Now that fourth quarter is here, it is time to evaluate 2017 performance and look ahead to the marketing trends of 2018.
Marketing trends to expect in 2018
Authenticity, diversity, and truth have become major themes in marketing, so expect those to continue into 2018. Here are some others to look for in the upcoming year:
Greater focus on influencers
Marketers know that influencers are skilled at spreading awareness via word-of-mouth. However, once a tactic with lack of control, influencer marketing is becoming an intentional (and paid) strategy. Brands are hiring elite ambassadors. They are creating partnerships with the hottest YouTubers. These steps allow marketers to better plan and manage the message. Although this provides control, it could backfire with loss of authenticity if not handled with care.
Responsive website design
Yes, we are still talking about this. Consumers are viewing more online content from mobile devices every day. Nothing is more frustrating than a business site that does not work well in a smaller-screen experience. Mobile-friendly sites are critical to success, and responsive design takes this a step further. Mobile friendly sites simply “look good” on mobile devices while responsive design adapts to the size of any screen. This is important with the wide variety of mobile devices and higher resolutions out there today.
Visually captivating and interactive elements
Video, infographics, and unique interactive elements drive awareness and engagement. This is because consumers feel a deeper attachment to captivating visuals. Personal experiences from interaction boost awareness and positive brand perception further.
Increase in native advertising
Look at digital banner click-through rates. Clearly, consumers are not interested in (or coerced by) disruptive advertising experiences. As marketers grow efforts towards content creation, they will also seek ways to advertise in a more natural way. Native advertising blends useful and relevant content and strengthens the perception of a brand as a thought leader. Banner advertising offers high reach for relatively low cost, so it is not going away. However, expect native advertising to command a higher percentage of ad budgets than before.
Thought leadership beyond the top executives
Business leaders realize the value of personal branding and thought leadership. As we move into 2018, these efforts will also be valued for levels below the C-suite. Additional content-sharing opportunities will arise when more people on the team are building their own brands. This, by extension, builds the company’s brand.
One of the most feel-good marketing trends to arise is cause, or purpose-driven, marketing. Brands can connect with their audiences in a personal way with shared needs and connections. Young consumers have a strong desire to make an impact in the world. They want the brands they connect with to make an impact as well. In fact, 91% of millennials say they would switch to a brand associated with a cause. Therefore, marketers would do well by publically aligning brand values with the personal priorities of customers.
Marketing is an ever-changing landscape. Technology and the evolving social and political needs of young consumers are creating much of this change. In addition to the marketing trends discusses above, look for an increase in live and experiential marketing, virtual reality, and more. Knowing what trends to expect and creating strategy for prioritizing them are important steps to keeping your brand current and ahead of the competition.