7 digital marketing trends to follow if you want to stay in the game

By Josh McAllister

Busy business owners might not see the changing online landscape. Nevertheless, things change, including the marketing tactics that command the best results. Since new technologies continually emerge as old ones evolve, you must stay up-to-date if you hope to compete. If you learn about the following digital marketing trends and consider which ones will work for you, your firm can stay in the game and win.

– Content marketing – Both B2B and consumer-oriented businesses heavily depend on content marketing, making the tactic difficult to leverage for a competitive advantage. Expect all types of content, but especially interactive content, to continue to play a major role throughout the year. In contrast with other firms that rush content to publication, you need to ensure that you prioritize quality over quantity.

Search engine algorithms can already detect many signs of poor-quality content. At the same time, today’s savvy customers can tell the difference between valuable information and filler. When you make quality the object of your content marketing strategy, you might have less content on your website, but what you have will add value to your brand and deliver a desirable ROI.

– Data and marketing automation – As competition intensifies, firms must find ways to accomplish more without increasing labor costs. With this in mind, you should consider either implementing or increasing your investment in data and marketing automation. Such tools give you the ability to mine valuable insights from your internal and external data sources and create personalized marketing campaigns that intimately appeal to your leads, prospects and customers.

Automation can also contribute to a streamlined customer onboarding and retention program by receiving feedback and communicating value and appreciation. Also, automation tools can predict behavior and help you to allocate financial and human resources to the activities that have the highest likelihood of generating revenue.

– Mobile marketing – For a long time now, mobile internet usage has exceeded the traffic coming from traditional sources such as desktop computer users. As a result, companies that have adopted a proactive mobile-first policy have achieved an edge over competitors who have failed to adapt.

The trend toward mobile web browsing, shopping and social networking will continue gaining momentum well into the future. With this in mind, you should plan on implementing or expanding mobile marketing tactics.

For the purpose of SEO, mobile marketing has considerable importance. Search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites and content above others. Meanwhile, mobile shoppers use their smartphones to compare prices and find suppliers while looking for the products and services they need. For this reason, your continued investment in strategies that reach mobile audiences can dramatically reward your firm in terms of revenue and profitability.

– Artificial intelligence – AI is taking center stage in the marketing world as the technology appears poised to create major improvements in both productivity, performance and results. Right now, AI applications that recommend content topics and formats can help you and your team achieve maximum impact on behalf of your brand.

AI applications now also power customer service operations, allowing companies to provide interfaces that appear human without the need for additional employees. Another key point, the ability of AI to facilitate other operational aspects of your firm can directly affect your marketing campaigns. CRM, social interactions and communications offer only a few examples of activities that AI now affects.

– Video marketing – One thing must be remembered: Consumer and B2B customers all love watching videos. Accordingly, the hunger for video content has largely driven the development of broadband services and delivery mechanisms to satisfy the demand. Because the trend toward video marketing will continue to build momentum, you will want to ensure that you integrate video into your marketing mix. Particularly, you must emphasize the transmission of live events.

Already, more than two-thirds of marketing professionals report that they have access to expanding budgets and creative resources for the purpose of producing streaming video, visual storytelling, live-action and other video-centric initiatives. Furthermore, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has bolstered the trend toward video by reporting that audience watch live video content three times longer than recorded content. Also, audiences are 1,000 percent more likely to engage with brands during video streams.

– Influencer marketing – Marketers have taken drastic measures to get their brand noticed amidst a cacophony of marketplace and industry chatter. Additionally, consumers increasingly feel as though they need help understanding the nuances of the messages that reach them. Influencer marketing recognizes this trend and leverages the familiarity, authority and celebrity of others to win the hearts of large market segments.

Never underestimate the value of influencer marketing. As an illustration, consider studies that reveal that more than 92-percent of customers will listen more to the opinion of an influencer than to a branded message regarding a product or service. Find influencers online in social networks as well as in channels such as local and national media, entertainment and local organizations. Get creative and put the power of others to work for your brand.

– Wearables and the IoT marketing – So far, wearable devices such as smartwatches and internet-connected appliances have not played a major role in digital marketing. Still, you should realize that more than 75 billion devices will access the so-called “Internet of Things” by the end of the decade.

The IoT will continue to increase in importance to marketers as they transmit continuous streams of data that tell marketing firms and “Big Data” sources minute details of consumer behavior, attitudes and preferences. Prepare yourself and your team to embrace IoT-related marketing technologies as they emerge.

Acting upon the above 2017 digital marketing trends will help you and your team stay in the game during this year and well into the future. Simply providing interactive and live content coupled with mobile and AI engagement can yield impressive results. Add concerted influencer marketing efforts, automation technology and IoT awareness to the mix and you and your firm can anticipate a prosperous and profitable future.

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Josh McAllister is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. Find him on Twitter @josh8mcallister.

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