Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017, and 365 new opportunities to market your business, define your brand and expand your reach. Is your marketing strategy prepared for the year ahead?
Don’t let your business get lost in the shuffle. Utilizing the top marketing trends will give you an edge over the competition and help you to make the biggest impact, reach out to your target audience and build a firm foundation for your business in 2017.
The marketing industry never slows down, and it’s dominated by businesses that have the initiative to plan ahead, take risks, and anticipate change.
Even though data is making it somewhat easier to target consumers, discerning and understanding which methods are most valuable for your business can be challenging. It’s often difficult to stay focused on both your immediate and long term marketing goals while also trying simultaneously to wade through the waters of everyday business life.
That’s why it’s important to not only familiarize yourself with popular marketing trends, but to also work with a reputable and trustworthy marketing partner who can help you decide which trends would be most beneficial for your business specifically.
One thing is certain: in 2017, communication is key, and everything begins and ends with consumer experience. There are some things that consumers will be looking for this year, particularly when it comes to business marketing efforts. Regardless of the marketing trends you choose to take advantage of this year, here are a few things that your target audience members will definitely be looking out for.
- Customer experience. Every single customer matters, regardless of how much or little they spend with you. This is the year to hone your efforts and focus all of your energy on customer experience and satisfaction. With so many options available for just about every industry under the sun, the way to gain customers and keep them is to make them feel like they are valued and respected. You could have the best marketing strategy, the best deals and the best products and services in the world, but if you don’t focus first on customer experience, your customers will seek those things elsewhere, even if it means they have to pay more for them.
- Personalized, consistent involvement. These days, personalization means so much more than just knowing someone’s first name. Consumers not only desire but expect their world to revolve around them and their needs. Big name brands like Coca-cola, Disney, Netflix and Amazon have set the bar high. This means that involvement with consumers is no longer a one-size-fits-all formula, but a fundamental commitment to excellence and quality, not only in person and across all web and social media platforms, but in every other channel that has the potential to influence the overall customer experience.
- Better videos...and more of them. It’s no secret that in 2017, video will reign supreme. In fact, it’s estimated that 74 percent of all web traffic this year will be video, so it stands to reason that businesses that fail to incorporate them will be left behind.
- Social Media engagement. It is becoming more obvious that social media is no longer a simple marketing channel used to sell products and services, but a platform to increase customer engagement and heighten overall consumer experience. 2017 is the year to move away from advertising and hard selling through social media and move more toward focusing on engaging your audience, both collectively and individually.
- Dense content. Consumer attention spans have steadily declined, and people have grown more impatient and demanding as technology has progressed. Because the majority of people scroll through endless streams of posts, articles and advertisements every single day on social media, they typically only scan and skim rather than actually reading. That’s why Sujan Patel, growth marketer and entrepreneur, says, “In 2017, content will get shorter, sweeter, more unique, and punchy.” This year, make every word count, because most people probably won’t be reading them all anyway.
So now that you know what your customers are expecting of you this year, what are the top marketing trends to utilize in 2017?
- Content Marketing- Content marketing is simply consistently creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to a clearly defined target audience for the purpose of driving consumer actions. This could be through rich text on web pages, through engaging and educational blog posts, through specific and unique landing pages, and much more. 40 percent of businesses in 2016 were using the strategic approach to content marketing, and that number is expected to continue to rise this year. When and if you get it right, content marketing has the potential to fuel many inbound marketing techniques, including SEO, social media and email marketing. In fact, content marketing is the top-rated technique for driving incremental sales.
- Mobile Marketing- Mobile undoubtedly has one of the largest impacts on search marketing. To take a page from Google’s marketing playbook, you should always live by a “Mobile first” mantra. With more and more web users turning to their mobile devices for searching as well as social media engagement, it is absolutely crucial to have an adaptive, responsive mobile design to optimise user experience and conversion rates. Mobile marketing is best when incorporated as an integral part of a multi-platform strategy, striving to make finding your business, products and services not only possible, but simple, smooth and consistent from virtually any device.
- Social Media Marketing- This seems like a no brainer, but is definitely still worth mentioning. Social media is the place to be--hands down. If you’re not incorporating at least one social media platform into your overall marketing strategy, chances are, you’re not reaching your audience, or for that matter, your potential. Research shows continued growth for social media usage overall, and an increase in popularity for lesser-used platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest in 2017. Social media users are starting to demand an even more engaging and vicarious experience, especially with the onset of 360 degree images, live video and real-time posting.
However, using social media incorrectly is just as bad for your business as not using it at all. Don’t just use social media platforms to blast generic content that your audience will most likely ignore. Use it to send unique, personalized messages, start real conversations and engage with your customers right where they are.
In addition, you can expect to see an increase in paid social advertising. Because social media use has steadily continued to increase and users are expecting a more personalized experience tailored to fit their specific needs, it is becoming more difficult to achieve results from organic social traffic alone. In fact, in 2016, Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritize posts shared by family members and close friends making it harder for posts from companies and brands to be seen by users. This means that if you want your posts to be seen by your target audience members, you will have to incorporate paid social media advertising into your marketing strategy. It is predicted that, in 2017, marketers will spend up to $35 billion on social media advertising.
- Email Marketing- Because social media platforms have started changing to adapt to current trends, businesses--especially small- and medium-sized businesses--have lost some element of control over what they can share and communicate with fans and followers. Because of this, email marketing has spiked and become a vital resource for communicating with your target market. In 2017, email marketing has emerged as one of the most critical ways to grow and nurture an audience.
- Video Marketing- Social media has paved the way, and now consumers are beginning to demand relevant, in-the-moment content that gives them a window into everything they want to know. Especially with live video updates on Facebook and personal, minute-to-minute posts via Instagram and Snapchat, consumers have come to expect more video content every day. For example, this year’s Presidential debate was streamed live online for the very first time, drawing in millions of viewers. Marketers agree that videos bring the highest level of Return on Investment (ROI), and businesses that incorporate video into their marketing strategy grow revenue 49% faster than those that don’t.
- More intense audience segmenting- 2017 will bring new, unique ways to segment and reach out to target audiences with messages that are catered specifically to them. With social media engagement increasing, people are sharing more personal information about themselves every day, giving businesses new opportunities to find out who in their target audience is an authentic lead or potential customer based on a number of factors, including interests, cultural values, lifestyle characteristics, consumer attitudes and purchasing trends. All of these things have clear action implications, opening new doors for businesses and brands to market to specific people that have the highest probability for purchase.
While there are several other marketing trends for 2017 that you should pay attention to, like SEO, paid search and display advertising, these top trends are a great place to start a well-rounded marketing strategy for your business. Regardless of which marketing trends and tools you want to incorporate, having an experienced marketing partner is the best way to integrate each platform and make sure all of the pieces come together seamlessly. Contact the experts at Splash Omnimedia today to find out how we can help you create a fully integrated, cross-platform marketing campaign to make 2017 your best year yet.