For me, it always happens after the Thanksgiving turkey settles… The year-end panic sets in. Yes, 2015 is upon us, and it’s time to get the 2015 marketing plan up-to-date. Chances are that your plan was made last year, so your advertising might as well have been planned a decade ago. Even if your media plan is six months old, it’s time to archive it. We’ve all learned so much about changing consumer habits since then. As we project trends of 2015, it’s hard to ignore the fact that some of these trends will be old news to market leaders. Next year will be the year for laggard brands to play catch up to the trends that were set in 2014:
1. Value Contribution: Chick-fil-A has delivered remarkable value beyond the chicken sandwich; using online RSVPs, candle-lit tables and a five-star service at a QSR price, they are able to bring families closer together. Enter Daddy-Daughter and Mother-Son Date Nights: exclusive family events hosted at Chick-fil-A locations organized for the express reason of helping families spend quality time together. If your customer experience doesn’t contribute remarkable value to your customer beyond the product you sell, your customer will go with your competitor who is sure to deliver value-generating experiences. This is why the following four trends will be crucial to marketing success in 2015.
2. Entertainment Marketing: Entertainment Marketing is an evolving form of Value Contribution. The 2015 consumer will ask a simple question that presents a new challenge to all of us: “Why watch TV with advertisements?” Consumers have learned from Netflix and AppleTV they don’t have to anymore. Leading brands are now making advertising the show itself, instead of the interruption. Contributing value through content turns consumers into customers and customers into raving fans.
Example: Henry Ford Health System’s Minds of Medicine TV Show
3. Consumer-generated Content: A 2014 US Chamber of Commerce study found 74 percent of Millennials rely on communication with their peers when they make a purchase decision. Customer’s words speak louder than your words. And it’s your actions that speak through your customer’s words. Consumers are generating content about brands on a level never seen before, and their voices will only grow louder. From social media to customer reviews, customer experiences today drive sales tomorrow. Don’t just treat your customers right; give them something worth talking about.
4. Cause Engagement: TOMS shoes has proven a new trend in contributing value to the consumer beyond the product by giving their customers a way to feel good about purchasing decisions. Now they’re expanding their product line to include eyewear, accessories and even coffee. Seemingly unrelated products, but in the eye of the consumer, all of these products provide the valuable good feelings they’re after. A 2014 study on CPG and retail products by Manthan revealed that “This new generation is much more concerned with the ethical, sustainable and societal values of the companies behind the products they purchase.” Millennial buyers rely on their socially aligned peers to influence their purchases, based on these values.
Example: TOMS Shoes
5. Utility Marketing: Utilizing smartphones and hardware add-ons, companies like Kaiser Permanente and Cigna have been able to better connect with their customers, increasing engagement and customer loyalty. In the best of cases, these marketing initiatives have augmented the actual product provided to customers, providing better health and wellness to patients. The winners of 2015 will replace rented media with owned media and new technologies that will provide useful content to their customers.
In summary, all marketing is moving from telling the consumer about your value to providing the value to consumers in the message itself. Equipping them to tell the world about your value for you. All media plans are shifting away from traditional interruptive placements, toward entertaining and permissive placements that the consumer will view and share for free.
Part two coming soon. . .