Advertising trends have evolved from the quintessentially traditional print ads and TV spots to new marketing strategies that include QR codes, co-branding, content marketing and online advertising. While print and TV are steadfast in the ad industry, new technology is opening new avenues to reach consumers. For businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve with interactive advertising, these trends can do just the trick.
A QR code, or a “quick response” code, is a two-dimensional symbol akin to the UPC (Universal Product Code, or “bar code”). A QR code elicits a digital action when scanned by a QR code reader. In advertising, it has gained traction as an interactive tool in which consumers can scan the code to retrieve additional information about the product or promotion. When scanned by a smartphone, a QR code can initiate several actions, such as opening a website, making a phone call or sending an SMS message. Make a free QR code online using the QR Code Generator (see Resources) and place the symbol on your company’s business cards, brochures, coupons, print ads and even TV spots.
Co-branding is a joint venture that combines the advertising efforts of two or more brands to create a new consumer product. Recent examples of co-branding include Isaac Mizrahi and Target, Crest Plus Scope, Ford F150 trucks and Harley Davidson motorcycles, and Apple and Nike. These brands have worked together to create new consumer products that elevate brand awareness while creating heightened consumer interest in newly launched products. Small businesses can take a cue from national brands by launching a co-branded ad campaign with another recognized, locally-owned company. For example, a car service center can partner with a detail shop to create mutual coupons for use at both businesses. This maximizes the use of advertising dollars while simultaneously creating a stronger promotion for the consumer.
Content marketing is a term that began gaining popularity around 2003 with the birth of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Content marketing includes advertorials (newspaper or magazine articles that are written editorially to promote your product), blogs or any other kind of content that is published on the web for promotional purposes. As a form of advertising, content marketing is effective at creating awareness when it comes to brand storytelling. Since the rise of social media, content marketing has strengthened connections between consumers and brands while creating a new advertising vehicle. Small businesses can capitalize on the power of content marketing by running advertorials or hosting a blog on their Web site.
Consumers use the web to find many things, including businesses and brands. When it comes to capitalizing on reaching consumers, advertisers are using tools such as Google AdWords to create online advertising campaigns. AdWords is a Google product that allows small businesses to create online advertisements with keyword and budget parameters to target their primary customers. Other trends in online advertising include marketing efforts such as search engine optimization (SEO — the process of using keywords to get a website to rank higher in results as opposed to using AdWords); social media; mobile devices such as iPads and other handhelds; display ads; and website banner ads.