Face it, marketing isn’t what it used to be even compared to just a few years ago. The internet has created a network of autonomous, intelligent consumers that aren’t only acutely aware of marketing tricks, they actively block them.
According to the 2017 AdBlock Report, 615 devices now use an adblocker and 74% of those adblock users say they will immediately leave a website with an adblock wall. As the internet evolves, so does its users - and if your marketing strategy isn’t adapting, then you will only be viewed as a snake oil salesman. On the other hand, if you get ahead of the trends; if you futureproof your marketing strategy, you’ll be the brand that survives the purge, stretches its reach over fallen empires and continues to grow like never before.
As your leadership grows and you revolutionize your marketing team as well as the ways in which it operates, you need to know the next steps for creating a future-focused team and deciding which practices were fads and which are here to stay. So let’s get started.
If adblockers have been the thorn in your side, then it's time to listen up. Over the past few years, leading marketing leaders, like HubSpot, have found that real, valuable content is the solution. When internet users search for answers, advice or inspiration, they look for online content that provides them value. And if that content hits home for them, they are more likely to stick around your website, look at additional content and convert to a customer. Instead of buying ad space on a website for your men’s shaving service, write valuable blogs and videos that inspire beard wearers to want to trim and shape their face hair.
And this isn’t just speculation. According to a Demand Metric study, 78% of CMO’s believe that long-form content is the future of marketing, and in 2017 companies actively sought specialized content marketers and allocated heftier budgets towards content production than ever before.
This trend isn’t slowing, and the outlets through which internet users are consuming data just keeps getting more and more diverse. Again, to stay ahead of the curve, get behind the customer. If internet users want diversity and cross-pollinated content, fill the internet with content that bounces the user across all platforms and mediums. The more range you demonstrate to your audience, the more you will keep your lead’s attention, create better brand loyalty and ultimately increase direct sales.
Why content diversity matters
Cross-pollinating your content gives you more visibility and more data by which you can better understand your buyer personas. When you create new content, don’t focus your efforts on one or two channels. Spread out. Invest in blogging, pay-per-click search ads, social media, SEO, video marketing, the list goes on. While you’re creating content on these multiple platforms, have them direct to one another. Doing this allows you to reach larger audiences and allows your target audience the flexibility to consume your content without relying on just one channel. This DMP study shows that integrating a diverse range of marketing platforms can increase a brand’s online conversion rates by 200%.
Marching your marketing team into the future
Now that you’re in the know, there are some things you need to understand. Up to this point we’ve talked about growing an M shaped team of T shaped employees and that KPI tracking can motivate personal growth and connectivity to brand projects.
It is absolutely imperative that you create a culture of continued education, and steer this process away from fads and into the wind of trending online behaviors and data analysis.
What I mean is this; over the course of the past few years there has been an ever-growing disparity between the supply and demand of future-driven marketing skill sets. In 2014 every marketing agency was seeking social media experts. In fact, it was the highest demanded skill set on LinkedIn. Now, however, it’s not even in the top 25, and there are 2x the amount of social media experts than are in demand. Moreover, 90% of marketers in 2016 expressed that they felt under-skilled in the new formats that marketing requires.
The industry changes, and so don’t get caught up in the fads. If we look at the two fields that have never slowed down and continue to be in increasingly high demand it’s these two fields; Data Analysis and Content Creation.
In 2017, data driven skills like SEO, SQL, Google Analytics and HTML were in demand by 45% of marketing agencies, but only had a pool of 3% supply. Likewise, bloggers, graphic designers, editors and qualified writers were in a 29% demand with only 2% of the hiring pool to show for it. Hubspot estimated that there will be a shortage of 1.5 million skilled data marketing jobs this year!
If you’re going to get ahead of the curve you need to hire forward-thinking employees and continue to train your team for emerging technical skills. There is not enough demand for email marketers or social media experts to spend your time and money hiring for them.
Instead, train for basic coding and marketing automation software. Heavily invest in content creation, web design, data analysis, SEO and PPC. Never stop learning. Don’t feel stuck and forced to hire someone who understands Photoshop. Stay proactive and train your team to be multi-talented, invaluable assets to your company. If you do this, you are guaranteed to stay competitive and scale in an industry where many agencies are starting to fall.