With more than one-fourth of 2017 over, many businesses feel pressured to achieve the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year. Next year’s resolutions are months away, but there are still changes happening this year that will heavily influence the practice of marketing in years to come. Here are some of the biggest trends on the horizon that stand to change the way businesses reach consumers.
Video has already become an integral part of marketing for many businesses. The clear majority of businesses have reported plans to increase their spending on video-based marketing in 2017, and that will likely continue going into 2018. Live video has been touted as the big game changer this year, with YouTube and Facebook encouraging members to go live. Some businesses are using Periscope to reach consumers who are looking for live videos to view.
Experts often tout machine learning as the future of business marketing, but the future starts now. In 2017, marketers will invest heavily in tools that use machine learning to provide increasingly accurate leads. Instead of blindly marketing to a database of contacts, businesses will have a list of people who are likely to convert, with the results changing over time as the software monitors customer interactions with a brand.
Like machine learning, predictive analytics can inform a business’s marketing efforts, offering an edge over the competition. Software uses variables to predict future behavior, which can come in handy for those trying to plan a marketing campaign. Predictive analytics can be used to predict customer needs, applying the data businesses are already collecting to help them grow.
Businesses spend a great deal of time and effort creating and sharing content with their networks. However, if customers aren’t engaging with those posts, they’re a wasted effort. Interactive content like quizzes and polls are a great way to capture customer attention to subtly get a message across. Successful brands will learn to use interactive content to engage customers while also learning more about them.
Director of Digital Marketing for CreativeOne, Clifford Blodgett says, “We use interactive content to engage and educate our customers while collecting data like email addresses, phone numbers, and financial details in a less obtrusive way.”
At the start of the year, business owners already realized the importance of user experience when it came to their website and products. But many are ready to take their usability audits to the next step. User experience expands well beyond a website or product design, encompassing every interaction a customer has with a brand. When someone calls for more information, can they easily get the information they need or are they sent in circles by confusing phone menus? If you create blog posts or articles as part of your content marketing strategy, consider whether the information is useful to customers, rather than merely serving to market your offerings. When you consider everything from the customer’s perspective, everyone wins.
Business leaders now realize it isn’t enough to promote the products or services they’re selling. Customers want to invest in a brand, which includes the people behind the scenes. This is especially true of leaders, whose background and dedication to their mission can help form an unbreakable bond with customers. Executive branding will continue to grow in 2017 and become an integral part of every marketing campaign businesses design.
Just as businesses know that they need to help customers get to know their leadership team, they also realize the importance of communicating their brand culture to customers. If you make it clear what your brand stands for, you’ll attract the workers and customers who match your ideology. The key is to first identify what a business’s brand culture should be and then include messaging that helps convey that to audiences.
Spam is a brand reputation killer. Businesses that are still relying on one-size-fits-all messaging to their customers will find they’re getting poor results in 2017. Their competitors are delivering customized marketing messages to consumers, sending offers and announcements that they’re likely to be interested in. Permission marketing relies heavily on analytics to gather data on customers and create marketing campaigns that speak to their interests.
Businesses still have plenty of time to take their marketing to the next level in 2017. With so many tools available to help, even small businesses can use the latest technology to create marketing campaigns that get results.