Keeping up with emerging trends is critically important for today’s digital marketer. These days, it seems like a new technology is introduced every day that changes the way we conceptualize and approach our marketing strategy. Times have certainly changed, and in 2018, you can expect to see that rate of change grow ever faster. If you don’t stay on top of emerging trends, you risk being left in the dust of companies that do. Consider the following marketing trends that you’re sure to see in 2018, so you can be the one creating the dust, not the one breathing it.
EU’s General Data Protection Regulations
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) go into effect in May 2018. GDPR is a set of regulations that will impact any business that stores or processes the personal data of EU residents. The articles of this bill are complex and deserve your attention. If you don’t have offices in the EU, GDPR might still apply to you.
Essentially, if you store any personal data about an EU resident, you will be held accountable for compliance. This includes name, contact information, credit card details, and more. If you use marketing automation to track leads’ web activity and are tracking their IP address to assume their location, GDPR applies to you, as the EU considers an IP address as personal information. If you take payments from EU residents, GDPR applies to you. Noncompliance can result in fines of up to €20 million, so this is a marketing trend to take very seriously. To learn more, check out our blog post covering GDPR and steps to ensure compliance.
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
Also known as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) has been gaining some serious momentum over the last few years, and it’s starting to penetrate the realm of digital marketing. AI works by “learning” common attributes of a particular topic over time, growing the ability to predict scenarios and apply that learning in other ways.
AI will be applied to marketing automation to further streamline certain functions and capabilities. Right now, it’s still in its nascent stage but bet on hearing a lot about it in 2018. As it evolves, you are likely to see AI being able to suggest segmentation lists, recommend products for individuals, and helping to make emails more personalized than is currently possible with system tags.
Mobile marketing trends deserve your attention in 2018. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the importance of the mobile experience is rapidly growing in today’s digital era. And that applies to marketing as well. Mobile consumption of email has risen sharply in the last few years, and it’s more important than ever to leverage mobile-responsive email templates.
But, one of the latest digital marketing trends to watch for is the rapid growth of mobile video consumption. According to recode.net, in 2018, expenditures on mobile video advertising are expected to grow by nearly 50%. They also report that in 2018, consumers around the world will watch 25% more video on mobile devices.
Are you able to deliver mobile-ready videos to your prospects and customers? And if so, are you doing that? If not, I strongly suggest that you look into that, ASAP.
The Rising Importance of Customer Experience
Here is some food for thought: According to Walker Info, by 2020, customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator. Let that sink in. It’s no longer enough to have a solid product or service. Consumers are increasingly concerned about receiving a positive customer experience when interacting with your company.
Like it or not, the importance of delighting customers is now greater than ever. And delighting customers don’t have to be difficult—it could be as easy as personally calling new customers once just to see how they like the product and offering them ways to get help if they need it. Essentially, customer delight is about going above and beyond expectations. The form that takes matters less than leaving customers pleasantly surprised.
If the importance of the customer experience hasn’t yet sunk in, consider this: According to RightNow, 86% of consumers are willing to pay up to 25% more for a better customer experience. Now, go and delight your customers.
Live Video Streaming Continues to Increase
I’ll bet you have watched a live streaming video on Facebook once or twice. If not, you likely will in the very near future. Consumers’ preference for live streaming video continues to grow exponentially and shows no signs of slowing down. According to Livestream, 80% of consumers would rather view a live, streaming video than read a blog post. Don’t worry, that doesn’t hurt my feelings—I still love writing blogs.
But, this is one of the social media marketing trends that you should pay attention to in 2018. It’s actually very practical to live stream videos on social media—in large part because it’s free. Plus, with the gigantic audience at your disposal on social media, you’ll be able to put your content in front of many eyes. It will be an increasingly important content marketing strategy into the foreseeable future.
Speaking of content marketing trends… It’s not new, but you can expect to see the prevalence of content marketing continue to grow in 2018. According to Smart Insights, 70% of consumers would rather learn about a business through an article than through an ad.
The value of producing great inbound marketing content can’t be understated. World-class content has the potential to generate brand loyalty and expand brand awareness. High-quality content that helps consumers solve common problems will get shared on social media, which essentially amounts to free advertising for your business. And, according to the Nielsen Company, 83% of consumers trust product recommendations from friends and family more than any other type of advertising. So, essentially, the importance of great content is also a digital advertising trend.
LinkedIn Emerges as a Critical Marketing Strategy
B2C companies will be looking to leverage LinkedIn as part of their marketing strategy. However, it will grow much more rapidly in importance for B2B marketers in 2018. To put it bluntly, effective B2B marketing often depends on asserting yourself as a thought leader and an authority in your space, and LinkedIn is the perfect platform to accomplish this.
You can publish articles on LinkedIn, which can then be shared from one professional to another. Indeed, social selling continues to be a hot-button topic, and there’s no better place for B2B marketers to excel at that than on LinkedIn. To drive this point home, consider these statistics, compiled by LinkedIn:
- 93% of B2B marketers consider LinkedIn to be the most effective site for lead generation.
- 64% of all visits to corporate websites from social media channels take place through LinkedIn
- 80% of LinkedIn users want to connect with companies on that site to enhance their decision-making process
- 50% of LinkedIn members report they are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn
And, for you B2C marketers out there, here’s a statistic for you:
- 51% of companies have acquired a B2C customer through LinkedIn
There are very interesting times ahead for the digital marker in 2018. As technology evolves, our jobs get easier—in a sense. As long as we stay abreast of emerging trends and understand ways to leverage them to our benefit, we can enjoy the fruits of evolution. A good friend once told me, “don’t be afraid of technology, find a way to use it to your advantage.” The message was clear: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Those of us who embrace change and find ways to adapt our routines to accommodate new technology and emerging trends will be the ones that come out on top.
Is there a marketing trend that you are curious about or expect to emerge in 2018? Let us know in the comments section below.