With tons of new content published online every day and our attention spans shrinking by the day (or minute), having a firm understanding of the individuals you're trying to reach is increasingly vital to a business's existence. New research and tracking trends are popping up all over but this is what you should get used to in 2016:
It's all mobile.
Everything and everyone is mobile. Your research, analytics and marketing must be, too. Emily Culp of Keds stated in a recent interview that consumers look at their phones 150 times a day. Pew Research recently jumped on board with mobile surveys, increasing the percentage of their telephone surveys conducted via mobile to 75%. It was only 25% back in 2008. Which makes sense because as of 2014, 44% of Americans lived in households with no landline, so researchers were missing a huge portion of the population by surveying people with landline phones.
Your business, your content and your research needs to be mobile friendly. How long are customers spending looking at your page? Are they using an app or visiting your mobile site through Chrome or Safari? Do they first check social before beginning their shopping? Most of their activity will occur on their mobile device.
Track the decision-making process.
The consumer experience does not begin when someone enters your store or visits your website. As I mentioned above, so much of their activity is on their mobile device and their likely chatting with friends, visiting your social channels and those of influencers well before they get to the business's site. It's crucial to understand all the steps and see where most of your audience is spending their time prior to a purchase.
"The way you present your content, value proposition and call to action will have a big impact on the decision-making process and whether your users will convert," says Darryl Stevens founder & CEO of digiTech Web Design. "I recommend that you get to know your customer from a deeper perspective. There is a treasure trove of data that you can glean from each user action, interaction and decision, both within your website and on other touch points. You can use these to optimize your design and content for better performance."
Time is measured in nanoseconds.
Attention spans are short and getting shorter. Marketing must match that pace. Short videos, flashy photos, and quick reads get and keep attention. If you take too long to reel in the customer, they've moved on to a new site, new feed or new app.
Similarly, if a message doesn't work, you must adjust quickly and seamlessly. There is very little time to go all the way back to the drawing board. A-B testing and having backup options for each campaign is the only way to keep those potential customers. "Understanding what you have learned in the past is critical so you can re-apply and synthesize those learnings quickly so not only making faster adjustments but better decisions" says Kristi Zuhlke, CEO and Co-Founder of KnowledgeHound, a technology that enables market research and marketing organizations curate, search and analyze their market research within seconds. Stay on top of the analytics and be checking your progress far more frequently than a quarterly or monthly basis. If you wait that long, you've already lost too many people and you won't be able to win them back.
It's always worth noting that the core principles of marketing haven't changed. You still need to offer a product people want or need at a price they're willing to pay. However, place and promotion have consistently evolved to mean mobile and online engagement. Remember, people will read and engage with content that is interesting and relevant to them. Sometimes that content is your marketing.