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Which trends are delivering results?

This month marks a gear change as many of our clients enter the most important quarter of their year: the countdown to Christmas. Talk naturally turns to maximising sales – what more can we be doing to drive people into stores or online? How do we engage them once they’re there? What will trigger the purchase?  

If there’s a constant in these conversations, it’s a real sense of willingness to integrate new marketing trends and try new tactics whilst also delivering a solid ROI to the business. There are a myriad of marketing tools and tricks, but which trends are actually delivering results and what is worth investing in? What will really make a difference?  

In a new report, we’ve taken a look into ten of the biggest trends this year, spanning the impact of affiliate partnerships on earned PR to how to maximise voice search; from getting Gen Z right to revitalising retail. Here’s a closer look at the top three.  

1. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has been the hot trend for what feels like forever, but what do rapidly increasing influencer costs, fake followers and stricter advertising guidelines mean for brands? And what has the Cambridge Analytica scandal done for consumer trust in social media versus traditional news outlets? The shifting nature of broadcast features prominently, both in the fast-rising popularity of podcasts from niche to mainstream, and how the unstoppable growth of streaming services is having a knock-on effect on the relationship between brands and broadcast coverage on traditional channels.

When done right, influencer marketing still holds a lot of value, but moving forward we can see influencers being held more accountable when it comes to showing ROI. A quality over quantity approach is particularly prominent now amongst our client base, regarding both the number of influencers a brand works with, and their follower numbers.  

2. Waking up to Gen Z

With Generation Z set to account for 40% of all consumers by 2020, it’s time for brands to put a much bigger focus on marketing to these new spenders who either have a major influence over family household expenditure or are starting to earn their own disposable income.  

Through understanding how they consume information to the values and ethics that matter to them, brands can provide experiences and entertainment that really connect with this audience. Think events and video over demos and reports.  

Interestingly, 59% of Gen Z trust the brands they grew up with, so are less likely to buy on a whim. Not only do companies need to target this generation while they’re young to encourage them to purchase later, but they need to invest in nurturing them if they want to keep them as regular customers.  

3. Podcasts: From niche to mainstream

Podcasts have been around for over a decade, but it wasn’t until this year that the medium hit the mainstream. 61% of UK adults now regularly listen to at least one podcast, with 21% listening once a week. Thanks to technology advances and quality content, podcasting is now a simple, seamless experience for the listener. There’s just about something for everyone.

The podcast potential for brands is huge. 70% of listeners have heard podcast advertising, and a huge 76% of those acted afterwards, such as looking for more brand info online, visiting a brand’s website or sharing brand information online. But marketers need to be careful before jumping on the bandwagon. The success of a podcast is all in the subject matter and its presenters. As the competition gets fiercer, research is crucial to make sure you have a new take on a topic and a charismatic host to engage your listeners.  

Tuning in to consumers

In exploring which trends have taken off this year, marketers need to be more in tune with the new ways customers actually behave, rather than how we think they behave or how they did last year. But consumers are making it easier for us. They are becoming increasingly straightforward with their expectations of brand experiences. For example, no-nonsense Gen Z like simplicity and transparency. For them, it’s all about great brand values and stories consumers can comfortably believe in and fight for, combined with seamless shopping experiences.  

Brands of all shapes and sizes have one thing in common – the need to do great work that also increases attributable revenues. Seemingly, each month delivers us new options, so we need to take a step back to ensure the insights and trends our work is built on are on point. Engaging, inspiring and creating behaviour change all year round is what builds true brand trust and loyalty to pull in customers for the festive season.  

Written by Jill Coomber, managing director, consumer marketing Europe at comms agency OneChocolate, which is now part of communications agency Allison+Partners  
To read more on the latest consumer trends, download the full report here.

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