If you’re like many people, you might be breathing a sigh of relief as 2016 draws to a close. But instead of rehashing the topsy-turvy nature of the past twelve months, let’s look forward. For marketers, the future holds promise—assuming, of course, you’re able to find your own angle on the continuing and emerging trends that look to be big in 2017. Here are five to keep your eye on:
- Purpose-driven marketing – A lot of people and businesses are, and will be, asking, “Why?” Why create certain kinds of content—or any content at all? Why do anything? What are we hoping to achieve for our companies, our customers, and our market? Having a purpose behind your marketing creates a bond with your audience that makes your efforts both more meaningful and more effective.
- Having an actual content strategy – It’s finally becoming obvious that “doing content marketing” isn’t a strategy, but rather requires a strategy. In the rush to get noticed, a lot of us crank out content as quickly as we can, whenever we can, wherever we can post it. Considering the very actionable data that marketing produces, there’s no reason not to leverage that data to form an actual strategy. An easy way to start is by measuring the effectiveness of various types of content you’re already producing, as well as the channels you’re using—and then refine from there.
- Customer experience – Experience and convenience will only continue to grow in importance. For example, the way that the Netflix app on our iPhones knows the exact moment we paused our favorite show on a different device—that technology has changed what we expect from every service, every platform, every provider. Marketers must find ways to tap into these multi-device journeys to enhance their audience experiences. Prospects need a powerful experience to seal the deal, and existing customers need consistency to stay loyal.
- Content density – Any and every Google search will result in dozens of slightly differing versions of the same content—some better, some worse, but with only a handful of them interesting or satisfying. In response to this trend, marketers have been lengthening their content, hoping that readers and search engines alike will assume bigger = more valuable. It seems we’ve forgotten that people don’t like to read long articles on their assorted screens. The blowback? We’ll see big increases in content density and decreases in content length. Rambling 2,000-word articles will be replaced by 250-word pieces that offer the same value, more succinctly.
- Data-driven solutions – For marketers, conversions are everything—and maximizing conversions requires a complete picture—including managing both online and offline efforts. Those marketers who are already tracking and measuring inbound calls as part of their campaign efforts will be ahead of the curve in the new year. With a tool like CallTrackingMetrics, marketers can build a data-driven strategy that creates better leads, more conversion, and higher revenue.
These trends are just the tip of the iceberg—we could also talk about mobile-only social campaigns, chatbots, and augmented or immersive reality. But for the sake of brevity—we’ll wrap it up here, crack open the champagne, and wait for the ball to drop. 2017, we’re ready for you!