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3 Marketing Trends That Could Change Your Association’s Strategy

Don’t let new marketing trends scare you away from increasing engagement opportunities for your association. Recognize gaps in your marketing strategy and provide the necessary resources and tools to fill those gaps.

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Your association may think it has its marketing strategy down to a perfect tee. But with the marketing world constantly ablaze with new changes and advances, your strategy could end up falling short over time. In fact, according to Business 2 Community, by the year 2020 the average spending on digital advertising and marketing will be up to $110 billion.

Yes, billions of dollars go into marketing- including the money your association puts into its own marketing strategy. So, with that much money being spent on marketing, you want your marketing messages to be effective and keep up with trends. So, instead of scrambling to come up with new ways to keep your marketing strategy up to date, let’s talk about a few trends that could reach the marketing world in the upcoming year. We’ll discuss what to look out for, how your association can prepare for new marketing updates, and what to do to create an evergreen marketing strategy. Let’s dive in- and get to the bottom of the future of marketing.

Expand your understanding of marketing ROI

If your association has a marketing plan set in place, it most likely focuses on the Return On Investment (ROI) it expects to receive from that plan.

What do we mean by this? Essentially, any association with a marketing strategy should always be tracking its own marketing metrics. You of course want to know how much money is going into your marketing plan, where that money is going, and what type of return interest you’re getting from marketing messages and materials. Key quantitative data can keep your marketing plan afloat- but in order to truly sail the marketing waters with ease, it takes more than that. Instead of pouring all of your focus into the data and numbers, try expanding your common knowledge of marketing ROI past that.

Think about if you were to present your ROI to a team of investors who have limited knowledge on marketing- would they be interested in hearing all about quantitative data? Or, would they want to see actual qualitative, real change in the way your association functions and receives engagement and new clients? Chances are, it’s the latter. While the term ROI can relate directly to financial data and income rates, the actual idea of ROI can be widely interpreted by many different people- including those on your association’s team. So, in order to promote healthy ROI and better understand your own marketing strategy, you want to open up and forecast a wider picture when projecting your marketing ROI.

For example, your association can incorporate qualitative results like audience feedback, new member onboarding statements, current member satisfaction responses, and any other piece of information you can think of.

Experimentation is increasing in popularity

While on the topic of pitting data against experiences, your association will want to gear up to do more marketing experimentation within the upcoming year. According to New Biz’s report on the Marketing Skill Gap, of the 15 major marketing features available in popular marketing automation systems, just a few are being used. In fact, only 33% of surveyed companies claimed to use a majority of these marketing features.

In fact, the top most used features by marketers and companies alike include things like: email, web forms, landing pages, and CRM integration. But in that case, what’s being overlooked? Well, common features stuck in the marketing skills gap are: Social media, content marketing, programmatic advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO). Many company stray away from these marketing features, therefore losing out on major marketing opportunities. And your association could be a culprit of this.

So, instead of creating a marketing skill gap within your association’s own team- try taking some more experimental routes. If there’s a marketing platform and/or resource that your association has been wary of using for fear of misuse, error, or anything in between, work with your association’s marketing team on devising a plan to incorporate those resources into your plan. Provide them with proper education on these platforms, work with them on doing test runs and gaining experience, and allow them to try new routes to engaging your target audience. With new channels of marketing outreach on your side, your association can take new marketing trends and turn them into major success.

More personal, less technological

While technology continues to rapidly grow and advance around us at an alarming pace, many associations (and professionals in general) will be surprised to find out audiences are looking for less technology and more personal connection. Sure- technology is a great way to get the ball rolling and create some amazing, innovative think pieces in terms of marketing materials. With technology, you can create interactive content, eye catching advertisements, captivating videos, and pretty much anything your mind can dream up. So, why wouldn’t you want to rely solely on the power of tech tools?

The answer boils down to the importance of personal connection with your target audience. According to CMS Wire, B2B buying teams tend to stick to a “one-two punch” method. They tackle the buying journey head on with a combination of 70% tech and 30% human interaction. That is, they use technology to create a general buzz about their company, but seal the deal with potential clients by reaching them directly and creating that authentic membership so many admire and seek in companies they want to do business with.

Your association can adopt a similar tactic when marketing to potential members. Use the technology resources you have handy to create amazing marketing materials. Then, once you have an interested bite from a hopeful new member, move in with a personalized recruitment strategy and build that personal connection. You can have your association’s team send out a personalized email, reach out through social media outlets, or even schedule a call to have a one-on-one conversation. By peppering that personal touch into your association’s marketing strategy, you’ll have the perfect mixture of technology and humanity.

A better way to approach marketing trends.

Don’t let new marketing trends scare you away from increasing engagement opportunities for your association. Recognize gaps in your marketing strategy, provide the necessary resources and tools to fill those gaps, and add in a bit of personal outreach, and your association can ease into the new year of marketing with minimal discomfort.