Happy New Year! January is well-known as the month for shaking off the old year, looking forward to and deciding how you’re going to take the new year by storm (after finishing off any leftover mince pies and Baileys, of course)!
We recently reviewed the big-hitting developments in professional services marketing for 2022, and now it’s time to look ahead to the next 12 months and pick out the key trends we think will have the biggest impact on the industry for 2023.
Video is still the content star
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, video is increasingly becoming the content format to beat, with 73% of marketers reporting that video has become more important to their business in the past year. If you’re in the 27% whose customers aren’t seeing your videos, they’re definitely seeing your competitors’!
However, not all video performs equally, so it is important to understand what customers are responding to and engaging with when considering subject matter, length and even video orientation (the old landscape versus portrait debate). The rise of platforms such as Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and TikTok is innovating the way that consumers watch videos with portrait, short-form, ‘snackable’ content becoming much more popular. Over three-quarters of marketers are seeing better performance from videos under three minutes long – just enough time for a ‘how-to’, FAQ or testimonial, which are great for getting your firm’s personality and expertise out there.
This may sound like a lot but don’t think you need to invest hundreds or thousands into software or kit to be competitive with video. There are some great, cost-effective editing tools out there, such as Canva, that can take your ‘point and shoot’ video content to the next level. The important factor is that the content is engaging and relevant to the platform and audience – we can help with that!
Make AI work for you
There’s no escaping the monumental developments that have taken place in artificial intelligence (AI) over the past few years and how seamlessly it is integrating into everyday life and business: think smart assistants, self-driving cars, and even the Netflix home page! Although some are still wary of its possible implications, AI can prove a valuable tool in automating, streamlining and improving professional services marketing, freeing up time for bigger-picture thinking.
AI tools using machine learning and language models can be useful for automating content creation, such as email subject lines, blog posts and product descriptions, with the user simply entering a few key prompts into a chat box. Tools such as ChatGPT, launched in November 2022, can also provide a sophisticated, conversational, reliable chatbot function that can learn and correct its mistakes, which could free up considerable customer service hours so you can focus on fee-earning.
However, at present, the output from these AI tools can sometimes be relatively sterile and surface level and can still contain mistakes, so they may require some human intervention to tweak content before going live. It is also not 100% clear how Google might start to penalise content it perceives as having been created via AI and how this might affect your SEO strategy, so it is definitely a subject we will be keeping a close eye on over the next 12 months and beyond.
Let others do the talking for you
Often, customers, connections and even employees can be your best advocates. 88% of consumers ‘identify authenticity and relatability as key decision drivers’, so rather than you tell your target audience why you’re the best firm in the region, get your current customers to do it for you! User-generated content (UGC) in the form of reviews, testimonials, and even community conversations on LinkedIn comments can build trust and validity around your business and the services you provide, as you’re not the only one telling your story. We are strong advocates of the power of ‘social proof’.
Utilising UGC can be as simple as repurposing Google reviews, positive comments from clients, or satisfaction survey results as graphics or short videos on your social media pages. Or it could be more complex, like curating a LinkedIn group focussing on a specific pain point or common concern or interest held by your target audience and facilitating conversations (and offering your firm as the solution) there. And don’t just rely on those external to your business; get your current employees posting, sharing and commenting to build authenticity and personality behind the brand – this can also help attract talent, which has never been more important than in the current climate!
Social initiatives are key
And finally, the last key trend we’re predicting for 2023 is the continued emphasis on sharing information around firms’ social initiatives such as Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), as well as general company ethos and culture.
After the uncertainty and priority shifts in the past few years – the pandemic, social injustice, and climate change, to say the least – customers, partners, and potential employees are all increasingly focussing on ensuring that the companies they interact with share their own values. It is important to be open and transparent about DEI and ESG policies, which can be as simple as publishing these on your website but can also be included throughout your overall marketing strategy. If sharing your social initiatives hasn’t been a fixture on your marketing plan so far, 2023 might be the year to start.
Other trends to keep an eye out for in 2023
- TikTok focuses on usability for businesses on the app and simplifying the targeting options for advertisers, which is one to watch if you’re considering adding the social media platform to your 2023 marketing plan
- The emergence of new social media apps is a result of the uncertainty and changes at the top of Twitter. Keep an eye out for Mastodon, Hinge Social and Blue Sky, among others
- The Metaverse will continue to loom on the horizon for most professional services firms, with 22% of global businesses that have already bought into it claiming that it has a bright future
- The next generation of Google Analytics measurement software, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), will replace the current iteration, Universal Analytics
It is important to stay aware of the changes and trends coming down the line and how you might be able to capitalise on them within your strategy to win clients, attract the best talent and generally raise the profile of your business. But we understand that running your business comes first, which is where we come in.
At Cal Partners, we can act as your outsourced marketing team to ensure you stay ahead of the competition and reach your ideal target audience. So, if you’re looking for cost-effective marketing support that delivers results, book your free consultation here.
Marketing for Professional Services
The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services