There are three trends I learned last week that should fundamentally reshape your marketing strategy right now.

Last week I attended Social Media Camp, the national Social Media conference held in Victoria, B.C. each year. There, Social Media (or “social” as the in-crowd calls it) gurus from around the world gathered to discuss the latest and greatest technology, trends and marketplace responses in an attempt to get in front of this fast changing beast.

I’ll produce several blogs on what I learned, but today I want to focus on three things I heard that aren’t exclusive to social media and in fact, should cause you to rethink and rebuild your entire marketing strategy to better align it with the changing world around you.

Tip #1: Focus on images and video.  Presenter after presenter all stated the same prediction: that within three years, 90% of the most viewed internet content will be images and video, not words.  Sites like Instagram and Snapchat are experiencing some of the highest traffic on the internet.  In fact, Snapchat has over 10 billion users. We have much shorter attention spans than ever before.  We need access to information quickly, in a form that’s easy to digest.  Don’t believe me?  Youtube now far surpasses Facebook for time spent on the platforms.  It’s also the second largest search engine in the world – right behind Google. In the future if you want to get your story out, think about how you can do it with pictures and video.

Tip #2: Design for mobile first. 45% of homes in the US have no landlines.  Over 50% of websites are now accessed through mobile.  That number will only climb.  Amazon recently spent $1 billion purchasing a product called “Twitch” which allows viewers to watch others play video games.  They didn’t buy it for that: they will use it to create a network of videos (arts, how to, etc.) that people can watch on their mobiles.  Mobile is getting even easier to use: you don’t turn on the new smart phones, you voice activate them.  Your desktop and your laptop are now accessories to your smart phone, not the other way around. A mobile responsive website design no longer cuts it. Design your site for mobile first.

Tip #3: Have a plan. Odd coming from me, I know : )  The presenters were focussed on having a social media plan, but I would broaden that, given the tips above.  The world is significantly changing for us in the marketing world.  We know that the best way to effectively navigate change is to determine our goals, and plot a pathway to achieving them.  This is particularly true for expensive areas, and I’d include marketing and technology in that category. Winging it no longer works. Depending on the continued success of time-proven businesses no longer works.  Don’t believe me? As one presenter pointed out, 70% of Fortune companies are new within the past decade. We used to be called the age of information.  But from a marketing perspective, we’re now in the age of efficiency.  We’re wearing technology (i.e. Fitbit).  We’re streaming and downloading instead of buying the physical copy (i.e. iTunes and Netflix).  We’re borrowing instead of buying (i.e. Car to Go, bike-share city programs).  We decide who to date based on a photo and a few words (Tinder).  This is the world your clients and targets live in. If their subsequent internet experience with you is “old fashion” in comparison, they might not hang around long enough to actually meet you.  In fact, the percentage of purchase decisions made without ever speaking to a member of an organization, from just looking at their content on the website, is rapidly rising.  As one presenter said, “The user is further ahead than you are.  You need to meet them where they are.”

I’ll close with words of wisdom from Mitch Joel, President of Mirum and considered one of the top 100 social media marketers in the world. While his comments were focussed on social media, I believe they are valid for anyone who is considering how these changes might affect our entire marketing strategy:

“To transform (social) marketing, the company has to transform. It happens from within, then visually shows and proves itself to the world…We may feel that social media is this big learning curve and hassle, but clients don’t see it that way.  They just use the technology.”