Starting a new year is always exciting, with the mystery and allure of what’s to come. Here is a peek at some of the major trends affecting our industry to keep you ahead of the curve in 2018. We’ve listed our picks for the top trends you should consider as you plan your marketing for the New Year.
1. Content Marketing Distribution
We already know that Content Marketing has become an increasingly important tactic in your marketing strategy, so much so that it has become difficult for your prospects to separate the signal from noise. The ability to cut through the clutter and engage with your audience becomes that much more difficult – especially when your competitors are employing the same tactics and using the same distribution channels/platforms for their content.
The days of publishing your content and hoping for your target audience to see it and visit your website are numbered. Instead, you should start thinking about how you can distribute your content better than anyone else in your space. Putting together a Content Distribution Strategy to get your message to the right audience will become a significantly greater priority.
2. Video Marketing
Browse through your Facebook news feed and you’ll quickly see a shift to video ads and video content. Facebook introduced 360 Video, Carousel Ads and Canvas Ads that all take static ads to the next level through incorporating video. We love this cute example from Target. Bringing video content into your marketing strategy can seem daunting, but there’s no need to worry about tripods and heavy camera equipment. Instead we recommend starting small. Instagram introduced Boomerang Videos nearly 2 years ago, but the gif-like technique is starting to become more popular amongst marketers because the effort to create content is minimal. Video content doesn’t have to be an elaborate production or soaking up the bulk of your budget…with the right idea the smallest video can have a huge impact.
3. Chatbots and AI
Some of the best artificial intelligent chatbots are borne out of a demand for better service, more efficient management, or just fun (See National Geographic Kids educational version of an intelligent T.Rex) These chat bots can be used in various industries (banking, retail, healthcare, etc.) and are accessible to a large number of users, which opens doors to an endless amount of opportunities.
There are a few free tools out there to help get you started, and you can certainly design your own with Thrillworks for a completely customized experience. This simple investment can help you quickly engage your audience and nurture a more personalized relationship that keeps them coming back.
4. Voice Search
Hey, Siri: What are the search trends for voice? Okay Google: Is it true that typing a search query is old school? More consumers are relying on voice-activated personal assistants to search for information, with some analysts estimating that as much as 30% of all searches will be conducted through voice by 2020. Marketing messages will need to be created with voice search in mind, which means targeting the “long-tail keywords” you often left out in Google AdWords.
5. WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Ontario is the first province and one of the first jurisdictions in the world to enact specific legislation establishing a goal and time-frame for accessibility. It is also the first jurisdiction to legislate accessibility reporting and to establish standards. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a law that sets out a process for developing and enforcing accessibility standards – these standards are referred to as Level AA of these guidelines becomes a legal requirement in 2021. Three years is less than the shelf life of most websites today, so it’s likely if you’re planning a new website or redesign you will need to follow the WCAG guidelines. These guidelines will affect the way you design and present marketing communications – from colour composition, text size, alternative text for images, simpler layouts, adding captions to videos and fundamentally changing the way videos can be presented (no more auto-play and 90’s inspired blinking flash animation effects).
We applaud Ontario for this bold direction towards making the Internet truly for everyone.
6. Privacy Protection
There have been a across multiple industries from Equifax and Whole Foods to Ubers recent “secret” data hack. Moving forward, consumers will begin to favour services and products that protect their privacy meaning marketers will begin using “privacy protection” and “data security” as a value proposition.
A new law passed by the European Union called “General Data Protection Regulation” or GDPR (coming into effect in May 2018) will have a major impact on what businesses must do to protect user data. Our friends at BlackBerry say “GDPR will apply not only to companies located in the EU, but to any company anywhere in the world that uses, stores, or processes information about an EU citizen and given the global nature of commerce today, the GDPR is in effect an international regulation.” With the rise of global shipping programs and international order fulfillment your consumers across the pond will be relying on you to protect their data.
Information about BlackBerry’s new GDPR consulting services is available at blackberry.com/GDPR.
As marketing tactics become more diverse, marketers are challenged to evolve their strategy from every angle. With these trends in mind, there’s no doubt 2018 will be one of the most interesting years for marketing yet. What new developments will affect you the most? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts on the trends that are on your radar.