Yes, it’s that time of year again, when marketing experts share their insights and predictions for the new year. To save you some time scouring the Internet for the top trends, I’ve done the work for you.
Live Video Streaming
“If you weren’t using live video to interact with your customers in 2017, it needs to be a priority for you in 2018. Studies suggest 80% of consumers prefer watching a live video from a brand as opposed to reading a blog…
You’ll be able to communicate and get feedback from customers in real time. Plus, it’s not like your live video is gone forever once you stop streaming. You can save those videos and repurpose that content in the future.”
Neil Patel, New York Times best-selling author
“While Twitter struggles, LinkedIn has made a number of great improvements to their platform. A site-wide revamp refreshed the LinkedIn user interface in 2017. The platform also saw good improvements to the LinkedIn ad platform. Thanks to these and other changes, B2B marketers will utilize LinkedIn more in the coming year.”
Deep Patel, Entrepreneur contributor
(Marketing/Customer Insight, Predictive Analytics)
“Big data will become more available to small- to mid-sized business owners. With more advertising platforms and marketing outreach methods incorporating big data into their usual infrastructure, it’s going to be hard to stay competitive if you aren’t tapping into the thousands of customer data points that are now available.”
Jayson DeMers, Entrepreneur contributor
Customer Experience Marketing
“Customer experience marketing is exactly what it sounds like – making sure the customer has a good experience when you market to them.
And, it’s gaining popularity; 68% of marketers say their business is increasingly focusing on customer experience in marketing.
Customer experience is hugely important. Customers see your business or brand as the sum of experiences they’ve had with you. This could be anything from in-store customer service to finding your local listing online or seeing one of your business’s ads on Facebook.”
Isabella Andersen, Social Media Today
Brands’ Perspective on Gender
“The need to squash outdated gender stereotypes in advertising is admittedly a trend that has been a few years in the making, but 2018 will see this movement accelerate as more brands get behind it.”
“The publishing frequency of top bloggers over the past few years has decreased while the average length of their pieces has increased. In other words, the best online writers have discovered that the winning formula is publishing fewer posts that are far more in-depth…
You need breakthrough content because simply getting people to click on your content isn’t enough. You have to capture their attention. You need to teach them something. You need to wow them. And when a story can do that, you need to make sure your target audience sees it…
Focus on creating breakthrough stories and invest more resources into distributing them to the right people—particularly through paid social.”
Joe Lazauskas, Contently
“Many brands are making use of influencers on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to promote their products to a large audience.
Brand partnerships are a great way to reach new users, and are often much more cost effective than generating new content yourself. To successfully implement a brand partnership at your company, focus on partnering with users who have a clear message and a large follower base, and who actively engage the community they post in. Brand partners often find innovative ways to get customers excited about products, and you can use their talent to your advantage.”
George Beall, Business2Community
“Consumers want to spend their money with companies who are turning around and giving a portion of their profits back to the community for the greater good. For many small companies, their entire image relies on their local, community-driven mission and the best way to prove that is to put your money where your mouth is – back into the community where you do business.
Philanthropy is an amazing way to grow your business by supporting your community. It’s also an easy bragging point in which you can bring in new consumers. Consumers trust companies that are not 100% greedy by keeping all profits to themselves. Investing in the community is a sure way to get positive interactions, press coverage and easy-to-write social media posts. It’s a win-win-win for all companies.”
Adam Heitzman, Inc. contributor
Direct Mail Marketing
“According to Trends and Future of Direct Mail through 2020, (PRIMIR Research) North American direct mail volume (excluding catalogs) declined from 93.1 billion pieces in 2008 to 77.9 billion pieces in 2014. But it’s planning a comeback!
Winterberry Group and DMA data indicate that U.S. direct mail spending and volume has slightly increased over the past two years as some mailers return to printed communications versus electronic alternatives. The PRIMIR report projects modest direct mail growth through 2020 due to a relatively stable economy and direct mail’s value in complementing digital marketing channels.
I believe that direct mail marketing – especially using variable data printing – will break through the advertising clutter as email volume becomes even more impossible to manage. It’s an excellent option as part of a multi-channel marketing approach.”
Elaine Fogel, Totally Uncorked on Marketing and author of Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success
Although there are many more predictions for the coming year, the best approach is NOT to do what experts tell you is the latest trend.
Develop your own marketing and branding strategy based on facts and information you glean from your own company or organization. That way, you’ll make optimal decisions targeted to your audiences based on your budget and resources. (Check out my book for help.)
To your marketing and branding success in 2018!