Trends That Will Shape Marketing in 2018

Marketing in the online world is developing rapidly as new and emerging technologies change what we can – and should – be doing with our marketing options. While change appears to be happening too fast to keep up with, by following trends, companies can make sure that they understand what to do to keep their businesses going strong and continuing to develop new audiences.

Content Just Keeps Getting Bigger

It seems like the statement “content is king” is going to be evergreen at this point. Consumers are hungry for information, for discussion, and for ways to learn more about the products and services they’re considering. Customers are pulling themselves into sales funnels later and later in the process; often, sales teams find that they’re dealing with customers who are basically ready to buy.

There are many different kinds of content out there, and businesses are rewarded for finding new and innovative ways to offer content to customers. White papers and downloadable infographics are still great, but customers are looking for more.

SEO or search engine optimization is still key to making sure your content gets discovered, but remember that Google is rapidly updating its algorithms to prevent keyword stuffing and other black hat techniques. If we don’t know what search engines will do next, how can we understand where the future of SEO is going? Use keywords naturally and develop high quality content to attract and keep customers.

Video Is Up

With more and more individuals accessing the internet through mobile devices – almost all Americans have some kind of cellphone, and twenty percent use a smartphone as their primary internet access – more and more users would prefer to watch a short video instead of reading a short article. Video also offers the advantage of giving a more personal feel than an article. Everyone with a smartphone has a reasonably good video camera, and basic video editing software is inexpensive or free.

One great way to build more subscribers is to offer transcriptions of the videos. This gives you a double bonus. Your videos become more accessible to your D/deaf/HOH customers while also giving search engine bots the keywords they need to improve the ranking of your pages.

Social Media is Changing

Regardless of your opinions about the last election, it’s obvious that the revelation of fake accounts is changing how both Facebook and Twitter do business. While outcomes and changes aren’t obvious yet, the smart marketer is going to keep an eye on how these two platforms adjust their business models and be prepared to react quickly to take advantage. This may be a great time to emphasize customers signing up for your own newsletter or other communication method; owning your customer list may become crucial for businesses.

Benefits of AI

AI, big data, and chatbots are all on the rise in the marketing world right now. Chatbots in particular are proving to be a particularly useful tool to help handle basic inquiries, like what are your opening hours, can I see your menu, or what’s the return process for my item. Bots need to be well programed and understand when to forward a query to a live customer service rep, but they can be invaluable in saving your team time.

Big data is something of an undiscovered country in marketing. We’re just now understanding how to pull relevant data from the vast amount we collect and make it useful.

User Generated Content

From reviews to unboxing videos to other kinds of user generated content, this content is considered to be 20% more effective than other types of content. Users want to know that the opinions they’re reading come from real people, just like them. Companies need to find ways to encourage their customers to leave reviews and create content that benefits the business without making it paid content. Companies can get creative; we’ve all gotten the email a few days after a purchase asking for a review, but some companies ask before you even leave the site; as your order is completed, you have the chance to write a few words about why you chose the item you did.

Influencer Generated Marketing

As a middle ground between marketing generated in house and user generated marketing, sponsored blog and vlog posts about products and created by influencers are also effective with customers. Influencers trade on their relationships with their audience to give you time and space to share your items. Companies may work with influencers as affiliates, giving them a share of referred sales, or they may give free samples and products for review.

Marketing has always been a field in flux, but the rapid evolution of the internet means that marketing in this area changes even faster than normal. By staying on top of industry blogs, watching the competition, and paying attention to what friends and family are reacting to, companies can watch trends unfold and react to them appropriately as they move forward.