2017 is well under way, so what is leading the pack as far as marketing trends? As predicted, the biggest trends of 2017 will help marketers engage customers more directly by cutting through the noise. Marketers creating carefully coordinated campaigns and conversations, where brands and customers coalesce into a shared experience, increases their marketing reach.
Video (live or produced) connects immediately with the viewer, conveying emotion and a message that often is far more memorable than static words in a newsfeed. Cisco’s much-quoted prediction says that “over 80% of internet traffic will be video by 2020 and online video ad spend is expected to grow 31% next year”. Although the kinks are still being worked out, it’s clear that livestreaming will continue to push the boundaries of video and customer interaction.
The biggest takeaway so far from the AR/VR phenomenon is augmented reality’s ability to drive real business results. This has become a seriously viable option for marketers looking to merge the online world and the real world. YouTube already offers 360-degree video ads, with BMW and AT&T taking advantage of the format. Sony became the first brand to trial Snapchat’s 360-degree offering with an immersive video ad for its movie Don’t Breathe. By the end of 2017, this emerging technology will be considered the norm.
A mobile first strategy is not just about “optimizing” for mobile; it’s also about making sure that pieces of content get integrated with a user’s lifestyle on the go. One more interesting plateau was reached late last year; the cost of making a smart phone is now the same as making a dumb phone. The smart phone and tablet trend will only continue to grow, so think mobile first when you redo your website, not desktop or laptop.
Data and analytics have always been part of the digital marketing equation from day one. Understanding your data is mission-critical to both improving your performance and delivering greater value with all your digital channels. You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that in 2017 analytics is only going to become more important and influential, both in society and for marketers. The key to taking advantage of this will be in the tools. The tools are getting smarter and easier to use. The key to taking advantage of all this technology and data is in how it gets organized and structured. The data needs to be organized in a way that empowers the marketers to analyze, synthesize and make smarter decisions regarding their content, campaigns and user experiences.
And lastly, content marketing is still king as a strategic-marketing technique to create and distribute relevant information in order to attract a target audience. It’s all about the audience. It’s always been about the audience. From what content formats they prefer, to where they hang out online, to how much (or little) they trust our marketing. The technology around content marketing – the platforms, the formats, the strategies – exist solely to engage our audiences.