Now that 2017 has arrived, it’s important to stay abreast of ever-changing marketing, branding, and customer experience best practices. Although predictions abound online, many focus on large companies and enterprises. So, I did a bit of research for you and put together a list of 10 marketing predictions that can apply to any-sized organization, especially small-medium businesses or nonprofit organizations.
Brands will get more creative with content marketing format.
(by Joei Chan, Convince & Convert blog)
Content marketing has mainly been about blogging, ebooks, and other written content types that generate email subscribers. These strategies continue to prevail, but brands will need to be more creative with their content’s formats to break through the noise.
Visual content will become more important as search engines get better at reading and analyzing images to determine what your website is about. More gifs—yay!
Brands will choose social platforms according to survival of the fittest.
(by Jayson DeMers, Forbes)
Every year, new social media platforms emerge to try and disrupt the status quo or find their place among the heavy-hitters of the social media world. But obviously, entrepreneurs and marketers can’t jump on every single platform that comes along.
Instead, in 2017, we’ll see more of a trend toward refinement; rather than spending equal effort on five different platforms, more businesses will find one platform that works especially well for them, and narrow their focus on it. As a result, we may see greater stratification between the major platforms of our era.
These are some of the most important trends I forecast for social media in 2017. It’s going to remain a strong branch for any content or SEO strategy, and is a must-have for any business attempting to market themselves on a frugal budget.
There will be a revolution in email design.
(by Matthew Smith, Campaign Monitor)
I wholeheartedly believe that flexible email design systems are going to be the foundational change in how email is created in the next wave of innovation in our industry. Designers, developers, and content creators will work together to develop the systems they want to use in their campaigns, or email service providers will deviate from their code first stance and provide sets of modular templates with meaningful content components.
Fewer decisions and less time will be needed in the design of emails so the focus will shift to creating more meaningful content rather than the headache of constantly designing and creating the “container.”
Expect more adoption of sophisticated marketing measurement by small to mid-sized businesses.
(by Bill Muller, Chief Marketer)
In today’s data-driven and hyper-accountable world, companies of all sizes are realizing that adopting more advanced measurement techniques has become vital to optimize spending. In 2017, expect more small to mid-sized businesses to adopt more sophisticated marketing measurement approaches to help understand the complex customer journey and determine how to best allocate budgets across channels, tactics and campaigns.
Mobile will 100% dominate desktop.
(by Dr. Som Singh, Entrepreneur)
Without a doubt 2016 was massive for mobile and we’ve seen how Google practically phased-out all websites not optimized for mobile.
The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices and fading desktops clearly indicates that mobile is going to be the money making machine in the near future and marketers should focus on mobile focused internet marketing. Mobile search and optimization should be your top priority in 2017.
And, for nonprofits:
Use Mobile Technology to Simplify Donations
(by Forbes Nonprofit Council, Forbes)
Mobile is a favorite of our donors, just as it is for many people when they are looking to communicate and participate with others. That’s why we plan on using more mobile communication, particularly with emails that now tend to be opened more often on a smartphone or tablet versus anywhere else.
We are also planning on taking advantage of integrating a payment button directly into our emails to increase donations. This idea may be taken a step further, as another new trend is accepting payments through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
Combined with a greater use of mobile wallets among our donors, we believe 2017 may deliver increased donations if we leverage all this technology and offer it so the ease of use stimulates the willingness to give more money more often.
Use of storytelling will attract prospects and keep loyal customers.
(by Julie Chomiak, SocialMediaToday)
A longstanding principle of good writing is to show, not tell. Descriptive language crafts a scene the reader can envision, and enables them to visualize the idea and story you’re trying to convey. It becomes an interactive experience rather than passive consumption.
Now more than ever, using storytelling to attract your prospective clients and keep loyal customers is required of brands.
Think about what your business is trying to achieve with specific campaigns, then frame the message from the customer’s perspective. Customers are more savvy and don’t want harsh advertisements that bark orders and calls to action.
Instead, weave a tale that pulls them along your brand journey in a subtle way. Create a story that requires multiple Instagram posts that followers must revisit to see the entire campaign unfold. This is what consumers will demand from businesses in 2017.
Marketers need to address trust issues.
(by Jennifer Putney, interviewed in CMO)
Marketers in 2017 will need to address trust issues directly and work to win consumer trust in every interaction. Marketers will need to push transparency and clarity in their interactions and connect much more directly with consumers now.
It’s going to be much more direct to the individual. It’s going to be about creating that direct connection and trust with the individual on a much more personal level.
Marketers will go back to basics and start with the customer.
(by James Moir, Marketing Week)
With so many options now available to brands, marketing resources can become stretched trying to cover all bases and many will be taking stock and making sure all their efforts are being focused in the right areas. It needs to start with the customer.
It’s all too easy to lose sight of this so heading into 2017 marketers should be going back to basics, asking the fundamental questions, gathering information and using these insights to build customer-centric strategies from the ground up.
Understanding who a customer is, how they live and how they want to be contacted will allow marketers to devise strategies that resonate. By their very nature, they’ll be multichannel, but the channels used may well prove to be more selective rather than all encompassing.
Marketers need to ask for customer feedback.
(by Nigel Shanahan, engage employee)
When customers have an experience with a brand, whether it’s good or bad, they’ll talk about it – but will they talk to the brand about it? It’s down to the brands to ensure that they do and that’s what we mean by ‘the moments that matter.’
Giving them an outlet to feedback at just the right time is what will give brands the edge when it comes to customer experience. Brands need to be asking immediately—or as close to immediately as they feasibly can—because that’s when people are most emotionally engaged with the situation and can recall their experience most accurately.
Capturing feedback straight after a transaction or interaction has occurred is becoming more and more important, and this is especially so as we head into 2017. This could be a telephone conversation with a contact center, a web chat, a parcel delivery, airport check-in, a purchase on a website or buying insurance – the list goes on and on. Whatever it is, what matters is that the request for feedback is in the moment, and should any of that feedback be negative, it is acted on immediately.
Brands that want to connect with their target audience will use video.
(by Brenda Stokes Barron, envato blog)
More and more people opt for watching videos instead of reading blog posts. Brands that want to connect with their target audience should take advantage of this and produce content that builds brand awareness, shares their message, and otherwise engages their customer base.
A video is an excellent way to showcase your product or to promote your services. You can also use it to feature your employees, provide quick tips for your audience, and even interview industry influencers. And when it comes to sharing videos, there is no shortage of platforms. YouTube and Snapchat are both big players here, with Snapchat catering specifically to mobile users.
Facebook native videos shouldn’t be ignored either as videos consistently outperform any other type of content. Facebook even posted their own set of helpful tips for content creators and brands when they noted that video increased by 3.6x.
If you’re serious about your marketing, consider repurposing your existing content into video to capitalize on this trend.
A key point to remember is that your small-medium business or nonprofit cannot do it all. With its limited marketing budget, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy first and then select the tactics that give it the best chances to connect with prospects and customers.
Marketing is fluid. Staying on top of trends and research plus garnering your customers’ feedback and recommendations can help your biz or org succeed in 2017.