CATEGORY: Email marketing
Adapting to the Future: Preparing for 2023
Staying up-to-date on marketing trends wasn't just a challenge in 2022. 14% of marketers believe keeping up with the latest marketing trends will continue to be their biggest hurdle in 2023.
Macro trends having an effect
We sought two perspectives on the impact that the economic challenge is going to have on, well, everyone. Firstly Dela Quist, founder of Alchemy Worx and irrefutable #emailgeek,
"For most brands 2023 is going to be about surviving the severe economic storm we're all facing. Money is tight for everyone not just customers, so marketers are going to find themselves working harder and harder to get sales with resources. In this situation, marketers and stake holders are going to be looking towards email to bridge the gap. In this situation design automation capabilities, features such as drag and drop email builders and well stocked template libraries are a must, if you want to deliver quick results. Failing to do so will lead to many late nights and an uptick in mistakes."
And Andy Allsopp, Joint Chair, at our partner LGcomms: Austerity is back with a vengeance and so is scrutiny of communications and marketing spending. We’ll all need to revisit that place where we look at spending through the lens of cynical media or a taxpayer. Thinking about splashing £10k on an influencer? Probably not smart, certainly through the first half of 2023 and probably beyond.
And ZoomInfo's Chief Marketing Officer, Bryan Law, sympathises, "We're all feeling the pressures of a possible recession and almost every company will face challenges with revenue growth and marketing spend in 2023. With potentially fewer dollars to put towards campaigns, adopting a data-driven marketing strategy will ensure that every effort is as impactful as possible."
We will talk more about the strategic use of data later in the article, but first we have to acknowledge the importance of individuals data and the impact this can have on their trust in a brand/organisation.
Emphasis on consumer privacy
Among recent controversies regarding privacy and security, many reputable companies are developing new systems to ensure customers feel secure when providing their personal information. While identity theft and data breaches have always existed, the rise in cyberattacks has consumers realizing just how vulnerable their data is.
While this isn’t exactly a marketing technique, increased data security allows customers to sign up for services, demos, white papers, etc., without worrying about data leaks or identity theft. If you are looking for consumer/resident trust in 2023, you may want to look into upgrading your privacy software and making sure your commitment to privacy and security is evident.
We spoke to Chad White author of The Email Marketing Rules who shares our excitement about the increased traction of BIMI and being able to represent your brand as a certified sender.
"Open to brands that fully authenticate their emails with SPF and DKIM, and that set up a DMARC record with the preferred “p=reject” policy, BIMI (/bē mē/) allows brands to have their logo displayed next to their sender name in inboxes that support the standard. While BIMI has been around for years, it will go from a nice-to-have to a must-have in 2023 because of new support from Apple.
Once Gmail and Yahoo comply with Apple’s BIMI requirements—which they’ve indicated they will—then marketers who adopt BIMI can expect their logo to appear next to their sender name with more than 90% of the emails they send on average. That’s up from it appearing in roughly 33% of emails last year.
While implementing BIMI requires 6 time-intensive steps, and some significant costs, the effort is more than worth it now for many businesses. It’s especially worthwhile for large consumer brands and government organizations, as they’re frequently the target of spoofing campaigns and consumer trust is at a premium for them."
This was echoed by Matt Brittin Google's President EMEA,
"We found that privacy experiences impact user trust. But we were surprised to learn just how damaging a bad privacy experience online can be. Consumers view bad privacy experiences as almost as damaging as a theft of their data. It’s enough to make 43% of them switch to another brand.
Online experiences need to be delivered with the privacy people deserve, by brands they can trust. In 2023, ensure you’re providing customers with everything they need to be — and feel — in control of their data. When people lack control over their data, they become sceptical of digital marketing. Provide accessible and understandable tools that customers can use to manage their privacy, whenever they want."
Cookies set to be no more than biscuits
Google is set to phase out third-party cookies by the end of next year due to rising privacy concerns. Cookies play a role in target marketing by tracking a user's behaviour across the web so marketers can deliver a customized experience. In order to remain relevant, brands are testing alternative targeting solutions to continue developing highly personalized content and ads.
We spoke at length on this topic with Joanne Sweeney, Chief Executive of the Public Sector Marketing Institute and author of Public Sector Marketing Pro, The Definitive Guide to Digital Marketing for Government and Public Sector. And you can find more from our interview in "Cookies and Challenges" but here is an excerpt where we were considering the virtuous circle of owned data:
"Building trust is key, your residents/constituents and stakeholders need to trust that you will use their data the right way and as they have consented to.
So, for 2023 the cry that email is dead should be replaced with “email will be great again”. Email is the principal channel for owned data. Although in the recent past, public sector local government have tended to stay away from e-mail because they're like “ohh is it data compliant? Will we be annoying citizens?” In actual fact, if we look more broadly how people are consuming news and median information e-mail is having such a resurrection.
And we know that it is a virtuous cycle of having permission based data, having that loyalty, that brand equity, but also increasing your web traffic. And again, that's a known platform."
Rise of the machines
In 2023, marketers will “discover” the power of AI-based text and image generation. Tools have gotten so much better in the last 2 years. It has been about four years coming, but now it seems there is no way around it. An exciting development and for many still new area to jump in and uncover in 2023. ChatGPT, I think opened a lot of eyes.
AI is like a friendly colleague that can assist in a lot of ways. (some areas still better than others). That is evolving the role of an email specialist is becoming a hybrid of marketer, creator, editor and “master of AI prompt craft”. As ChatGPT suggest:
Sure there are plenty of side notes to be made, but this year frontrunners will be doing, not discussing. The only caveat is that you often wont realise it is AI assisted. Every hour you spend on your AI skillset is well spent.
AI tools can compose the perfect email, create summaries, propose subject lines, draft intro’s, and create images as well. Using proven copywriting formulas, the tone-of-voice and word count you tell it to. And on the strategy side they can also (help) ideate, give you suggestions – and for instance give you a list of strengths and weaknesses, questions people have or pain points to solve.
For organizations this means that time and cost of email marketing can go down. Or the investment can go into other areas, like increasing creativity, email marketing strategy and automation. Because now you have a full-time digital writing, brainstorm and image assistant on tap.
Today’s consumers value authenticity, transparency, privacy, and inclusivity now more than ever before.
Marketing and advertising professionals have made great strides in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the last couple of years, but it’s still an issue that will need to be improved in 2023. It’s more important than ever to ensure your marketing tactics don’t alienate portions of your target audience. And whilst this has been high on the public sector communicators agenda for some time, the rest of the world is now starting to catch up.
According to a study by Facebook, 71% of consumers expect brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their digital marketing strategies. Companies such as ThirdLove, Nike, and Bumble are leading the “inclusive revolution” with innovative campaigns featuring individuals of varying races, body types, ages, sexual preferences, and more.
64% of B2C marketers consider accessibility when creating their emails. (Pathwire, 2021)
The most significant steps marketers take to champion accessibility when creating their emails is writing short, descriptive subject lines, making links and buttons easy to see, and keeping paragraphs short and simple. (Pathwire, 2021)
One study found that 71% of users with disabilities will leave a website that’s not accessible. Web accessibility is an increasingly important issue that affects your SEO and bottom line.
Digital and marketing trends
Establishing an omnichannel communication strategy
People are increasingly active on multiple devices and platforms. Leveraging a single marketing channel with one strategy no longer works. In fact, HubSpot research shows that 92% of marketers leverage more than one channel. In 2022, 81% leverage more than three.
You want to make it easy for your followers, subscribers, and customers to connect with you wherever they go. This doesn’t mean you need to maintain a presence everywhere. Focus on the platforms where your audience is active. The key is to provide a seamless experience so people can easily get from one channel to another. For example, link to your social pages and website in your emails. This diversified approach also helps teams stay agile and pivot when certain platforms become oversaturated, and play to the strengths that each channel provides to help optimise results.
The 2020 Omnichannel Statistics Report reveals that marketers using at least three channels for campaigns enjoyed 287% more sales than those only targeting a single channel. Omnichannel marketing is essential for reaching today’s audiences.
Michael Moore, East Cheshire Council: "My prediction is that local councils/public service providers will be reviewing the usefulness of the wide range of social media platforms as communications and engagement channels, as those channels (and their wider use) continues to evolve."
Andrew Hadfield Ames, LGcomms National Secretary: As all public sector communications seek to demonstrate ever great value, with even more stretched resources, that teams are often tempted to look towards embracing newer technologies to engage communities – which they undoubtedly should do. However, my prediction is that re-looking at more traditional channels, with the killer question being ‘what is the most effective way of delivering this outcome’ will be just as important. Finally, the maixim: ‘content is King’ will continue to be just so, as long as it is relevant in the continuing cost of living focus across all fronts.
P.S. If you are reviewing your comms channels then our Social Media playbook can help - This guide will give you all you need to know to understand the social media landscape in 2023 to help you focus your time and effort on the areas of social media which will help you meet your organisational objectives and help your residents and customers' best access and use your services. Get a head start on effective social media strategy with our free playbook. Download now!
Data driven decision making
We spoke to our great friend and #emailgeek Kath Pay about the importance of using your data to both optimise your results but also as an economical way to to gain revenue and traction in this time of austerity. Kath is an International bestselling author, award winner, keynote speaker & CEO at Holistic Email Marketing and this is what she had to say:
"A/B Testing is back on the agenda. With there being more education available and knowledge being shared about how to test, we’re seeing more marketers are trying to optimise their email campaigns to ensure they’re delivering the best service they can to their subscribers and customers. Additionally, given the current financial climate, they’re finding that this is an economical way to gain more revenue from their budget.
We’re seeing that marketers are building upon their list of automations and these automations are often more advanced in nature than their core automated programmes. These automations are being born from insights gained from analysing their data and understanding the gaps in their journeys, and as such resonate with their subscribers and customers and deliver very high ROI.
Following on from the two trends above, we’re also seeing that not only are campaigns being A/B tested but automations are as well. No longer are automations being treated a as ‘one and done’ but A/B testing streams are inherently built into the program. This is something we’ve rarely seen in the past, but with technology advancing and education improving, it’s now seeing a nice pick up."
Video is taking over (and is channel agnostic)
WordStream reveals that 51% of marketing professionals consider video as the type of content with the best ROI. Video is getting bigger every year, and every organisation needs to incorporate it to reach its audience. Video raises the bar across owned, earned, and paid channels, and it’s expected to continue to dominate the marketing field in 2023.
85% of marketers say that video is an effective way to get attention online. (Animoto)
Video is the #1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs and infographics. (Hubspot)
94% of video marketers consider video an important part of their marketing strategy. (Wyzowl)
69% of people say they’d most prefer to learn about a new product or service by watching a short video. (Wyzowl)
88% of people say video helps ease collaboration and improves efficiency in the workplace. (Limelight)
Snackable, short-form videos
Viewing habits are diversifying as people move seamlessly between screens and video lengths — with different needs and expectations for each. Many creators are innovating with shorter form, ‘snackable’ content to meet the needs of these viewers. And they’re seeing immense success. In fact, YouTube Shorts now has 1.5 billion monthly active users and sees more than 30 billion daily views.
Interactive video content
Video content trumps static graphics when it comes to engagement, and recent developments in VR have allowed video/gaming to reach new levels of user immersion. This trend towards interactivity is also reflected in marketing. According to Videoform interactive video has 22% more engagement than linear videos, with an average 12% conversion rate.
Some great examples of how you can implement interactive video content in your 2023 marketing plan include:
Branching stories (like Netflix’s 2018 interactive thriller Bandersnatch) that take the user on a journey that they feel in control of.
Clickable elements within videos that can act as a call-to-action, conversion button, newsletter signup, or any manner of customer/user interactions!
Interactive quizzes and polls are a great way to get customers involved and are quick to implement on social media thanks to Instagram and Tik Tok poll features.
If you’ve used the internet within the past decade, you’ve likely come across interactive content without even realizing it. Gone are the days of static posts and passive consumption—today’s audience wants content that demands attention. Marketers are developing dynamic, two-way experiences that encourage active engagement from their target audience with content such as:
81% of marketers agree this low-cost, high-impact content strategy is much more effective at grabbing potential buyers’ attention than static content, but the benefits don’t stop there. Interactive content is a great trend to try if your content marketing goals include:
Enhanced audience engagement
Improved customer learning
More leads and conversions
Increased brand loyalty
Streamlining the customer experience
Some other great predictions blogs we have found include:
Email marketing healthcheck
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