As we’ve seen repeatedly this year, it’s always hard to predict the future. But companies try every year, from budget projections to planning marketing strategies. Though we’d all like to be clairvoyant enough to know what the next best thing will be, it’s incredibly hard to accurately predict new trends well enough to get a jump on the competition. There are, however, trends that we can assume will continue over the next year.
Here’s our pick for trends to keep an eye on for the upcoming year.
1. Detailed content.
Content marketing has been adapting and growing over the last 10 years. In the past year, we have seen a particularly large leap forward in detailed content. It’s no longer enough to have strong keywords, links, and good meta tags. Your content needs to be relevant and interesting enough for people to read more than the first paragraph. With so much content out there, every piece needs to reach exactly the audience looking for it. Otherwise, it simply gets lost in the noise of other content.
2. Innovative social-media campaigns.
The last year has seen significant changes for the social media landscape. With social media taking over as the primary source of news, ads, and other information, it’s more important than ever to innovate and diversify your marketing campaigns. From Snapchat filters to Facebook Live events, companies that can adapt with the changing social media landscape and stay on the front wave are going to see better ROIs than those who fall behind.
3. Interactive content.
The past few years have shown the power that having an interactive strategy can have. For-profit companies can benefit from studying the ways that other causes are using to garner attention. The Ice Bucket Challenge and, more recently, the Mannequin Challenge have become a social media phenomenon for a reason. People like to get involved in the story. If you can draw your customers in and make them feel like they are part of something larger, you’ll build both excitement and loyalty in your audience.
4. Personal stories and content.
Though this is not a new concept, it is increasingly important. As advertising becomes more ubiquitous, people look towards others like themselves to determine the next big thing and whether a product is worth purchasing. Putting a name and a face to your customer base will help them feel connected to your brand and product. It is absolutely essential, however, that this is genuine. If personal accounts and experiences are fabricated, customers will feel betrayed and negative reviews spread faster than positive ones.
5. Specific audiences.
With the ability to reach so many people daily, it’s necessary to be more specific than ever when determining your target audience. Having a blanket campaign that tries to appeal to everyone is going to make your brand fade into all the other content out there. Determine the specifics of your audience, from education level to associated likes, and find the best way to reach that group for each product or service. It may be more work, but the benefit will far outweigh the cost and effort.
Over the next year, the most important thing of all is going to be leaving room for new ways of interacting with customers. Whether the next trend is virtual reality, artificial intelligence, or immersive marketing, having the ability to be part of that new conversation will be essential for any company hoping to grow in 2017.