The 5 Digital Marketing Trends That Matter Most in 2017

December 7, 2016 Annie McMindes

digital marketing trends

Today’s tech-enabled world thrives on content, distributed through social, digital and mobile channels. These one-time fads have evolved from digital marketing trends to mainstays and they’ve redesigned the modern marketing landscape.

As these mainstays continue to evolve, they spur trends of their own. Some are simply a natural evolution of staples in traditional marketing while others underscore the changing scene of B2B marketing and the continued emergence of new and advanced marketing technology.

So what digital marketing trends are here to stay? Here’s a list to implement now:

1. Visual Storytelling through Video

Telling a digital marketer that video is important today is like boasting to a blogger 10 years ago that, “words are really helpful.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. Video, when done right, is both engaging and rewarding – bringing in real ROI. Snackable videos (like live streams, video blogs, client testimonials) are preferred by consumers as much as four times more than text content. Video is the most thoroughly consumed content format.

But, as this digital marketing trend becomes more and more a part of our strategy, we need to look at how people best engage. Stories surprise and delight us. They engage us. They put flesh on the dry bones of data and add narrative to your solutions. Stories help us navigate the world around us, they help show us the potential of what we can become.

Philip Pullman, speaking in a Carnegie Medal acceptance speech, once said, “We need stories so much that we’re even willing to read bad books to get them, if the good books won’t supply them. We all need stories, but children are more frank about it.”

But stories must be lifted off the pages of your strategy. Don’t get me wrong, writing is still a vital part of your content marketing strategy, but video stories, visual engagement will boost conversions.

2. Native Advertising

Ad blockers and a general foul flavor left in the mouths of consumers after too many pop-ups and display ads are making it hard to reach customers with a hard sell. Push advertising is fading, soon to be replaced completely by native advertising.

Native ads are sort of the hipsters of ads. They’re the “I’m not an ad” of advertising. They look and feel natural in their environment. And they’re are favored  over the “in-your-face” tactics by consumers. These ads unobtrusively deliver content that could almost be mistaken for organic posts, yet are clearly marked by brands as sponsored. Consumers love ‘em because they’re not an annoyance, or a distraction in their daily lives. And digital marketers are becoming obsessed with them because they fit almost anywhere, so they’re perfect for multi-channel marketing. Consumers digest them easier – about 53 percent better than display ads, according to a recent study by Sharethrough.

3. Customer-Centric Turned Customer-Obsessive

In our race to become more customer-centric, we’ve already toed the line bordering on obsessive. And we’re about to jump over with both feet. But can you blame us? We’re finally at a point in the digital marketing trends where we’re not being swallowed up by wave after wave of big data. We can use the information we’ve collected.

We can turn our data into actionable, meaningful interactions.

Digital marketers who put insanely personalized campaigns into motion will drive better results. The benefits of personalization are hefty – higher response, better conversion rates, brand loyalty, repeat customers, amplified reach, boosted relevance, I could really go on all day.

No company sells to another company – they sell to another human who works for another company. So market to that person.

4. Email Marketing

Email is one of the oldest internet applications, it’s died a million-and-one deaths and still proves to be an integral part of how we communicate. More than 205 billion human-emails are exchanged every day. But email’s been labeled the black sheep of marketing for the last 20 years. The internet’s red-headed stepchild, left neglected and taken for granted.

But open rates for email are steadily increasing. Seventy-two percent of adults say they’d opt to talk with companies via email While 91 percent say they’d like to see promotional emails from the companies they do business with. In the B2B space, 73 percent of companies agree email marketing is a core part of their marketing strategy. And a quarter of them rate email as their top channel in terms of ROI.

5. Content Distribution

Marketing teams are tapping into every resource they can get their hands on to have the time, brainpower and budget to create new, engaging content. And as content marketing begins the path to maturation, we need to figure out how to stand out.

We’re left with mountains of mediocre content tangling the interwebs, making it almost laughable to just put your work into the world with the hopes of it getting seen. The way we distribute our content needs to be more strategic. We need to get smarter if we want people to see through the clutter what we have to offer. Sure we’ll keep hitting up the usual activities. We’ll share to our social platforms and send out an email campaign to our already-collected list of loyal followers. Then we’ll encourage our employees to share. But what about new visitors?

New channels like email signature marketing puts your most relevant content in front of your most important contacts through human email. The average worker sends 40 business emails every day, according to a study by the Radicati Group. That’s more than 10,000 emails per employee, or more than five million emails a year for a company of 500. That’s five million emails which can deliver branded content tailored to who’s going to see it.

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