5 Questions Marketers Should Ask in 2018

In the face of competition, changing trends, and recent scandals, marketers are facing daily challenges that affect their marketing strategies. Marketing strategies that are fixed and unchanging fail to withstand marketing challenges and trends, which can definitely influence a marketer's power in driving results. Whether you are a DR marketer, a digital marketer, or both, it is important to ask yourself the following questions.

1. Am I being Transparent With my Audience?

Targeted advertising is now perceived as a little creepy rather than impressive, thanks to the recent Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and their illegal acquisition of millions of Facebook users' personal data. Social media users in specific are now becoming weary of hyper-targeted advertising that hits too close to home, wondering just how much does Facebook know about them?

This isn't to say that you should not pursue targeted advertising on Facebook, but to understand that users are more likely to resist your efforts than ever before. Therefore, try to compensate by ensuring your offers are fair, transparent, and have no hidden text or a 'catch'. This will only hurt your brand more and any future Facebook ads' performance. Transparency is no longer something that distinguishes you from the crowd as a marketer. It is simply a requirement to survive in the Facebook media landscape today.

2. Are My Creatives Socially Conscious?

The past few years have seen social justice and political correctness to be front and centre in the face of media critique, online and offline. At a time where ad blunders by Pepsi and Dove exist and continue to surface, marketers must learn how to approach certain topics through their creative. Marketers who aren't afraid to (tastefully) address a social or political issue with their ads or go that extra mile for diversity and inclusion often see a positive reaction and great success with their campaigns. To name a few, check out these campaigns by Airbnb, Coca-Cola and Stella Artois.

Through smart casting for DRTV that is inclusive, diverse and realistic, your ad becomes more modern and engaging to viewers. DRTV ads in particular need to keep up with their time in order to avoid being lost and left behind as an outdated ad format. It's 2018. Do we need to say more?

3. Does My Creative Fit The Medium?

Time is not the only thing ad creative should keep up with. Strong marketers know that cross-platform marketing comes with the need to allocate different creatives of various strategies. For example, YouTube TrueView ads essentially have 5 second window to hook a user (before becoming skippable ads), versus a DRTV spot for instance that plays during a commercial break and is more likely to be watched all the way. Yes, ads must spare no seconds to land somewhere in viewers' waning attention spans, but different channels provide various insights into what your creative could and should look like.

Trimming your TV spot into a 15 second YouTube ad may not in fact be the most productive strategy. Instead, assess the audience watching the channels you are targeting and select key factors that may affect how they will perceive your ad. This definitely applies to DRTV as well–your furniture company's spot will be a bigger hit on HGTV than The Movie Network. However, that's not it! Dig deeper into audience personas viewing HGTV on a Tuesday night and ask yourself what they would like to see.

4. Am I Optimizing For Online Search?

We won't bore you with information on the rise of the second screen, but we will say that through that trend, offline marketers need to understand the importance of search in the consumer journey. Ensure you are two steps ahead of your consumer's search journey by bidding on the correct keywords, including any and all variations. We say variations because it is important to think about consumers conducting voice search. Voice search is so popular that by 2020 it is estimated that 50% of all searches will be through voice.

Voice search is more arbitrary and phrases are sometimes put together in the least sophisticated way possible. However, that should not hinder your ad or page from showing up first on the search page results. Optimize for all variations of your keywords, including problems people may be searching to solve, and most importantly, questions they'd need answered.

5. Is My Online Presence Strong Enough?

Aside from perfecting the search journey strategy, marketers need to optimize their websites and landing pages fully and ensure they are able to handle and support traffic without any disconnections or lagging. Consumers are impatient as can be–they can and will leave your website upon experiencing difficulty. 58% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from a company whose website allows for a quick and seamless experience. Broken links, slow loading time and visually unappealing websites are red flags for a consumer when it comes to making a purchase decision.

To stay ahead of the game, it's important to check-in with your campaign team and ask these questions in order to facilitate performance and ensure your ad spend is not going to waste.