5 New Year’s Resolutions Marketers Can’t Abandon in 2016 993 words · 5 minute read

With the end of January approaching, New Year’s resolutions begin to dissipate. Gym memberships are canceled, organic tofu expires, and newly-adopted marketing practices are abandoned.

Recently, Direct Marketing News asked 15 marketing leaders to provide insight into what they think marketers should do differently in 2016 to attract, convert, and retain more customers. From these expert responses, we pulled the top five trends that we think marketers truly should retain this year – even if they still decide to quit that all-quinoa diet.

Hands-On New Media Experience

“From theory to practice, nothing beats first-hand experience. Get hands-on with new media channels like Snapchat or Pinterest yourself. Doing so will allow you to better engage in conversation with your consumers.” – Raju Malhotra, SVP Products, Conversant @RajuMalhotra

New media platforms offer marketers an easy way to target consumers using native content that they can curate rather than create from scratch. Very easy, very simple, and it’s done on a platform that your consumers are already interacting with.

How can you create that experience with music? Try creating a Spotify profile for your brand, curate playlists of songs that fit the brand’s sonic identity, and share those playlists to create a new touchpoint on social media or on your brand’s website.

Engagement Metrics That Work

“Marketers must reassess what they’re measuring, and shift to using only engagement metrics that help build consumer relationships and loyalty that ultimately impact sales.” – Bill Sussman, CEO, Collective Bias @BillGSussman

Deciding which metrics to track, and how to report back on those data points, can be difficult for marketers of any career-level. Engagement metrics like impressions, reach, interaction rate, bounce-rate, and revenue per page are some of the best ways to determine if the music of an online ad campaign was effectively engaging.

Measuring the marketing value of music in media is hard, but these data points make it easy for creatives and brand managers alike to plan the music for their next project.

Unique, Relevant Content

“Marketers must provide unique, relevant brand content that consumers can turn to whenever they’re in the midst of product research or in-store shopping. […] But it’s not enough to just push out marketing materials; instead, marketers should engage with social influencers and bloggers, as they create content that is not only creative and useful, but also shareable.” – Bill Sussman, CEO, Collective Bias @BillGSussman

Unique, relevant content provides inherent value to the lives of consumers. That content may be crafted by a brand’s own content teams or by agency creatives. Alternatively, a savvy marketer from either side of the brief could suggest partnering with a social influencer, such as music artists. Existing content like music videos could be curated in shareable playlists; or, brands could commission bespoke content like a custom song to really max out the possibility of virality for a single piece of content.

Social Empowerment in Consumerism

“As consumers, we have control over how we interact and what we interact with. We decide if we want to participate, share, or ignore a brand, ad, or communication. […] Brands today have to be relevant, useful, and engaging to each individual. After all, the only story a consumer really cares about is the story of ‘me.’ It’s time to step back […] and think about the world that a consumer lives in and how the brand can help enhance it.” – Darren (Daz) McColl, Global Chief Brand Strategy Officer, SapientNitro @daz_mc

The theory of Social Empowerment states that, because of the flood of new content and products and ideas that are available, consumers can be more selective with the things they buy, watch, or listen to. This puts greater demands on all brands to deliver value in every piece of communication that truly enriches the lives of their consumers.

As music is the most powerful passion point across the globe, marketing with music is a sure-fire way to enhance consumers’ lives in a relevant, useful, and engaging manner. For example, Taco Bell launched its Feed The Beat program in 2006, which helps fans discover new bands online via an interactive platform, as well as support the indie artist community by feeding touring artists with $500 in Taco Bell gift cards. Sourcing custom music from real artists delivers that authentic value, in addition to the bonus of owning that sound outright, which companies like our client Coca-Cola often do to deepen listeners’ relationship with the brand.

Hyper-Personalized Marketing

“In 2016 and beyond, hyper-personalized marketing will win the day. Marketers must no longer think of audiences in terms of macro-level demographics (think: ‘males ages 18 to 35’), and instead switch to a truly personalized approach to attract and engage customers, and win their loyalty. […] As content becomes more personal and relevant, and the customer experiences more immersive, marketers can help guide prospects along the customer journey.” – Natalie Bush, VP of Customer Experiences Enablement, Harte Hanks @HarteHanks

Hyper-personalized messaging begins with a strong understanding of the consumer’s individual story, as well as a genuine desire to help the consumer tell that story herself. From awareness to advocacy, storytelling guides a consumer along the customer experience journey and music is the line that keeps her hooked throughout.

Have you sat down and seriously considered your brand’s music strategy? Music strategy is the process of applying music to branded content and storytelling platforms that span the customer journey. Mostly, music strategy helps provide consumers with an intimate experience beyond the core products and services. Music can be that hyper-personalized entry point to a consumer’s personal story.

Eat a few more donuts than your New Year’s resolution allowed, and skip the gym for some Netflix binging once in awhile. Just don’t skimp on these 5 important lessons from the industry’s leading execs, and make 2016 the year your brand maximizes the marketing power of music in its CX strategy.

Because 2017 is too far away to try again next year. 

By: Zach Miller, Music Dealers