2016 Marketing Minutes, Summarized: The Best Is Yet To Come
Havas Luxe’s take on what the biggest take-aways from 2016 have been for our industry
If you did not spend the majority of 2016 thinking about PURPOSE, STORY and CONTEXT, we bet you spent it pretty frustrated. Because this was the year in which businesses – and even the election – proved to us again and again that nothing supersedes the need to keep a clear focus on the needs and expectations of customers, and to answer those needs consistently, remarkably, and on-target.
Here’s a look at the top FIVE marketing trends we saw throughout the year, followed by our humble takeaway and recommendation on how to apply this to kick start 2017.
- Marketing was about Sales. You know how when you’re designing a website, user experience (UX) is secondary to the definition of brand and messaging? Well, it’s the other way around now. In our meetings all through the year we have understood that the formerly silo-d departments for marketing and sales within fashion, luxury and prestige consumer goods companies are now not only regularly communicating – but actually becoming an extension of each other. Makes sense, as that’s pretty much the whole point of digital marketing; marketers, using integrated tools, can engage with customers online, track the buyer’s journey, measure sentiment and loyalty, and match behavior with outreach tailored to meet their audience’s needs and interests.
Incidentally, this is what gave rise to the next massive trend.
In a nutshell: this was the year that Omnichannel became Retail’s BFF.
Tweet for Pizza! Snap a pic and Hashtag for a discount at Zara! We now have so many turnkey ways in which to bring events and physical location to online, that everything just…flows.
- Marketing was about Influencers. The year 2016 has clearly seen “brand ambassadors” given a higher priority, more effective customer engagement, and tighter collaboration with sales and support to directly affect conversion rates. We could go on and on about this, but you can just flip back here to check out our summit on the subject.
- Marketing went 3D.Virtual reality literally drops people’s jaws when we bring it around for presentation. It is amazing, and here’s why else you should get on board: it’s because, as we have noted in point #1: customer experience is the top priority. Secondly, it’s because, as have said here, it is becoming more common, and more affordable. 3D technology is poised to move from novelty to mainstream. As the technology to create and consume virtually has become more accessible, smart marketers started to find more ways to bring their products to virtual life, and we are sure they/you will continue to do so.
- Marketers (Finally) Realized that Social Media IS A CHANNEL, Not a Strategy. It is one of our personal crusades to eliminate the bizarre title “social media manager” from the stratosphere. Social media isn’t marketing, and it doesn’t work as a “strategy” on its own—something that (based on our many meetings) – seems to have finally sunk into the collective marketing consciousness. Social media is one platform of many, a tactic that does a great job of supporting broad campaigns but flounders by itself. This distinction will shape marketing strategies and budgetary considerations in the coming year. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so.
- Marketing got back to being about PURPOSE, STORY and CONTEXT. Here’s the thing we have been saying all year. We want you to really internalize this, so here goes, one more time: the millennial demo, and strata above and below it, are totally onto us. They know when they are being “sold”. We, you, me…. we are all MARKETING TO MARKETERS. The conclusion is this: the purposeful will survive. Authenticity is the key; it is the key to getting through to audiences, it is the key to forming a compelling, consisted and remarkable story which bears repetition, and when you consider the context: the audience being the star, you get better results.
It’s a bit hard to wrap one’s head around that last one, perhaps (though the election’s messaging certainly comes to mind….), so here’s a great example for you:
Let’s say that the Swiss haute horologie industry wanted to get with the program and up the ante in 2017. Let’s say they all wanted to beat the i-Watch, if we are presuming (just for this exercise) that the product is a veritable threat. For this exercise, based on the above we would propose a return to overwhelming emphasis on Swiss-made, perfectly crafted, painstaking engineering and elegance. To the story of authentic, hand-made luxury. Forget the teams you sponsor, the regatas, the basketball games, the cars and planes. These stories are derivatives ; they are not YOUR story. Focus on relating everything back to the message that superior is superior because of craft, heritage, experience, scarcity, and so on – and luxury will continue to prevail.
Substitute the above for anything: champagne, diamonds, couture. The point is this; your brand’s story and fundamental purpose are now more important than ever. This is the time to bring them back into the limelight.
Wishing you an excellent 2017!