Four Trends You Need to Think About Differently

There’s never a dull moment in marketing. One person who
knows this firsthand is Loni Stark, director of product and industry marketing
at Adobe. Stark’s perspective is not only as a marketer, but also as a provider
of digital marketing. That combined viewpoint provides her with a distinctive
angle on trends in the market. During a conversation we had last week, Stark
shared some of that insight with me; specifically, she talked about the
elements of content marketing, channel integration, and mobile marketing that
marketers should be thinking about differently.

Content is shrinking and growing: Content is becoming
more snackable. Marketers can take a message and reduce it to an image or pin
or infographic and get it to where they can measure the impact of it and what
action customers take, Stark said. At the same time there’s a resurgence of
long-form content. What’s more, customers’ attention may be decreasing in some
areas, but it’s increasing for things that they find most engaging. An example
is the binge-watching that’s become commonplace.

Considering these conflicting trends, marketers need to
think about a spectrum of content: from snackable content to deeper levels of
content, as well, Stark said. It’s important to generate high-value, long-form
content such as blogs for engaged customers, as well as bite-size content for
people who aren’t ready to commit to more. Stark cited the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge as an example. “The Challenge wouldn’t work without the
research and information about ALS available on the association’s website,” she
said. “Its challenge went viral for a few reasons. First, because it supports a
cause people want to align with—‘I can rally behind this.’ Second, it’s crazy
fun and gives permission to do something crazy. And third, there was a clear
call-to-action that was meaningful: Complete the challenge or donate in 24
hours. Most people donated, they didn’t just douse themselves.” The snackable
content, i.e. videos, created by participants taking the Ice Bucket Challenge
is great for awareness, Stark said: Throngs of people visited ALS Association’s
site for first time as a result of the Challenge. Those first-time visitors
then had deep content available to them if they wanted to find out more about
ALS and the association and potentially become more than just a one-time donor.
“Even with all the snackable content available, there’s still a need for the
content that’s a feast, too,” Stark said.

Not just channel,
context:
While marketers continue to debate the merits of omnichannel
versus multichannel, some are missing the all-important element of context. “Think
about not just the content you create, but also the channel it will live in,
and the task customers may be trying to complete when viewing that content,”
Stark said. Marketers also need to consider a customer’s primary task when he’s
taking an action versus, say, just the device he’s using to complete that task.
That task is the context, not the device itself. For example, if a consumer is
using a mobile phone to research a nearby restaurant with a gluten-free menu,
the restaurant search is the task to be considered, not just that she’s using a
smartphone to conduct the search.

Customers’ new
journey:
Mobile and digital have changed the customer journey, which can
lead to customer frustration. In the past when prospective customers would go to
a car dealership, for example, a salesperson would use body language and other
cues to know something about them and they would have numerous questions; now prospective
customers have completed much of the research online, so they step into the dealership
with all this data. “One of the challenges with in-store experiences is how marketers
can translate [customers’ preparedness] into a meaningful conversation with
associates and salespeople who don’t have that context,” Stark said. Mobile is
one answer.

Mobile makes customers
superhuman:
“The mobile device is like the Tony Stark suit,” Stark said. “It
becomes a little like you’re superhuman when you use it because it’s offering
things that you would not have known or have been able to easily accomplish
otherwise.” GPS, for instance, make map-averse drivers able to travel without
getting lost. Mobile banking apps allow customers to deposit checks or transfer
money from anywhere as if with superpowers; they don’t have to go to a branch.
“The corollary for marketers,” Stark said, “is to think about what mobile app
or experience their brand can offer that will provide a
superhero power for users.”

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