It is key for an SME owner to know the current digital marketing trends for their industry so they can position their products, services, company, employees and brand ‘on-trend’. A rising tide carries all boats, and this means that if your product or service is well-positioned on a trend carried by technology, then proper execution should take the effort out of marketing activities.
SME owners should explore at least three popular tools for positioning products and services on-trend in their marketing plan in 2017.
Live video streaming
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now household names and all have some sort of live video functions. Bigo Live, an up-and-coming Singaporean live streaming platform, is also becoming popular with millennials. For SME owners the challenge is how to make these tech platforms add value to your products or services. “These platform allows instantaneous live engagements with your target audience,” said one tech entrepreneur, adding, “The draw of this kind of platform is that consumers can interact directly, in real-time with your company. This increases engagement exponentially and a link with the consumers is formed.” SMEs can increase engagement with consumers by holding live Q&A sessions or by giving consumers a deeper look into how a particular product is created and it’s value-added. It is also extremely useful for customer service. Another way is to live stream events such as conferences and parties to keep consumers entertained and up-to-date, maintaining the relationship with them and contributing to business continuity. Platforms such as live video can be combined with an increasingly popular marketing strategy, influencer marketing, a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or categories of individuals) rather than the target market as a whole. Chain Dungeons is a free-to-play mobile Puzzle RPG published by Quest Drop. After getting unsatisfactory result from Facebook Ads campaigns, Quest Drop decided to blast influencer marketing to exploit the social media trend in Indonesia. They engaged 5 gaming influencers with a combined total of 750,000 followers and a total of 9 YouTube videos across 4 weeks. The results were 200,000 video views, 12,000 App Installs, and 98% increase in Tutorial Completion compared to Facebook Ads.
Attracting consumers through mobile phones
Mobile marketing is arguably the key evolving marketing platform. Tech companies like Facebook, who’s revenues and share price rose significantly after migrating to mobile, are further increasing efforts to put mobile first. Google will soon come up with a mobile-only search index and Facebook has introduced Canvas, an interactive mobile-focused ad format which it describes as “a full-screen ad experience built for bringing brands and products to life on mobile.” Canvas allows advertisers to deliver fully immersive, interactive ads that are hosted completely on Facebook thereby eliminating the need for users to click out of the app to engage with mobile content. This means that advertisers have to create content specifically for the mobile version of Facebook driving companies to become increasingly creative at how to best reach out to their consumers using mobile marketing. Another key strategy is for SMEs to ensure that their website is mobile-responsive as most searches are being done on mobile. Consumers are less like to respond positively to a website that is not optimal for mobile. Creative strategies for existing content mean that SMEs don’t have to create entire new videos just for mobile but can simply optimise existing videos by cutting and editing long-form ads. Existing ads can be optimised by shortening duration and adding eye-catching titles so that casual browsers know what they are watching without having to turn on the sound.
Leverage existing augmented reality platforms
One of the most powerful, yet still overlooked, platforms is augmented reality (AR). Heralded by Mark Zuckerberg as ‘the next major computing platform’, AR can be leveraged to drive sales, boost employee engagement and achieve business goals.
“In South Africa, AR has up to now been regarded solely as a marketing and advertising tool, but it can also have a massive impact on sales and growth,” explains Jason Ried, MD of Fuzz Logic, a local AR development company.
AR turns sales from dull to dynamic and unlike traditional sales materials, which are usually text heavy and dense, as it transforms key information and creates a highly visual and interactive experience for sales staff. It allows SMEs to profile their customers in new and unique ways, creating a more personalised and dynamic platform with which to target new and existing markets.
“Using AR, we can take information and not only present it in an accessible and highly visual form, but we can also provide valuable analytics to enable quicker and more efficient decision-making,” says Ried, adding, “The digitised nature of AR takes the hassle out of manually updating charts or writing up long reports turning sales processes into exciting and engaging tasks for both staff and customers. For local businesses looking to harness AR as a sales tool, the key is to understand how your staff and clients prefer to interact and engage.”
Digital Marketing Leaders in Asia
While the industry in Singapore is still nascent, there are already initiatives by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to help local SMEs there grow and capitalise on emerging media. SMEs don’t need to develop AR capabilities to take advantage of the many new media becoming available and can use existing AR apps to engage with consumers.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma recently said society should prepare for decades of pain as the internet disrupts the economy. “The world must change education systems and establish how to work with robots to help soften the blow caused by automation and the internet economy,” Ma said in a speech to an entrepreneurship conference, adding, “In the next 30 years, the world will see much more pain than happiness.” Alibaba spends billions of dollars to move into new businesses from film production and video streaming to cloud computing and since buying Lazada Group SA is increasingly establishing a foothold in SE Asia.