The Trends Shaping Digital Marketing in 2017

We’re halfway through 2017 and already seeing some notable marketing trends establishing themselves as the new norm. While the impact of high quality content and SEO remains as important as ever, businesses must stay updated on the latest developments within new, innovative marketing techniques to stay on top of competition and promote their business in the most effective way possible.

Stories Captivate Consumers
In the age of countless choice, consumers have to be pickier than ever about the brands with which they align themselves. One aspect that helps brands stand out and remain appealing, authentic and relatable is the story that they tell. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the origin of the businesses they buy from, as well as the background behind how their favourite products come to be produced. We’ve always known that creating a dialogue between our business and our customers is important, but now it’s evident to see that telling a captivating story that helps communicate our brand ethos, values and uniqueness is essential if we want customers to stay loyal and interested.

Ben & Jerry’s, Lush and AirBnB are just some examples of brands which have taken their ‘humble-beginnings’-turned-success story into an effective marketing tool. Identify what is unique about your brand’s background or business practises, then bring it to life in engaging ways – through blog posts, product descriptions, videos or social media. You’ll see how much value a brand can gain from giving itself an air of depth and authenticity.

Digital Marketing in 2017

Mobile-Friendliness is Essential
More people than ever before are browsing by mobile, with billions of dollars of revenue channelled through mobile purchases. This trend is rising astronomically, meaning any business which does not yet have a mobile-friendly site could be missing out on a great deal of traffic and conversions. Ensure your webpage has a responsive website design while considering how you can further optimize the website experience for mobile visitors.

…As is Strong Social Media Presence
Similarly, every reputable business is now expected to have a strong social media presence on as many platforms as possible. Naturally, some brands will be better suited for Facebook than for Instagram or Snapchat, but cross-platform marketing should be employed whenever possible. For example, the pancake house Denny’s Dinner uses one marketing strategy on Tumblr, where the user base is young and international, and a different marketing strategy on Facebook, where its followers are older and predominantly American. Understanding how to optimize each social media platform for your particular business can take a lot of research. A full-time social media expert, who can handle everything from customer support to paid ads, is a valuable asset to any business.

Virtual Reality Marketing is Taking Off
The end of 2015 saw the rise of mainstream VR headsets which have since exploded in popularity thanks to their high quality and affordability. This opens up a huge new means through which to advertise. Marketers should see the advent of virtual reality technology as an exciting opportunity to establish a brand presence within the VR realm. For example, tourism agencies or airlines can create immersive virtual reality holiday settings for users to experience – helping the user make more informed decisions as to where they want to spend their next holiday, while also prompting them to book with the agency or airline that has provided them with the VR experience.

In another example, many of the bigger online poker sites are creating VR-compatible rooms to be experienced through VR consoles, thereby opening up a new stream of revenue through the new and increasingly popular medium through which to game. By establishing a presence at the very beginning of the VR era, these poker sites are staying ahead of the competition with a marketing investment that will no doubt pay off in the near future.

 Partnerships are Becoming Commonplace
Partnering with a competitor? You might think that sounds like an insane idea, but one effective marketing technique that we’ve seen a lot this year involves businesses reaching out to other brands focused on products in the same industry or niche with the proposal of partnering up.

The main benefit is of course the mutually beneficial cross-promotion. However this kind of partnership is also a great idea because products sold or sampled together can make for a more attractive deal in the eyes of consumers. Providing the combination is a natural one – such as coupling your brand’s naturally exfoliating face mask with another brand’s vegan-friendly candle – then partnering can be a very smart marketing move indeed.

Influencers Can Be Hugely Effective
You don’t have to be born into a billionaire family or have a record deal to be famous these days. Social media has allowed for internet personalities to achieve fame, make money and – most significantly for us marketers – influence an audience. From YouTube reviews to retweets, the extent to which these so-called ‘influencers’ can positively impact your brand image and sales should not be understated. One only need to take a look at the high-profile brands Instagram models promote to realize how much money businesses are prepared to pour into this new type of advertising. The key to ensuring this marketing technique is successful for your particular business is by choosing the right influencer – someone who has a sufficient degree of exposure and popularity for the budget you’re going to spend, and someone whose audience overlaps with your target market.

In Conclusion
It’s an exciting, if not complex, time for marketers. As new technologies emerge every day, and social media trends develop by the hour, the world of modern day marketing presents both obstacles and incredible opportunities for businesses looking to advertise themselves online.

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