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7 top actions to improve your marcomms this year (from the experts)

A man is consulting a crystal ball to foretell the future of planet Earth.  Earth image courtesy of NASA
Like a great science fiction novel, it seems we’re looking straight down the barrel of a world beyond our imagining. A reality so far advanced from that which has come before it everyone should be prepared for all manner of miracles becoming everyday. Such as major international corporations paying their tax bills.
OK, so that might be pushing it a bit far. Even so, 2016 is as close to the future as we’ve come to date, and as such it makes sense that people have been offering their two-pence on how PR and marketing pros should adapt to the new climate. The problem is there are so many tips to go through. Fear not; in the hope of helping out if your inbox is overflowing with advice I’ve done the hard work for you by summarising some of the most useful points in terms of improving your marcomms for 2016. Let’s begin then.
Change your evaluation methods
To start with the basics, if you haven’t already now is the time to change how you measure and evaluate PR and social impact. Here at Smoking Gun I’ve long-advocated an eyeballs-per-pound model and as a team we’ve won awards for our ability to interpret the exact level of value for money clients are being offered. And those investing in us agree this approach makes far more sense compared with outmoded Advertising Value Equivalents. In short- people want to know exactly how much every view of the brand name has cost them.
Create a robust plan to help you use customer reviews
Interaction with the public is paramount in the age of digital-everything. Hang around too long after comments are made on Facebook or Twitter and chances are the customer, or potential customer, won’t hang around any longer. Online reviews are how many consumers gauge whether to make a purchase or not, but even this should be a two-way street. You can learn plenty from their vital feedback, and, if appropriate, respond too.
The problem is, successfully tracking that sentiment is difficult, time consuming and requires significant manpower. Or at least most people think that’s the case. Brand Republic recently released a report on this, advising companies to direct customers towards one specific review platform, making the process of analysing and interacting with those insights far easier.
Be prepared for Twitter to ask for (more) money
As per Ogilvy’s 2016 trend report, Twitter has reached a plateau in terms of new users, particularly in its traditional territories (i.e. the U.S. and Europe). Conversely, the volume of content is actually on the increase, even in those locations that recorded next to no new account openings in 2015.
This, coupled with the need to monetise amid some pretty dire financial predictions for the platform’s future, means there will be an increased reliance on new algorithms, organising all that content so people can actually find what they want on the network. Moreover, brands will be expected to purchase more products to increase the organic visibility of tweets, which is now plummeting.
Think video, think Facebook
Facebook is now the go-to platform for sharing and viewing video, part of Zuckerberg Corp’s ongoing attempt to bite into Google’s rival empire. This means that marketers should now be posting video directly Facebook in the same way they do YouTube.
Forget about ads- nobody can see them
Ad Blocking is now big business. Apple has it built in to the latest iOS, the younger demographics of internet users increasingly want less invasion into their browsing, and even mobile phone providers are toying with network-level ad blockers. The solution? Content created to promote brands must now be ‘microtargeted’- which means it is solely concerned with appealing to the specific interests of the individual or small group it is targeting, encouraging word of mouth shares.
Remember this name- FAQ Fox
Highlighted at the SAScon Beta conference in Manchester recently, FAQ Fox is a powerful online tool that allows you to search any term and receive a list of relevant active Google searches. This is incredibly useful when it comes to SEO, creating content of any kind that people will actually want to click through to, and developing wider campaign ideas inspired by current trends.
Gender means nothing 
Despite the fact trends are shifting towards unique marketing aimed at smaller demographics, according to the Pearlfinders Index 2016, gleaned from interviews with more than 10,000 industry decision makers, the future is neither male nor female. Instead it’s about inclusiveness, whilst still focusing on niche interests. Examples would include FIFA 2016 featuring a woman on the cover, and Target removing references to boys and girls products.
Anything you think I’ve missed? Get in touch via the comments form below if you can think of any top tips to improve comms in 2016. Oh, and just in case you missed our earlier guide to 2016 consumer trends, it’s still available to read here.

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