that global spend in affiliate marketing last year is estimated to be around $14bn, a third less than was wasted in programmatic. As senior marketers consider their budgets this year, the data suggests affiliate marketing should garner greater consideration for its effectiveness.

4. News and media publishers will leverage affiliate commerce content

In 2024, with a record number of global elections, including the US presidential election and 40 national elections, political interest will drive traffic to news media sites.

Despite heightened ad spend forecasts, news publishers may not see increased income due to past challenges with programmatic display ads. Affiliate channels offer a solution for publishers facing declining ad monetization and brand block listing.

Additionally, major sporting events like the European Football Championships and the Olympic Games in Paris promise increased traffic, creating opportunities for affiliate efforts to offset ad revenue challenges and enhance the value of journalism amid growing demand.

5. AI revolution in search will pose a threat to affiliate longtail

When it comes to online, the significance of high Google search rankings has been paramount. As the old adage (meme caption) goes: “The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google’s search results.”

Google’s search console, shaping our online information-seeking behaviour for two decades, faces challenges from Google’s monetization motives and emerging AI-powered search consoles, like ChatGPT. These AI consoles provide instant answers, diminishing the reliance on external links and altering the traditional internet ecosystem.

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) introduces AI-generated responses, potentially reducing organic traffic to publisher websites. Publishers face limited options – allow crawling for SGE or risk exclusion from Google search. SEO adherence to E-E-A-T values becomes crucial for publishers navigating this transformative shift, emphasizing the affiliate industry’s need to adapt and maintain audience-centric effectiveness.

6. Travel resurgence will inspire pop culture-inspired trips and affiliate growth

While some predicted its near-extinction after the 2019 lockdown, the travel industry is booming as we begin 2024.

IATA predicts that this year will exceed 2019’s travel record, with 4.7 billion people expected to board airlines in 2024. Awin observes a surge in affiliate-driven travel bookings, a trend set to continue as consumer confidence rises, airline capacity grows, and major events drive demand.

Expedia and Amadeus foresee a significant year for experience-based tourism (think set-jetting and music festivals). Affiliates play a crucial role in the complex shopper journey, offering inspiration, comparisons, and personalized options.

Brand partnerships, where one advertiser promotes another complementary one as part of the customer’ booking experience, thrived in 2023. Travel brands are well set to capitalise on this growth with lots of potential match-ups from other brands keen to tap into consumers’ resurgent appetite for travel.

7. As cheap fashion challenges sustainability efforts, green affiliates will emerge

Despite Cop28’s pivotal agreement to shift from fossil fuels, inertia persists around climate change. In 2024, the rise of ultra-fast fashion platforms like Shein and Temu, fuelled by the TikTok trend of buying cheap dupes, contributes to growing landfill fashion.

Even impacting Amazon, Teemu users spend nearly double the time compared to Amazon, prompting the e-commerce giant to lower fees for clothes under $20. However, some affiliates continue to promote mindful consumer choices innovatively. Examples include Refoorest, planting trees for site visits, and Axon Mobile incentivizing eco-friendly commuting. And another new promising solution for 2024 is spearheaded by Birl, who are introducing the circular economy to e-commerce through their smart resale system.

By Rob Davinson 

Sourced from The Drum

BY JASON MILLER

In business, a key part of effective marketing is knowing the customers needs, wants and desires. Much of this can be predicted by the behaviours in the market and knowing the ideal customer for your product or service. Knowing how your ideal customer thinks and their buying trends will drastically increase sales in your business.

In the landscape of marketing, a profound understanding of consumer behaviour stands as an indispensable element. Far from being merely about product promotion, it involves a deep exploration of the intricate motivations that drive consumer choices. This nuanced understanding is critical for developing marketing strategies that not only engage but profoundly resonate with the target audience, thereby driving sales and fostering enduring brand loyalty.

The realm of consumer behaviour is a tapestry woven from diverse influences, encompassing psychological factors, social and cultural dynamics and individual preferences and experiences. These multifaceted aspects collectively shape how consumers perceive, interact with and decide upon products and services, making their understanding vital for marketers.

Psychological dynamics

  • Emotional and rational decision-making: The balance between emotional impulses and rational thought processes in consumer decision-making cannot be overstated. Recognizing and understanding this interplay is crucial for effectively influencing consumer behaviour.
  • Cognitive biases and heuristics: These mental shortcuts, while facilitating decision-making, often lead to predictable but sometimes irrational behaviours among consumers.
  • Impact of social networks: The significant influence of family, friends and broader social networks in shaping consumer decisions is a key consideration in marketing strategies.
  • Cultural backgrounds: The profound impact of cultural heritage on consumer preferences, perceptions and purchasing behaviours necessitates a nuanced approach in global marketing strategies.
  • Personal experiences and history: A consumer’s past experiences significantly influence their current and future behaviours towards brands and products.
  • Lifestyles and values: The individual lifestyles and personal values of consumers play a crucial role in their decision-making process.

Effective strategies for utilizing consumer behaviour insights

Effectively leveraging consumer behaviour insights involves several strategic approaches. Simplicity in communication is essential, as clear and concise messaging resonates more effectively with consumers, influencing their decision-making. A customer-centric focus, where the spotlight is on meeting the specific needs and desires of the consumer, enhances engagement and loyalty. Assembling a diverse team with a broad spectrum of insights is vital in crafting strategies that resonate with a varied consumer base.

Streamlining consumer processes ensures a positive experience from initial awareness to the final purchase. Moreover, leadership deeply rooted in an understanding of consumer behaviour is fundamental. Such leadership ensures that consumer insights are translated into effective marketing strategies, guiding companies toward success.

Ethical implications in consumer behaviour analysis

The ethical dimensions of understanding consumer behavior are significant. Marketers must balance the pursuit of insights with respect for consumer privacy, employing strategies that are ethical and responsible. This balance is crucial in avoiding manipulative tactics while maximizing marketing effectiveness. The future of marketing is set to witness an even deeper understanding of consumer behaviour, especially with emerging technologies like AI and advanced data analytics. These tools promise more precise insights into consumer preferences and behaviours, opening up new frontiers in marketing strategies.

Digital platforms have become pivotal in analysing consumer behaviour. The wealth of data generated by online interactions provides rich insights into consumer preferences and behaviour patterns. Understanding digital interactions, from social media engagement to online shopping habits, is essential for effective digital marketing.

In my personal experience, I have always made it a point at the Strategic Advisor Board to have my customers at the forefront of my business decisions. I seek to match their interest and to maintain whatever working relationship we have. Customers have high standards and for good reason, they have the autonomy to choose you or choose your competitors and it’s up to you to give them a reason why they should go with your services when other companies could easily provide you with similar results.

Analysing consumer behaviour and being able to quantify it gives you a specific edge over your competitors as being able to know what satisfies your customers makes it possible for you to apply it to your business operations which could lead to a multitude of beneficial results such as increased business performance, be it through simply retaining your original customer base and using them as an example for future marketing campaigns and hopefully gaining more customers.

Ways to get ahead with psychological methods of marketing and customer experience

1. Brand storytelling

Brand storytelling has emerged as a potent tool in marketing, influencing consumer behaviour by evoking emotional responses and creating deeper connections with brands. Effective storytelling can transform products or services from mere commodities into integral elements of a consumer’s life.

2. Consumer reviews and testimonials

In the digital age, consumer reviews and testimonials significantly influence purchasing decisions. Managing online reputation and encouraging positive customer reviews have become crucial aspects of modern marketing strategies.

3. Sustainability and consumer preference

The growing consumer preference for sustainability and ethical practices is reshaping marketing strategies. This shift towards environmentally friendly and socially responsible products compels brands to market not just their products, but also their commitment to sustainability and ethics.

4. Adapting to changing consumer behaviours

Adapting to ever-changing consumer behaviours is a challenge that modern marketers must meet. This requires a dynamic approach to marketing, where strategies are continually refined based on the latest consumer behaviour trends and insights.

The essential role of consumer behaviour in future marketing strategies

Understanding consumer behaviour is foundational to successful marketing. It involves creating a synergy between marketing strategies and consumer preferences to meet consumer needs while fostering long-term relationships. In the rapidly evolving consumer landscape, being informed, adaptable and ethically aware is crucial for the future success of marketing endeavours. Staying ahead of consumer trends, embracing technological advancements responsibly and upholding ethical marketing practices will be essential for businesses to remain competitive and relevant in the market.

BY JASON MILLER

CEO of the Strategic Advisor Board

Jason Miller is a seasoned CEO with an overwhelming passion to help other business owners and CEOs succeed. He was nicknamed Jason “The Bull” Miller because he takes no BS and no excuses from the people he serves. He has mentored thousands of people over more than two decades.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

BY TREVOR RAPPLEYE 

Getting the most from a trade show audience requires a strategic approach, so follow this advice from an industry insider.

I’ll never forget the first time I attended a franchise-related trade show. In 2019, I maxed out another credit card to register for the International Franchise Association’s annual convention. I had landed a couple of project videos for some franchise brands and knew I needed to learn more about the industry if I was to create quality video content on their behalf.

The trade show floor at the annual IFA Convention was overwhelming – even bigger in person than I’d expected. I was determined to see all of it over the next three days, to pick as many brains as I could because I clearly needed an education. But it didn’t take me long to notice that I wasn’t the only one who could use some pointers. Even though I’ve been in the video marketing business since my early teens, I grew increasingly surprised as I passed through one section of the floor to another. The exhibitors, which range from everything from emerging brands to funders, consultants, vendors, and suppliers all appeared to have one thing in common. There was no high-resolution imagery displayed. In fact, by my count, roughly five percent of them were utilizing any form of video content in their trade show booths.

It was right then and there that I realized that I had a value proposition to offer the franchising industry.

The fundamental aspect of a trade show booth

Companies – franchisors in particular – spend a good deal of money to exhibit at the industry’s wide variety of trade shows. Floor space doesn’t come cheap, and brands typically set out with the best of intentions when it comes to recouping their investment. These reserved spaces only offer a minimal amount of space to captivate the thousands and thousands of trade show attendees – and you’ve got to make the most of every inch. Once you get beyond staffing the booth with your most gregarious sales representatives, there’s the requisite table, banners, signage, and brand collateral to think about. This is a golden opportunity to showcase who you are, what your brand represents, and how you have something of value to offer to an extremely captivated audience. Months of planning often go into the design, layout, and execution of exactly how you’ll present yourself to the masses. But to forego any type of video content in the trade show booth? That makes no sense at all. Seven-eighths of our knowledge comes from visual cues. So, it stands to reason that video is the best possible way to showcase your brand’s value proposition, key differentiators, and provide your target audience with the social proof you need to communicate a compelling story.

Know before you go

Long before the trade show kicks off, and you’re still in the planning stages of creating your video content, there are a few hard and fast truths you need to understand. The most important factor to consider is the short amount of time you’ll have to make an impression with video — perhaps as little as five seconds for attendees casually strolling by. And you can forget about audio, music, or voiceover narration. Most trade show floors are crowded, noisy, and crammed with endless branding and messaging collateral, easily capable of causing sensory overload.

To get the attention of your prospective target audience, videos must be brief, eye-catching, impactful, and branded. Any caption layovers must be short, clear, and easily digestible to the naked eye. Everything you shoot must be edited down to a concise clip that differentiates your brand’s value proposition amidst an endless sea of options.

Creating a sensory experience through video

Whether it’s a trade show, convention, or expo, the floor is typically packed with exhibitors, each vying for the attention of the passing attendees. How do you create a sensory experience that draws people in and makes them want to learn more about your brand? To borrow a quote from Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, a top naval commander in the Pacific Theatre in World War II: “Hit Hard! Hit Fast! And Hit Often!”

Initially, you’ve got to grab their attention before you can showcase your product or service in a way that piques curiosity and is capable of spurring an interaction. The first few seconds of your video content must present strong, clear graphics, as well as high-energy clips and edits that can excite, attract, and engage – before following up with a call to action. Carefully crafted videos – no more than one to three minutes in length – that play on an endless loop are highly recommended. And it’s also advisable to have more than one video display, in an elevated position to draw attention from multiple directions.

Selling a product? Develop videos that go beyond product placement and show it in action. Demonstrate its’ capabilities, while using clear captions to explain its value proposition in writing. Selling a service? Create a brief – but impactful – montage that demonstrates the process of the service you’re selling. Use storytelling and visual cues to highlight the customer’s journey in patronizing the service you provide.

Shoot onsite

A well-crafted video for your booth, designed with the trade show audience in mind, can give you a decided edge against the competition. But your dedication to utilizing video shouldn’t end before the trade show kicks off. It can be a wise investment to consider shooting raw video and scenes right there on the convention floor. Any footage captured during the event can pay untold dividends on the back end. Brands with plenty of onsite content can distill these videos into a montage or “sizzle reel,” which can then be repurposed for follow-up opportunities, via email, your website, future blogs, or even social media posts, because nothing tells a brand story like your sales efforts in action.

BY TREVOR RAPPLEYE 

Trevor Rappleye has been an entrepreneur since 2003 – beginning his first company at age 13, converting VHS to DVD and filming family events. As the president and CEO of FranchiseFilming.com, he’s obsessed with storytelling, leadership, video marketing and filming social proof for brands and franchisors. The company includes A-list clients such as Neighborly, CVS, Home Depot, ADP, and FASTSIGNS. For more information on FranchiseFilming’s VIP Subscription Model with no travel fees, no scripts and videos in just 10 days, visit www.franchisefilming.com.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

Have you considered giving your branding a refresh for 2024?

Visual trends are always evolving, and while that logo and color palette that you came up with may have been cool in 2012, its now 2024, and it could be worth re-considering your approach, in order to maximize your visual appeal.

Which is crucially important. Attention spans are shorter than ever, and if you want to gain traction in busy social feeds, you need to grab people as they scroll by.

This listing could help. The team from Piktochart have highlighted 8 key trends that they expect to see gain traction over the next year.

Some interesting considerations, which could boost your visual branding.

You can read Piktochart’s full report (including one more key trend) here.

Piktochart design trends 2024

Sourced from SocialMediaToday

By

Timing is of course everything in PR and marketing.  I witnessed a beautiful example of this recently coming out of Denmark.  Queen Margrethe II reigned for 52 years, abdicating just a couple of weeks ago in January, 2024.  She has been succeeded by her son King Frederik X, and if anyone ever needed advice on how to follow a queen of 52 years, it’s Frederik, who has to fill some very regal slippers indeed.

Fun fact:  both Queen Margrethe II and Queen Elizabeth II of England are great-great granddaughters of Queen Victoria of England, who lived from 1837 to 1901 and reigned for just under 64 years.  (Queen Elizabeth II still has everyone beat, reigning for an amazing 70 years before turning the country over to Charles III.) It’s an impressive family.

Back to the advice for the new King.  Trine Nebel, longtime political commentator and Assistant Professor and Management Rhetorician, Professional College Absalon in Denmark, and I have often exchanged views on each other’s political worlds over the years and become friends during those heated discussions.  So, I was not surprised when she published an op-ed piece in the Danish consortium of newspapers which covers most of that country on the subject of the succession.

In the piece, she offers 10 ideas for the new King to ponder based on the leadership principles that her college, Absalon, teaches its students as part of the leadership training course that all leaders in the government must take in order to retain their positions over time.  It’s a clever, fun way to give the King some advice, talk up the school, and spread the word on good leadership practices at the same time.

Because her timing was perfect, the op-ed piece received widespread notice throughout Denmark, and the school earned a nice moment in the spotlight.  Trine is already well-known in Denmark and has appeared on Danish television and in the press over the years, so she is a trusted source for journalists and commentators to reference, quote, and comment on themselves.

In short, her piece has all the necessary attributes to go viral in her world.  It’s timely, it addresses a hot topic, she is already a trusted commentator, and the clear structure of the op-ed makes it easily digestible and implicitly gives the reader a way to think about the new King’s role that is relevant and fun.

Here’s her advice in summary form.  I link above to the translated version of the piece, but please understand that Google translate doesn’t do justice to the sparkle and wit of her prose.

Learn from your people – they will mirror your successes and failures and your policies’ ups and downs as well.

Lead with empathy and create a strong professional community.

Your kingdom is a chessboard, where each piece has strengths and weaknesses. Make your moves accordingly.

Nurture your people.

The king is like the conductor of an orchestra – create the right harmony.

Think strategically, two moves ahead. As Trine notes, “we’re not quite done with the chess metaphor!”

Practice honest and open communication.

Be ready to change and adapt.

Don’t forget succession planning – help your son, the prince, develop in his role. A pawn can become a king. . . .

Make sustainability core to your reign. Think about the long term.                          

Good advice for any leader, no?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our next president could take some of these lessons to heart in our divided country?

By

Sourced from PUBLIC WORDS

By Claire Nance

As a comms leader at Activision Blizzard, Claire Nance tracks all the trends obsessing marketers. She explains why the next big thing isn’t always the best.

Our industry loves a good story. And so it should. Marketers are, after all, storytellers themselves.

But look at the industry’s big stories or trends from the last few years, and you quickly see a pattern emerge, one that places greater emphasis on latching on to ‘the next big thing’ without a longer-term view to real-world implementation or impact.

In 2022, it was the metaverse. Barely did an earnings call or marketing strategy presentation went by without the ‘m’ word being hastily inserted. There was (and still remains) pervasive confusion around what actually constitutes the metaverse, but that didn’t stop the rush to proclaim the launch of marketing campaigns in the ‘metaverse’ and the flood of metaverse-related categories at industry events and award programs.

In many cases, these activations were within virtual gaming and social platforms, legitimate growing areas of opportunity and interest for marketers that became wrapped up by the desire to be part of the buzz and hype around the industry’s trend of the moment.

The result was that the industry conversation skipped a few steps in understanding audience behavior in virtual spaces to unlock the real impact these experiences can have both now and in the future. The story was instead focused on the latest brand to activate in ‘the metaverse’ without contextualizing it within the current technological landscape and paying little attention to results, impact or objectives.

In 2023, it happened again. And yes, I’m talking about AI. Witnessing the abrupt shift from metaverse to AI across industry headlines, events and areas of expertise this year has been simultaneously amusing and dispiriting. Once again, the priority has been to jump on to the big story of the year and ride the buzz while overshadowing the real potential AI technology offers. Such was the attention given to AI this year that the term became a proxy for technology that involved even basic levels of automation or machine learning (both of which existed before the 2023 AI hype bubble), missing the opportunity for education around what it actually is and thus how marketers should be thinking about it into the future.

It’s easy to identify the similarities between the metaverse and AI and, thus, why they became the prime marketing story in their respective years. They’re both new forms of technology that are conceptually easy to understand yet inherently complex.

They present a level of accessibility and familiarity that makes it easy for them to be inserted into existing industry conversations while also occupying a high degree of technological sophistication that makes them feel exciting and advanced. The other important component of the narrative arc was that both the metaverse and AI gained prominence after major tech industry announcements – Facebook’s name change to Meta in the case of the metaverse and the launch of ChatGPT in the case of AI.

The speed and ferocity at which both the metaverse and AI became the dominant stories for marketing and advertising exposes our industry’s penchant for chasing the next big thing. There is an at-times outsized focus on ‘newness’ and being first regarding how we think about innovation in marketing, which can lead to the scenarios above, where one idea or technology dominates the year until the next ‘next big thing’ comes along. The result of this is not only that focus remains firmly in one direction, leading to an abundance of retrofitting ideas and technology to align with the newest obsession, but also that other forms of innovation that do not fit quite so neatly into the popular industry discourse can be overlooked.

As we sit at the cusp of 2024, how quickly will we see AI discarded for the next technological advancement, as we saw with the metaverse at the start of 2023? Or is there instead an opportunity to rethink how we think about innovation within marketing and the stories we tell ourselves?

As an industry, we consistently speak to the importance of identifying objectives and goals upfront, yet that may be forgotten when it comes to new technologies and ideas. Innovation, for innovation’s sake, serves little purpose, and the same can be said for innovation driven primarily by industry hype. The focus should be on outcomes, impact and exploration, rather than a need to follow the noise. After all, innovation aims to find a better way of doing things to achieve the desired results, irrespective of whether it can be attached to the current industry buzzword.

Future technologies are exciting, but without fully understanding them, it’s easy to miss areas of real potential. The appeal of the metaverse and AI was that they were easy concepts to grasp but spoke to a technologically advanced future, creating the potential to ‘skip ahead’ in the conversation around them. Understanding these technologies better as they exist today allows for more advanced innovation and execution tomorrow. But this can be easy to overlook when the intent is speed over evaluation.

None of this is to discount the potential impact of future technologies on our industry, nor the need for us to be talking about them. But there is an opportunity for the discourse around them to be smarter. As we look ahead to next year’s industry predictions, mine might somewhat optimistically be that how we talk and think about innovation evolves and that we don’t need another ‘next big thing’ to shape how we think about the future.

By Claire Nance

Sourced from The Drum