Top 2018 Marketing Trends


It’s nearly the end of the year, which means it is time to start strategizing for the new year. What will be your marketing techniques, and how will you compete with the competition? To get you started in the right direction, here are the top 10 2018 marketing trends.

1. Chats using more AI technology

Whether communicating through texting or online chats, expect more businesses to start incorporating more AI technology. Artificial intelligence technology has progressed significantly in the last couple of years and is continuing to improve at an amazing rate. More companies are starting using AI in communications with customers. An artificial intelligence startup can get your business set up.

2. More accurate recommendations

Machine learning can learn the behaviors of customers pretty quickly. It is the reason why advertisements have become so personalized over the years. Your company can use this technology to make valuable recommendations to customers on what they should buy and how it is applicable to their current situation. More companies will be using this type of technology in the new year.

3. Increase in augmented reality

Augmented reality is one of the hottest new things in the market right now. Companies have already been working to create more games available for augmented reality, especially since the new iPhone features have been released, but we can expect to see augmented reality ads hitting the market pretty hard in 2018.

4. The beginning of self-driving car ads

If cars are driving themselves, and customers no longer need to focus on the road, there’s more opportunity for marketing. More in-car advertising will be expected in the new year for self driving cars as they become more popular.

5. More Voice-content search optimization

More and more people are using their voice to search things through Siri, Google, Alexa, and other personal assistants. As these become the norm in every major households, you can expect more searches to start happening through voice commands instead of being typed into the box. 2018 will be the year marketers start really focusing in on optimizing for those voice searches.

6. Social media focus on Instagram

In 2018, we’ll see more of a business focus on Instagram instead of Facebook. Facebook has been the biggest advertising social media platform for years, but it is about to change. Instagram is perfect for businesses because it is the best and easiest way to create a personal relationship with customers. Plus, brands are seeing more engagement from customers on Instagram than any other platform right now, making it extremely valuable.

7. Time to start going live

When going live on social media first became a thing, customers weren’t entirely on board right away just yet. However, it has become not only a popular method of getting news to customers in real time; it is now expected by many customers. Companies who aren’t going live are falling behind, meaning the new year will be the year of live social media posts.

8. No more Twitter

While a lot of people still have and use their Twitter accounts, it hasn’t shown growth in quite some time. Most businesses and customers have started shying away from Twitter and focusing their efforts on other social media platforms such as Instagram and SnapChat. In 2018, you can expect Twitter to die completely.

9. Increased use of influencer marketing

The success rate with using influencer marketing has been phenomenal, as 95 percent of marketers who use it say it is beneficial. You can expect the use of influencers to increase next year, so it is important to figure out what to look for in an influencer and how to market your product with them.

10. Death of virtual reality marketing

As virtual reality became a hot thing among customers, businesses started to think it would become a new way to focus marketing. Unfortunately, creating the ads was extremely difficult, as it was hard to create a high-quality ad in virtual reality and it was expensive. In 2018, the virtual reality marketing sector will likely die, especially since many customers aren’t even using VR on a regular basis.

There will be a lot of changes in marketing in 2018, but if your company can keep up, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to stay ahead of the competition.

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4 Ways Machines Improve Customer Service

Every business spends time contemplating how they can improve customer service. It is an essential part of selling your product. This is especially true in a world where one upset customer can spend 15 minutes on their social media account thrashing your company, meaning you’ll lose their business as well as their friends and anyone else who may end up seeing the post. And while working with a person is still necessary in many situations when someone seeks out customer service, there have been extremely positive results from changing to a machine. With machine learning and artificial intelligence startups taking charge, machines are becoming quicker and more efficient for communication with customers. Here are 4 ways a machine can improve customer service at your company.

1. Automate repetitive tasks

The first way a machine can improve your customer service experience is by automating tasks that are necessary but don’t need an actual human to do them. For example, banks have machines that count out the money for them, so they don’t have to waste time doing that, and many pharmacies are beginning to install machines that dispense the most common prescriptions they have quickly and easily to customers. These types of machines will help improve the customer experience by decreasing the amount of time an interaction takes and by allowing the actual employees to focus more on the customer’s individual needs instead of wasting time counting pills or money.

2. Customers communicate on their own time

With the right artificial intelligence in place, you can allow customers to contact your business at any time and through any means while still getting an immediate response. An artificial intelligence platform would allow a computer to receive questions from a customer, recognize what the person is asking, and then formulate a response either asking for clarification or just answering the customer question. And while there are times a person may still prefer to speak to a representative directly, having an offline system is still extremely valuable to letting customers reach out on their own time and schedule.

3. Reduce wait times

One common complaint that customer service departments deal with on a regular basis is about the wait times. Either they had to wait to long to teach a customer service agent or it took too long for that agent to get an answer. As a business, reducing wait times often just means increasing the number of support positions, but that isn’t always realistic for a specific budget and doesn’t actually reduce the time a customer must wait in many cases. Machines, however, can help drastically improve the amount of time a customer has to wait for help. For example, T-Mobile has a service where a customer can put their name on a list to get called back later instead of having to wait on the phone for the next representative. The machine can also communicate with more customers to resolve problems using AI making it easier for real agents to focus on bigger issues that need more human and complex resolutions.

4. Increase accuracy

Another way machines are helping with customer service issues is that they are creating more accuracy. Human error is one of the biggest reasons customer service agents receive calls and texts from customers with questions about their experience with your company. However, if things are done correctly in the first place, there’s less likely to be an error. For example, a machine will copy the address a customer gives and post it directly onto a shipping label to ensure an accurate shipment. However, a human copying it over might mistakenly put one of the wrong numbers or even the wrong address in some cases. By reducing human error and increasing accuracy through machines, you are taking preventative steps to ensure your customers are happy in the beginning. The best customer service is preventative.

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How Superheros Taught Me About Customer Service

Superheros are a big deal right now. If you aren’t watching a superhero show, you’re probably at least planning to see the next movie that comes out. There are multiple series running as well as movies being made that cover pretty much every superhero you’d be interested in seeing in action. But did you know that superheroes actually have a few things to teach about customer service? Here is what I have learned.

Get the right technology

Even the superheroes that have natural abilities usually have some sort of technology equipped to focus and maintain their power. No matter how strong the superhero is, they are much more effective and confident in their abilities after they’ve gotten the best equipment and technology put on.

This applies to businesses as well. You can have the best and brightest customer service team available and still be struggling if you aren’t providing them with the right technology. Updated computer programs, access to social media, the ability to communicate through text, and even artificial intelligence will make a huge difference in the team’s ability to really get the job done right. Your team will become more efficient with help from the right artificial intelligence consultant to assist in improving your current technology.

Focus on teamwork

So many superhero movies have been about the good guys being unable to beat the bad guys by themselves. Instead, they must work as a team and work with everyone’s strengths and weaknesses separately to win. Once they’ve finally started working together as a team, they find success.

It is this way with your work environment too. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so if a customer service team wants to find success, they need to work with them. If someone is really good at talking to customers or calming people down, put them on phones. If someone else is really great with social media, have them be in charge of monitoring all the sites. Another person might be great at typing but not as good in speech, and they can be responsible for typing emails and responding to customer complaints on review sites. If you tackle it as a team and focus on the strengths of each individual team member, at the end of the day, your company will see great success in customer service. If, on the other hand, you force employees to work on things they aren’t good at or comfortable with and without the help of anyone else in the office, they will not be successful in the endeavor.

The key here is that you must recognize individuals for their efforts and hard work because the truth is, some people in the office just won’t be as good as others, and those who are good deserve to be rewarded. However, making an effort as a team will also help build those who are struggling and lift them up. Just like every superhero has a power they alone can wield, they still have to work as a team to lift others during times of crisis and bring back down to earth the most powerful superheroes.

Working with the rest of the company

Superheros have learned to work not only just for the good of all men as they see fit but also with governments and agencies to get the needed information to be able to stop crime before it happens and keep it from escalating in the future. It is where they go to get most of their information. The combined effort is what makes the superhero so successful.

That is the same with your whole company working in sync together. You can have a superhero-like customer service team doing everything, but it could all crumble beneath them if the rest of the company isn’t working with them to give them the information they need to have success. Working as a team applies to your whole business just as much as it does to the customer service department.

If you can get your business to work like a successful superhero squad, you’ll do great.

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Marketing to Women: Get in the Game

The biggest mistake companies make when marketing to women is thinking women don’t need any special invitation to buy your products. And while that might be true in many instances, a campaign focused on women and specifically inviting them to be a customer is more effective than you might think. This is especially true of products that are more often marketed towards men such as cars, beer, motorcycles, etc. As you prepare your marketing campaign for women, here are some things to take into account.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

If there’s one thing women like, it is clear, concise communication. They need to know what it is you are selling, what they should do with it, and why it is valuable to them. This information needs to be clear in all advertising you push. This is especially true of social media ads where a customer will only see the ad for a few seconds before scrolling past it.

On top of making sure your product advertising is clear, it is essential that they are able to easily reach your company to ask questions, whether that be through social media, texting, emails, or phone. A woman who is able to easily get information about you product or service and your brick and mortar stores through text is going to appreciate it. She will be grateful to have had an easy way to communicate with your business. If it seems complicated or difficult, she will simply move on to another company and work with them instead. An artificial intelligence company can get you set up, so you can answer women’s questions day or night without actually having to staff a 24/7 customer support team.

Empowering women

Selling to a woman isn’t about making your products girly or trying to find ways to get girls to like your stuff. It is about empowering women to make their own choices and showing them that they are special. Pink tools, for example, might be great for some women, but the majority of women prefer to simply get a regular tool set. Advertising only the pink tools to women is a big mistake because there are many who just want good tools in many different colors.

The only time when this rule is not in effect is when it comes to breast cancer awareness. Both men and women respond very well to products that are pink in the name of breast cancer awareness and where part of the proceeds of the product will be donated to the cause.

Focus your advertisements on showing women leading the way while using your products or services, not as a special female product but as a product everyone uses, including powerful and strong women.

Get some women in marketing

You would be surprised how many businesses try to put together marketing campaigns for women without actually having any women helping make the decisions. Having diversity on a marketing team is always a good idea because it gives you many different perspectives and will help you figure out whether the idea is stupid or brilliant pretty quickly. It is the best way to avoid a marketing fiasco.

Do some market research

There are a couple of ways to go about your research. You can start by asking women how they feel about and are responding to the product to give you a better idea of how it can be marketed. The other thing to do is to show your advertisements to a panel of women to find out how they react to it. You’ll find that if one woman is offended about the ad, the other women will become quickly offended as well. It is easy to fix those mistakes or even try an entirely new idea. The more people who can get their eyes on the ad, the better. Just make sure they have their cell phones put away, so you don’t risk getting bad or offensive advertising out there destroying your brand.

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How to Choose the Right Marketing Opportunities

The internet is a wonderful thing because it allows companies, large and small, to reach their full audience. There are no limits to the number of people you can reach with your marketing. The problem, however, is that the internet is also so loud and full of information, sometimes it can be hard to get your message through at all let alone to the right person. That’s why it is so important that you figure out your audience.

One problem many businesses have is that they spread themselves too thin trying to use all the marketing opportunities available to them. A better approach would be to determine who your audience is and where you can find them. For example, current young adults tend to spend a lot of time on SnapChat and Instagram and are heavily influenced by Influencers. Paying a social media Influencer to promote your product on one of those platforms is going to be more effective than an ad on Facebook. By targeting your audience, you can better determine what marketing opportunities are worth your time and which ones are a waste of money.

Always use text marketing

One way to ensure you reach your audience directly is through text marketing. Your customers sign up to receive messaging from you, which means you can be sure they are your audience and want to get marketing messages from your business. Also, the average person opens a text within the first few minutes it has arrived, so your direct audience will get see your text immediately. It is the fastest, most efficient way of marketing to your current customer base.

It is also really nice to allow them to be able to communicate with you through text whenever they have questions or concerns they need quickly addressed. The only real problem is that this form of marketing only works for your current customer base. And while staying current with your regular customers is essential, you need to do other things to try and pick up new customers.

Choose up to three types of social media

Social media is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to pick up new customers. All of your customers are going to be on social media. The real question is which platforms your audience is using. Once you’ve figured out where your customers are, you can put a lot of effort into that particular platform. Many businesses try and get on every social media site out there to try and reach everyone. Not only can this be very expensive and time consuming, it likely won’t yield the results you want. Your company needs to pick up to three platforms to focus on, and make sure to keep up with them. You’ll need to place ads on that platform, run contests, post content, and most importantly, use it to provide additional customer service support.

The other thing to consider when working on social media is whether or not to work with influencers. For the younger Millennials and Generation Z, influencers are very influential. However, it is important that the marketing matches the influencer using it and is fluid with their personality. The younger generation can quickly spot a fake ad and are more likely to be turned off to the product than on if it doesn’t seem to fit quite right. The other thing to consider is that older generations tend to be more influenced by iconic, big stars such as Brad Pitt while the younger generation, on the other hand, is more likely to be influenced by influencers that have a much smaller following but are targeted more towards their personal interests. For example, if you are selling vegan products, you’d want to find some influencers in the Vegan industry that are popular as opposed to trying to get Jessica Alba to advertise it for you.

Other forms of marketing

Ultimately, social media marketing and text marketing are your two most influential forms of marketing to current and new customers. However, there are other forms of marketing such as print marketing, email marketing, and even video ads that should be considered. Make sure you carefully consider where your audience is spending their time and focus on a few of those main areas instead of trying to do everything. The quality of marketing will go down with the more you spread yourself thin, and customers will notice.

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How to make your social media strategy profitable


Most brands are already on board with social media marketing. If nothing else, they do it because they feel they’re supposed to. But many brands aren’t seeing any monetary benefit from their social media marketing efforts and there are still brands that aren’t investing in a social media strategy because they don’t see how it can be profitable. After all, what’s the point in amassing 5,000 followers or getting x number of likes on a Facebook post if sales don’t go up as a result?

The truth is, social media marketing can be a very profitable channel if it’s done right. The following advice can help you turn your social media marketing strategy into a profitable one.

Invest money (to a reasonable degree)

A blessing and a curse with social media marketing is that it’s free to get started. It’s a blessing because you can get your feet wet without spending a cent and it’s a curse because we tend to not value things that are free. Investing money into social media marketing not only forces you to take the channel more seriously, it ensures that your social media presence is more far-reaching. You can invest in more advanced analytics tools beyond what’s included for free. You can boost posts so that people who aren’t already following your brand still see them. To truly be profitable, you’ll have to invest at least some money into social media marketing.

Have a strategy

Strategy is the operative word in social media strategy. Very few brands actually have a strategy going in. They create a page, pick a profile picture and begin posting and interacting with followers. That won’t do if your goal is to actually make a profit. You need a formally documented strategy that includes your target audience, how you plan to appeal to them, and most importantly how you’ll grow your presence over time. A content calendar should also be a part of your social media strategy.

Be consistent

If you treat social media as something you do when you have some spare time, it’s not going to be profitable. If you post daily one week, and then go a month posting once or twice a week, you won’t come across as a reliable brand. The exact amount you post is less important than the consistency. If you can only post once a day, make sure you post approximately once every single day.

Post frequently

Less isn’t more when it comes to posting across social media platforms. The more frequent your posts the more likely you are to be seen by your target audience. Returning to the previous tip however, don’t let frequency overtake the importance of consistency. Don’t post so often that you can’t keep up with the pace.

Respond quickly

A key to social media profitability is getting followers to view your brand positively. A great way to do this is to be prompt in responding to people who interact with you there whether you’re praising, asking questions, or venting about a negative experience with your brand. If you can’t check in daily to respond, then hire someone who can. A chatbot that can chat with customers on the social media platform’s messaging service may also be a wise investment.

Offer value

Followers will stop following if they don’t get anything out of the relationship. Value can come in the form of social media exclusive offers that customers can’t get through any other means or it can come in the form of entertaining or informative content that will keep them coming back for more.

Promote follower engagement

Passive followers won’t do you much good if your aim is profitability. You need your followers to be actively commenting on and sharing your content across social media platforms. Follower engagement translates to free advertising as your follower’s friends on social media will see these conversations.

Use analytics

Social media platforms already have free analytics tools for businesses to track how effective their various posts are. There are also third party analytics tools that you can pay to use that will allow you to see in more depth how effective your efforts are. Whichever tools you use, recognize that you need to look beyond vanity statistics such as the number of likes, comments, and shares because these tend to be poor indicators of profitability.

Make profitable calls-to-action

Finally and most importantly, to be profitable, you need to ask followers to spend money. There’s no way around it. So why save the most important tip for last? Because if every post is an attempt to sell products or services to followers, they’ll lose interest fast. You have to be doing all of these other things first and foremost but mix in just the right amount of calls-to-action to see monetary results as well.

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Ten Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2018

The year 2017 was a big one for social media, and there’s still three months left. Facebook came up with Instagram Stories to compete with Snapchat and their copycat approach worked as Instagram users have surpassed Snapchat users. The United States got a new president who routinely uses social media to share official policy positions. Twitter shocked the world when they announced that they were doubling their character limit to 280, flying in the face of everything Twitter stands for. The year 2018 has the potential to be just as big for social media. Here are ten social media marketing trends we expect to see in the coming year.

The emergence of augmented reality

When Apple announced their smartphone lineup for the coming year, one of the most exciting features was a more advanced processor that is fast enough to allow users to enjoy augmented reality experiences within apps. In their on-stage demo they showed this off with gaming but the technology could also have implications for social media as well. Expect social media platforms to integrate AR features in 2018.

Instagram Stories users will increase dramatically

Instagram Stories just turned one year old, but it already has 200 million monthly users (50 million more than Snapchat which has been around for 6 years). If that growth rate continues–and we predict it will–half of all Instagram users will be using Instagram Stories by the end of 2018. That’s approximately 400 million monthly users. Brands that master Instagram Stories will have a huge advantage in 2018.

Brands will invest more in influencer marketing

One thing 2017 has taught the world of social media marketing is that traditional advertising doesn’t seem to work as well with this particular channel. People don’t like self-promotion from brands on social media. Enter influencer marketing. Brands can build relationships with influencers who can promote those brands instead in a way that feels more authentic.

Generation Z will become the most important target audience

For many years now, millennials have been the primary target audience for social media marketing campaigns. That has begun to shift already in 2017 and by the end of 2018, Generation Z will undoubtedly be the most important audience for social media marketers as more and more enter the workforce and their purchasing power grows.

Brands will interact more with customers through messaging platforms

More than two-and-a-half billion people use some kind of messaging platform outside of the standard SMS protocol. The growing popularity of these social media messaging platforms combined with the advanced features that you can’t get with SMS will translate to brands making more of an effort to connect with customers through these platforms. Expect to see a big increase in chatbot spending in 2018 since brands can automate much of the communication on these platforms with chatbots.

Livestreams will become a major part of brands’ content strategy

Live streaming was just a novel gimmick at first but major brands as well as smaller ones have discovered that there’s a demand for livestream content on social media. Expect brands to incorporating livestreams into their content strategy in 2018.

Twitter will make more big changes

Twitter was one of the few social media platforms that didn’t gain as many users as they were projected to in 2017. Because the platform has stagnated, they shook things up by experimenting with doubling the 140 character limit that has defined the social media platform all these years. But they won’t stop there. Some possible changes in 2018 include selling to private investors, experimenting with a subscription-based model, and revamping advertising options.

Digital hangouts will become mainstream

Houseparty is a new video hangout platform that has already amassed one million daily users in 2017. It’s a mixture between video chat and conference calling where people can hangout digitally in the form of a group video calling. A major platform like Facebook may buy out Houseparty and make it mainstream or platforms may create their own version of the video hangout platform.

Facebook Spaces will become mainstream

Facebook Spaces is a project the social media giant has been working on for a while now. It takes the concept of digital hangouts one step further and allows friends to hang out in a virtual reality setting. Facebook already owns Oculus, the current leader in VR headsets, so they have all the pieces to take Facebook Spaces mainstream in 2018.

Social media platforms will be rethinking governance policies

Facebook made headlines last week when they announced that they would be turning over thousands of ads that were suspected of being connected to Russian meddling in the presidential election so that they could be investigated by government intelligence agencies. While some praised the move others saw potential for a misuse of power and violations of privacy. Expect social media platforms to rethink the way they handle misconduct on their platforms and expect to see a more hands on approach to dealing with misconduct.

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