James Malone
September 18, 2017

Visual Marketing: Either You’re In or Your Brand Is Out!

The Growing Importance of Visual Marketing

In the faster than The Flash digital age, the future of marketing is visual.

With the advent of social media, smartphones and use of visual content, marketing today is more dynamic and versatile than ever before, and still growing and evolving. A study from Wharton School of Business found that 67% of the audience (from Piktochart blog) was persuaded by verbal presentations that had accompanying visuals. Unless you want to be left behind by your competition, you need to increase visual marketing and use of visual content in campaigns.

To help understand where marketing has come from, the direction it’s heading and why visuals are now so important, here is a brief history of the tactics and tools used in marketing, showing just how far we have come over the last 25 years.

A Brief History of Business Communication

We have gone from mail, as in an actual letter on paper and old-fashioned phone calls… who remembers rotary dial phones? The Telex machine was used for communication in offices for a number of years. It seemed like a wonderful innovation. Next we had the dreaded fax machine, the earliest and slowest form of texting!

From letters and stamps, phone calls and faxes, we moved on to the Internet and email, which had a profound impact on business, marketing and life in general. Next came cell phones and mobile communications. Does anyone remember good ol’ flip-phones or those gigantic, brick-sized mobile phones that weighed more than a Volvo? The cell phone paved the way for the advanced version of mobile communications in smartphones. Smartphones have been the real game-changer. They provide access to a computer and its capabilities in a small, easy to use handheld device. Smartphones and tablets brought incredible changes to mobility and versatility in marketing, business and our personal lives.

The Advent of Social Media

Along with smartphones, perhaps the biggest change in marketing and both business and personal communication, has come via social media and social networks. Social media has created an entirely new way to conduct business and marketing, where brands can now interact directly with customers and audiences through their preferred channels of communication. Through the various social platforms, you now have access to a variety of channels – each with powerful tools and capabilities for reaching your target audience.

With the Internet, these amazing new mobile devices and social networks, we are smack dab in the middle of the new digital age with Social Media Marketing, Mobile Marketing and Content Marketing. In a relatively short time we have gone from landline telephones and mailing letters, to connecting and communicating with people all over the world, instantaneously through mobile devices and social networks. All of that being said, we now are seeing the next phase of growth and changes in marketing and communications, which is visual.

Don’t get me wrong, text is not dead and it is vitally important that your messaging and content be on point. Indeed, apps like Whatsapp allow international texting. But, despite the power of text and keywords, visuals are the key to marketing today, and in the future. If you want to make a real impact with your campaigns to reach your target market, you have to go visual.

Visual Marketing Is Now Essential

Now you may be asking yourself, “Do I really need visual marketing? Can’t we just use good old fashioned text-based marketing and a press release?” The answer is a very serious YES! You have to be more visual! Unless you want to crash and burn, you need to increase your visual marketing.

“Visual Marketing is an unstoppable train. It’s the whole ADD thing we’ve all known about for so long. As jan L Gordon on Curattiimportant as text remains, visuals, whether pretty pictures or meaningful graphics, are essential to break up the text for readers, and for skimmers to get a quick idea of where they might focus their attention.”

Jan Gordon, Top 20 Social Media Global Influencer 2017, publisher of B2B content marketing, digital strategist and CEO of Curatti. See more from Jan Gordon @janlgordon.

 

The recently released 2017 Social Media Examiner report states that 73% of marketers plan on increasing use of visuals in 2017. And if you are not already in the visual marketing mix you need to catch up, and fast!

Don’t Forget Gifs and Emojis!

Visual content comes in many forms, including images, photos, GIFs, emojis, infographics, video, live video, and user-generated content. All are great ways for increasing brand awareness and reaching your target audience through use of quality visuals. Not only images and videos, but other forms of visual content like emojis, can be powerful tools being used very effectively by brands.

“GIFs and emojis are such powerful yet simple engagement tools to apply as part of your marketing strategy.” According to Digital Marketing expert Sam Hurley, a lateral-thinking digital marketer and Founder of the eagerly-anticipated: OPTIM-EYEZ platform. Sam is ranked as the world’s #1 digital influencer by Webinale and #2 most influential digital marketer by Onalytica. See more from Sam Hurley @Sam___Hurley.

Some More Stats

And the numbers don’t lie. Research from social media management company Buffer states that tweets with images show 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and a whopping 150% more retweets than posts without images. Additional findings from the 2017 Social Media Examiner report shows statistics for the types of visual content used in marketing, including:

  • Video 74% (up 8% from 2016)
  • Live Video 69% (up 19% from 2016)
  • Visual images 65% (remains consistent and shows the continued power of visual images, even when compared to the significant increase in video and live-video)

Video Marketing

Reports show the power and growth of visual content in marketing. Video marketing is exploding and is the next stage of visual marketing. But be careful! Just like text, photos and images, your videos need to be quality content and convey the appropriate brand message to your audience. Statistics supporting the power of video are showcased in Cisco’s VNI report. It states that video will represent 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. Live video is expected to grow to 13% of internet video traffic by 2021. So not only visual, but video is something marketers, agencies and brands need to embrace.

Infographics

Infographics are another great visual tool and have become a mainstay in marketing today. According to a recent infographic on visual content statistics by Venngage, 41.5% of marketers stated that from types of visual content used, infographics and other original graphics had the highest engagement. Infographics are an ideal tool to present data and statistics whether in a static or animated infographic.

User-Generated Content

Another great new tactic used by companies and marketers comes in the form of user-generated content. User-generated content (UGC) builds trust by providing a great way for brands to connect with their audience and customers. This builds brand recognition in a personalized and trustworthy approach.

Consumers today are highly skeptical regarding advertising. And user-generated content solves the trust issue by helping customers and fans to become your company’s very own social and mobile army of brand advocates. User-generated content comes in any form of content that has been created by customers or fans. This includes photos, images, videos, feedback, testimonials, reviews, blog posts, and more. The consumer-oriented and personalized aspect of using user-generated content makes this an important part of your marketing and content campaigns.

Visual Content Engages

“Today, consumers engage with visual content more than any other content. Social networks are rewarding users for posting visual content, as keeping consumers engaged on their site is a business priority. Use this to your advantage.” Says Juntae DeLane, digital branding expert and Founder of Digital Branding Institute. See more from Juntae DeLane @juntaedelane.

With visual marketing it is necessary to have the skills and tools necessary to create and use quality visuals, images and infographics. Never fear. There are many great, affordable and easy-to-use tools available for creating the many different types of visual content. Some of these tools include: Canva, Animoto, Venngage, Stencil, Pixabay, Giphy. And there are many more. Please note, the images and video used in this article all came from the above listed and other visual tools. (Watch out for our story on visual marketing tools coming later this year)

Takeaways

Okay, Okay so you likely are not using rotary dial phones, fax machines or paperboard advertising for marketing today. But in the fast-paced Mobile, Social, Digital world, to keep up with the times and stay ahead of your competition, you have to increase use of visuals in content and marketing campaigns.

The bottom line is this: Visual Content boasts a higher return with engagement, social shares, sales and revenue. Eye-catching graphics, photos and videos have taken over as the best and most popular way to reach and engage your audience and customers. According to Statista, Instagram has 700 million users as of April 2017, and these are numbers you want to get your brand in front of. With visual marketing, you are either increasing use of visuals, or being left behind in a text-based cloud of dust by your competition.

 

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts on visual content and visual marketing? We would love to hear your comments on the tactics, tools and types of visual content you prefer and why. So please let us know!

 

Source of Images and Videos:
https://pixabay.com/en/meeting-lecture-photo-course-group-2042937/
https://freephotos.cc/rotary-dial-phone#163008
https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-iphone-smartphone-typing-40552/
https://tenor.com/view/true-gif-9399457
https://pixabay.com/en/wooden-camera-field-vintage-retro-2510933/
https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-beautiful-elegant-eyewear-291762/

http://gph.is/2u0PwrF 

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James Malone

PR, Media, Social Media and Content Creation for over 19 years leading highly successful marcom programs. Entrepreneur and co-founder of tech startup.

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