Sanjeev Wadhwa
Guest Article

10 marketing trends to watch out for in 2023

Our guest author lists down the top trends that marketers and advertisers are expected to witness this year.

With 2022 turning out to be the first year of normalcy, since the unprecedented COVID pandemic broke out, brands and businesses alike have left no stone unturned in scripting a turnaround story for themselves. Indeed, regardless of the industry and sector they operate in, most of them, including travel and hospitality, increased their marketing and advertising budgets on a year-over-year basis, as compared to the extended pandemic days.

At the same time, even as an increased use of a wide array of digital marketing tools and platforms became more commonplace, the traditional mediums, particularly the still omnipresent television, too remained a critical weapon in their marketing toolkit.

Now, what does 2023 have in store for marketers and advertisers? Read on to find out.

1. Digital marketing to see a larger footprint

There are clear indications that brands will employ digital marketing tools and their variants on a large scale with a much bigger footprint – as compared to traditional marketing tools – than ever. With users spending around seven hours daily on their smartphones and the resultant high engagement rate, brands will make utmost use of this opportunity.

Now, as digital advertising spreads out to new social media platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp Business, Snap, among others, brands will tap into the interests and preferences of a large number of potential and existing young customers, who are likely to be perpetually present on these platforms. The rising popularity of OTT platforms, connected TV and gaming, will further prompt brands to push for digital marketing.

2. Video marketing to remain top content format

Due to continuously falling cost and entry barriers, as well as the sheer effectiveness of being a medium of direct conversation with customers, the popularity of videos, as a supremely efficient and engaging digital marketing tool, will endure. From preparing and disseminating product and quality information, to how-to educational videos in simple, straightforward language, to distributing customer testimonials, videos will continue to be a powerful tool in the hands of marketers. In particular, short video content will be the preferred choice for brands.

3. Social media to take a more committed commercial turn

Although most social media platforms have already become commercial in their outlook, increasingly providing enabling features for businesses, this year will see greater consolidation in this space. Brands will not remain confined to posting content, and picking up threads and conversations around their products and services. They will seek to directly engage with customers through live streaming events, quizzes and contests, in an effort to increase their mindshare.

In fact, the year will increasingly see brands using social media as a customer interface or touchpoint, wherein they will directly address customers’ needs, queries, complaints, etc.

4. Influencer marketing to pick up steam

In light of a creator economy coming into its own, wherein the role of user-generated content (UGC) and individual creators has become intrinsic to the brand promotion, influencer marketing will go mainstream. While celebrity influencers and industry thought leaders will remain relevant to big brands, the high costs involved will make smaller companies, with stretched budgets, turn towards what are called micro-influencers.

Although micro-influencers may have smaller following, than celebrity influencers, apart from the fact that they have higher engagement rates than celebrity influencers, they will be valued for their expertise and track record on a given product or service category. As a consequence, they will further reinforce trust in a given product and brand.

5. SEO to witness more traction

There is no doubt that in the digital universe of brands and companies, SEO will remain a crucial tool in the hands of marketers. As such, brands will continue to employ appropriate keyword-based content strategy based on popularly used and standard keywords.

In fact, as Google algorithms evolve and become more intricate and sophisticated, SEO for brands will not be limited to text, but also become relevant for multimedia, including videos and images optimisation for brands.

6. Mobile marketing to gain momentum

With more than half of annual online website traffic coming from mobile devices, brands are also likely to focus on mobile marketing strategies. In addition to optimising mobile web designs for product promotion, given the increased usage of apps by customers, marketers will also focus on in-app marketing and advertising on mobile phones.

For brands, while mobile allows personalisation like no other device, phone-based ads have a higher click-through rate (CTR), with the cost per clicks (CPCs) typically being less than desktop clicks.

7. Social responsibility to be an integral part of brand campaign

Given the recent experience with the pandemic, coupled with the younger generations increasingly evaluating brands, in terms of the latter’s social responsibility, diversity and inclusion track record, brands will make social responsibility an integral part of their campaigns. In addition, environmentally-sensitive campaigns will also become a more regular and ingrained part of a brand’s promotional and messaging efforts.

8. Marketing for traditional TV will also account for OTT platforms

Capturing on the popularity of sports, entertainment events and fixtures, which often come simultaneously on traditional broadcast TV, OTT and video-streaming platforms, brands will not shy away from targeting traditional TV, while obviously keeping track of new-age OTT platforms. As a result, promotional content will be increasingly prepared, keeping both the platforms in mind.

9. Other traditional mediums to retain visibility

Even in the face of ever-increasing acceptance and traction for digital marketing channels, apart from the enduring preeminence of TVs as a promotional medium, FMCG companies will also make strategic and niche investments in other traditional channels, such as print, including newspapers and magazines, radio and outdoor advertising. In fact, capitalising on the continuing popularity of several radio FM channels, which command immense local reach in the country, radio will continue to be a vital pillar of promotion for FMCG companies.

Not only during festive seasons and other local and national-level sports and other mass entertainment events, in-car or in-travel radio listening has often shaped customer choices, and even influenced their last-minute purchase decision-making. Similar trends will also continue to drive ATL activities though print and outdoor mediums.

10. A mix of ATL, BTL strategies would prevail

Although the lines between ATL and BTL are now blurring, with the incoming digital disruptions, FMCG companies will also employ BTL tactics and methods, with a more customised messaging content, for a highly-targeted customer audience. These would range from direct selling and telemarketing, to in-store promotions and trade and road shows, to mail and social media marketing, among others.

However, the nature of the campaign, whether ATL or BTL, will depend on the specific product being promoted, apart from factors such as target audience, stage of customer acquisition, broader and eventual objective, whether awareness or conversion, and budget. In all likelihood, a combination of ATL and BTL strategies increasingly called through the line (TTL), will be undertaken.

In sum, while brands will sharpen their focus on digital platforms, they will also keep promotional and branding strategies ready for TV and other traditional channels, as a part of their marketing armoury. With digitally immersive platforms and experiential marketing also becoming more visible, an omnichannel strategy accounting for both online and offline marketing, will guide their actions.

(The author, Sanjeev Wadhwa, is head of sales, Bikano, Bikanervala Foods)

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