Ability of SMEs to do more and take on a DIY mindset
Business owners can now build their own websites, send their own emails through email services, create their own social media templates and essentially function as their own marketing team. Customers don’t have to know whether they’re a one-man team or not.
Personalisation of marketing collateral is a trend within this DIY segment. Advances in technological mean SMEs can segment their customer base and tailor marketing collateral – as well as the user experience – to different customer personas.
Better access to templates is a factor driving this DIY trend. There’s now an abundance of template options available that can make your website professional and functional. There are ecommerce capabilities on a number of tools, and you can build a customised website on your own without spending thousands of pounds.
With that said, the convergence of similar web designs may lead to an influx of more custom designs to stand out among the competition. This could mean more innovative typography, hand-drawn elements, interesting animations / videos, micro-experiences and storytelling.
SMEs adopting more simple and adaptable logo designs
Flat and simple is the trend for logos. There’s a clear move towards more simplicity and less distracting elements – and as a bonus companies save on printing by using only one color and no gradients.
Adaptability is another big trend in logos – you can expect to see more adaptable logos (a la last year’s Airbnb) in 2016. As companies begin to focus more on highlighting communities and showcasing members’ individual personalities, logos and brands will become more dynamic to support them. This also adds more flexibility to collateral and company swag.
Quality content catered to customers, as well as a dynamic social media presence; storytelling and micro-experiences.
Don’t target your customer in general – try to find ways to create a bond with your client through a personal story. Gather all the personal information you can (legally) have from your client as an individual. Use surveys if needed. Once you know him / her, tailor campaigns for them. It’s all about customer-centricity.
Looking into the first six months of 2016, how can SME bosses can ensure they are prepared?
Be mindful of mobile
The past few years have been all about ensuring your business has an online presence, but you must be prepared to take it a step further and ensure your business has a mobile presence. Mobile usage has surpassed other device usage this year. Additionally, Google recently started using mobile usability as a rank, so if organic search traffic is a major source of traffic for your business, you’re definitely going to want to make sure you have a mobile-friendly site.
Mobile-first mindset – optimise all of your collateral for mobile; and
Expanding your digital presence thru both mobile and social media
Create a brand style guide
A brand style guide that includes both the look and the voice will ensure efficient and consistent branding across all mediums. This leads to more efficient marketing collateral output and a more unified brand message.
Take stock of your branding and make sure it’s up-to-date
Evaluate your assets to determine whether they need a refresh based on current design trends (e.g. flat design, simplicity, etc.)
What three strategies should SMEs use to prep for 2016?
Invest in the user experience:
- Make sure customer experience is always first in your business – especially when you’re content and testing new products; and
- Know your audience segments and be prepared to tailor all aspects of the customer experience to these segments.
Invest in video content:
- It doesn’t have to be perfect quality – maybe it’s a product demo or DIY topic – but video can help you be a better storyteller. Your customers want to connect with something and video can help personalise the experience.
- Tailor content to your unique audience segments; and
- Personalisation is part of this experiential marketing – think of the recent Coca Cola promotion with bottles featuring a customer’s name on the bottle.
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