To stay on top of the game, consider these trends that will change the way you market in 2017.
1.Marketing will become more personalized and complex
Now that content marketing has established its roots, the next phase of content marketing will involve context. That means businesses must develop marketing strategies that fit into the lives of individual customers. This might include sending personalized, real-time messages based on the weather, purchase history or physical location. The line between the digital and the physical world will continue to blur in the next year and marketers will have to adjust their strategies to bring the two together.
The cosmetics retailer Sephora is one example of a business already ahead of the game. Not only has their mobile app won awards, but the company is one of the first to test beacons, which are small sensors that track customers’ smartphones to send personalized messages in their stores. They also feature a “store mode” in their mobile app, which helps improve the in-store experience. For example, customers can scan physical products to read online reviews while shopping.
This year, it will be about getting the right content to the right person in the right place and at the right time. That said, you’ll need to focus on collecting customer data and developing a streamlined content production process. The good news is that people are becoming more willing to share their information in exchange for this personalized content that meets their shopping needs. Though this kind of targeted marketing takes a lot of work, it delivers higher ROI.
2.Content will become more niche-focused
Whether you’re launching a website for the first time or you have an established blog, content is going to become more niche in 2017. In SEO, the rich get richer. Businesses that established their blogs early on have the upper hand because they have more backlinks, bigger audiences and more experience in content marketing. That makes it tough to break through the sea of content on the Internet.
Does that mean you should ignore content marketing altogether? Of course not!
Content marketing will still be going strong this year, but marketers will have to appeal to smaller, highly targeted audiences instead of going for a “one size fits all” approach. Everything from your blog posts to your podcasts to your marketing campaigns will require more focused ideas to bring in a specific audience. For example, instead of blogging generically about how to get noticed online, you can hone in on a topic and give your readers an in-depth look on how to get noticed through Twitter ads.
Not only does this mean you can dig deep into topics to truly help your audience, but it will help you carve out your own niche where you can shine.
3.Businesses with personality will shine
We’ve always known that people like businesses with unique, authentic voices, but the 2016 election really drove that point home. In 2017, businesses across the board are going to be showing more of their brand’s personality through blogging, video content, social media content, and more.
Not only does that help you connect with customers—because, let’s face it, adding personality to your content makes you less boring!—but Facebook favors ads that display brand personality, so taking this approach can help you reach more people. Think less scripted content and more action to help connect with people on a deeper level and extend your reach.
4. Live video streaming will take off
Live video ties heavily into showing off your brand personality. It helps connect people to real-life events in an unscripted and fun environment. With Facebook and Youtube now offering live streaming options, it’s easy to connect with customers this way.
This year is bound to be the year of live video streams as more companies recognize the potential and begin experimenting with these tools to learn how to use them to their full advantage. Faster Internet and mobile devices also contribute to ushering in the age of live streaming, allowing people to easily stream and watch on-the-go.
Businesses can use live streaming to cover events, host interviews and live Q&A’s, and showcase products. Approach live video streaming with a plan, and don’t forget to measure your engagement and tweak your strategy as necessary.
5. Content will migrate off your website
Companies like Facebook and Google essentially control the flow of information online. Their algorithms are only becoming smarter, which means they can control what content people see to help reduce clutter. However, that means they’ll favor their own content.
That means to reach people, you’ll have to house your content inside these companies. Publish on LinkedIn Pulse, and link to internal articles. Host your content on Facebook rather than your own website. In 2017, more and more companies will stop trying to bring the conversation to themselves and start going to where the conversation is taking place, to where their customers already hang out.
It’s not ideal since marketers have always been told to base content on their own websites, but as these companies gain more control over the information flow, optimizing for their algorithms will prove essential to getting noticed.
6. Native advertising and sponsorships will become more important
Native advertising—that is, where the ad experience conforms to the natural flow of the user experience, such as Facebook ads—as well as sponsorships, have been around for a while. However, these marketing tactics will become more prevalent in 2017. Business Insider predicts that native ad spending will rise to $17.3 billion in 2017, compared to the estimated $13.9 billion in 2016.
Part of this is because people have become “banner blind,” where they’ve been trained to ignore traditional ads. Native advertising sneaks in those ads, becoming an effective way to get customers’ attention. Not only will 2017 see an explosion in native advertising popularity, but marketers and major publishers will be experimenting with new, improved forms of native ads.
That means you’re going to have to shift your marketing dollars to focus on things like paid social and sponsored content.
New types of sponsorships will also be changing the way people market. Old sponsorship contracts are expiring, and new contracts are adding clauses that utilize fresh techniques. For example, more brands will make appearances on Snapchat and Facebook Live than before, so it’s worth getting your foot in the door with these channels.
7. Virtual and augmented reality will rise in popularity
Marketers are looking for more and more unique ways to connect with their customers. Virtual reality is one of these trends that’s worth jumping on in 2017. Though it’s been around for some time, VR is being tweaked and perfected to a point where companies can actually use it to connect with their customers. It’s an effective way to add excitement at events, demonstrate product functions, and help customers make more informed purchasing decisions.
Many companies have already jumped on experimenting with this unique form of marketing. Lowe’s, for example, features “Holorooms” in 19 of their stores. Through virtual reality, customers can build their own rooms fit to their home’s dimensions to see how the room would look with new features. Lowe’s utilizes Oculus Rift and even lets customers take their designs home and share them through Google Cardboard viewing devices. It’s a perfect marketing technique because it’s fun and helps solidify confidence in customers before they buy.
Of course, VR won’t be for everyone, but bigger companies serious about marketing are going to want to jump on this bandwagon while it’s hot.
To go along with this, more businesses will utilize augmented reality. We saw how successful Pokémon Go was when it first released. It was earning $10 million a day at its peak! Though the excitement over the game has died down, its launch taught marketers about the earning potential of AR. Clearly, the public is ready for it. That means everything from AR games to AR ads will rise in popularity in coming years.
Marketing is a tough game to play. What worked last week may not work this week. You must be constantly measuring and tweaking your strategies to maximize your success. In 2017, it’s worth focusing on the trends and predictions above to keep yourself afloat in the marketing world.
Do you have any predictions for what’s to come in 2017? Leave us a comment, and let us know what trends you think will dominate this year.