2018 Year in Review
Marketing Trends, Company Growth & the Future of eCommerce
2018 has seen a lot of changes, from data breaches at Cambridge Analytica to the gaining momentum of marketing automation. Within the walls of Meerkat Media Group, we have also seen changes and growth as we enter into our third full year of serving our wonderful clients, some new, and some that have grown with us.
We give thanks for Chestnut Hill Farms, who we have now been working with for over two years in helping grow and improve their marketing strategy domestically and worldwide in the pineapple category; regional Jacksonville restaurants like Timoti’s Seafood Shak and Cafe Karibo, family-run establishments that take pride in wild-caught seafood, sustainability and great food; and Seattle-based health specialists Higher Health Spine & Sport, who constantly evolve into their client’s needs with the latest health and nutritional solutions.
Each and every one of our clients are wonderful to work with (check out highlights on our case studies page here), and as we move into 2019, we are excited to continue growing as a full-service marketing agency in partnership with web and brand designers We Are Charette. Our internal team is also evolving, as we bring on spring interns from our alma mater Flagler College and new talent that will take our clients to the next level through fresh ideas and creative strategy.
Check out an overview of what 2018 brought to the marketing table, and what we are planning for in 2019 as we look toward the future of digital marketing and ecommerce. Above all, have a happy and prosperous New Year.
1. Data & Regulation
The Facebook breach brought many changes in the world of digital marketing, and how we facilitate ad campaigns and consumer targeting. In 2019, we anticipate that data will experience tighter strings when it comes regulations with oversight from Congress, state attorneys general and the FTC.
The new motto for marketers will be “privacy by default”, which we have seen in LinkedIn’s late November update in removing contact’s email addresses in downloadable data sheets. Rather than relying on data that was once at our fingertips, marketers will have to continue strategy focused on re-targeting campaigns that may involve “lookalike” audiences that know and trust their brand using internal website data. We will also have to be insightful when it comes to data collection and targeting, being cognisant of how data is obtained and how it is used moving forward.
2. Third-Party Apps & Automation
There are thousands of apps available to marketers and business owners that are designed for increased productivity and online revenue streams. A big part of that equation is automation. By finding the best tools available for your business, automation can be set-up to help decrease manual work by internal employees or partners, and increase productivity and revenue. Email automation has been used for years through dynamic drip campaigns and A/B testing, but is now more important than ever as buyer personas are identified and consumers demand customized content designed to their preferences.
3. Social Media Commerce
Monetizing social media is nothing new, but it is growing, and rapidly. Brands that are not in the social media game are missing out on potential customers that will remain brand loyal. Social media is ideal for engaging with consumers and building a brand voice that has the ability to be transferred across all marketing channels.
Ecommerce brands have also seen and increase in interactive shoppable content through Pinterest, but the real game-changer in 2018 is Instagram. It is now easier than ever to buy that tee shirt directly off the model in an Instagram post through a brand page, and we will see more opportunities for this going into 2019.
4. Content Marketing
Quality content still rules supreme going into the New Year. Give users what they want to read, in an optimized form of media that will directly benefit them through knowledge growth. Quality content will generate web traffic, help develop a brand’s voice, give credibility and increase organic SEO. This, along with lead generation that can be used in other marketing tactics, is what brings content-driven sales and loyal customers.
Sticking to the “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness” (E-A-T) strategy, which falls under the 2018 Google Medic Update, is vital to keep content relevant to the audience. It’s important to note that content can take time to grow, and is not a tool for immediate impact. The cost per lead for long-term yield drops significantly after a 6-month period of time, and will continue to drop and finally level after year one. (See chart below.)
Re-purposing old content by combining like articles, updating old links and removing outdated content are also great ways to improve your website content strategy for the New Year.
5. Lead Gen & Email Marketing
Using content marketing for lead generation is an excellent way to convert traffic to sales through an ongoing relationship. Email is still the highest converting marketing channel, rating higher conversions than search and social. Content marketing can generate valuable leads that can then be converted through email marketing campaigns, and can then be used in retargeting campaigns. Successful email marketing involves obtaining leads through qualified sources, such as lead forms on your blog, that you can shift into the pipeline for larger, more time-consuming sales. For direct ecommerce sales, email marketing is a great way of measuring sales conversions through popular sending platforms.
Taking potential customers down the sales funnel through content marketing is a great way to increase revenue. We do this by creating relevant content tailored to your audience, collecting their email and setting an automated drip campaign (or monthly newsletter) that holds value and drives the consumer to purchase within a required timeframe. That way, we can measure success, along with our KPIs, within our scope of campaign.
Overall, 2018 has seen many changes in data usage and the way online marketers must use it for success. I am excited to see where 2019 goes, and how we evolve through the year ahead. Give us a follow via social to watch our journey via @MeerkatMediaGroup (Facebook, Instagram, & Linkedin), or reach out to me directly with any questions or insights at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Chambers, founder and director