Marketing is a highly creative field. Like any creative field, it constantly evolves, shifts, grows, and pivots. But as we look to the future, what are the expectations?
Evolving Trends of Modern Marketing
Do evolving marketing trends affect the way customers interact with brands, or do customers’ brand interactions influence the direction of marketing? This question is a lot like contemplating whether the chicken or the egg comes first – it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that strategies and trends are evolving. In 2018 and the coming years, expect to see a lot of the following:
- The Rise of Influencers
“Influencer marketing” has become a popular phrase over the last couple of years, but what is it, and what should brands expect moving forward?
As marketing expert Adrian Land explains, the term influencer “usually refers to an online persona with a large, engaged and active following. This persona will most often have found success through social channels and/or blogging, but is essentially any individual who has the undivided attention of their audience, and can influence consumer behaviour.”
Influencers are valuable because they’re seen as relevant, authoritative, and relatable. As opposed to having a brand spout off the specs of a new product, an influencer can leverage the relational equity he’s built over the years to influence his audience to take action.
The secret to success with influencer marketing is to choose the right influencer. You want someone who is already speaking to your audience and is using platforms that you’re currently underutilizing. YouTube and Instagram are two of the most popular platforms.
- The Rebound of Offline Marketing
As the rise of the internet and social media has captivated brands, many marketers have focused all their attention on online and digital marketing. But brands are starting to understand that the customer journey isn’t linear, which will produce a rebound effect offline.
As magnetic as online marketing methods can be, there’s something equally powerful about the tangibility of offline marketing methods. Take a printed booklet – like one you’d see at a trade show or in a waiting room – as an example. Being able to touch, feel, and even smell the vibrant pages of a booklet captivates the senses and forges a stronger connection between brand and customer.
Whether it’s booklets, billboards, local print advertisements, or in-store displays, offline marketing is about to experience a resurgence that complements (rather than takes away from) online strategies.
- Greater Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is prepared to take major steps forward in the coming months, and personalized content recommendations are something you should keep an eye on.
“Digital companies like Amazon and Netflix have demonstrated how powerful personalized content can be when it comes to engaging audiences,” marketer Brian Wallace points out. “Marketing automation technology already allows marketers to offer personalized content to website visitors, and in 2018 that practice will expand as new marketing automation tools make sharing personalized content easier and more effective.”
The more brands are able to drill down and focus on sub-segments of an audience, the more effective their content strategies will be. Automation platforms, in and of themselves, won’t make this happen – but they certainly make it easier for informed brands to strategically reach the right people with the right content.
- Continued Shift Towards Video
You’d have to be totally out of the loop not to recognize the power and influence of video as a content medium, but we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg.
“Video is here to stay, and you won’t be able to compete without it. Facebook and other ad platforms are showing preferences on organic and paid placements because the engagement rates are higher with video content,” says Brian Rauschenbach, head of industry at Add3. “Hire a video agency, tell your story, and let consumers fall in love with your brand.”
It’s not enough to invest in one or two videos per year. Brands need to be creating regular content and disseminating it via different platforms. Many companies find success splitting longer video content up into individual 15-60-second clips that can be easily shared via platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram.
- Publishing Platforms Gain More Power
In the coming months, don’t be surprised to see a change in how businesses approach marketing.
“Creative energy will see a shift away from agencies and towards publishers and platforms,” says Spencer Baim, chief strategic officer for Vice Media. “An increasing number of the brightest creative minds will abandon standalone agencies for creative divisions of media companies and tech companies, and in turn, these will become the go-to shops for best-in-class brand services.”
Establishing connections with high-authority publishing platforms will be just as important as building relationships with influencers. Doing both will make your brand a powerful force to be reckoned with.
As a brand, you don’t have to embrace all these trends now. You do, however, have to be aware that they exist in order to position your brand for future success. And if there’s one characteristic you want to embrace, it’s agility. An agile brand can quickly adapt to evolving trends in order to make the most of them. If you can do this, you’ll be just fine.