14 Dec 2017 Marketing Trends for Craft Companies
As we near the close of the year, we like to reflect on the more successful marketing trends we saw in 2016 and we predict what we see trending for 2017. Let’s begin with a few 2016 trends that we utilized in the agency for our clients:
Trends we loved in 2016:
Influencers Waved Their Magic Wands:
People buy from people they know, like and trust – we say that all the time around our agency. The emergence of influencers changed the game last year and smart brands jumped on this bandwagon. Stitchcraft clients had rousing success working with Staci Perry, YouTube host of VeryPink Knits. Her tutorial videos introduced our clients to her audience of 187K subscribers and her giveaways helped our clients build email lists they could use in perpetuity.
Our blogger outreach program was another excellent example of how influential personalities helped sell product. In 2016, we sent over 200 product samples out to our blogosphere network for reviews, mentions and other successful promotions.
Helpful Content Had More Value:
In 2016, consumers were rabid for something more than just advertising and sales offers. They wanted something of value. Clients who shifted content strategy over to tips, tutorials, quick ideas for seasonal projects or other similar generous content won the day.
Our 2016 content strategy for Eucalan, for example, shifted almost entirely to step by step tutorials with ‘how-to-wash something’ content (See examples here).
New (and growing) trends we’re watching for 2017:
Not everyone can attend a show or event, but they sure want the chance to participate. Brands that can give fans and customers a way to vicariously feel like they’re participating, even from afar, will win big on this trend. Think in terms of “behind the scenes” for ideas on what this content could look like. And, even though you might think, “unboxing my stuff online is stupid,” think again – this is exactly the kind of experience people respond to.
How to take advantage: Take a quick video of your yarn cooking in the dyepots; take photos of a festival setup from start to finish and create slow or fast motion video or graphics on instagram (SpeedPro is great for iOS devices). Launch live streaming events on Facebook Live, Google Hangouts or similar apps to announce new products or patterns you’ve just launched.
In almost every corner of the business world, we see consumers flocking to social channels to complain, vent, and sometimes even compliment brands. You need to be prepared to receive this comments on your channels. Even if you’re a b2b company, consumers will come to your social channels to tell you how they feel. Folks used to just call or send email, but unfortunately, many complainers now want to be “seen” and they might PREFER to complain on your Facebook wall or in your Ravelry group where the whole world can see that your red dye bleeds.
How to take advantage: Complainers can be a wonderful opportunity to reinforce that know-like-trust concept if you respond promptly and professionally. Make sure your channels are monitored regularly and have a plan in place to handle negative feedback. Familiarize yourself with where messages come in on Facebook, know how to comment with an @reply on Instagram and be sure your channels provide information on low-tech ways to contact you. Be sure your website has an easy-to-find email form and a customer service phone number. Utilize services like google voice to forward calls or Verizon’s OnePoint Voice mail service to capture voicemail and return calls at your convenience. Download our whitepaper for our extensive report on utilizing your social channels as a customer service tool.
Apple’s iPhone makes it easy to snap decent photos anytime, anywhere, and that has sufficed in 2016. Next year, however, avoid the temptation to publish subpar, amateur photos to represent your brand. Consumers want to be inspired and emotionally moved. A lifestyle shot that elicits an aspirational experience for the viewer is far more powerful than shooting your skeins attached to the end of a yardstick in the back yard.
How to take advantage: Get a light box, take a class, find talent, and plan and consolidate your photo shoot to get 4-6 months of shots in one day. There are lots of options to improve the quality and styling of your brand photos in 2017.
Honest And Transparent Marketing:
As mentioned above, people buy from other people they know, like and trust. Are you tired of that mantra yet? Sorry-not-sorry, because this trend really hits on the TRUST piece of this adage. Thought-provoking campaigns like Lane Bryant’s I’m No Angel #imnoangel burned down the social media house with their formidable response to Victoria Secret’s angel campaign.
Or, consider the Avis ad campaign which readily admitted they’re the #2 car rental company (behind Hertz) with their campaign of “We’re #2, so we try harder.” It might seem scary to put your challenges front and center, but you will be rewarded with greater trust among your consumers. This isn’t to suggest you become blase’ about eliminating pattern errata or you post about late delivery of your yarn to retailers, BUT it does mean you should be honest and transparent about your brand as much as possible.
How to take advantage: Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you have competitors (you don’t need to name them) and showcase your product’s advantages in advertising and social media. When you have a mistake, think about how you can turn it into an opportunity. For example, our client, June Cashmere, received a dye batch that did not match the current color in inventory. Instead of selling at discount, we helped them position it as a limited edition colorway. Win-win!
Of course, 2017 will likely reveal another round of interesting and probably eyebrow-raising marketing trends! We look forward to watching which ones industry leaders capitalize on. Want to stay in front of social media trends? Sign up for our Monday Magic emails at the bottom of our website, where we showcase trends from the marketing world and deliver them to your inbox every Monday morning! If you’re ready to get serious about your marketing in 2017, reach out to Leanne Pressly firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 539-3110. She’d love to brainstorm ideas on how YOU can utilize these trends for your craft, sewing or fiber-related company.