Companies seem to be optimistic about their post-pandemic recovery in 2022. Based on a budgeting study by Gartner, marketing departments are claiming 9.5% of the average company’s total revenue this year. Compared to 6.4% in 2021, this number brings us closer to pre-pandemic budgeting, which held between 10.5% and 11.2%. Moreover, the digital-first shift triggered by COVID-19 placed a larger emphasis on digital channels, which claimed 56% of budgets for social media, paid search, and digital displays.
There are a number of reasons why marketing is a business-critical process requiring significant investment. As detailed in a LHH article on marketing for business success, marketing is something you should spend more on because it builds positive brand awareness. Customers would be more likely to choose (and stick with) your products or services because you’ve left a great impression on them. This awareness and retention are important, given how consumers can now order products and services from anywhere in the world. And being connected to our sensor-filled devices most hours of the day, consumers continue to look for exceptional experiences and exciting storytelling across all touchpoints.
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Today, we’ll take a look at four fresh ways to spend your digital marketing dollars for stronger customer engagement:
Voice search optimization
In our post on ‘Two Methods to Tweak Your Content for Better SEO’, we describe search engine optimization (SEO) as a technique for achieving the best possible ranking for a given keyword compared to its competitors. SEO has long held its place in marketing strategy, because effective optimization places you in a high rank on Google, driving visitors – and potential customers – to your site. Now, SEO may evolve towards voice search.
Ordinarily, most people would type “baked chicken recipe” on a search engine, but those who want to follow a recipe in the kitchen would be more likely to say “Hey Alexa, how do I cook baked chicken?” — so you’d need to ensure that your website content and featured snippets are phrased so virtual assistants can use these to answer questions.
Hybrid marketing events
As more people grow comfortable with the idea of attending face-to-face events again, it seems that marketers now have a choice to host purely live or virtual meetings. However, a feature on virtual events by Entrepreneur notes that even after COVID concerns pass, attendees will still want virtual options. One survey found that as many as 84% of people would prefer having this safety net in case something happens that requires a change in plans.
The best solution is a hybrid approach, where live events have a strong digital component and virtual events offer more interaction. For instance, we can utilize AR and VR technology, polls, or surveys for an immersive digital experience and higher in-person engagement.
TikTok and video marketing
Video streaming exploded in popularity during the pandemic, as more people were able to record and watch videos any time they wanted. Short but memorable video content should definitely be adopted in your strategy. Case in point, TikTok has billions of active users worldwide, and you’d undoubtedly be able to tap into your niche audience there.
It’s ideal to continue investing in YouTube and Instagram as well, given how these are likewise expanding their offerings. If you don’t have an in-house video marketing team, you may opt to hire popular influencers to introduce your brand through short clips as well.
Modern consumers want their brand experiences to be more interactive than before, which is why utilizing game mechanics in ads, websites, and other touchpoints has become an increasingly common marketing practice. Brands on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter harness user-generated content through challenges, giveaways, and more — increasing a sense of connection with their followers.
One big upcoming trend is AR filters; in a study of AR ads reported by AdWeek, researchers found that these are considered to be 5% more informative and 6% more useful than traditional ads, driving up search intent and memorability so potential customers get more excited about your business. Bringing in a gamified approach to your marketing campaigns can amplify your existing content.