It seems that it was just yesterday that we were ringing in 2010. But in just a few short months, talk of the 20s won’t be referencing the 1900s. There is a lot of promise in the next decade regarding the world of marketing. But before we look ahead to the future, it would be fitting to take a look back at what the last ten years have given us marketers. And what a ten years they were.
Rise and High’s of Social Media
It’s interesting to think that social media sites that wouldn’t be old enough to drive have caused such a stir (putting it mildly) in the marketing world in the last ten years. But for the last decade, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have shrunk the scope of the Internet and communication channels used by consumers. The adoption of social media has skyrocketed, with sites like Facebook going from 500 million monthly active users in 2010 to more than two billion in 2019.
As of 2019, roughly 70% percent of Americans use social media, and marketers have had to take note and be creative and fast. An excellent example came on Superbowl Sunday in 2013.
For those that may not remember, something unprecedented happened: the lights went out at the stadium. While a problem for the players on the field, savvy marketers at Oreo saw an opportunity. Even though millions had already been spent by many brands in TV ad space, the snack brand stole the conversation with a single viral tweet.
Oreo taught other brands a valuable lesson. Social media marketing does not always need to have a large budget or campaign behind it to be successful. Simplicity is key, as long as your content resonates with audiences and is timely.
Building Trust (and Relationships) Through Transparency
In the last decade, consumers have made it clear that they feel misled by marketing. From fine print to perceived arrogance in the industry, consumer faith has been plummeting. Many brands saw this coming, and realized that transparency was the only way to regain and rebuild consumer confidence and relationships.
Brands in the food and air travel sectors have applied transparency to great effect. Looking at our neighbors to the north, McDonald’s Canada released a campaign where consumers can ask questions aonline and receive honest answers from the fast food chain. Frequent flyers may be accustomed to hidden costs, but Southwest Airlines chose to differentiate themselves from the pack with their Transfarency campaign. More and more brands have taken part in this trend over the years, and it does not appear to be losing steam anytime soon heading into the new year.
Generation Z Has Arrived
Part of this shift towards transparency has been necessary thanks to the second youngest generation. Generation Z has captured the fascination of marketers as of late as they have remarkable buying power. But brands are realizing that they are not parting with their money so easily. Transparency has been a very powerful tool in the marketing arsenal for brands that want to appeal to Gen Zers.
But transparent marketing alone is not enough. Over the years, we in the industry have seen how social justice and social media has shaped their viewpoints. For this audience, they have shown they will only support brands that align with their ideals and are environmentally and socially conscious. It has been a point of contention for sure. Not every brand can afford to be as bold as Nike was with their “Just Do It” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick or potentially alienate audiences through seemingly political gestures like Patagonia’s donation from late 2018.
Finding the right balance on this tightrope continues to be a challenge, but as Generation Z grows older, it is one that requires undertaking.
Predictions are just that, predictions. No one knows for certain what the future of marketing will hold, but it is fair to say that the past influences the future. The last decade has seen great changes in our industry, and I am certain that the next ten years will see even more happening at a lightning pace. It will be exciting to see what evolutions are going to take place.
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Last Edited on May 25, 2018