1. Instant mobile marketing
If you operate a brick-and-mortar store or restaurant, be ready to take advantage of mobile marketing that alerts customers in your vicinity – or even in your location – of special offers and content that enhances the user experience. Let’s say a group of friends leaves a ballgame, and your ad is broadcast to their phones with special offers and directions to your bar and grill. Or, let’s say a customer is looking at a product on the shelf. Their phone alerts them to an interactive video that lets them learn more about the product before they buy. Location-relevance as a marketing tool is in its infancy. Consider that same ballgame. Perhaps an online athletic retailer’s ad shows on mobile devices during the 7th inning stretch. Or, even better, the stadium store could broadcast an ad that lets customer buy the latest hat – right from their seat, complete with free delivery. That kind of convenience (no more waiting in lines) and relevance sells.
2. Evolution of web to print
Big data is new age, right? But when we think of big data, we almost intuitively think of digital marketing. But what about print? Now, when you’re researching a topic online you’ve probably found that websites display relevant ads. That technology is here. But big data could open the possibility to not only instantly marketing online, but also following up with direct mail. It would represent the most targeted direct-mail marketing the world has ever seen. Here’s a potential scenario. A couple is researching a trip to Hawaii. They’re continually bombarded with ads for Hawaii hotels. But, the new big data doesn’t just know a browser user is researching a Hawaiian vacation – it also knows who the user is and what their mailing address is. Thus, a hotelier rents a mailing list of people who are actively searching for what he has to offer, and sends a direct-mail postcard with a time-limited special offer to those individuals. Our couple receives their postcard and feels like they’ve hit the jackpot – a great hotel at a great price, and their search is finally over. Restaurants and attractions, not to mention rental car companies and airlines, might take the same approach. A restaurant, for example, could send a postcard with a coupon for a free drink or dessert with every entree ordered. Our couple is highly likely to visit that restaurant, especially if its near their hotel (which big data might even be able to match). It’s well-known that direct mail earns a better response rate, on average, than digital marketing. However, the costs associated with a direct-mail marketing campaign – even with a targeted list – limit its ultimate return on investment. But with the future of big data-driven targeting on the horizon, direct-mail response rates are primed to explode – and return on investment will increase exponentially.
3. Content kingdom
Yeah, yeah, you get it. Content is king. Many small businesses do not engage in content marketing, primarily due to time and budget constraints. But if you want to succeed in the future, you need develop a content marketing plan. From games to apps and blogs and videos, content of the future needs to be relevant, helpful, and accurate. Entertainment is definitely a bonus, but when it comes to sales you’ll need to provide value for your customers before they even buy.