Customers buy differently than they did ten years ago! This fact presents e-commerce companies with new challenges: How to reach potential customers in the fragmented web? Which marketing strategies are effective to generate new leads? And how do you create positive user experiences to increase sales? In doing so, the ever-faster developments in online marketing demand entrepreneurial flexibility and agility in implementation. Inbound marketing has established itself as a holistic marketing strategy for accompanying potential customers through to a successful purchase. With helpful content and customer-centric marketing and sales tools, the customer is put in the center of attention, ensuring a better user experience and more sales. On May 16 and 17, 2017, as pioneers of inbound marketing in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa), representatives of HubSpot partner agencies met to exchange ideas in Dublin. The HubSpot Summit invited the most qualified agencies to share what's new in online marketing and the changing challenges of being an agency. Blackbit was on hand as a HubSpot Silver Partner to gather new insights into the future of online marketing to best advise our clients.
Trendsetting Online Marketing Trends
Keynote speeches, seminars and workshops at the HubSpot Partner Meeting focused on the changes taking place in online marketing. Three topics stood out in particular: the use of Facebook as a serious marketing platform, support from artificial intelligence, and the advancing use of video content.
Facebook has long since evolved into a professional marketing platform. To effectively use the social network for corporate awareness and sales growth, sophisticated strategies and professional support are required. Thanks to complex analysis tools and refined ad targeting, the target group can be reached precisely. Facebook is also suitable for B2B marketing, for example, to promote the image, reach decision-makers and multipliers from the industry, and handle support requests.
Although personal contact and individual support from customer consultants - whether through social networks or help forums - are not eliminated, the use of bots can streamline communication processes. Many standard inquiries and tasks can be handled with the help of artificially intelligent systems. Artificial intelligence also helps in assessing large data volumes and patterns, examples of which are IBM's Watson and Amazon's AWS. It remains to be seen in which direction the use of artificial intelligence will further develop and influence online marketing - and how marketers will overcome these challenges.
Every day, 100 billion videos are watched on YouTube and 100 million videos are watched on Facebook: Video content is clearly an essential way to communicate with potential users! However, there are some innovations that online marketers need to keep in mind when creating video content. In general, the trend is moving away from professionally produced glossy videos and towards more authentic and quickly consumable videos. Since 85% of all videos on Facebook are played without sound, attention should be paid to a clear visual language and coherent subtitles. The length of an average online video is about 4.4 minutes. In addition, Snapchat and Instagram Stories offer videos that can be produced and consumed even faster and allow "fans" to communicate more directly with companies.
The biggest challenge for digital companies
In addition to the forward-looking online marketing trends, collaboration within companies was also a topic at the summit in order to successfully implement strategies. Digital commerce companies must provide more comprehensive support for potential customers, so marketing and sales must work even more closely together. The initial expectations of interested visitors should be met until the purchase decision is made, and customers must continue to be looked after in a pleasant way even after a successful purchase. So it's important for teams to plan together and share information continuously. A better and more comprehensive understanding of the customer's behavior is also enabled by a common, centralized platform. However, it is still important to share this knowledge collaboratively as employees of the marketing and sales teams. In its most recent survey on inbound marketing, HubSpot found that organizations that use concrete arrangements (called service level agreements) between marketing and sales are more than three times more effective than other companies.
Agencies as mediators between the future and the present
Groundbreaking online marketing trends can only be applied if they are adapted for the individual challenges and needs of the company. For example, the collection and analysis of large volumes of data (Big Data) must be interpreted and appropriate recommendations for action formulated. Agencies have the task of passing on these insights and trends to their customers and supporting them in implementing appropriate measures. It is also important for digital companies to remain flexible in their strategy and to quickly get to grips with new tools and techniques. Only then do you have a chance of benefiting from the groundbreaking growth of online marketing and not being left behind. Agencies then help you to use these tools efficiently and integrate them into your corporate strategy.
Online marketing will evolve tremendously over the next few years and in order not to be left behind, it is important for companies to create strategic conditions for business and marketing agility in time. Therefore, marketers need to be aware of the latest trends for efficient advertising on the web and be able to implement them quickly. Digital agencies act as intermediaries between trend and corporate reality and support the implementation of successful marketing strategies. The HubSpot Partner Meeting 2017 provided a lot of inspiration, input and practical tips on how to support our customers with strategic challenges in online marketing.
Stefano Viani is the managing director of Blackbit digital Commerce GmbH He is always up to date with the latest developments and trends in e-commerce and digital marketing. For decades he has been a consultant for large and medium-sized companies for the technical, visual and advertising optimisation of websites. In particular, he develops concepts and measures for successful sales marketing.
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