Every time you turn around, there's something new in digital marketing. We have access to more tools than ever to learn about our prospects, reach out to them and offer them exactly the deal that'll make them say yes. This year, we see technology continue to amplify smart marketers' efforts.
Here are a few of the top marketing trends to study to make sure your brand's a winner:
Marketing automation refers to an array of tools you can use to streamline your marketing process. About half of all brands are now using at least some automation in their marketing. This can include anything from drip email campaigns that start once an someone has shared their email address with you, to cookies and scripts that show different offers and dynamic content each time a shopper visits your site. As counterintuitive as it sounds, the more marketing you have automated, the more potential for you to personalize your shopper's experience.
A little more than nine out of every 10 people say that they trust recommendations that come from other people more than they trust a brand's claims. And, that person does not have to be someone who they know personally; well-known online influencers can also bring you new clients. Research says people find influencers over 87% as trustworthy as they find friends and family (and 100% less likely to show up unannounced). Fifty-one percent of marketers say that influencers bring them better clients; this is because the relationship starts with the influencer, who is someone your prospect trusts.
Social Media Marketing
Wasn't this the buzzword of 2012? Even if it was, it's still an important trend in 2017. Some form of social media is used by about 2.3 billion people. And, 90% of those in that coveted 18 to 29 demographic use at least one network. Since a majority of people use social media in their purchasing decisions, it's important for your brand to be present and engaged on the sites that your audience is likely to use. In the B2B realm, LinkedIn remains king. Facebook is the place to target Gen Xers and Boomers. The younger demographics tend to be found on Snapchat and Instagram.
While all the mavens once said that SEO is dead, she's still got plenty of life in her. Around 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. This part is not likely to change soon. What is changing is what will get you to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). With new content, don't worry so much about exact keywords. Search engines are smarter now and more focused on a searcher's intent.
Video's been a big deal for a couple of years, but this is the year that you have to optimize for mobile video. As Snapchat started its meteoric growth back in 2015, they did something different: their video stories were set to run vertically on a mobile phone screen instead of making the user turn their phone on its side. With more and more people going online on their phones instead of their computers at home, successful marketers will present their content in the ways that these users like best.
This is the biggie. Artificial intelligence (AI) is hard to define, but for marketers it encompasses "automation, machine learning and optimization." And it's revolutionary. No one has quite mastered it yet, but there are some giants dropping serious cash on it to race ahead: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Tesla. While none of these brand names are surprising leaders in this field, the potential for this movement to change all brands is compelling. For those who are leery, this field will continue to evolve and improve. We see lots of potential for brands to use AI technology for customer service via chatbot, or for algorithms to forecast a shopper's taste even before they shopper knows what they're looking for. Keep your ears open for the best technologies, and be ready for when it's time to capitalize on AI for your brand.
It can feel exhausting to keep up with every marketing trend. The good news is that we self-proclaimed marketing nerds at Catalyst Marketing Agency live and breathe this stuff. Let us help you ensure that your brand is always at the cutting edge of what works and stays on top of the trends that will give you a competitive edge.