Happy New Year! As we tend to do each year at this time, we look forward to a new year — a clean slate and the opportunity to do better.
Part of doing better is knowing what to expect so that you can prepare. What will 2017 look like for marketers? What are the tea leaves telling us?
We’ve reviewed several articles on 2017 digital marketing trends and found that, for the most part, trends fall into one of these categories: content, channels, customer-centric marketing, new generation of marketers, technology/data and techniques. There’s quite a bit of thought on the topic, so we’ll break it out into two parts.
In Part 1, here are some areas where we, at Greystone, agree with what a select group of marketers think will be important related to content and channels for 2017:
- Value over volume: It’s what you say that matters, not how much you say it. Having a lot of content doesn’t mean much if your audience doesn’t relate to that content or take the time to read it. Marketers will start to chisel away at content and channels that don’t add value.
- Marketers will rethink their content strategy so that content meets customer needs and delivers a personalized journey.
- Marketers will increase their contextual video ads and video content for more relevance in search ads and search networks.
- Influencers will become more important to brands, but they will be used somewhat differently to expand message reach and social impact. Marketers will move away from trying to control the message of influencers in order to provide a more authentic message from them.
- Audio will become more important with the rise of digital assistants (Siri, Alexa, etc.) and IoT devices. Search, content and advertising strategies will need to be adjusted as a result. Podcasting will remain important, and live audio will be seen. Facebook recently launched a live audio platform, and it’s safe to say that other social platforms will do the same. Trevor Guthrie, Co-Founder of Giant Spoon, says, “The next wave of computing will be driven by voice, and clients need to begin to build a voice strategy for their brands.”
- Video has become more mainstream, but 2017 promises to be another break-through year, as options such as live streaming, 360-degree and live 360-degree videos become more prominent. In addition, virtual reality (VR) and group video chat are available.
- Brands have invested a lot in social ads, but problems such as inaccurate measurements and ads on fake news sites have created trust issues. Content from influencers and users will be leveraged instead.
- Augmented reality (AR) looks to take off in 2017. The technology is already available to deliver good, cost-effective AR user experiences. In healthcare, AR has potential in uses such as patient information and resource location.
- “Mobile strategy” will give way to “engagement strategy.” While mobile is an essential component for customer experience, it still must be a part of and connected to the overall experience. However, as mobile is most often the gateway to brands, it should be considered first when considering new designs or campaigns.
- As social channels move away from purely chronological timeline updates, there will be much less organic brand presence in newsfeeds. One way to counteract this will be to invest more in real-time monitoring of social conversations and provide rapid feedback and engagement.
- Ads on social channels will be more expensive, particularly on Facebook. Marketers will need to look at different social sites and other options. They will also need to define their target audiences more specific and increase the personalization and relevance of their offers.
- Integrated technology will lead to more ways of targeting audiences.
- Email may seem old school, but research shows it continues to be relevant. There will be an emphasis on making sure emails are “beautiful” across every device and platform. In addition, machine learning will become a component of marketing automation, leading to better targeting and personalization of communications with individuals.
- Email, part 2: Interactive email will allow interaction from the email itself, without having to click out to a web page. However, this will require some pretty serious coding efforts in a CSS-supported email environment. Marketers who choose to do the additional coding will want to suppress email addresses from email platforms that aren’t fully CSS supported.
- Even though there are millions of mobile apps available between the iOS App Store and Google Play, the changing behavior of mobile customers means that most people download very few apps anymore. Eighty percent of app users use mostly three core apps. Thus, apps themselves are changing. Services that used to be exclusively available through an app are now being included in other apps, AI assistants (e.g., Siri, Alexa, etc.), or the mobile OS.
- Messaging platforms will continue their rise in importance, becoming central communication hubs for many. This will provide a remarkable opportunity to engage with consumers in a native way.
Look for Part 2 later this week as we discuss customer-centric marketing, new generation of marketers, technology/data and techniques.