Being bombarded by technological innovations could make it difficult for marketing companies to keep up. It will be crucial to remain calm and tackle implementation methodically, biting off no more than can be chewed. Content still reigns supreme for 2018, and 28% of many B2B marketers’ budgets are focused on creating content that engages and delights customers. However, there are new tools in successful marketing teams’ bags, and there is no reason you cannot add these to your arsenal as well! Here are a few of the top marketing trends to watch for 2018!
2018 Marketing Trend #1: Content Marketing Budgets Will Increase
Content has been at the heart of marketing efforts for years, as teams gain insight into the benefits provided by (good) content. 36% of B2B marketers are increasing their budget, offering industry insights, current news, and even “how-to” videos to educate prospects. To remain competitive, B2B companies need to keep their content fresh and consistent, providing a balance of industry trends, tips, and product information. Look for additional content writers to be hired to keep up with the demand. Additionally, marketers will look for unique ways to improve content, even collaborating with others to create remarkable contact that hits several industries.
2018 Marketing Trend #2: More Customized Content
As the use of content is fine-tuned, look for more specific landing pages and targeting audiences. Teams are focusing on hitting “the right buyer at right time with the right content.” Increased use of tracking via UTM (urchin tracking monitor) codes will provide a wealth of information about visitors, including traffic source, source content, where the traffic originated (online search, social media platform, email), specific campaign that was followed, and even keyword results. This will allow marketers to know in more detail what works, which campaigns are most successful, which keywords are popular with visitors, and what social media sites leads are “hanging out” on. Since consumers are becoming more interested in original content, smaller businesses have some of the same opportunities to create interesting and non-branded content as the “big guys,” educating leads with less salesy and more learning-based information.
2018 Marketing Trend #3: Growth in Voice & Visual Search Popularity
There has been with explosive growth in artificial intelligence in recent years. One tool proven to be accurate is voice search (think Siri). This tool has been mostly overlooked by retailers, but this year will see a definite rise in its use, along with the rise in mobile internet access. In fact, ComScore reports that by 2020, over 50% of searches will be voice-activated! By harnessing this trend, marketers can access the information consumers have in their voice assistant accounts, providing more detailed data on leads, improving segmentation, conversion, increasing revenue and overall satisfaction.
2018 Marketing Trend #4: Video Content Grows
Major social media channels are investing in the expansion of video to strengthen readership. Videos have already proven to increase engagement, and video is becoming the preferred method of online information by younger consumers. Additionally, studies show that 95% of video messages is retained, while only 10% of text messaging provide results. Related is an expansion of live streaming, on track to becoming a $70B market by 2021. Video is shared and engaged more, and those marketers who have already incorporated video into their campaigns have found impressive returns; Hubspot reported that 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide stated video content provided the best ROI.
2018 Marketing Trend #5: Ephemeral (Short-lived) Content
Millennials, along with Generation Z’ers, are a significant part of the driving force behind the growth in short-lived video content, and find it appealing for several reasons:
- Authentic. Instead of a shiny, sales-focused advertisement, brand followers gain a sense of trust and loyalty to a brand.
- Fear of Missing Out. Along with shorter attention spans, today’s consumers want a stream of new, fresh content. Discovering that a company posts something on a regular basis (even on a schedule), drives them to visit frequently.
- Behind the Scenes invitations. Consumer are drawn to the idea that they are seeing something firsthand, or gaining access to some type of “exclusive” content, activity, or event. Short-lived content provides just that.
- Mobile-first. Short-lived video content is ideally suited for mobile usage, as users can dedicate only a small amount of time in consuming content.
Smartphone users are nearing 2300 million users and expected to surpass 2600 million by 2019. Mobile truly needs to take a leading position in content creation, and ephemeral content can be a successful part of a marketing campaign. Since you no longer need expensive video equipment to create professional video content, this cost-effective method is easy to incorporate into your plan; using Snapcodes (Snapchat) or QR codes will allow you to engage users quickly. Since Gen Z is the first fully native digital generation, spending their entire lives with digital technology available, if you have an audience of younger consumers or “techies,” visual and video content can really work for you!
2018 Marketing Trend #6: Rise in AI & Chatbots
Growing significantly on Facebook with their Messenger app, chatbots increase real-time engagement for customers with online companies, allowing them to answer inquiries, provide guidance through the sales process, and offer customer service after a sale. We will see an expansion in their use, moving from simply customer-centric tool to creating improved interaction for employees and other users, assisting companies with their help desks, inventory management, and even service scheduling. In fact, some reports indicate that 30% of online chat conversations will be with chatbots by the end of 2018.
2018 Marketing Trend #7: Change in Sales Funnel Focus
It has been widely understood that it is crucial to start a lead down the sales funnel, and many marketers have created content and tools to “get them in the door.” Marketers will focus more on mid- and late-funnel content, to nurture leads through the buyer’s journey. Strengthening brand credibility, recruiting industry experts and influencers, and guiding the purchaser closely through the last part of the funnel will help to not only complete the sale but to help develop a brand advocate for future customers.
2018 Marketing Trend #8: ABM/Account-Based Marketing
Its been proven in recent years that there is no better way to align sales and marketing than with account-based marketing. Originally used by large companies with even larger sales deals, ABM has evolved in a scalable, and automated process which is not difficult to replicate. The idea is reasonably simple, and one that any marketing team can undertake:
- Start with a clean CRM;
- Create a list of those accounts which you want to nurture;
- Create content which speaks to those targeted groups, focusing on several team members of a single company.
- Measure your results.
The ABM Leadership Alliance Survey found that marketers implementing ABM saw average annual contract values increase by more than 170%, and 27% reported a shorter sales cycle. 87% of marketers who implemented an ABM strategy indicated that it provided a higher ROI than any other method.
Adopting Marketing Trends
Each of these trends offers marketers a chance to break out of their current slump. Most of them do not require extensive financial commitment or increase in budgeting and can help your team work more efficiently with the digital tools you have available, using skills marketers likely already have and only need to strengthen. At Digital Impact Agency, our goal is quality over quantity, constant perfection over mass production, and partnership over acquaintanceship. We customize the marketing strategy and project to fit your specific needs and to reach your specific demographic. Whether you are looking for a one-time consultation or a long-term project, let us help you reach your goals. Get in touch with our team today!