Why You Need a Marketing Expert for These 2017 Marketing Trends

The times, they are a-changin (Thanks, Bob Dylan.) Or, as the philosopher Heraclitus put it, “change is the only constant in life.”  This week, we saw the inauguration of a new president, reports of a 2,000-square-foot iceberg breaking off from Antarctica, and the projections for a new future for visual marketing. At the same time, King Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun — inauguration happens every four years, this isn’t the first iceberg to break off, and marketing experts frequently comment on the shifts in visual marketing and communications that affect the way content is created and disseminated to the target audiences.

Marketing, in and of itself, really never changes: the goal is always to increase sales and, more specifically, revenue growth. The entire process, whether you work in a Fortune 500 corporation or a small non-profit, is to ultimately see more money coming in to grow your bottom line or serve more clients. On the flip side, though, technology advances and increased understanding of how to use that technology means that the systems and processes within the field of marketing are constantly changing. While it gives you incredible new platforms, it also gives small businesses or groups without a designated marketing officer a greater challenge when it comes to reaching their target audience members.

Here are 7 of the greatest game-changers in the marketing field this year — and the ways a marketing expert can help you navigate that path.

Cyber-Security

In an appropriately titled article: “There is Nothing New Under the Sun,” Tripwire noted that many of the cyber issues facing companies today have already been identified — some as early as 14 years ago. Globally, data protection and privacy laws exist to keep user information safe, but  even so, more than half of U.S. adults surveyed noted that they’d experienced a cyber-security incident in the last 12 months, including stolen passwords. The Tripwire article notes that the information and solutions out there, and there is a disconnect between cyber-security professionals and the rest of the professional world.

How a marketing expert can help

Symantec released a report that said in 2015, on average, a new zero-day vulnerability was found, double the amount in the previous year, and stemming primarily from “flaws in browsers and website plugins.”  These unpatched vulnerabilities are found in nearly 75 percent of Web sites, leading to information and data breaches. When you work with a marketing expert, you’re working with someone who has the know-how and connections to ensure your Web site is being monitored. An expert will recommend quality IT and Web administration professionals to ensure that information is kept safe. A less promising, but still important, role played by marketing experts also lies in the ability to help improve a company’s image after a security breach.

Visual Programming and Programmatic Ads

As I mentioned, the field is experiencing a shift in visual advertising. While the spending is projected to grow, reaching more than $335 billion in the next few years, the returns aren’t seeing the same positive shift. Users are blocking ads, accidentally clicking on display ads, and ignoring them altogether. As a result, programmatic ads began to climb, with more than 96 percent of advertisers implementing the tool in the last year. Just last week, MozBlog also wrote about programmatic delivery, calling it “the future of content marketing and promotion,’ since it is almost perfectly the “single solution to reaching EXACTLY the right people at exactly the right time, across any and every channel in real time.”

How a marketing expert can help

Marketing experts have a grasp of real-time bidding, the split-second process in which a brand’s advertisement ends up on the screen of its target audience members. While these are still advertisements, Moz points out that marketers can use the ad space to promote a white paper, guide, or blog post, giving the example of highlighting a piece on purchasing a Macbook to individuals who have both visited the Apple site while stopping in a story that carries Apple products. To make this happen, you need quality content and a marketing expert who knows how the programmatic system works to make the most of your investment.

Visual Content

Infographics, videos, photos, and other types of visual content are some of the top ways marketers are reaching their target audience members, with nearly three-quarters of social media marketers pulling visual asset components into their social media marketing strategies. From Facebook Live and Instagram Stories to onslaught of GIFs and memes, visual content is powerful, striking, and sees high levels of engagement through shares, forwards, re-tweets, and more. Making sure the visual content is done right, though, is another story, especially if you want to see a return on your investment.

How a marketing expert can help

Marketing experts know what platform works best for the kind of information you want to share. An in-depth video guide will more likely be seen by more people, for longer, if it’s shared on YouTube than if it’s shared in Facebook, while a colorful, to-the-point infographic has a greater chance of being seen on the faster-moving social media platforms. A marketing expert knows how, when, and where to share your visual content. In addition, someone with less marketing experience might find that they are investing a great deal of their time into creating their content. New platforms, have helped to facilitate a speedy graphic production time, but even with the templates, the images and wording you choose will make or break your piece. A marketing expert who has studied your target audience understands what the members want to see and what will give you the biggest return. With their experience, marketing experts are also able to produce their content in a shorter amount of time, with one report showing that 71 percent of marketers spend fewer than five hours a week making their content.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is creating a difference in the way many businesses are reaching their target customers. From creating high-quality how-to guides and informational reports to developing white papers, blogs, podcasts, and more, the field is rapidly growing; more than two-thirds of businesses planned to create more content in 2016 than in 2015, and the 2017 numbers also show a projected growth in content creation. Using skilled copywriters, relevant data, and your own experience, content marketers can help to give you greater authority in your market and expand your reach by adding value to the lives of your customers and target audience members. The biggest step for success is creating a content marketing strategy that spells out the steps and projections for each action.

How a marketing expert can help

Content marketing can be a time-consuming, detailed investment, even though it consistently delivers results. It focuses on targeting audience members at every stage of the process of becoming a customer, from first learning about your brand to becoming brand evangelists who share their love for your products and services. Marketing experts, especially those who are focused on content marketing, have learned how to use these important content marketing strategies to maximize their efforts and produce meaningful results.

Augmented Reality

A child’s game app wouldn’t necessarily be the biggest predictor of future marketing tools, but the summer 2016 Pokémon craze created interest and awareness for a growing marketing field: augmented reality. Game players of all ages downloaded the application and, by holding up the screen, could virtually catch the animated Pokémon Go characters that were placed into the player’s physical location. The excitement was short-lived, but in its peak, it hit more than 100 million downloads and brought in $10 million in daily revenue. One report called it a “watershed moment for AR…it has opened up new engagement and revenue opportunities for the entire app ecosystem by creating a model to close the online-to-offline (O2O) loop.” These are also fantastic new opportunities for marketers.

How a marketing expert can help

Marketing experts are continuously watching trends and developments, and augmented reality can benefit companies and users in any industry. Beauty products might offer you an app that shows you how their products will look on a prospective customer’s skin, scannable packaging could allow customers to read reviews or watch videos about the product, apps might be developed to show a prospective customer how home furnishings would look in their own residence, or brick-and-mortar shops might become a hot spot that rewards app users for checking in. The opportunities are endless, and a marketing expert can help your company narrow down the field to find the best way to reach your company’s target audience.

Live Streaming Videos

We talked about Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, but live video is a growing marketing trend in and of itself. Snapchat, Twitter, Periscope and Live.ly for Muscal.ly are also significant players in the live video field for users of all ages. It’s no secret that social media users have grown to expect real-time content as companies and organizations are rewarded for their quick responses to their users’ comments and messages. The fact that an increasing number of people are using mobile devices to access social media and Internet speeds are increasingly fast and consistent have helped to make live video an attractive tool for marketers who want to promote their brand to a demanding audience.

How a marketing expert can help

I’ve seen everything from instructional and self-help videos to live video of workouts, meal prep, and more; even the debates between the presidential and vice presidential candidates were streamed live on social media. A marketing expert can help you determine the best subject matter that will attract your prospective customers while generating interest in your product or service, and can help you film the video. Going in with a strategy, outline, and with a bit of rehearsal and coaching from a marketing expert under your belt can put you at the forefront of technology — and your customers’ attention.

Customer Experience and Satisfaction

Each of these trends, along with the other facets of marketing, are and should be centered around your customers, but this year, expect to see an even greater interest in and focus on providing a very customer-centric experience with brands. This means that each employee is taught that they, too, are marketers and brand ambassadors, as their interactions with customers and the public can and will color the other person’s perception of your brand, either positively or negatively. Good customer service needs to start with a cohesive corporate culture and material that teaches your employees about your company.

How a marketing expert can help

As a professional at branding, a marketing expert will work with your team of leaders and employees to find the best way to reach your customers. They aren’t afraid to take chances, and will look to the data and numbers to see what actions have had the biggest effect on your customers. For example, they might look at your blog to help you find topics that your customers want to read. Interactive content is a great way to see what your customers like, and looking at the analytics on each platform you use will help you find direction for future projects.

French critic Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wasn’t a marketer, but his world observation is just a true as the philosophies I mentioned earlier — the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Each of these 2017 marketing trends represents a change in the way we do things, but it doesn’t change the underlying truth, that marketing is, and always will be, about putting the customer first. Finding new ways to reach your target audience and tailoring your content to your readers’ interests all stems from the same consistent truth: it’s all about the people. Technology and these trends can help, automation and programmatic ads and graphics generation platforms are all beneficial and time-saving tools, but if you don’t have the people who will be viewing, sharing, and interacting with your brand at the heart of your marketing, you won’t be successful — and that’s a trend that will never change.

What do you plan to do differently this year to put your customers first? What tools do you find the most interesting? If you need help learning how to implement these tools, contact us today. We’ll help you find the best fit for your marketing future.

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