Part of being a good marketer is to always be forward thinking and to assess the latest in technology that generates business. During the fall season, companies plan for the upcoming year, creating goals based on predicting what the following year will bring, often largely based on their internal history.
By bringing in technology and marketing-connected intelligence, a new perspective into the future is achievable. Companies can now forecast more confidently by utilizing the online databanks of information, the largest of which is Google. Coupling this information with traditional sources and the newest advertising and marketing programs creates a fresh new vision.
Forecasting with Google Trends
Google Trends delves into the flow of interest over time. This modeling tool can be found at https://trends.google.com/. The numbers represent a search term interest relative to the highest point on the chart, for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. In the chart is the trend for “Cabinetry” searches beginning in September 2019. The term is a key driver of kitchen remodels, and the Cabinetry searches are lowest over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday. They peak to the highest level in the last weeks of January and July.
Google modeling allows you to break down this trend further by image searches, news, Google shopping and YouTube searches. Geographically, this data can show demands on the state level, metropolis and city.
Additionally, you can add to the same graph a comparison of other search terms. In a recent proposal, I demonstrated to a freight company how they could increase and smooth their sales spikes by promoting additional services historically sidelined. Utilizing Googles Trends assists immeasurably in forecasting and planning sales and marketing initiatives, allowing you to develop campaigns with pinpoint targeting and timing.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is running in the background of virtually every digital platform. The two largest digital advertising platforms are Facebook and Google. Facebook searches, advertisement viewing stats, Facebook likes and check-ins data are being collected and analyzed by computers running on autopilot programs written to learn exponentially faster than humans. Additionally, Facebook can see the exact location of most users via their cell phones. These abilities will assist in increasing conversions by determining the location, time of day and the demographics of the consumer. Knowing when and where to advertise can be defined and computers will arguably know us better than we know ourselves. Facebook helps your business find customers.
Google advertising (Google Ads) has a legacy in providing search term advertising such as Cabinetry as previously indicated. This is a direct conversion of sales, as consumers are actively looking to buy a specific product or service at that moment in time. Google algorithms are geographically based with slightly less audience targeting functionality than Facebook, because Facebook users share the most personal information. Google is developing programs to connect to in-store sales, enabling Google to determine conversion sales value. In summary, Google helps customers find your business.
Video Streaming Advertising
The video streaming giants are quickly replacing cable subscriptions because they are cheaper and allow for an à la carte experience versus expensive bundles. This is creating an alternative to television advertising. The Neilson ratings fourth quarter 2019 report breaks down the streaming distribution shown:
Amazon 8% Hulu 12% Netflix 31%
YouTube 21% Others 28%
The highest viewership time of day is 9 p.m.; however, with many people working from home, the 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. time slot has increased 50%. Year-over-year, streaming among people ages 25-54 has increased almost 100%. The 55 and over age group now accounts for 26% of streaming viewers as of the second quarter of 2020.
Amazon advertising on Prime Video, referred to as DSP, begins with a basic package of $35,000.
New in 2021 is Hulu, which is offering advertising packages starting at $500. The program is currently in beta testing and it expects a full roll out next year. If you are a small business interested in participating in the Beta, RSVP to sign up at this link: https://home.admanager.hulu.com/rsvp/
You Tube advertising is relatively inexpensive. Be cautious, however, and oversee the advertising placement. You can omit select channels that may be popular to your targeted customers, but not in alignment with your brand. Video advertisements can play before, during or after a video that someone is watching. Some YouTube ad formats can be skipped by viewers after they play for a few seconds; others are non-skippable. YouTube ads can be pay-per-view (PPV) or pay-per-click (PPC) based on their length and placement.
As phones have become a key accessory, texting is the most personal way to reach your clientele. Applications (apps) are available that will notify your customer of a delivery on its way. You can have the app programmed to follow up with a questionnaire or a review request, all via automated texts. There are apps that will send surveys, sweepstakes, coupons and even interface with CRM software. Some are geared to certain industries (i.e., electricians), and many can be customized to the nuances of a business.
It is not uncommon for employees to forget or overlook follow-up tasks at some point of a sales transaction. Furthermore, during sales spikes, employees can be overwhelmed and not check in on customers of completed sales. This technology automates customer follow up, and virtually erases human omission or error.
Your Company Footprint
Imagine a 50-year-old company, their “Made in the USA” products are revered and the ethos of their family roots is firmly branded. By taking that company to a higher level of modern communication, developing a strong digital presence, streaming advertisements and a stellar post sale follow up, their customer retention rate will increase in tandem with appealing to a wider audience. The trick is to execute the entire scope of it with the same sensibilities of their core values.
There is a delicate balance between personal connection, automation and humanity. Gathering your marketing, sales and customer service teams to be working in tandem is ideal.
As computers learn from experience, we are seeing great strides in the advancement of AI in the form of robots, self-driving cars and tractor trailers, apps and advertising. The benefits allow business owners to relegate time-consuming tasks to automation, and employees to focus on impactful initiatives within. But implementing them requires a cross-departmental team. Developing security protocols with your IT team will assure your ability to safely use these applications, improve your customer service and increase your bottom line. ▪