New tools of the trade

Marketing is a fast-moving sector with new ways of communicating constantly evolving. Over the last year, our industry has found new routes to connect with people – and this year it will be all about harnessing these techniques to communicate, both engagingly and legitimately, with current and potential customers, says Claire Miller, group marketing director at Customade Group.

With further consolidation expected in the industry in 2018, we must embrace new marketing opportunities to maintain market share. These are my top three new marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2018.

Be careful with how you collect and use customer data

There’s a lot of talk on the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which come into effect on May 25, 2018 but what does it actually mean for businesses in our industry?

Essentially, the new legislation means you must be clear on how you obtained consumer data, why you have retained the data, and whether you have permission to use that data in the future.

This is how it may affect you:

Data permission, ie, CRM/customer information databases – how we record data. Although the principle of ‘consent’ is largely unchanged, you will now be required to be clearer with your recording of where the original source of the data has come from and the reason to retain the data.

Email marketing – all recipients of marketing emails should physically confirm that they want to be contacted. You should actively seek (and not assume) permission from your recipient to receive future marketing.

Preference centre/unsubscribes – your email systems and websites must have a preference centre for people to opt out and change their details.

Updated privacy policies – these should be accessible clearly on your websites.

The penalties for not complying with GDPR are huge, and 2018 is likely to see the government setting hefty examples of up to 20 million euros or 4% of turnover.

Don’t worry though, it’s not too late to make sure you’re compliant.

Voice search changing SEO

The enormous popularity of technology like Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple HomePod, and Google Home leads me on to next big thing: voice recognition and voice search. This area will have a big impact on search results and, therefore, your SEO strategy.

Google claims that 20% of mobile search queries submitted via its app are already done using voice, and some analysts predict that voice will account for 200 billion searches per month by 2020.

Voice search has the power to radically change how we search the internet and delivers an exciting new way for brands to reach consumers.

Voice-based queries are different than written searches because they’re generally made up of longer phrases. For example, you may type ‘weather Bristol’ in a search engine, while in voice search you would say ‘do I need to take a coat today?’.

With the potential to attract more consumers, voice search is not an idea for the future, it is here today and growing.

The perfect customer experience

Move over customer service, this year we’ll be optimising the sales funnel by looking at the whole journey of the customer and everything that goes into creating a complete (and rewarding) experience for them.

This is about making things as easy for the customer as possible, so it’s important to get to know customers by understanding, and then enhancing, their entire experience at every stage of their relationship with you.

A successful strategy for growth will incorporate these and many other elements to deliver results. With an award-winning marketing team, Customade Group is constantly monitoring marketing trends to build marketing effective programmes that will help support installers to grow their businesses.