A Retrospective on the Changing Landscape of Marketing: Reviewing 2023 and Previewing 2024

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the transformative journey that marketing has undergone over the past year. However, it’s also crucial to anticipate the exciting changes that lie ahead in 2024. Marketers should leverage these changes to benefit their business, as the future is unpredictable, and we can watch it all unfold and learn as we go. So, let’s take a look at what happened in marketing this year, how it may have affected your business, and some new things to try in 2024!

Rise of Personalization

Marketing has experienced a significant shift towards hyper-personalization in 2023. From email to social media and even in Hulu and Netflix ads, customers expect tailored experiences. Successful businesses have embraced this by leveraging AI-driven algorithms to understand consumer behavior. Moving forward, refining personalization strategies will continue to be key in capturing audience attention.

Emergence of Immersive Technologies

In 2023, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) became more prevalent tools in marketing campaigns. Businesses found innovative ways to engage customers, from virtual try-ons to interactive product demonstrations. In 2024, integrating these immersive technologies into your marketing playbook could be a game-changer and a new way to do business.

Sustainable Marketing Practices

Consumers are increasingly conscious of environmental and social issues, and brands that embraced sustainable marketing practices in 2023 witnessed positive responses. In 2024, incorporating eco-friendly practices and communicating your commitment to social responsibility will not only resonate with your audience but also contribute to long-term brand loyalty.

Video Continues to Reign

Once again, video reigned supreme in the marketing world in 2023, with short-form videos gaining immense popularity. Platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels became powerful marketing tools. In the coming year, investing in high-quality, engaging video content will remain pivotal for maintaining a strong online presence.

Steady Uprise in Influencer Marketing

In 2023, influencer marketing evolved beyond celebrity endorsements. Micro and nano-influencers gained prominence due to their authentic connections with niche audiences. Collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values will continue to be a successful strategy in 2024.

AI-Driven Analytics

Thanks to AI-driven analytics and their tools, data-driven decision-making reached new heights in 2023. Predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms helped marketers anticipate trends and optimize campaigns. Businesses should further invest in refining their analytical capabilities to stay ahead in 2024.

Community Building

In 2023, the power of community-driven marketing became evident. Building a loyal community around your brand fosters trust and encourages word-of-mouth marketing. Businesses should focus on nurturing relationships with customers, turning them into brand advocates in 2024.

The Bottom Line

The marketing landscape underwent remarkable changes in 2023, and the trends suggest that 2024 will be equally dynamic. As a business owner, embracing these shifts and staying agile in your marketing strategies will position your brand for success in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Here’s to a prosperous and innovative year ahead!

The Search To Find The Perfect Marketing Agency

So you’re interested in working with a marketing agency! That is great to hear. First off, simply because you are reading our blog post and we happen to be a marketing agency, but also because we want to make sure that you find an agency that is the perfect fit for your business. It may not be us and that is OK! But what we want to do is make sure you have the tools and resources to find that perfect agency. Here’s how.

What is a Marketing Agency?

A marketing agency is a company that provides various marketing services to businesses and organizations. These services can include:

  • Market research
  • Advertising
  • Branding
  • Video production
  • Photography
  • Social media management 
  • And so much more! 

Marketing agencies work with their clients to develop strategies and campaigns that will help them reach their target audiences and achieve their marketing goals. They should also provide analytics and reporting to help their clients measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. 

Some marketing agencies specialize in specific industries or types of marketing, while others offer a wide range of services to clients in various fields. Overall, the goal of a marketing agency is to help its clients promote their products or services and increase their brand awareness and sales and become one with their client’s brand.

How Working With An Agency Can Benefit Your Business

Working with a marketing agency can provide many benefits for your business. Since a marketing agency is a team of professionals who specialize in promoting and growing businesses through various marketing channels, you not only get one person but a whole team to work on your account. Here are some reasons why you should consider working with a marketing agency:

  1. Expertise: Marketing agencies have a team of experts who specialize in different areas of marketing, such as social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and more. By working with a marketing agency, you can tap into their expertise and get access to the latest marketing strategies and techniques.
  2. Cost-effective: Hiring an in-house marketing team can be expensive, especially for small businesses. By working with a marketing agency, you can get access to a team of marketing professionals at a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house team.
  3. Save time: Marketing can be time-consuming, especially if you don’t have the expertise or resources to do it effectively. By working with a marketing agency, you can free up your time and focus on other important aspects of your business.
  4. Results-driven: Marketing agencies are focused on delivering results for their clients. They will work with you to set goals and create a customized marketing plan to help you achieve those goals.
  5. Stay ahead of the competition: A marketing agency can help you stay ahead of the competition by keeping up with the latest marketing trends and tactics. They will ensure that your business is using the most effective marketing strategies to reach your target audience and grow your business.

Where Do I Look to Find A Marketing Agency?

Finding the right marketing agency can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be much easier. The first step is to determine your needs and goals for this agency. Then, you can begin your search by asking for referrals from colleagues or friends who have used marketing agencies before. You can also search online for marketing agencies in your area and read reviews from their past clients. Here are some top websites to start your hunt on:

Once you have a list of potential agencies, start by checking their website and social media networks to see if their style and expertise match your needs. It’s important to schedule a meeting or phone call with the agency to discuss your goals and evaluate their experience and approach. Be sure to ask about their pricing structure, timeline, and success rates with similar projects.

The Bottom Line

Overall, working with a marketing agency can be a great investment for your business. It can help you save time and money, while also delivering results and helping you stay ahead of the competition. Ultimately, the right marketing agency for you will be one that understands your business and can help you achieve your goals in a creative and effective way. Take your time and do your research to find the perfect fit for your needs.

Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

A professor once said that marketing is fixing the problem with connecting the customer to the business. There is always a need, a want, a desire, and/or a problem. If you can figure out reasons for the customer to need your business, then you can easily market it to them. This seems like common sense, but getting back to the basics of marketing might be getting lost in the shuffle. Think about how many advertisements you see in a day. Whether you are watching TV, listening to the radio or a podcast, looking at something on the internet and so on…advertising is everywhere. So how can your marketing be found in the flood of advertising? 

What’s In It For The Customer?

The market is saturated with similar products and services. It can be very competitive depending on what your business is. The best thing to always remember when marketing is how does it help the customer? Constantly talking about the product or service can just get boring. But saying how it helps the customer right off the bat can encourage the potential customer to keep reading to learn more about it. Here is a great example from ContentFirst Marketing.

Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

A great test to see if advertisements made their mark is with Super Bowl ads. Customers will remember the commercials, but will they actually remember what product was being pushed? Some brands have iconic imagery (Budweiser horses and frogs, Geico gecko, etc.) and others may have really great visuals, but the actual product just gets lost. Was the money worth the effort? 

Think about those old school infomercials. The ovens that cook turkeys in less time than others, the knives that can cut anything, or the ladder that extends higher than competitors but stores in smaller spaces. These always stood out because they were fixing a common problem customers could have. Potential customers saw value in the products. Stick to this way of thinking, and it will be a great way to build upon a campaign.

Stand Out Where Your Customers Are

Talk to any marketing professional and you will hear a different opinion of where your business should advertise or what platforms you should be present on. This also can depend on where you live and in what part of the world as some areas utilize mediums other areas just don’t. Think city fold versus country folk and how to market to people in each. It is different! It seems like everyday a new social platform is born. It is nearly impossible to be present on all of them with a marketing strategy. And of course there are thousands of ways to reach potential customers, but figuring out where your target audience obtains their information would be a great place to start.

According to Seth Matlins, Forbes Staff, 3 out of every 4 brands could disappear in an instant with no one noticing or caring. That is a lot! That means those brands are not meeting a need, want, desire or solving a problem for their customers or there are too many competitors in the market. Within the same article, Seth mentions that almost 8 of every 10 searches on Amazon are by category, not brand. Customers aren’t searching for Suzy’s Honey but instead are searching for honey. When that search happens, thousands upon thousands of results of honey show up and Suzy’s Honey gets pushed to page 6, which hardly anyone ever gets to.

Instead of running around trying to be everywhere all at once, focus on maybe a couple of different places and do your best on those to market your product instead of just doing minimal efforts on many.

Start With The Basics

Many business owners and marketers are confusing tactics with strategies and strategies with objectives. In marketing, while copying something a competitor has done is flattering, it likely may not wind up working for you. Just because we think that we can jump straight in and copy the tactics others are using we likely won’t get the same results. Why? Even if something worked for them does not mean it will work for you.

Start with the basics again, even if you’ve already had successful campaigns. Go back to the problems your potential customers have and understand why they are having those problems and how your business can help them. Decide which group you are going to really focus on. Doing this can help narrow down your marketing strategy and help determine which niche your products fits in for this particular campaign. And finally, take a look at how this group buys something. What is their buying pattern? From step 1 of having a problem to step 2 of where they go to research how to solve their problem and step 3 of actually buying can help when deciding what kind of marketing you should do. Do your potential customers like to read, listen or watch a video? Do they like reviews? Do they like to go to a store to make a purchase or buy it online (if it is a product)? Do they like to call and speak to someone on the phone about a service or would they rather set up a meeting and speak face to face? So many questions but these can help get back to the basics.

The Bottom Line

Fundamental marketing may seem super boring and it may seem like you are leaving a lot of potential customers on the table if you aren’t marketing everywhere. However, the power of finding the right target market and the ways they buy, can work. Even the greatest and most expensive tactics fail. It isn’t about the amount of money or the size of the target market. It is, and always will be, about finding the right product or service for your clients.

What is a Marketing Agency and How Can We Help Your Business?

One of the most common questions we hear is, “How can we get the most bang for our buck,” when talking to potential clients. From small to very large companies, investing funds into marketing budgets can be a very hard decision to make simply because business-minded professionals want to maximize their return on investment. 

Working with a marketing agency can help boost confidence in finding the value of all aspects of marketing. From digital advertising to ghostwriting, to a full video production, a marketing agency can be a one-stop shop for all of those needs. Understanding how a marketing agency works, what they do and what services they can provide you is a great starting point to figuring out if working with an agency will be a good fit for you.

What Is A Marketing Agency?

Let’s start with an overview of True Fit Marketing. We are a full-service marketing advocacy firm powered by technology and grounded with foundational marketing. Typically the terms marketing agency and marketing firm can be used interchangeably. Our promise is to support you, your business, and your team, along with helping you feel more confident in your marketing efforts. We want to save you from the stress of not knowing where your marketing dollars are going and what your advertising is actually doing for you. With fully transparent reporting and consistent evaluation meetings, we want to be held accountable for helping your business succeed. Our business encompasses a team of professionals in specialized areas to help you reach your marketing goals. 

Are Marketing Agencies Expensive?

Ultimately, your budget and needs will determine what is deemed expensive for your business. One of the best qualities of a marketing agency is that there is a whole team of professionals who work together to ensure your goals are met. When you figure out how much an account manager, writer, photographer, videographer, social media strategist, advertising specialist, and so on cost individually, you will likely find value in working with a marketing agency that employs all of them and gives you access to these professionals for a great price. 

Costs are always going to be different per client, per project, and per contract. They will also fluctuate depending on where you are located, the services provided (advertising campaigns are a great example) and what the goals are. Budgets can fluctuate depending on results, whether good or bad, the time of the year, or whatever campaign is needed. Either way, just as everything, you get what you pay for when hiring a marketing agency. You get a team of professionals, at a fair market value, who will help to reach your goals.

Hiring a Marketing Agency

Now that you understand what it is that a marketing agency does, now you can research agencies in your area and start to interview them. We suggest working with a local agency so that you can have face-to-face meetings, they will understand your target audience better (if you are a local company) and will have a better reach with local advertising and media efforts. However, that doesn’t mean that a local agency can’t help with a business that is nationwide. Ask each agency how they can handle this for you.

When reaching out to the agencies, have a list of projects that you are interested in having services for. An example would be that you’d like a redesign of your website, monthly social media, and monthly advertising. Some agencies may ask what your advertising budget is and others may suggest a budget based on what they believe will help you to reach your goals.

Agencies should do some of their own research on your company to learn about your business, where they can see ways you can improve immediately, short term and long term in the marketing world, how they can help you to do this, and what your competitors are doing. 

After your initial meeting with the agencies, you will be sent proposals for marketing and/or brand management services based on your initial conversation and their assessment of your brand. This is a good time to compare and contrast, look at how they match services to your needs. Have they addressed your initial goals and concerns? What is their commitment to your success? 

Depending on the services you want, you may not have met the people you would actually be working with at the initial meeting. If you think you want to move forward with an agency, you can ask to have another meeting with the team you would be working with so you can meet them and see if they are a good fit for your business. Meeting with the team as a whole can give you a really good idea of what it is like to work with an agency. 

Can A Marketing Agency Help Your Business?

We like to pride ourselves on having multiple professionals with different focuses on our team that can help you reach your goals. Finding one person that can handle every aspect of your marketing strategy, plus day-to-day business operations, and do everything well, might be hard to find. But outsourcing this work to a marketing team that has years of experience under their belts is going to help you. Offloading your marketing from your table can allow you to focus on what you want to with your business, especially if marketing isn’t your forte. 

The Bottom Line

If you are ready to start conversations with a marketing agency, and are local to the Pittsburgh area, we suggest contacting us. Let’s chat about the services you are interested in and how we can work together to create the best marketing strategy for your business.

A Look Into the Future – Possible Social Trends for 2023

It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost over. Not that we are rushing it away, but this last business quarter is a great time to reflect on what has been working on social media for your business and what ideas you may want to consider tackling in 2023. Or maybe you are thinking of starting social media and want to know where would be some places to focus efforts. Take a look into our crystal ball with us to try to predict some social trends for the future. It may be worth paying attention to these so your next year is amazing!

Word of Mouth Influencer Marketing

You head to the grocery store and see a new product on the shelf. You look at the package, read whatever it says, but put it back on the shelf because you just aren’t sure if you are going to like it or not and don’t want to spend the money if it is going straight to the trash.

You go to a birthday party and see that same product in their pantry. So, you start asking around, “Hey, are those chips good?” and the feedback is positive. They all like the chips! So, the next time you head to the grocery store, you purchase a bag, simply because when you asked, people liked them so you thought you would too!

Influencing an audience with trustworthy people isn’t anything new, but it is in our faces more than ever. Obviously, we can’t predict who is going to talk to who about a certain product, but we can push the product and information about it to our audiences with positive influencers. Celebrities, athletes, performers, etc., are all over social media pushing whatever product to their target audience because they are a trustworthy influencer. It needs to look and feel authentic though. People can tell when a product is being endorsed just for money and not because they actually use and like it. This gets tricky.

As a business, pay attention to influencers in your industry. Take the time to get to know them, their brand, their audience and see if it would be a good fit for your product too. Turning an influencer into a brand ambassador for your business can have a huge impact with long-term results.

A Look Into the Future - Possible Social Trends for 2023 Short Videos Will Be Huge

Tik-Tok length videos are huge. They are now all over Instagram and Facebook too! Unfortunately, a lot of us have the attention span of a snail. No one has the time to watch 5-minute-long videos, which isn’t even that long! But we can scroll through 15 second videos for 5 minutes. How does that work!? It is because each video is different, offers something new, and connects with the audience on several different levels. 

Traditional photo and caption posts are slowly dying. More attention is being given to video, which isn’t new, but audiences continue to crave information this way. 

So, for next year, plan to record whatever is going on. Own a restaurant? Record your chef making something. Edit it into several different 15 second videos and post it. Own a retail store? Record your merchandise and edit it into fun and engaging short videos. Don’t know how to edit or don’t have the time? We can help!

Live Videos Will Transform Social Media

If it isn’t a 15 second short video, then it is going to be lives dominating our social feeds. Lives allow for viewers to have the ultimate experience with whoever at a business, or maybe even an influencer like we mentioned earlier, with potential for conversation right then and there. 

Surprisingly, long live videos are fine as compared to uploaded longer video content. Seems like apples to apples but it is the live feature that makes the video unique. And if users are jumping on to watch a live, then whatever network it is being shared on will see the uptick in viewers, thus realizing it is good content, pushing it out even more.

Grab your target audience’s attention with a live video when you are at an event, when your store is running a special and you want to show the special off. Go live when you want to make a special announcement or just go live and say ask me whatever you want! People love to go behind the scenes and see how something is made or work in progress. Lives can allow for that to become a reality plus it is still saved for the future on your profile.

The Bottom Line

Nothing is ever set in stone. If something works for you on social media, you can keep on doing it. But don’t be afraid to give something new a try. Your target audience will need to be trained to look for these new things, so don’t get frustrated if a live video doesn’t have a lot of viewers right away or engagement is low on short videos. It is new to them just like it is new to you! Keep up with whatever you decide to do and don’t give up on it too fast. Leverage the resources and knowledge you have on your team, but reach out to us should you need new ideas.