A client recently asked us to reflect on the most noteworthy marketing trends from 2017; here's what we shared.
First things first: content marketing is really about CONTENT. Too often, clients look for quantity over quality. Beating your audience over the head with content that’s just a product pitch or a thinly veiled plea for business isn’t going to work. In the modern digital marketing landscape, content is king, and only quality content will succeed.
The trends we’ve seen growing and producing in 2017 are varied, but the real shining stars are influencers, native ads, automation, and tech/tools.
Social media is fully embedded in our daily lives, so we won’t discuss its importance. So what takes social media to the next level in a world where most people check Facebook or Twitter before they take their first sip of coffee?
Influencers are the key to driving quality social media content. Interacting organically with folks who have extensive, engaged followers serves not only to broaden your audience, but to also give it depth from invaluable data. It also naturally bolsters thought leadership; if someone’s favorite social media personality interacts with a brand, they are far more likely to trust that brand.
To put it simply, native ads really put the “content” in content marketing. Native ads are the frontline of personas, and they make sure that the right content reaches the right audience member. It really helps open a great conversation between buyers and sellers by naturally fitting appropriate advertising into content that appeals to consumers. The use of native advertising is continually rising, and eMarketer reports that native ads are not slowing down anytime soon:
We’ve all received emails that call us out by first name, but then aren’t really relevant to us. It’s a nice thought, but personalization is on the rise—and readers are on to us. They are fully aware that the CEO of an organization isn’t writing them a personal email. So don’t try to trick them; work with them.
When done right, personalization can be an amazing tool for marketers. It’s important to really dig into personas first and ensure that you have a grasp of what your target audience is looking for. From there, personalization is all about data. Just getting a first name and email isn’t good enough anymore. Find ways to gather in-depth data about your audiences and use that information to say “hey, we know you and we know what you like.” Use personalization to gain trust, not to manipulate your audience.
Automation is the angel and devil of our modern workforce. We all want to ensure that we have happy employees as well as happy consumers. It’s important to automate certain parts of the marketing process, as it eases the burden on employees while ensuring that audiences receive consistent, relevant marketing. However, when done wrong, automation can completely destroy an audience. Be sure that when you automate emails and social media posts, you’re constantly checking and updating them to keep them fresh, relevant, and accurate. No one wants an email confirming a purchase from last month!
Advanis published a great study that’s going to be really useful for marketers heading into 2018, which analyzes the things that annoy consumers the most:
This confirms most of what we’ve discussed, and points to a final important point: balance. Avoid going completely wild in one direction, and don’t change tactics abruptly. Create a strategy that spreads out your efforts without overwhelming consumers.
We hope this provides some insight, and we wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018!