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7 Marketing Trends Startups Should Keep Their Eye on in 2023

So much is happening as we head toward 2023.

Inflation keeps rising. Supply chains are better, but still unpredictable. And everywhere you look, you see the “Recession or no recession?” debate playing out between experts.

Regardless, though, you can’t ignore one big fact: No matter what’s happening globally, you can’t stop marketing.

Your startup relies on marketing to keep it chugging along. If you stopped marketing tomorrow, your brand image would suffer. Leads would slow to a trickle. Your employees would be under stress and feel less engaged. Plus, your existing customers wouldn’t get the experience they deserve. 

Obviously, you have to keep your marketing initiatives going into 2023 and beyond. The question is to figure out which strategies make the most sense right now. To help you direct your budget to areas likely to produce the highest ROI, consider leaning into the following trends. Each one is poised to play a part in your competitors’ marketing plans next year.

1. Retention marketing

You’re familiar with the statistics that explain it’s much costlier to replace a customer than to retain one. With the right retention marketing tactics in place, you can ensure that you get the highest lifetime value from every buyer. You also can start engaging with your existing customers to form communities and fuel fandom.

One way to fuel your retention marketing machine is by sending out reengagement emails. These are emails designed to reactivate customers who may have gone MIA. Remember: Your brand may have been put to the side, but it doesn’t have to be forgotten forever. A well-considered email with just the right touch—think coupons and special offers—can restore a customer’s interest. For best results, make the most of A/B tests on your subject lines and exclusive deals to see which perform best.

2. Personalization

Thanks to all those data-rich tech tools in your Marcom stack, you have the ability to deliver serious personalization. That’s good, because consumers expect brands to treat them as individuals. However, this doesn’t mean you have to assign one team member to customize emails or hand write notes. Personalization can be done through all the aforementioned tech.

For instance, just using a customer’s name can make a text, DM, or email feel less salesy and more folksy. Another method to personalize all your communications is by leveraging the customer’s previous purchases. Amazon and other e-commerce stores are great at this kind of personalization. By referring to what a shopper has bought in the past, the company can encourage the customer to make future similar buys. 

3. Branded video content

Have you watched a video on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop today? If not, you probably will. In the United States alone, consumers spend almost an hour each day watching videos on their devices. Video just keeps growing as a way to get audiences’ attention. That’s why it belongs squarely in your 2023 marketing toolkit.

There are so many ways for you to use video in your marketing that it might be hard to choose which one to start with. You could try a branded podcast or YouTube series of “episodes.” You could pepper your social media with videos from customers or even employees. You might want to include more how-to videos on your site regarding your products or services. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural Spielberg or Kubrick. Filming on a modern smartphone with decent audio will produce an acceptable result.

4. First-party data collection

Google has been talking for a while about phasing out third-party cookies and data. By the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024, the Internet should be more cookieless than ever. This doesn’t mean you can’t collect important consumer data to inform your strategies. You just need to do it in the form of first-party data, which is information collected on your owned websites.

To put a push on obtaining enough first-party data to use in your marketing, you’ll need to offer something of value to visitors. Otherwise, they won’t be willing to give up personal information. What can you provide that will be valuable? Whitepapers, case studies, and other gated marketing pieces are good choices. You could also ask for information in exchange for allowing consumers to become part of a membership community. Get creative but don’t delay. Cookies might not be disappearing as fast as marketers once assumed. But they’re destined to crumble eventually.

5. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing hit a high note with the birth and growth of social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Now, many people want to be influencers and creators. Accordingly, they’re attracting massive followings and forging relationships with startups like yours. The mutual benefits can be quite tangible and effective: Your company gets exposure and the influencer gets paid. (You both get a credibility bump, too.)

How can you find the right influencers? Go micro, at least at first. A micro-influencer has a small but engaged following. Micro-influencers tend to cost less but appeal to specific niches. Make sure you conduct plenty of research on any influencer before getting in touch. Perfect alignment is necessary for you to get the most out of a partnership.

6. Metrics, metrics and more metrics

If you’re involved in digital marketing, you’re gathering and analyzing at least a few KPIs. Nevertheless, you may not be measuring all the metrics that could help you. Now is a good time to explore solutions that can give you further insights into where your marketing dollars should go.

Ideally, you’ll want to use an AI-driven product with machine learning (ML) capabilities to assist you. AI and ML add predictive power to technological software and algorithms. The point is for you to squeeze as much juice out of your data as you can. You’ll feel more confident about your marketing decisions as well as your “big budgetary asks” from upper management.

7. SEO-driven content marketing

It seems as if SEO is a marketing trend that never goes out of style. In 2023, plan to update your existing content and revise it based on modern keywords. The keywords that were once pertinent may not be valid any longer, especially if they used jargon that’s outdated. It’s worth updating all content with SEO-rich keywords, starting with the highest-performing posts, articles, etc.

As a special hint for your SEO, think about the phrases that your customers are using during their searches. Right now, many marketing professionals recommend that your SEO include keywords in the form of questions. That way, when a consumer types in the question, your content will appear relevant to the search engine.

New consumer behaviors and emerging societal changes make it important for you to adapt your marketing. You don’t have to throw out 2022’s playbook entirely, but you do need to write a few extra chapters to stay competitive.

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