Every year new innovations sweep through the marketing world and in 2018 it’s no different. Digital marketing is evolving and at a rapid pace, from being virtually unheard of 20 years ago to new advances in computing applications and adapting algorithms in:
- Paid ads
- Organic marketing
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Social media marketing (SMM)
- Local search
- Mobile optimization.
This new focus doesn’t mean that traditional marketing methods have been displaced, but the field has been revolutionized. Based on industry statistics, these are the latest trends and direction that the world of marketing has in store for 2018.
Content marketing will continue to grow
According to surveys conducted by Smart Insights, content marketing retains its title for the third year in a row as the marketing activity most marketers think will have the biggest and positive impact on their business and clients.
20% of marketers selected ‘content marketing’ compared to ‘big data’ and ‘artificial intelligence and machine learning,’ which each earned 14% of the vote, ‘social media marketing’ was next in line with 10%, followed by ‘mobile marketing’ and ‘marketing automation’ at 9% each.
As Smart Insights puts it, content marketing is the “fuel that powers all digital communications from search to social, to email marketing, to creating website experiences that convert.”
Influencer marketing enjoyed huge growth over the last couple of years, but according to Craig Greiwe speaking to Forbes, businesses have struggled to see a positive return on their investments. Influencer marketing is increasingly being polarized into either high-profile, high-cost influencers or local grassroots ‘micro-influencers’. Middle-tier influencers are looked at as no longer being a cost-effective option.
Greater integration with the client journey
More marketers will be using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to harness data to better understand the client journey. Then, marketers will spend more time parsing different clients into different segments in an effort to cater to their specific personas with customized content.
At the most advanced level, using AI in this way will allow businesses to provide a completely unique experience for each and every visitor. This highly personalized content is the solution to fatigued and savvy consumers who are constantly bombarded with online ads.
AI and machine learning
AI and machine learning are being used to provide individualized experiences to each user. This provides marketers with greater insights, to run chatbots, and much more, such as following up with engaged customers with email and direct mail campaigns. Many more applications are expected to come this year. Unfortunately, not all businesses are well-positioned to take advantage of this rapidly evolving technology. The first step is to prioritize marketing analytics, collect data, and start small.
Too many businesses in 2017 (and prior) ignored their own clients. With so much focus on generating new leads and attracting new clients, many businesses neglected their most profitable segment– existing and previous clients.
According to Entrepreneur.com, the probability of selling to an existing client is 60% to 70% compared to just 5% to 20% for a new client. However, for marketers, it costs up to seven times more to market to new clients. Keeping your high-tiered customers satisfied is a priority for businesses in 2018.
The marketing landscape of 2018 is more diverse than ever. Focusing entirely on one channel – no matter how successful or trendy that channel may be – it comes with high risk. A Harvard Business study found that businesses that embraced multi-channel marketing were far more profitable than their myopic competitors.
Quality and quantity
With so many channels it can be tempting to simply push out as much content as possible, but this is a dangerous slide. This year, businesses should remember to make the most of creating quality content that builds trust. Essentially, following the business principle of keeping your brand and message cohesive on all channels.
Keep these trends and industry shifts in mind and we’re sure that your marketing strategy will see success in 2018.