The Top 10 Trends Driving Marketing In 2017
Visibility is one aspect of marketing that won’t change—regardless of the year. Marketing before and after a digital transformation revolves around how customers see your business. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have some informed ideas about what to expect from marketing trends in 2017.
Focus is crucial—and that can be a challenge. The bigger the business, the more diverse the customer base. While data is making it easier to target consumers, it’s a massive undertaking to discern valuable information from the volume of data available. How do you stay focused, create conversations, and increase conversions? It’s a big question, but paying attention to what’s on the horizon can offer insights. Here are 10 trends that I predict for 2017.
1. Increased focus on customer experience. Customer experience is the heart of marketing for every industry. While it has always been a marketing focus, today’s businesses—at least the successful ones—have embraced customer-centric philosophies to create effective marketing strategies and positive digital transformations.
2. Engaged and effective measuring: analytics 2.0. Talk of measuring marketing has been on an endless loop lately. With confessions from Facebook and others about how their data doesn’t tell a complete story, what we do have is less than stellar. Now—and in the upcoming year—measurement will be done with purpose. Expect business objectives to tie back to profit, revenue, customer retention, and satisfaction.
3. Lean on the new marketing lieutenants: marketing technologists and data scientists. To make the first two trends on our list work, executives must be data-driven. As companies aim to connect email, social media, and paid, owned, and earned marketing strategies (among others), they must incorporate technology needed to implement and support it. Expect Chief Marketing Technologists to lead this initiative—studies show that four out of five enterprises do this already.
4. Personalized everything. As we work to individualize everything from Coca-Cola cans to shoes, mass customization has transitioned into personalization. For some businesses, this will mean ensuring touch points are specific and individual. For others, it’s simply streamlining the purchasing process and making it more responsive.
5. Better video content…and more of it. Yes, content is still king, but the kind of content that rules the web is changing. Social content, reviews, blogs, papers, and eBooks are all still crucial aspects of marketing, but video will be the rage moving forward. Considering the success of games like Pokémon Go, expect virtual and augmented reality to take us into the future. Brands that fail to incorporate visuals and videos will be left by the wayside.
6. More social media marketing. We need to change the way that we think about social media. Social media strategies should market less and sell more. Often, brands use social media to blast highly generic content—content that people are ignoring. Social media should be personalized too, and it’s not too hard to accomplish. Use social media for the frontline marketing of sales and services. Use it to engage with consumers, not blast messages.
7. Embrace the IoT. The Internet of Things has been in its infancy. In 2017, expect businesses to leverage the power of billions of connected devices—a marketer’s dream. Collecting and making that data useful, though, will be key. Beacons, sensors, edge devices, TVs, clothes, fitness brands, and more are all producing useful data, meaning more opportunities to get closer to the customer. Expect the IoT to transform how we leverage tech and data.
8. Chatbots and AI go mainstream. Providing positive customer experience and service means leveraging the power of technology. Asking locals for advice on where to eat is good, but they don’t know whether you like spicy food or have a gluten intolerance. Imagine a chatbot who knows your likes, dislikes, and needs and can guide you on where to eat, how to travel, or where to shop. Chatbots can use AI, deep learning, and data crumbs from across the web to understand and guide consumer behavior.
9. Right-time marketing instead of real-time marketing. Real-time marketing—with eyes out for opportunities to market and score—has been hot the last few years. Think of Oreo’s “Dunking in the Dark” campaign. As we now use data to isolate the best moment to connect with consumers, real-time should switch to right-time.
10. Prepare for marketing to own digital transformation campaigns. Many are suggesting that CMOs own digital transformation. I staunchly disagree. What CMOs should actually own is the digital transformation “campaign”—the process of showing the market and your teams that a company is transforming. Do this by clearly explaining how these trends, along with digital initiatives, affect consumer experience and how the company is executing it.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive; save room for the unpredictable and unprecedented. Given last year’s trends and what I see on the horizon, though, this is how we should be planning for the upcoming year.
What do you expect for 2017? I would love to hear your marketing trends prediction for the coming year.
For those of you that prefer a more visual interpretation, I have also created a nice little infographic for your viewing pleasure.