‘Tis the season. Holiday shopping. Carols on the radio. New Year’s Eve party planning. Speaking of 2018, now’s the time to get yourself ready for the marketing trends in 2018 that you need to know. We’ve identified four trends that you’ll want to stay on top of and integrate into your marketing next year as much as possible.
Influencer Marketing – Finding Influencers within Your Customer Base
If you’re not marketing under the influence yet, now is the time. Influencer marketing is still hot and only going to get hotter in 2018.
There are so many benefits to pairing with strong influencers: you gain instant authority in your field, you build up your credibility, you develop trust among the influencer’s peers, and you gain social proof.
One important trend that we are going to watch unfold in 2018 is that companies are going to increasingly tap into their own customer base to find influencers. This is so important, because the influencers amongst your customers are already out there. As customers, they are in a unique position to tell your brand story and how it has accrued so many benefits to them. This is the best sort of social proof: glowing customer testimony combined with the power and reach of influencer marketing.
Your best bet is to pair up influencers among your customer base with already established influencers in the field to cast the widest net possible for potential customers.
Mobile Marketing & Geofencing
Geofencing is taking mobile marketing to a whole new level. Geofencing is the practice of using global positioning – GPS – or radio frequency identification – RFID – to create a virtual geographic boundary around a store, a venue, or any localized region. When opted-in people cross the virtual boundary around the area, it can trigger an array of marketing tools, such as banner ads, app alerts, text messages, or email notifications, that provides information based on their location.
To take a simple example, let’s say a retail customer crosses the boundary around a store in sunny, posh Boca Raton, Florida. Once the potential customer crosses the barrier, you can serve them promotions currently happening within that particular store.
Not only can you localize digital promotions and advertising in this way, but you can even hit them up with geographic specific content that may be useful for them in this particular location.
Another practical application: aggregating user generated content or social media from a particular location, such as a venue, to reap the rewards of deep, localized audience insights. This has the potential to be like the Enclosure Act for marketing! All hail the geofence.
Content Is Getting Personal
In 2015, technology market research company Gartner published a prediction with major implications. Their study of the market prompted them to argue that companies that have “fully invested in all types of personalization” will outsell other companies. By 20%. That’s a lot.
The idea is simple: different people with different goals, needs, and desires at different times are accessing your website, your social media, and other channels. If you want to keep up with trends in 2018, then you need to be taking into account the fact that every customer journey is going to be a little bit different.
To fully meet each and every potential customer where they are with the right content and at the right time, you can’t be displaying the same content that you display to everyone else simultaneously. If I’m in an early research stage, then I am going to need very different pieces of content than someone who is contemplating making a second time purchase.
Plus, not every customer is the same. Not every single customer is going to fall into the same demographic and psychographic groups as every other. You need to tailor your content for that particular customer based on their particular characteristics, attitudes, beliefs, and their current stage in the customer journey.
Everyone likes a personal assistant. I could certainly use one at home while I’m at work. You know. Someone to purchase the groceries, pay the bills, watch the kids. That’d be nice. However, it’s not my reality right now.
What is reality, however, is the fact that online personal assistants are going to continue to be a huge marketing trend into 2018. Personal assistants on a website help guide or solve problems for people visiting your website. Two of the most common forms of personal assistants online include online chats and recommended content.
Online chats may be either real live humans or virtual chat bots who can live chat with your audience to meet their needs right in the moment. Whether it’s finding something on your website or answering a question about your business, a live chat option is a huge plus in the realm of user experience. Everyone likes to have their needs addressed immediately, and chat is a perfect vehicle for this.
Recommended content is also a major benefit, and ties back in to the fact that content is indeed getting personal. Not all users will need the same content at the same time, so recommended content based on their personal interests, needs, and desires is crucial to delivering useful, relevant, and interesting content for the user.
All of these personal assistant trends point to the fact that now more than ever, you need to be communicating and delivering content for your users on an individual basis. Having scalable means to deliver a satisfying consumer experience tailored to the individual is now one of your most powerful marketing weapons.
The digital marketing trends outlined above tie into one basic motivating factor: despite the incredible advances in technology, your digital marketing needs to be more human than ever. You need to connect with customers where they are – increasingly on mobile – on an individual basis by using highly personalized content.
You need to engage with your audience members as individual people by connecting with them through personalized content, chat, and reaching out to individual influencers who can help promote your brand.
At the end of the day, marketers are people who bring their message to fellow people. Keep the experience as human as possible by staying on top of these tactics, and you’ll be ready for a wonderfully successful 2018.