5 trends shaping Collaborative Marketing in 2016

The end of 2015 flooded the internet with lists of marketing trends to look out for in 2016. Overwhelmed by what we as marketers are supposed to be doing in the year ahead – mobile, video, embracing wearable tech and watching out for the robots taking over our jobs whilst dealing with rising challenges like ever expanding media channels and ad-blocking – we decided to summarise the 5 most important marketing trends for us and Collaborative Marketing in the year ahead.

1. Authenticity

Forget about chasing perfect reviews glorifying your brand and product. Consumers are savvy and will be suspicious if something is marketed as perfect. Striving for 5-star reviews won’t make your brand more authentic. Consumers see through the “too good to be true” façade and might even ignore products that lack negative feedback.

Research shows that consumers are more likely to buy products with an average star rating of 4.2 to 4.5. A balanced mix of good and bad reviews conveys brand transparency. Authentic reviews are the way to go in 2016 and nurturing a meaningful relationship with your consumers is the best way to stimulate these.

2. Real people marketing

Celebrities are 2015, consumers are 2016. Rather than using celebrities to endorse your brand, use the influencers you’ve built relationships with through positive experiences with your brand and products – your consumers. Empowering your consumers to become marketers for your brand ties in with the rising importance of meeting consumers where they are, instead of on marketers’ terms. Getting real consumers to help spread the word will guarantee highly targeted messaging while not being intrusive, as all communication takes place between peers.

friends selfie - real people marketing

Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations are the most trusted and impactful forms of advertising, and they’re authentic. Learning to harness the power of your consumers will transform your marketing this year.

3. Ad-blocking

We’ve written about it before. The rise of ad-blocking software forces brands to move from traditional advertising to other marketing practices that consumers will actually want to engage with.

Removing ad-blocking software isn’t the answer (or even an option). As marketers we have to respect the fact that some people don’t want to see our ads, and find a better way to interact. Rather than pushing out messages at people, we need to collaborate with them, listen to what they want from our brand and talk to them on their terms. Technology and community platforms allow you to do this successfully, at scale.

4. Online communities

Social media entered the marketing world promising grandiose new levels of engagement between brands and consumers. But many brands have been disappointed to realise their social media efforts are not paying off as well as expected, and that social media isn’t as suited to build meaningful customer relationships as they might have thought. It’s time brands focus on connecting with consumers in a space fit for purpose that actually enables brand-consumer dialogue to go beyond the more one-sided relationship social media channels offer.

Building and nurturing an online community the right way turns your brand into a success by boosting brand engagement, driving awareness and loyalty and importantly, increases sales. A 2014 study proves that customer communities drive almost 12 times more sales than other social channels.

Technical solutions, such as trndsphere enable brands to add a social relationship element to existing platforms and CRM systems, so start now and open a two-way communication channel exactly where consumers are looking to engage with you.

5. The rise of UGC

Tying in with both the authenticity trend and the rise of ad-blocking, marketers need to re-think what content will grab (and keep!) the attention of consumers. Brands looking to create compelling content must look beyond the ad agency and acknowledge the relevance of user-generated content (UGC).

Always a valuable tool, it’s only in the last couple of years that we’ve started to view UGC as a marketing strategy in its own right. Used properly it could and should add credibility to all elements of the media mix.

The best bit?

Making our top 5 trends for 2016 work for your brand is easy, because you already have the most important resource in place – your consumers. Whether you focus on leveraging authentic UGC or choose to invest in technology that will transform your existing CRM systems in to a highly efficient Collaborative Marketing platform, succeeding in 2016 will require a shift of mind set that sees brands marketing with, not at, their consumers.

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