6 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018
Successful companies are able to separate marketing trends with staying power from shiny new objects that amount to nothing more than fads. That’s why it’s important to carefully evaluate new and emerging marketing opportunities and find out if they are aligned with your business goals and the needs of your audience.
Here are six marketing trends that we’ll be keeping an eye on as we head into 2018.
1) Up Close and Personal Marketing
64 percent of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35 percent in the spring of 2011. Smartphone ownership is especially high among younger Americans, as well as those with relatively high income and education levels. Four out of five mobile phone purchases are made on smartphones. Mobile will become the primary digital gateway globally and location-based marketing will initially be a major role.
Your brand is never more than an arm’s length away from each customer’s heart and brain. Now it’s time to use the closeness enabled by mobile technology to build stronger relationships and personalize communication with each customer. Mobile must be part of every company’s marketing plan.
The goal of marketing – good marketing – has always been to create an emotional bond between a brand and its audience. That’s how you earn trust and loyalty and inspire each customer to deliver more customers.
So what’s the key to personalized, relationship marketing in 2016?
2) A Treasure Trove of Data
This isn’t just about mobile devices and wearables. This is about connected consumer products like smart refrigerators and light fixtures. This is about location-based technology such as iBeacons and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.
Billions of connected devices and company assets – collectively referred to as the Internet of Things – are constantly sending big data to corporate networks. The most successful companies will be able to analyze that data in real-time so they can predict trends, better understand customer preferences, make data-driven marketing decisions, and measure performance.
3) Video Ads in Search Results
One of the primary knocks on search advertising is that it has always been text-based. Reports have surfaced that say all of the major search engines are testing video ads embedded in search results. Of course, ownership of YouTube gives Google a big advantage over search engines Bing and Yahoo.
Will video ads appear as thumbnails? Will they play automatically like videos in your Facebook news feed? Details are scarce at this point, but combining video and search will create exciting opportunities for marketers.
4) The Social, Search and E-commerce Cocktail
Facebook is working on its own search engine. Google has tried to be more social. Amazon has become an entertainment channel. “Buy” buttons are coming to social media platforms.
These capabilities are in direct response to user demand not just for an easy user experience, but for an integrated experience that makes it easy and enjoyable for people to find and buy what they want and tell people about their experience. Marketing that delivers quality content customized for each part of the buyer’s journey could bring huge returns.
5) Renewed Focus on the User
Obtrusive ad formats. Fine print. Deception. Bait and switch. Overt selling. Quite frankly, people are fed up with companies shoving ads down their throats and using shady tactics. Ad blocking is just the latest example of what happens when the customer experience is ignored.
2018 will continue the shift towards transparency. Ads and marketing messages that complement the user experience will be over ads that disrupt it. Hard selling, chest pounding and shameless self-promoting are on their way to extinction.
6) Explosive Growth in Branded Apps
Apps are not just for social media and entertainment anymore. More than 2 million apps are on iTunes today, with branded apps growing rapidly, and Google is now indexing apps. In 2018, we expect branded apps to grow in both number and sophistication. Branded apps create more opportunities to engage with current and future customers by delivering more immersive experiences, from customer service to special offers to new product launches. Designing an app that simplifies some aspect of the journey on which customers are already engaging is a good start. Saving your customers time and effort. The Starbucks mobile app is a great example of this. It manages a customer’s loyalty points and lets customers place orders ahead of time, so they can skip the in-store lines. Customers love that the app saves them time. In an average week, seven million purchases are made through the app, accounting for 16% of all purchases.
What marketing trends do you see emerging in 2018? Share your thoughts here!