Be An Authentic Voice

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

My first thought after reading through the predictions from Digital Marketer’s How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2020 was BE AUTHENTIC. From Tara Robertson’s “the age of authentic marketing” to Ralph Burns explanation of Facebook restrictions that prohibit the use of bait marketing tactics, it’s clear social media platforms and relevant content demand is driving brands to understand their audiences (and themselves) more than ever before.

Some of it comes from the continual advancement of analytics, automation, and personalization capabilities. This has created a new expectation level from consumers. I think Tara Robertson had one of the strongest predictions, “In the year ahead, marketers will focus more on being customer obsessed by ensuring every touchpoint is consistent and deliberate. Providing exceptional customer experiences is no longer a ‘nice to have.’” It may be hard to keep up on everything, but this is where understanding your brand and its purpose will help you decide a few important factors to pick where to begin. Ask yourself the following questions… 1) What’s the most important priority right now? 2) Of the available options, what will have the biggest bang for buck? And 3) Does this fit our mission?

Notice that I didn’t include – what is my competitor doing? What does Google say I should do? What does the “next” Mark Zuckerberg predict? The focus is on understanding your audiences and brand. I believe in marketing strategies which focuses on your consumers, not the competition, and I’m not alone.

“By obsessing over its customers, not the competition, Amazon takes advantage of every bit of information consumers leave behind to come up with incredibly relevant, valuable and simply delightful offerings — including some that people don’t even know they want yet.”

Mike Sands, “Why your brand should obsess over its customers, not its competitors

Before understanding your audiences, you have to understand what your brand stands for – who are you? Apple didn’t form itself around a target audience. They focused on their products, their why and pretty much told the world – follow us if you like what we do. If not, we’re not for you. As marketers, we often have to understand the brand better than the rest of the company, sometimes even the CEO. This is important in terms of improving and maintaining brand integrity.

If you handed the keyboard over to staff members outside of a marketing department, they will respond to complaints, comments, etc. in the most professional way possible. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but it doesn’t help your brand speak. The image below is from a local financial that I think did a humorous job with replying to a consumer thread and what a response they received.

Capital Credit Union Facebook Page

They have been responding with humorous tactics for a bit and their followers seem to respond well, but can you imagine pitching this type of “voice” to a CEO? It’s this tenacity and ownership of brand that I think will eventually make companies stand out amongst the rest. To this point, I think it was one of the things missing in Ash Roy’s predictions about why podcasts were showing so much success. I think one of the reasons podcasts are popular is because they are serving as an authentic brand voice and it is proving it’s worth and attracting consumers.

Made in Canva. Photo from Unsplash.

To pivot slightly to a personal reflection, I was lucky early in my career to have met my mentor and one of the most consumer-centric, innovative marketers I have met. He pounded into my head one simple phrase – be the only one who does what you do. This simple phrase turned brainstorming sessions into innovation labs. It turned, “that’s not possible”, into “what if?” While every idea didn’t come into fruition, it did mentally change how our team looked at challenges, data and taking care of our customers.

I think many of the digital marketers who gave predictions have this mentality to some degree. Rachel Pedersen certainly did to me with many of her commentary ringing close to home, especially with phrases like, “Too many people have been burned by influencers faking it with perfect photoshoots, and consumers are desperate for authenticity” and “Let it be. Let them see.” She herself sets a great example. Check out her cover photo on her LinkedIn profile and it will show you what she values and her emotions in one simple, beautiful photo.

In conclusion, I’ve seen plenty of predictions and trends throughout the years about where marketing is heading; however, I have seen one thing over and over again. It may be stated in a different way with a different tactic, but the best marketers are always preaching – know your brand and know your audience. If you focus on these two things, you will be able to handle whatever trend or new technology comes your way. So, in 2020, simply…

Own your brand and put out the neon signs to tell your audience to come to the place they belong.

Photo by Amer Mughawish on Unsplash, Edited in Canva
Be An Authentic Voice

Future Trends of What?

As someone who does Facebook Ads on their platform, it has been constantly changing.https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/#,  I am sure that Facebook will continue to change its Ads platform as new regulations are prompted from regulations and past or future lawsuits.  Facebook had been sued over misuse of the facial recognition (https://thehill.com/policy/485168-facebook-sues-company-over-improperly-harvested-user-data)

and has been sued for being discrimination (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-lawsuit-bias/facebook-sued-for-age-gender-bias-in-financial-services-ads-idUSKBN1XA2G8). These new regulations and lawsuits require Facebook to delete specific characteristics that used to make Facebook targeting easier such as if your ideal customer was a single woman in their 30s in the richest zip codes, Facebook would allow you to target these customers. Due to the lawsuits, a marketer is now unable to target these specifications. The marketer now needs to dig deeper into Facebook’s demographics such as likes or interests. Keeping on top of the trends is key to being a top marketer and keeping your clients on the edge of the latest trends.

When using Facebook Ads, you now have to incorporate video because pictures doesn’t give you the engagement that your business needs. Video length ranges from three to five seconds because the average attention span of the audience on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram should be less than 90 seconds, but needs to be entertaining otherwise the user will continue scrolling after eight seconds. https://go.yumyumvideos.com/blog/the-8-second-barrier-why-is-it-so-important-for-animated-marketing-videos. While in the year 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds, in 2015 it was 8.25. This goes to show that the attention span is only getting shorter. This just means that you need to hook the audience within the first 8 seconds otherwise you lose and your competitor who creates a better video will get the sale.  Engaging and enticing are the key points to your video ad. 

While many companies have programmed chatbots from companies like ManyChat, Facebook has discouraged companies from bombarding customers with messages. Before, you could engage with your audience in real-time allow your audience to feel like they were getting the answers at their convenience at their time rather than when business hours. ManyChat has allowed businesses to engage with their audience at their time. The well written chatbots makes the customer feel like they are talking to a real person. 

Facebook isn’t the only platform that allows websites to sell their products that are usually drop shipped from places like AliExpress.com. Amazon has allowed these companies to have their products drop shipped as well. If the company wants to allow for Prime, the company orders their product from China, then ships it to one of Amazon’s warehouses for them to keep stock allowing Amazon to control how much of that product is allowed. It uses algorithms to help decide how much room is available and how much time it would take to get rid of the product in the warehouse. This is why you see sold by Amazon or that its sold by a different company. 

From my point of view, this can be great because you don’t have to find a reputable seller on aliexpress.com looking at the five star rating and the different reviews available and allows you to get the product that much faster versus having to wait thirty or more days to receive the product. But, you may or may not know that you are getting ripped off. The person upsells the product anywhere from 50% to 1000% depending on the demand for the product. I have found products that I really liked that were advertised to me for $19.99 only to find out that they were $2.99 on Aliexpress.com. Good for me knowing about this website, bad for the company trying to see the product to me. 

While companies are trying to grab your attention on social media platforms, they are also trying to make sure you the customer has a good experience on your website. A good experience requires easy navigation and professional pictures and great customer service through email or chat. https://hbr.org/2015/11/what-a-great-digital-customer-experience-actually-looks-like. The chat feature is great if the customer is able to talk to a real person. Automation is great, but its very limited to the human touch. Sometimes automation doesn’t solve all the problems. Most of the time customers want to talk to humans, not a bot going through the what if statements written in the code. 

Podcasts are getting more attention because people are more on the go. There are more universal apps for Android to listen to podcasts other than just on Apple devices. Podcasts are also getting more attention because Bluetooth allows headphones to be wireless. These wireless headphones allow the population to be plugged in for long periods of time especially if you have apple pods which makes your headphones nearly invisible. If you have hoody on or have long hair, one person might never notice it. I know there were times when I would think people were saying hello to me but actually speaking to someone on the phone through their headphones. I never even noticed it. 

The year 2020 is going to be where the bots get smarter, the marketers get more clever with their targeting and re-targeting with Facebook demographics, and Google is going to get smarter with helping business getting leads through their service and more people are going to watch video without sound and finally more customers are going to be listening to podcasts. To continue to generate content and create great conversions, the digital marketer must be on top of the technology otherwise they will get lost in the digital world without even realizing it. 

digital marketing 2020
Future Trends of What?

Guilty of Email “Spamming”

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you already know that I own a business where I make super cool customized stuff, for lack of better terminology. In just a few short months, my fiance and I are getting married and I will be changing my business name. Why would I be called KHetto Designs, if my name is no longer Kristin Hetto? Makes sense, right? Well I wanted to inform my customers of this change, and also about some new stuff coming.

I found this email list manager type website, where you can create and send email campaigns. It’s called Mailchimp. Number 1 – the name and logo drew me in. Number 2 – their “description” is All-in-One Marketing Platform, so of course that interested me.

Mailchimp logo from www.mailchimp.com

Mailchimp offers a few different plans depending on how big your audience, or subscribers, is. I had to gain consent from my customers to use their email addresses for marketing. If I didn’t, that’s actually illegal! You can get fines for sending unsolicited mail/emails. So, on my Facebook business page I posted a Google Form so my customers could willingly sign up for mail and email updates, coupons, special sales, etc. I got a whopping 24 subscribers, out of my 607 page likes and 618 page followers. That’s only about 4% of the people who like and/or follow my page.

Screenshot of my likes/followers in comparison to the 24 people who opted in to emails.

Below is info on my first email campaign. I think the stats are pretty impressive because it was my first one, almost everyone opened the email I Sent. A select few opened the links. I kept it short and sweet, hoping to not bore my customers. Here is a link to the email I sent, if you’re interested in looking! I promise you won’t get spammed with emails… because I don’t have your email address 😉

https://mailchi.mp/300de664099d/kdcdwywysj

https://www.saasemailmarketing.net/articles/best-email-marketing-quotes/

So, I am guilty of email “spamming” ….but I don’t really send out enough emails to be considered “spam.” I am also guilty of signing up for any and all email lists that are presented to me. If a site is offering even 5% off, or free shipping, etc. I will sign up for their email list because I MIGHT go back and buy something. I also get a bajillion emails a day for business related stuff. Some I look forward to – like XXX paid their invoice for $XX.XX. Some I get sick of, but for some reason I never unsubscribe.

Guilty of Email “Spamming”

Can I get an Email?

“Can I get an email?” This seems to be the dreaded question that every retailer asks at the check-out counter. Out of pressure, I used to just hand it over. That ended when my phone crashed because I had around 10,000 emails overflowing my inbox. I’m now a bit more selective, and only use that email address for my “marketing” mail. However, now that it’s separated from my school and work emails, I no longer find it a nuisance to scroll through my messages of deals and savings. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to save a buck?Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 6.46.25 PM

So yes, it might be a hassle to scroll through message after message to weed out the good from the bad, but according to Callie Hinman, author at Kuno Creative, email marketing is still a successful tool, and there are some pretty great perks that you might be missing. In the article 6 Reasons Why Effective Email Marketing is Still a Useful Tool, Hinman explains why email marketing is beneficial. But do consumers share the same view? I asked around, and the I got answers varied.

Here are the responses from four people regarding their inbox:

 Examine your emails and pick one from a company.

  1. Why did you sign up for that email list?
  2. How often do you receive emails from this sender?
  3. What percentage of the emails do you look at?
  4. What was the subject line of the email and how did that entice you to open it?
  5. Overall, do you think these emails affect your buying decisions? 

 

Natalie, 29:

Cvs pharmacy

  1. I signed up for their rewards so I get their email.
  2. On average every other day maybe every two days. At times it’s even been daily dependent on what the email is.
  3. The subject lines differ, but I look at 0% of these emails.
  4. I haven’t opened any but looking at them now, majority are offering percentages off and other deals.
  5. No, even though I signed up to get rewards but I never purchase items because of the emails I receive because I don’t even open them.

 

Bryce, 24:

B&H Photo and Video

  1. I signed up for the email list to be notified when new cameras and camera gear come out.
  2. They email me at least twice a day.
  3. I probably look at about 10% of the emails.
  4. The subject of the emails is usually like 25% off a certain item which makes me want to click on it to see the good deals.
  5. Honestly, no I don’t. The only reason I say that is because I’ve never actually bought anything from any of the emails that have gotten sent to me. I usually know ahead of time if I’m going to buy something. I feel like a lot of the emails I get are misleading and just trying to get me to click on them.

 

“I feel like a lot of the emails I get are misleading…”

 

Karen, 59:

Express

  1. They asked for my email and I gave it to them.
  2. Several times a week.
  3. 10%
  4. 29% off everything. Leap year sale. A sale on anything is enticing. I open them when I see a sale and need to go shopping.
  5. Yes and no. Majority of these marketing emails I get I ignore unless I am looking to purchase something already and that particular email can get me a deal in some way.

 

Timothy: 62

Shutterfly

  1. I had to give my email when I started ordering pictures from them.
  2. Weekly
  3. I open about 5% of them
  4. The subject lines are sort of personalized in that they include “memories from…. remember this from 8 years ago…” I open those because I want to look back at the pictures from the past.
  5. It just depends if the email came at the right time and I am looking to shop or purchase something, but most of the time they all go straight into the trash.

 

 


 

Even though many professionals say Email Marketing is still a beneficial tool for businesses, I don’t think it’s as effective as other campaigns or techniques. Based on the conversations I had with the four individuals above, email marketing is more of an annoyance to them rather than a motivator to make a purchase.

 

‘What are your thoughts on email marketing? Is it outdated, or under-appreciated? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 7.20.33 PM

Click here for 4 Email Marketing trends you need to know for 2020


Email Marketing: Outdated or Under-Appreciated?

Can I get an Email?

What’s up with all the emails?

Allyce’s Phone

After reading this assignment, I had the opportunity to take a deep dive into my inbox. It was pretty scary if you ask me. I had 9,820 unread emails! How did I get so many emails? Where did they all come from? Now, like a lot of you, I find most of these emails quite annoying, and the frustrating part is sorting through them all to see which emails are actually important. It feels like an impossible task to keep up with, so I think a little email detox is in order. If you need a few quick tips to clean up that inbox of yours, here is a great article on how to “Achieve a Leaner Inbox With These Three Tips.” With that being said, I would have to say that 5% of my emails are personal, but where did the other 95% come from? For example, yesterday alone, I received 84 emails, and they were all email advertisements. Most of these emails were from online stores or retailers such as DSW, Target, etc. There was also a couple from blogs or newsletters I subscribed to, and some were from venues I ordered tickets from and many more. Ok, so I act like I don’t know where these emails came from, but I know exactly why they keep flooding my inbox. These businesses asked for my email in some fashion. Some of these I couldn’t make a purchase or buy my tickets without giving them my email address. Hook line and sinker, I am now on their list.

So as I take a look at this giant inbox, let’s single one out, Ulta.com. I love that place I can not deny this, so obviously I signed up for their Ultamate Rewards Program a while back. I receive about one to two emails from them daily and usually receive them in the morning. I would say I look at about 50% of their emails, which is quite a lot considering all the emails I get. One of the reasons I look at so many is because of the…, you guessed it, COUPONS! Since they offer a new coupon at least once a week, there is a good chance I’ll check it out.

Allyce’s Inbox

For example, the email I received yesterday, the subject line read, “HOURS LEFT: FREE SHIPPING ON EVERYTHING (hourglass emoji)” and the content below read “Plus sooooo many FREE GIFTS…..” Say no more, I love free shipping and who doesn’t like free gifts, so obviously this caught my attention. Here is what popped up when I opened the email.

The free shipping call to action was obvious, and it was very straightforward and to the point. There wasn’t much distraction from the call to action, but I will say this email had other elements, such as listing the status of my beauty perks. They also included their weekly coupon for $3.50 off any qualifying purchase along with a call to action to take a quiz or upload photos to #UltaBeauty for some social media exposure. I do believe the email I received was sent to a segment group since they included my perks rewards, so I assume they only sent these emails to Ulta’s beauty perks members. Although I did remember seeing that there were free gifts in the subject line, I didn’t see anything in the email itself. I clicked on the shop now button it brought me to the landing page where I was immediately directed to the offer. I felt they did a great job in the number of offers they were providing, and I was able to get to the deal or offer easily.

Ulta’s Email Landing

With social media on the rise, some might assume that email marketing will not be as effective as it once was. Quite the contrary,

“Email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media.”

McKinsey & Company

Also, based on surveys from the Channel Preferences Survey, 91% of people access their email at least once a day. So really email marketing isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Now Ulta is pretty mild with their email campaigns, unlike a few other business emails I receive, which can actually ruin an email campaign.

“78% of its recipients claim to have canceled email subscriptions because they are receiving too many (Hubspot 2016).”

https://digitalagencynetwork.com/email-marketing-still-effective-strategy/

So I feel in order to have a successful campaign, not only should you be aware of the number of emails you are bombarding people with but understand that content is key. A good marketer should have a well-planned strategy, write content that is not only relevant but personal, and can match an array of interests of your customers. Now, if all businesses followed this plan, my inbox wouldn’t or shouldn’t be as big of a pain as it is.

What’s up with all the emails?

Eye-Catching Emails


Similar to many other individuals, my inbox for my email is filled with tens—if not hundreds—of emails a day. Some of them are professionally related, such as work or school, but most of them are subscriptions that I have signed up for over time. From stores at the shopping mall, to restaurants in my town, and even newsletters from extracurricular organizations, my subscription emails come in many forms. 

I can admit that I check my inbox everyday and multiple times a day. There is something about having an unopened email that makes me feel anxious and uneasy, like I might miss something important in one of them. However, the funny thing is that I rarely—if ever—read all of the ones that I open. For example, most of the promotional emails are immediately deleted and ignored. It’s not that I don’t find this information relative, but because in all honesty, I do not have the money to spend on the product, sale, or service that the email is promoting.

Despite the fact that I am completely broke, there are certain emails that still manage to catch my attention every once in a while. The reason this occurs is because they offer an  eye-catching aspect every completely different and unique than all of the other emails that appear in my inbox.


Recently, when I opened the subscription email in my box, there was one email that was truly interesting and unique to me. It came from American Eagle Outfitters.

The reason that I first signed up for this email subscription was because I was asked if I wanted to do so one of the first times that I made a purchase at the store. I agreed, because I was told that I would receive promotional emails including discounts on their products. About five times a week, I receive an email from American Eagle. Each email promotes a new sale, or serves as a reminder about a previous sale mentioned in a previous email.

To be completely honest, I only look at a small amount of the emails that they send me: maybe 50 percent at the most. This is because, as I stated previously, I typically do not have the money in my possession to make the purchase that the emails are promoting.

The thing that caught my attention about this email was the fact that there was an emoticon of a lightning bolt in the subject line of the email. The yellow lightning bolt immediately drew my eye to the email instead of simply scanning over it like I would have done otherwise. This is what enticed me to open up the email as well.

When I clicked on the email to open it, a bright image came onto the screen, advertising the same sale that was listed in the subject line of the email—an extra 20 percent off of the clearance section.

The call to action of this email are the four buttons that allow the individual shop in certain sections of American Eagle’s website. The contrasting pink color compared to the blue background draws the attention almost immediately to them. When hovering the mouse over them, the finger shows up on the cursor, indicating that they are also clickable, and presumably, will bring you to the section that you wish to visit.

This style of design proved to be effective as I clicked on the “Shop Women” button to see what the sale was, which is again, something that I rarely do. Additionally, the quantity of content is also appropriate for the email. The ad displayed on the screen after first opening the email is enough for the reader to figure out what the sale is about as well as navigate it easily.

This factor is imperative as this email was most likely sent to the entire database. As Spring is arriving soon, American Eagle is putting all of its winter clothing items on sale to make room for their upcoming products. The mass email assures that the customers that have shopped at the store in the past are aware of this sale. This also assures that their website will never become overcrowded with too many items that could potentially make it difficult for the audience to navigate.


Overall, this email from American Eagle did accomplish its objective. I saw it in my inbox, and because of the eye-catching details in the subject line of the email, I decided to click on it. I also believe that this email was effective because it saved American Eagle the space on their homepage for advertising this sale as well. If they did do this, then they could potentially face the problem of overcrowding the page.

An unfortunate example of overcrowding can be seen on the website of Romwe, an online clothing store. Compared to the homepage of American Eagle, their page is bombarded with advertisements and promotions. 

Romwe
American Eagle

Because I am an email subscriber to both companies, I know that Romwe does not send ads to their subscribers like American Eagle does. If they did, then they could potentially avoid creating this problem. Overcrowding is NOT attractive, and is NOT going to earn business. Instead, it is going to repel business (my own included).


Marketing through emails is a great way to avoid over cluttering AND to increase potential business. In today’s clean and developed digital age, over cluttering has become a thing of the past. Through this analysis, I now see how design and marketing are more related than I previously imagined.

Building a website is imperative to marketing a business in today’s society, but building a relationship with the customers is even more important.

You cannot buy engagement. You have to build engagement.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson

Eye-Catching Emails

2020 Digital Marketing Predictions

I just read How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2020. My mind is blown. In my head, there’s a little hamster running on a wheel, just about ready to fall off of it. How in the world does someone reconcile all of this information? Whether there’s credibility or not to some of the predictions, it remains to be seen. But, buckle up for the ride as we see what 2020 brings!

Photo Credit
Photo Credit: Photopin.com

Count on Change

I do feel certain about the overarching theme of the article: change and innovation are constant requirements of successful digital marketing.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

—W. Edwards Deming

If this article wasn’t enough on different approaches and predictions, well, just Google “2020 digital marketing trends” to give that hamster more of a workout! Google only returned 45 million results!

“Make no mistake: We live in a time when marketing technology moves fast and consumer interests and behaviors are hard to predict. Marketers can no longer stick their heads in the sand and hope that educated guesses and the same old methods will work forever.”

https://www.singlegrain.com/digital-marketing/digital-marketing-trends-2020/

Relationships Matter

Aside from the perspective of constant change, I felt the predictions around emphasizing authentic relationships and creating a memorable customer experience were spot on. We have operated in a space on social media as just one example, where arguably, so much is fake. Posts are all about happy moments in people’s lives; not the crud. Pictures are photoshopped by individuals and companies alike, and sometimes videos are so productionalized, I wonder when my house, vehicles, vacations, and interactions with people will be half as fabulous.

It sounds to me like some consumers have had enough of the fake, and so new trends are starting to emerge. That’s why more than one panelist in the article also talked about how powerful video is! Show the real deal, not some polished version of life!

While Googling for more trend information, I happened to read through 42 Digital Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020. Within this content, I found similar advice from Neal Schaffer:

If your business wants to survive in organic social media in 2020, I believe that this sort of humanization of your brand will be necessary.”

Coupled with real content, consumers are leaning towards interactions that feel less automated, which should build and nurture a greater sense of loyalty. I’d like to say that Tara Robertson (one of the panelists in How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2020) might be my long lost BFF because of some of the things I am seeing in the “real world.”

“We need to spend less time thinking about our automation and more time thinking about how we can connect with our customers and each other. “

Tara Robertson, my BFF How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2020

Working in an AI World

https://images.app.goo.gl/Uo4Tw8U2LGSfF55j8

My parallel to some of Tara’s comments comes from the “real world.” While I cannot go into great details, I am currently on a team that works on opportunities to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI). While I do truly believe that we should take humans out of certain tedious activities each day and allow true skill sets to shine (in favor of something like better, more in depth customer interaction), there’s a division I am starting to see with customers and even from a sales pitch perspective.

I see customers that love the automation on some basic questions they have. They’ll comment and say things about “Wow, that response was so fast, how’d you do that?” or comments along the lines of “My frustration with asking a basic question and waiting for hours is gone!” Then, on the other hand, as soon as AI addresses a question, there’s a faction of customers that will say, “I want to talk to a human!” or “This didn’t tell me anything, I cannot believe you’d bet your company’s reputation on this!” I really do see it all.

My point in sharing this is that marketers had better know their audience and their company’s goals and objectives. But also understand the climate, where people may be tiring of certain things they experience. Don’t be so overzealous with automation that the value proposition is forgotten. That value proposition might actually have something to do with the phenomenal people you employ and how they can build connections with customers that last.

Sorting Things Out

In the end, although there is varying advice on what matters, the key is to make sure that the digital marketing approach aligns with a company’s goals. Further, if innovation and evolution are not part of the plan, growth certainly will be hampered and the competition will absolutely take the lead. Change is certain and innovation is required. Whatever path is chosen to stay fresh and relevant for 2020 and beyond, be mindful of what some of the negative repercussions may be with the groups that don’t like the marketing approach. Seventeen different opinions in just one article of millions proved to me that digital marketing is an art, not a science.

2020 Digital Marketing Predictions

Here’s a snapshot of my inbox.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have 2 email accounts.  One I call my “junk” mail account, which is where I sign up for all those emails from stores or websites, etc.  My other email account I use for what I categorize as more important emails.  And I’m not the only one. On average people have just less than two email accounts each, more often than not a primary address which is regularly checked and secondary address. https://www.zettasphere.com/how-many-email-addresses-people-typically-use/

When looking through my junk I tend to click on 2 the most, emails from “Brad’s Deals” and “Old Navy.”  To be honest, I don’t remember signing up for Brad’s deals at all.  I think I started to receive them when I signed up for a sweepstakes contest on HGTV and I agreed to receive emails from HGTV and Brad’s deals must’ve been included as one of the things I would receive emails from also.   

I receive these emails daily.  The reason I click on them so often is because in the subject line they typically have 1 or 2 of the deals for the day and they’re specific.  Like Cuisinart knife set $2.  When I first received that email, I didn’t believe it, so I clicked on it out of sheer curiosity.  Once you open the email it lists all the deals with photos and prices, again, straightforward.  So, you select the deal, it shows a button to click to take you to the website hosting the deal or the brand’s site.  I did purchase the Cuisinart knives and after a rebate I did end up paying only $2 for a nice set of knives! 

I would guess that this email database is not segmented.  This type of “deal” buying I’m guessing is advantageous to send to all users every day since there are so many different items being offered so often.  I don’t see much other objective than for click-thrus for sales.  I haven’t noticed even once when I’ve clicked a deal where it ever sent me to “Brad’s Deals” website even, it always sends you to a landing page with the deal.  I find it to be effective because of the simplicity and the offers. 

I know I signed up for Old Navy when I applied for a credit card.  I find their emails to be a little frustrating because in the subject line they will advertise sale merchandise and more than once when I clicked on the email, I couldn’t find the sale I was advertised to about.  I believe their emails are very segmented and tracked based on purchases.  I typically get more subject lines based upon a recent online purchase then what the days sales are. 

“That anticipation of missing out is exactly why discounts work.”

Michiel Heijmans
https://yoast.com/psychology-discounts/

I know that Old Navy is trying to drive some urgency behind their emails to conversion with “Today Only” offers however I find this to be more annoying and messier than the Brad’s Deals daily offers. 

Email marketing is not going away. With a potential return on investment of up to 4400%, email marketing remains the best way to attract and retain customers. So we can continue to expect retailers to ask for that email address and if you’re like me we’ll organize those deals by levels of importance.

https://optinmonster.com/is-email-marketing-dead-heres-what-the-statistics-show/

Here’s a snapshot of my inbox.

2020’s Digital Marketing Predictions: Were they right?

At the end of 2019, DigitalMarketer released an article titled “How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2020“.

Digital marketing is no stranger to changes. We have to stay on our toes if we want to stay relevant

DigitalMarketer

This quote was a strong start to the article that I completely agree with. Throughout the article different experts discuss what changes businesses and content creators need to make to maintain relevancy as the digital landscape changes. The fact that the article was not written by one person but instead was a collaborative effort surprised me, but from reading the different perspectives I believe it was vital to include differing opinions in the article.

Benton Crane described it as “marketing chess”. I thought that was interesting way to describe the idea that needing to have differing kinds of content is vital. I agree that that is a great way to adapt to algorithms while maintaining a brand image.

Additionally, I agree with Logan Fletcher’s perspective that video content is becoming more prominent. I see more people engaging with video content than reading articles or viewing images. Later in the article, Jenna Snavely discusses something similar, that I agree with. Video content is vital to building a brand voice, especially in short formatting. If you serialize it, however, that could lead to a decrease in viewership due to people losing interest overtime.

I agree with Michelle Barnum Smith’s perspective that branding can be about building a community, but I don’t know if agree that making chat bots is a good way of going about that. The issue with the telephone numbers popular creators like Philip Defranco and Gary Vee have are the lack of personal responses.

Gary Vee on Twitter

They claim to get to as many as possible, but many are left without personal responses and more generic messages that leave those who sent messages feeling out of place. Increasing chats or creating chat bots might just make your company feel less human rather than more human.

Tara Robertson discusses that many businesses need to have the ability to stand out in order to succeed, and with that I agree. However, I find myself disagreeing with the quality over quantity only approach.

It is okay to have some low quality content, especially through platforms like Snapchat or features like Instagram stories. Being more authentic is vital, yes, but if you cannot keep up with producing content it might get left behind. However, some platforms are working against that. Tik Tok on one hand is still promoting older videos of creators unlike other platforms that provide more current content.

Nathalie Lussier, in her part of the article, discusses how more companies will likely pay for more digital ads rather than TV ads. I personally know many who are disconnecting from services such as cable in favor of Digital platforms like Netflix and Hulu. It is likely that people will pay for their ads to go with shows they were already marketing with, just on different platforms than they were originally. I definitely agree that this will more than likely cause an increase in pricing.

The article also discusses intensifying polarization and woke marketing.

I agree that more marketing is based on the political climate. This can be vital if it matches your brand image, or if you are working directly with a political campaign. However, people need to take that with hesitation and think about it before they finalize it, as they could easily make their target market feel unwelcome, like what happened with the Scandinavian Airlines Ad.

Scandinavian Airlines Comercial

Through this advertisement, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) hurt its brand image by discrediting the country it represented. It later pulled the original ad, and reformatted it to be shorter in length.

Scandinavian Airlines Commercial Shortened Version

Many online posted about the commercial and how it discredited its own audience. This is why marketers need to tread carefully when they attempt to create ‘woke’ ad campaigns.

Izabella Nilsson Jarvandi discusses her opinion on the advertisement in her 2 minute video.

Some creators who commented on the situation included Laruen Chen, Arch Warhammer, Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen, Izabella Nilsson Jarvandi, and Based and beautiful.

As we continue through DigitalMarketer’s article, I tend to agree with those who discuss their predictions.

Rachel Pedersen discusses different strategies that businesses and creators may want to use, and how real content is what people are looking for.

I agree that more people are looking for real content produced by people rather than corporations. By creating real content and being honest with those who engage with your content you are more likely to maintain your audience.

I agree that Tik Tok is vital as more people are joining the platform. Going Live seems to be more prominent as time goes on, but you need to ensure you have the capability for it.

I do not know if agree that the podcast should be done anywhere, as sound quality is important, and if what is happening in the background distracts your audience from your content, it might not be worth it. I don’t know if I fully agree with disregarding Photoshop entirely, but I do agree that it shouldn’t take away from the authenticity of photos. If you use it to fix lighting or edit the photo to be dramatic or unrealistic on purpose it is different than fixing what you perceive as flaws that are not actually flaws, such as the scar example.

I agree that videos should not only be scripted, but a lot of the time is there is not even an outline the videos can ramble and not make a point. Make sure to stay on topic if you have one.

I agree that people and companies should be honest. If you’re honest now, people will believe you later. You do not want to be the boy who cried wolf.

Reading the section about honesty reminded me of a movie I went to see last night and the marketing for it.

I dressed up to go see this movie. It was amazing.

I went to see My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising on the first night I could. In the movie, two of the children characters cry wolf and claim to either be missing or under attack when they are not actually in danger. This causes one of the characters to not believe them when actual danger arises. As I read the article, and reached the section on honesty, that is what originally made me think of the movie and relate it back.

However, I had also been watching the advertising campaign for months from the official accounts. There was a lot of hype for the movie provided by the fan-base alone, and the official companies and voice actors were able to use that to continue the excitement for the film.

One such voice actor was Zeno Robinson, who was announced as the voice actor for a popular character, Hawks, who had not appeared in the show yet, but was a prominent character in the movie.

Ash Roy made a similar argument as Rachel Pedersen that podcasting would grow, though Ash Roy went more into it. I agree that podcasting will grow. I’ve even started one, though I have not had much time to record for it. I agree that voice search is increasing as well, especially through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. My Online Search Strategies class is focusing so much on how people search but we haven’t even discussed the difference in searching with a person’s voice and with their laptop or phone and how that could change the keywords and phrasing.

I agree with Neil Flinchbaugh, that Facebook is excellent if you are looking to gear towards a specific market and is highly competitive. I agree that they will have to gain people’s attention quickly. Nothing click-bait works for most people, as if it isn’t what they expected they just close out of the tab. Loops work very well especially when you use stories. This is why Tik Tok and vines work so well to be remembered. People watch them on loop.

With Eva Gutierrez’s perspective, I agree that having high quality content will be more likely to gain sponsors and new viewers, but without creating a high quantity of content it will be less likely to be seen.

Ralph Burns I can agree with in the sense that engagement bait is extremely popular, especially on apps like Tik Tok. “Like and Follow for pt 2” and “If this gets __ likes I’ll make a part 2” are often heard on the app. This often annoys people more than anything else, but it does work.

With Mike Rhodes I agree that it seems automation is being implemented more and more. If you do not utilize AI in your work it seems it won’t go places.

I tend to agree that targeted keywords are less likely to be effective, but I honestly do not think they will disappear entirely, as they are prominently used in how websites and content is found online.

I agree that cross channel is important. By creating similar content that matches your theme across different platforms you can gain audiences from one platform to the next.

Sherry Bonelli and I agree that the google business profile is replacing homepages more and more, as I often select businesses based on the google results rather than going directly to the website. However, I feel this is already happening more and more and is not a new trend for 2020.

Overall the article seemed like most knew what they were talking about and had great ideas of where to go, but the digital landscape is changing so rapidly that if you use one platform more than another you will gain a different perspective of what is going on and what will happen.

TLDR: The article by DigitalMarketer provides some great incite into the field of Digital Marketing for 2020, and some trends are simply continuing rather than just starting now.

2020’s Digital Marketing Predictions: Were they right?

Engaging E-mails

What is the purpose of an email? Why do we continue to use them today? Why do we receive so many emails? It is very hard to keep up with the amount of emails we receive between spam, junk and regular emails that we receive in our inbox. Emails are a necessity to all businesses nowadays and is one of the most useful ways of marketing. Emails have proven to be a successful way of advertising as well. What is it about websites, companies and brands that convince you to sign up for their emails? Why is it that we are persuaded to subscribe to these things? Let’s dig more into this marketing channel and how it applies to us.

“Not only is email a great way to communicate for consumers, but business use email everyday to reach new, existing, and future customers.”

https://www.contactually.com/blog/the-importance-of-email

Why Emails Are Important

Email is one of the most effective means of communication. It is not only an important communication tool for people, but it is also crucial for businesses too. We live in such a consumer society, we cannot help but to check these emails and subscribe to email lists. This helps businesses meet a certain quote and help push their advertisement. A lot of people use email for work. Thinking about most corporations and businesses, their corporate employees all use email as means of communicating company wide. Email is similar to texting if you think about it, but it is more professional and you can email world-wide (without those crazy international rates that cell phone companies give you). Email will not die out because of how important it is. You have to have an email for everything these days. Think about all the sign ups you have done and accounts you have created. It is mandatory to use an email. Amazon is an example of this. You need to have an email to sign up and receive receipts etc. Emailing is very universal and necessary for everyone. Another thing about email is it is a very effective tactic for advertisement and marketing. Most of the time, companies send emails to everyone subscribed to them trying to solicit sales and other events. It is usually a sale or coupon that will convince you to click and open that email link. What is it that makes you subscribe to an email list in the first place? I find myself with a long list of email subscriptions and I wonder why there are so many. I found myself subscribing to another email list and stopped to ask myself why. I figured out it was incentive. Signing up for these emails always comes with an incentive, discount/coupon. Most of the time when you visit these sites, you are looking to shop for something or are generally interested in a product/service. Upon opening the site, it is common to find a pop-up of the company enticing you to sign up for their email list. With this, you usually see it is accompanied by a coupon or offer such as “Sign up and receive 20% off”, or “Subscribe to our email list and receive a $5 coupon”. I know that if I decided to shop on a website for a pair of $50 shoes, I would utilize the coupon for savings and sign up for the list. I think companies do a good job of attracting you to this by having eye catching fonts/imagery, a good incentive and a good title. Majority of the time this would be a success for the company, unless you had more of an impatient customer trying to make a quick purchase and not wanting to have to put in information that takes up more of their time.

“One DMA report shows that 60% of users sign up for an email newsletter to receive offers and sales.”

https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/05/increase-email-signups

Effective Email Marketing

You may wonder what exactly is it that company email lists have that convince you to sign up as opposed to others? For starters, you need to make it easy for the customer to be able to put in their email. Customers shouldn’t have to go searching for an email list sign up option somewhere on the website. You need to be encouraging and engaging. Being personable with customers and engaging with them through your email sign up will convince them to subscribe. This ties into being convincing to them. You need to be convincing by offering incentive or a reason why it would be a good decision for them to sign up. Lastly, the advertisement for email should be engaging and eye-catching. The colors should stand out, the font should not be boring, it should communicate as if it is directly talking to the customer, and it would even be wise to use a photo. Using a photo will show something tangible to the customer and they may feel more opt to joining the list and making a purchase.

I believe that it is not impossible to convince people to sign up for an email list. Along with every other way of marketing, you have to have a recipe or a strategy to get you there. We can reach a worldwide audience by utilizing the internet for marketing our businesses. It is possible for any company big or small to do even better by paying attention to these details explained in this blog.

Engaging E-mails