As the saying goes it takes three data points to make a trend, but the problem for marketers with this identification is that it’s often too late.
It’s easy to identify a trend in hindsight – the web is littered with post-trend analysis breaking down why or how something happened – but the question remains: how do you get ahead? How do you get into those data points earlier? How do you see the potential before it unfolds?
An old video interview with Jeff Bezos, which has recently resurfaced on the social media, is a reminder that underscores just how visionary he really was. He saw a potential – selling things over the internet – that took many others years to even recognize.
That Amazon chose to sell books first was a matter simply math and pragmatism to work out kinks in a supply chain. It’s pretty clear from that interview, Mr. Bezos could see in 1997 Amazon would be selling anything you could buy at a Walmart in 2017.
It’s why, as noted in the March 2017 edition of the Monthly Scripts newsletter, Sir Martin Sorrell, who leads what is perhaps the largest marketing services enterprise in the world, fears not Google or Facebook – but Amazon. It’s also why Walmart should have looked at buying Yahoo in 2017.
Yet that’s a post-event analysis…or is it? And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML]. As always, below are three sources I’ve vetted, analyzed and recommend for further reading.
1) Internet marketing trends
The annual Internet Trends Report by Mary Meeker is itself a prime example of content marketing – and one executed by the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. While the report, which is 355 slides long, is certainly much larger than just web marketing, here are some of the things that stood out for me:
- Slide 12: Internet advertising is a $73B market in the US with double-digit growth;
- Slide 15: Google and Facebook command a majority of market share;
- Slide 38: User generated content elicits 6.9x higher engagement on Facebook;
- Slide 54: 82% of consumers stopped doing business after a bad experience;
- Slide 50: Content is the store…and (slide 51) the ad is the transaction;
- Slide 59: Content marketing debuts as a thing in a big VC report; and
- Slide 350: Globally, poverty and child mortality fall; democracy and literacy rise.
It’s worth pointing out, that slide 46, which says voice can replace typing, stood out as well. My generation – GenX – learned to navigate a computer with a mouse; our children are growing up with touchscreens; our children’s children may know nothing but voice interaction.
The advent of voice interface is a classic case of what’s old is new again: it isn’t that far from the way humanity passed the information along before we learned to make paper from papyrus to record written characters.
Somehow “internet trends” sounds quaint. Her slide deck is embedded nearby.
See these related posts:
Twilight of Web 2.0: An Era that Changed Marcom Forever [UML]
Pay to Play: Why PR and Marketing Should Care About Net Neutrality [UML]
Basic, Advanced and Bridge Building: Boldness in Content Marketing [UML]
2) Social media mobile trends
Slide 116 in Mary Meeker’s presentation above that suggests people only forget their phone exists when playing video games. She’s conveying just how engrossing gaming can be, but for me, it also suggests the consuming nature of mobile devices.
Tom Webster and the folks at Edison Research recently published a short deck titled, Social Sharing in the Mobile World, which examines social media and mobility. A few slides worthy of your attention include:
- Slide 10: The top services used on mobile: 1) navigation, 2) shopping 3) social media
- Slide 15: Top social media apps accessed: 1) Facebook, 2) Instagram 3) Twitter
- Slide 22: one-third of use share a photo to social media over mobile at least daily
A few years ago, the headlines suggested mobile was coming, mobile was coming, mobile was coming…it was the perennial trend on the horizon. However, the noise of its impending entrance – social, mobile, local – seemed to drown out its actual arrival.
Yet it is here, and it’s been here for a while, and the impact on marketing context, aesthetics and persuasiveness couldn’t be more significant.
His slide deck is embedded nearby.
3) Trends in marketing data for business impact
The difference between “doing marketing” and “actually marketing the business” might be the difference between engagement rates, and the impact to the business. That my take on solid Q&A Kimberly Whitler conducted with Mike Marcellin for Forbes: A Shift From The Craft Of Marketing To The Business Of Marketing.
Mr. Marcellin is the CMO for Juniper Networks and notes:
“Marketers need to be business people first and marketers second. This doesn’t diminish the importance of marketing. But the point is that marketers want to drive growth and customer loyalty. What happens is that we often get caught up in the day-to-day (or quarter-to-quarter) and you can get heads down focused on marketing tactics and not business impact. You have to remember that the value of marketing is in driving growth for the business.”
I couldn’t agree more, but I’d also point out, at least in B2B marketing, it generally takes time to aggregate enough data to see trends. It’s for that reason marketers get hypnotized by the short-term fluctuations and forget to step back and look at the overall trends an impact on the business.
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The risk in trend watching is the hypnosis of chasing cool to little avail. Instead, try leaving a window for experimentation while operationalizing the core aspects of marketing. Build systems and processes that consistently produce measurable results with business impact and then iterate and improve.
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