Connecting mobile devices and laptops. Another step…
One of the good news about Digital Marketing for Retirement Industry is that companies do not need to be very aggressive. There are many reasons:
As we can see on the Nationwide’s website, the concept is very simple. Customers are divided between individual investors and professionals and each segment has access to a page presenting the different services offered. Therefore, it is easy to read, analyze, compare and make simulations after plugging the numbers.
For instance, individual investors have more details about each retirement plan:
They are one click away from every detail they need, in addition to the option of calling directly an advisor. Also, they can plan according to their situation as we can see on this screen shot:
Another very important aspect of this website is the possibility offered to have an online account allowing each category of customers to track the retirement plan, to make decisions and adjustments.
Globally, navigating on this website is very nice even if it would be better and more user-friendly to provide tools to calculate a retirement plan online without having an account. Why? Because most of internet users need to get a quick overview of what they can get with a specific retirement plan without giving their e-mail address and get spammed.
(Source: retirement-jobs-online.com http)
What we do on the Web changes every day. The web industry is constantly evolving. Because our work and lives depends upon this fast-paced industry, it is important for us to predict and learn about what is coming up in terms of risks. Therefore, without mentioning the risk associated with privacy, we have identified five key challenges for the web over the coming years:
1. Data Portability
Based upon Web 2.0, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter of MySpace will continue to grow but they will have to collaborate and share information into the concept of “social graph”. This social graph will improve trust and insert greater social responsibility into online interactions and activities. It will be conceived as a map of everyone and their relationships to everyone else on the internet. Basically people will be able to share recommendations and to collaborate, not only between users of a specific social network (Facebook for example) but all their contacts whether they are connected on Facebook or Google+.
This challenge will require a synchronization of all these platforms into a digital “Me”.
2. Digital Assistants
This feature is emerging with the Web 3.0 known as Semantic Web based on Artificial Intelligence. The reason is people do not want to be taught how to navigate on the internet. They just want to get specific information which is relevant to them while minimizing the time spent on the web. Therefore new services will emerge that take personalized filters to automate transactions, to provide personalized content and so on.
We can see some of these examples like Siri (Apple virtual assistant), Google Glasses (allowing interactions between users and internet using voice command) or Amazon (providing recommendations based on past purchases or people making similar purchases). We also have new search engines which basically “understand” people’s questions like Wolfram Alpha.
3. Online Video & Music
Media companies will continue to experiment with Internet video distribution. This will eventually dissolve the distinction between TV and the Web and unleash new regulatory battles over the Internet’s underlying infrastructure. Like data and voice, video is poised to become just another application on the network, creating congestion and high traffic. Internet Service Providers will be pushed to upgrade again and again their bandwidth capacity and to deal with regulatory issues.
Also, companies like Pandora, providing streaming music for free will be affecting MP3 players industry and redesign the market.
4. Cloud Computing
Software is moving from the hard drive and onto the network, a trend that will accelerate for both consumer and business markets. Now Google, Apple and companies like DropBox have taken a foothold with data storage online and related applications. Infrastructure for hosting and running business-grade cloud computing is also gaining ground and the race is on to provide software development tools for producing business-grade cloud computing applications.
The big loser of this trend might be the USB flash Disk and external drive’s industry which is going to be out-of-date exactly like CD-ROM companies a few years back.
5. No more Bubble
The last – but not least – challenge is about financials. Considering the expectations raised by the recent Internet success stories (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) many investors will be looking for the future crack and most of the time they will anticipate an over-optimistic scenario, paying a hundreds time the earnings of some companies which will not match the expectations. They key point will be how these companies will communicate about their products and strategy.
Hopefully, we consider the recent IPO of Facebook as a sign that investors seem to be more cautious than they were before the year 2000.
Connecting mobile devices and laptops. Another step…
The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott introduces us to a new world. A world ruled differently compared to the traditional one, a connected world where there is no one-way or controlled corporate communications because of the prevalence of social media.
The power has definitely shifted from the corporate side to customers and Medias’ side. The consequence of this evolution is that nowadays, Marketing and Press Relations are more focused on giving the customer a positive experience that they can blog, tweet or post on their Facebook page. Also, through the web, organizations are communicating effecting with buyers.
According to the author, one of the most recurrent missed digital opportunities is to having a one-size-fits-all website. The explanation is that a web site should be used as a medium in which all different target audiences can easily find the information they need. Sometimes these personas may be looking for different information. Sometimes they may be looking for exactly the same information but they need it to be provided in a different way.
Another mistake based on traditional techniques is to assume that the success of a commercial depends on the budget spent. It has been proven that companies can take advantage of the tremendous opportunities opened by the web to reach niche buyers directly with targeted messages at lower cost.
Hence, the key to provide these persons a positive experience in a website is by tailoring different parts of the website according to customers’ needs, desires and tendencies (buyers’ personas). It is very important to make sure that visitors feel a personality and a soul inside a corporation’s website. Companies should behave like customers and use social medias through an appealing language which is easily accessible to them (getting rid of jargon) unlike traditional press releases. In addition to that, companies should maintain a permanent contact with the audience, make sure they create thoughtful content which can be easily found on the internet (optimizing search and tags) and they should not lose their focus: keep driving people into sales process with news releases.
At end of the process, it is important to make sure that everything in the process should not be about the corporations itself but customers. They should use “Pulling” instead of “Pushing”!
The fast-evolving world of digital marketing has undergone profound changes over the past year. 2012 will offer us some even more interesting developments.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Content will trump craftiness
Google’s recent (and arguably overdue) change to its search algorithm, or how it ranks sites, was the game-changer of 2011. Google’s older algorithm gave less weight to how frequently a company was being discussed on social platforms like Twitter and more to relevance. On the one hand, expect to see more results to be linked to timely and social relevance and less to esoteric tinkering. On the other, as its product offering becomes arguably more robust, expect a bit of backlash over Google’s keyword and site promotion offerings (have you noticed how those sponsored sites are slowly taking over the results page?). The burden of authentic, timely and relevant content on the part of companies will become ever more important.
Influencer Management: A new kind of celebrity is born
Marketing 101 teaches business students the virtues of segmentation. Today, when we think of celebrity endorsement it is the Kardashian call to Sears that comes to mind. Increasingly, however, it is specific community experts that are becoming the true celebrities that influence consumer decisions. Companies like Klout now assign “influence” scores to web users, allowing marketers insight into who might be most likely to talk about their brand. With a few Las Vegas casinos already offering upgrades to guests with high Klout scores, expect to see more companies giving special perks (pricing, gifts or unique information) to those they consider most likely to influence others. Powerful platforms by firms likeYoucast are emerging to allow marketers to identify the top influencers specific to a company’s audience. Expect companies in 2012 to focus marketing on those customers most likely to be influencers or brand ambassadors.
Mobile and Tablet: Leapfrogging
In 2010, for the first time in the history of computing, tablet sales have surpassed desktop sales. Yet many companies continue to channel most of their investment into their web presence, continuing to think of their mobile and tablet use as an adjunct nicety. Expect that to change in 2012. The savviest of marketers will also know how to appeal to the untethered consumer. They will harness geo-localization technologies (Foursquare-style check-ins and soon even walk-bys) for customized offers, better use QR codes to gather data and link to in-store experiences. And outside of the US, mobile is increasingly playing a larger role as is mobile use is often stronger, with wireless technology often superior to older line-bound networks.
Facebook: Watch those marketing budgets shift
With the amount of time spent on social media now exceeding 23% and Facebook now accounting for 90% of that time, it has become clear to companies that Facebook is a serious platform for marketers. Yet advertising dollars still remain eschewed to print and television, places that consumers are spending ever less time. As companies begin to realize where their customers are really spending their time, they will begin to reallocate resources away from traditional media to social platforms, with Facebook leading the pack. And consequently, the meteoric rise of Facebook software applications by companies like Buddy Media, Wildfire and Tigerlily will continue as companies seek in earnest to organize, augment and measure their effectiveness on the platform. And expect Facebook itself to evolve as well in 2012, offering better insights and improving their e-commerce functionality “f-commerce”.
Video: Emotional and Viral
2012 is likely to be a banner year for video. Infinitely more emotional than text, video is a rich medium that fits perfectly within an ever more social web. 85% of Americans watch videos online, and they watch a lot of them too— over 1.3 billion (yes, billion) videos a day. Studies show far higher levels of engagement and customer conversion among brands that use video on their websites. We will see the giant of the pack, YouTube, with its new organization and improved functionality make content creation and sharing easier- effectively solidifying its role among social sharing platforms. And innovative firms such as Boston’s Vsnap, whose technology allows users to create and send short video messages will tap into the democratization of content creation and desire for more dynamic sharing. Expect video advertising to grow significantly as it is a far less crowded a space than television.
Finally, 2012 may be the year in which video-powered social shopping technologies like (e)-motional, a tool that allows users to click on, share and purchase items without ever leaving a video, begin to catch on.
Internationalization and Localization: Relevance Rules
While in theory the internet has no borders, few companies know how to effectively garner and cultivate an international audience effectively. Expect that to change in 2012. Data shows that brands with localized web and social media presence enjoy far greater engagement and brand buzz. But the distinction between internationalization and localization is an important one. Successful localization efforts go far beyond language translation alone. They create and encourage content that is relevant to the local audience. Expect companies to pay more attention to the other 88% of internet users that don’t live in the US.
What’s the link among all of these?
They all involve tools and technologies that enhance engagement and improve interaction. In fact, 2012 may be the year when “social marketing” simply becomes “marketing”. After all, aren’t businesses operating in society social by definition?
Founder, New Marketing Labs