Samantha Brannon


Many industries were late arrivals to the content marketing scene. Not long ago, it was widely believed that content marketing was for sellers of energy drinks, toys, vacations, electronics, snack foods, and other ‘fun’ or ‘sexy’ industries. Marketers in practical or ‘boring’ industries often sat out. Fortunately, we now know that this is not true. Not only is it possible to create amazing content for any industry, but it is also possible to establish a powerful social media presence and create great customer engagement. Waste is no exception.

The challenge is that many companies in this space are still playing a bit of content marketing catch up. That is a shame because digital marketing is one area where staying on top of the latest trends is absolutely imperative. Now that 2019 is well underway, it is time to identify the emerging trends. Then, we will detail some ways to apply these trends to your waste business.

Trend 1: Chatbots Benefitting Both Businesses and Their Customers
Chatbots have emerged as an amazing digital marketing tool. These bots can be implemented to provide customers with amazing online experiences while allowing you to focus your live support agents on the cases where they are really needed.

What is so great about chatbots? First, many customers prefer them. In fact, 69% prefer them when they have a quick question to ask, or need just a bit of information. Nobody needs to wait in a queue to speak to a chatbot, and chatbots have access to a customer’s order history, preferences, etc.

Think of all of the questions and concerns that a waste industry customer may have:

  • Will there be trash pick up the day of a holiday?
  • Will my local recycling center take glass bottles?
  • How do I schedule a special collection?
  • What does this line item on my bill mean?
  • I want to switch to online billing. How do I do that?

Not only can chatbots provide these options, but they can also even recommend services, and automate the ordering process right from the chat session.

Trend 2: Using Video as a Powerful Marketing Tool
If you think people are not going to watch videos on waste management topics, think again. Now more than ever, the general public cares about topics such as:

  • Recycling initiatives
  • Reducing food waste
  • Protecting waterways from the impacts of plastics and other wastes
  • Zero waste efforts
  • Converting waste into building materials and other goods
  • The impact of good waste management practices on emerging nations
  • What waste companies are doing to help the environment

Businesses in the waste industry are stepping up and playing a very important role in making the planet more habitable for humans, animals, and plants. Videos can be used as a great tool for educating people on these topics.

Screenshot source: wastemanagement/YouTube

Waste Management Inc., arguably the largest waste firm in the world, has a YouTube channel with more than 7K subscribers. There they feature videos on recycling 101, Waste industry predictions and thought leadership, and corporate responsibility.

Video marketing can be used to build trust, educate customers about various products and services, and communicate your brand’s message to a wide audience. Jared Michelson, office and facilities manager at 99 Homework Help says, “We receive frequent inquiries from customers and potential employees about our recycling and waste reduction efforts. Now more than ever, corporate social responsibility in these areas is a priority to consumers. Thanks to videos produced by our waste management provider, we have been able to apply some best practices to eliminate much of the waste we produce.”

Trend 3: Reaching Out with Messaging Apps
There is no doubt that e-mail marketing is effective, but it has its limits. First, it is very easy for e-mail marketing to become intrusive. It is also a very delayed method of engaging with customers. E-mails are only seen when the customer decides to check their inboxes. That means it is not an ideal mechanism for a brief, up to the moment communications.

Messaging is a great tool for filling in the gaps that email marketing leaves. It allows you to reach out to customers, through their devices, with the information they can access immediately. For example, you can use a messenger app to send customers reminders about an upcoming bulk pickup or announce a weather-related service delay. 

Trend 4: Overcoming Content Saturation
Content saturation is a real phenomenon. People are simply inundated with marketing content to the extent that they just block it out. That means it takes a lot of effort to create the kind of content that actually engages people. To overcome content saturation, businesses must produce highly visual content that is very well-written, and that is relevant to their target audience.

Waste industry companies must be able to identify trending topics and understand their audience members’ needs. This means using tools like Buzz SumoGoogle Trends, and AHREFS to identify trending topics and keywords. Next is ensuring that content is professionally written, contains high-quality visuals, and optimized for search by using tools and services such as Canva and Best UK Writers. Finally, content must be impeccably edited and vetted for writing quality and accuracy. This can be accomplished by using resources such as GrammarlyFly Writing, and Journalist’s Resource.

Trend 5: Maximizing User-Generated Content
User-generated content consists of videos, images, stories, and other content created by consumers and shared with brands as well as other consumers. It is an undeniably powerful tool with user-generated content getting 28% more engagement than another branded social media content. User-generated content can help boost your brand’s credibility and improve your relationship with your audience.