We're just a few days into 2017, but we’re already anticipating the changes that we'll see as we move further into the year. The new year will see shifts in how businesses run, due to the ever-increasing number of millennials in the workforce. As this number grows, so does their influence as consumers, which will shape the business trends in the year ahead.
Why Gen Y
Called either Gen Y or Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2002 constitute the largest portion of most businesses’ target markets, as well as a constant source of their bafflement. This generation—well-educated, tech-savvy, politically aware, and socially responsible—tends to be more forward thinking than its predecessors. Growing up amid rapid technological developments, they are habitually inclined to change, rather than stasis. And as consumers, they prefer to buy from brands that sell experiences, not products.
All of this comes together in the way they respond to marketing messages. The key to engaging your customers and prospects, therefore, is personalised communication that resonates with them. In emails, ads, social media posts, and even content creation, personalising everything you put out there will greatly affect how people see your brand. If you make them feel like you empathise with them and are there to provide solutions for their problem, then you’ll get them.
Put yourself in these customers’ shoes and think how you’d feel about the message your brand is trying to convey: if it builds enough connection between audience and brand, and if it has emotional impact. Emotions will play a bigger role than hard facts and cold statistics in marketing success. The burgeoning study of emotional analytics allows businesses to more easily gauge customers’ reactions to certain topics and methods of communication. With technological advancements, businesses will be able to use even common personal devices to track customers’ emotions based on expressions and behaviour.
Tracking the emotions of your customers will help you get in sync with their thoughts and provide what they need from you to be satisfied. Furthermore, as emotional analytics evolve, companies will get a better idea of what combinations of emotions tend to result in specific consumer behaviour and attitudes. At the end of the day, successful marketing is all about the quality of your customers, and the quality they’re getting from you. Strong bonds between the brand and consumer are the end goal.
Technological trends in business will cater to people’s increasing turn toward visual communication. Pictures are worth a thousand words—almost literally, these days—and a simple image can have a huge impact on customers. Videos are also a great way to engage viewers through audiovisual means. Infographics can also be a faster way to share data in a colourful manner. Don’t forget that since they are visual aids, personalisation will also come in handy here. Design your graphics according to how your audience perceives design through the use of consumer data or emotion analytics. Using emotion analytics will you better determine how your audience will react to your marketing. It’s all about speaking your customer’s language.
Social videos are also an engaging way of reaching out to your audience. Snapchat alone has over 10 billion daily views on its video content, riding on the strength of its Stories feature. The dominance of videos on social media platforms has taken the world by storm—and their winds are still gathering speed. You can expect a lot of brands using videos to gain attention to their product or service in the coming year.
Ever the Socialites
Content distribution will also be more prominent in digital marketing than in previous years, because the way you reach your target audience will be as important as what you share. Social media are among the best channels you can use to disseminate your content more effectively. Most social media channels allow you to choose who to present to, to engage with, and allow you to control those actions in real-time.
Engaging with your audience in real-time gives you the opportunity to listen to what they have to say and get to know them better. You can get a lot of valuable insights just from talking to your audience and seeing what they post about on social media.
Social media is also the most effective way for booming businesses to utilise influencer marketing. Getting people who have already established themselves in your field to talk about your products and services can attract more people to your social media account and encourage them to follow your page. Build up your brand’s image as a reliable source of information and you might find your influencer’s fans following you as well.
If your brand doesn’t yet have influencers, no need to worry. The recommendations of your target market’s friends are enough to convince them to buy from your brand. The opinions of those they trust—friends and family—have more value to them than a sales spiel.
Another up and coming digital advertising trend you can count on is the use of brand ambassadors. Skip hiring a famous celebrity to talk about your product, service, or company. These days, you can source brand ambassadors from within your company—the employees themselves. Employee advocacy on social media has increased since 2013, and numbers will continue to soar with the trend catching up to people. Having employees passionate about the work they do is a great way to get people’s attention on your business.
Home Corp Advantage
Happiness and satisfaction are some of the key driving forces for millennials to stay in a company, and tell other people about what they like about working in the company. Keeping your employees feeling positive will make it easier for you to convert them into brand ambassadors. This will let your customers know that even internally, your employees are satisfied with your brand’s service.
The millennial workforce are used to setting the terms on how they want to work and where they want to work, and proving that keeping an open mind on the concept of the office is beneficial for all. Forget about working nine to five. In 2017, we’re going to see more people working flexible schedules, choosing the hours they want and, depending on the employer, even trending away from eight hour work days.
Freedom to wear whatever you want will also be a huge hit in businesses, so you can expect hoodies to be a staple among your employees’ wardrobes. We’ll also be seeing a lot more green products in the office, from recyclable materials, energy-efficient appliances, even literally green items, like office plants. The employees in today’s workforce are more environmentally aware.
The workplace design itself can be a place for you to showcase who you are as a brand, while providing your employees a home they’d be proud to work in. The more they love your office and culture, the more they will put more work into improving and advocating the brand. Investing in a good workplace interior is a good start and can serve as a signature backdrop for photographs. However, also consider specialised or mixed-use spaces for fitness, recreation, and relaxation. An environment where employees feel safe and comfortable to be themselves would be a factor for the quality of your employees’ work. When your workplace embodies the values your brand adheres to, you can promote a corporate culture that inspires loyalty, growth, and consistently stellar work.
Gearing up your business for the millennials in 2017 can’t get any simpler. From digital marketing to company culture, the year ahead certainly has a lot of exciting trends to offer us, and we all can’t wait to dive right in! We’re looking forward to creating for a better world with you again next year!
Looking for a way to get an early start with the trends? Talk to us about attracting the customers you want: