Every field has its own set of lingo that is fashionable among practitioners and/or necessary for describing aspects of the profession that don’t have obvious corollaries in other areas. A 2016 survey by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed the current top buzzwords in the field of marketing. The list includes “transparency,” “influencers,” “customer experience,” and “content marketing.”
“Transparency” tops the list, and it refers openness in sharing information with the public. This information can include the names of a company’s leaders and employees, business practices, strategies, values, and company culture. When a company or a brand is fully transparent, consumers are more willing to trust them and do business with them. A lack of transparency is perceived as a problem by investors as well as customers, and there is a higher expectation of openness and honesty in the digital age than in the past.
The term “influencers” refers to people who have the power to influence the buying decisions of others. This power may come from perceived authority or popularity, especially on social media. With declining trust in brands (often due to a lack of transparency), consumers are more willing to trust people they actually know or feel that they know on social media. The task for businesses is to identify and activate the influencers who are already talking about topics related to their brand.
When marketers talk about customer experience, they’re talking about all of the interactions customers have throughout their relationship with a business. Customer experience involves not just events but, more importantly, feelings about those events. Companies who seek to create a positive customer experience need to map out their customers’ journey and identify the touchpoints where interactions occur. Though interactions and emotions can’t be entirely predicted or controlled, they can be planned for and observed.
Another marketing buzzword is “content marketing,” and it refers to the use of content to attract customers and ultimately drive sales. Content can refer to any published material that is created to give value of some sort to targeted customers. The content might be in the form of a video, an infographic, an article, a podcast, or a book. It isn’t advertising copy, however. When using content marketing to reach customers, companies need to publish content that their customers will seek out. To learn more about content marketing, read www.twitter.com/jimtsokanos.