Luke Lazarus has been in the marketing business long enough to know which trends are here to stay and which ones are only fleeting. He has also honed the ability to predict future trends that will benefit his own business and those of his clients.
Marketing and Consulting Background
Lazarus founded his own consulting company in 2014 and continues to operate as its CEO today. Prior to launching Luke Lazarus Consulting, he worked as a freelance startup business consultant for nine years. He came to these positions naturally, having started four companies by age 25 and selling them by age 33.
The sale of his four businesses created enough income for Lazarus to retire, but that did not interest him as someone who still had a lot to offer the world. He chose to use his own success to help other startup business owners struggling to earn a profit or even remain open. Luke Lazarus recently reflected on his 17 years as a small business consultant and highlighted several current marketing trends of great importance to Australian business owners.
Consumer Attitudes and Shopping Patterns Have Changed
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Australians to spend most of their time at home, they helped pass the time with online shopping and downloading movies, games, and music to entertain themselves. However, their purchasing habits have shifted significantly now that much of the world is back to normal.
People in a post-coronavirus world are once again budgeting their funds and only purchasing what they truly need. While most Australians make room in their budget for unplanned expenses and general entertainment, this is not as common as it was just a few years ago.
Not only are consumers more selective about what they buy, but they are also choosier about the businesses that get their hard-earned money. They demand respect from both the brand and the retailer and will not hesitate to take their business elsewhere if they do not receive it. To avoid such a scenario, it is critical to creating engaging content that meets consumers exactly where they are at on the buyer’s journey.
Optimizing Content for Voice Search
People who search for content online or via their smartphone now use voice search more than typing their queries. Marketers have picked up on this trend and rewritten their content in more of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) style. One of the greatest challenges Luke Lazarus faces as a startup business consultant is helping clients achieve balance with their marketing efforts. The uptick in people using voice search is a perfect example.
Consumers still expect responses to their voice inquiries that speak to them as an individual, which is something that can be difficult for marketers who tailor their writing to search engines. Overoptimized content comes across as inauthentic and will drive potential customers away just as fast as not feeling respected.
Integrating Shopping Opportunities into Social Media Posts
Another trend that started during the coronavirus pandemic was retailers creating social media posts that allowed consumers to complete a purchase without ever leaving the platform. Marketing experts like Lazarus refer to this trend as shoppable posts.
Busy people love the convenience of not needing to redirect to the company’s website to finish their transactions. Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram appreciate the fact that online users remain on their websites for a longer period of time. Consumers, retailers, and social media companies all win with shoppable posts. Lazarus does not see this marketing trend going away anytime soon.
Video Content Continues to Dominate
Online video culture has been in full swing for the past several years to the point that consumers expect brands to display videos and not just photographs and written content. Unfortunately for Australian marketers, a lack of videos sends a message that the brand has not kept up with the times.
As quality continues to go up, so too do customer expectations. When they take the time to open a video, they expect colorful graphics, a sound that does not overpower their senses, and a quick message that gets right to the point. They are unlikely to finish watching a video that creates too intense a sensory experience or fails to get its message across in a timely fashion. Here are some of the top video trends that Luke Lazarus has noticed so far in 2022:
- Automatic video captioning: The ability to read words on the bottom of the screen is a real convenience for people with any degree of hearing loss. Those who watch the video in places where they cannot turn up the volume, such as at work or a public library, also appreciate this feature.
- Enhancement tools for mobile video: Creating videos on a smartphone is easier than ever. Marketing teams can save significant money using features like augmented reality on their phone rather than paying for a video editing package for online creation.
- Stepping up the meme game: Memes are immensely popular because they allow people to express themselves with just a few words and a picture. Lazarus advises business owners to capitalize on this trend by making short video memes that are even more relatable.
- Trending songs: The trending audio feature on most video production screens lets creators know which type of music and specific songs are most popular right now. Marketers can use this information to choose background music for videos that people will instantly recognize.
Diversity and Inclusion
Gone are the days when most advertisements showcased a white middle-class family consisting of a husband, a wife, one son, and one daughter. The real world is much more diverse, and people expect the brands they interact with to reflect that. Luke Lazarus advises his startup business clients to rotate through different types of representation with the content they put out to the public. Typical examples include:
- All races, including interracial couples and families
- People with all levels of ability, including those with significant physical or mental challenges
- Various body shapes
- Different types of sexual orientation or identity
- People who represent many different types of faith if it relates to the message
- People of all ages
Consumers appreciate seeing themselves represented in the media. Marketers should remember that the primary goal of diverse advertising is to send the message that their product or service is available to everyone.
Make Content as Interactive as Possible
Marketers should not feel surprised to learn that consumers love interactive content in this age of greater personalization. The more people can interact with a brand’s content via quizzes, charts, or visuals, the more likely it is they will feel that the company understands them. Feeling understood leads to the development of trust, a necessary first step towards building brand loyalty.
People interact with content at all stages of the buying journey. Offering personalized and useful tools on a company website, email, or social media page can help move them along the sales funnel at a much faster rate. The interactive experiences guide decision-making and help consumers feel more confident in each step of their sales journey.
The Explosive Popularity of Influencer Marketing
Speaking strictly from a numbers perspective, it makes sense for brands to partner with celebrities and other well-known individuals who have hundreds of thousands of social media followers. Many times, the influencer has a bigger reach than the brand itself does.
When a person whom consumers already know and trust demonstrates how they use a brand’s product or service, it encourages them to do the same. Like interactive content, employing influencer marketing can speed up the time it takes for consumers to trust a retailer and become loyal to a brand.
Hiring a well-known influencer often consumes a large part of the marketing budget. Fortunately, effective campaigns offset the initial expense quickly due to the sheer number of orders that come in as a result of the celebrity’s influence.
Luke Lazarus Advises Marketers to Consider Their Target Audience
Consumers expect personalized marketing more with each passing year, which makes targeted advertising more important than ever. Marketers must still spend time analyzing the target demographics of their customer base and how they spend their money. At the same time, brands must be willing and able to adapt based on performance and the introduction of new marketing trends.
With the economic recovery from COVID-19 well underway in Australia, Luke Lazarus remains sure of one thing. The demand for his startup consulting services will only grow larger each year.