In this post, we will discuss ten of the biggest marketing trends in 2018. There are a lot of different styles of marketing with all the different tactics and strategies. So, keep in mind that the trends we will discuss below focus on the B2B environment, and may not apply for B2C companies.
Without further ado, let us begin with the first one.
1. Video Will Continue To Dominate
Video contents are undoubtedly the primadonna of the digital marketing world of 2017. Nowadays, we can see almost every social channels and platforms are flooded with various videos.
Video contents come in many different forms, too. There is live streaming, video tutorials, user-generated campaigns, and many more. Yet, with so many video contents being published every single day, how can we get attention?
The trend is now shifting towards interactivity, as interactive videos involving real-time surveys, behind-the-scenes live streaming, 360-degree videos, and many more are starting to pick up popularity.
So, if you haven’t jumped ship into the world of video contents, you are definitely missing out. One of the most common concerns regarding video contents. Yet, many brands and influencers are using smartphone-quality videos to regularly promote their products and services, sometimes on a daily basis.
Check out this Linkedin post on several successful B2B video marketing examples.
2. More Personalization
Personalization and especially personalized messages are certainly not a new concept in digital marketing. Yet, it is more commonly associated with B2C marketing until recent times. This year, not only we can expect to see more personalization across all the marketing channels, we can expect more personalized messages in the B2B environment.
Litmus recently published a free report predicting email marketing in 2020, and one of their predictions is how hyper-personalization will be even more essential to deliver the right content to the right people at exactly the right time. It won’t be uncommon in the near future to have tens if not hundreds of different emails sent out to different people to communicate just one message.
Pair this with the fact that the advancements in technology have allowed an increased level of personalization based on data, and we should definitely be prepared for this hyper-personalization.
3. Digital Engagement is Your Most Expensive Asset
One of the biggest challenges in today’s marketing is maintaining customer engagements. Yet, many marketers still put more focus on viewership and traffic instead of engagement.
The internet is very, very saturated, and many disengaged followers, existing customers, and prospects won’t give any benefit to your business, both in present and future. Not only that, but without engagements, you can lose your search engine ranking, and thus damaging your online presence.This is mainly thanks to Google’s RankBrain, the A.I.-driven algorithm that now measure dwell time, CTR, and bounce rate among other metrics to determine rankings.
So, focus on producing more interactions and engagements, which will produce higher CTR, a shorter sales cycle, and a higher probability of conversion.
4. Experiential Marketing With AR&VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and especially Virtual Reality (VR) have been the buzzwords in the technology world for the past few years, many predicting them to be the future of media and entertainment, as well as a marketing channel.
The core idea of both AR and VR media is interactivity, which we have discussed a bit when discussing video contents above. Apps and web apps featuring AR are now more common on mobile devices, providing a quick and easy way of interactive marketing. Also, VR devices are now more affordable than ever, seeing more mass adoption by customers. While opportunities for VR marketing are still quite limited, we can expect this trend to continue growing in the near future.
A micro-moment is the occurrence when a person instinctively put their (possible) undivided attention for a very short time, on average around 2 to 7 seconds. When you see a billboard that captures your attention and curiosity, this is a micro-moment. When you turn to your smartphone or a specific app to obtain a specific information, this is also a micro-moment. Check out this article by Google for a clearer picture about micro moments.
This year and beyond, we can expect micro-moments to reshape the B2B marketing environment, especially as more B2B executives are looking for information via their mobile devices. Capturing their attention here will be key touchpoint before they can finally make their purchase decision.
In essence, micro-moment is about content marketing: publishing valuable, relevant contents that can capture your prospects’ attention and optimize it for quick action. Be there, and maintain interaction by answering questions.
6. The Shift In Influencer Marketing
Customers, especially younger ones (read: Gen Z) are now more resistant and critical on influencers, especially if you are utilizing celebrities and macro-influencers. Customers know when influencers are paid to promote certain products and will resist the message.
Especially in a B2B environment, we will see two major shifts in influencer marketing: first, micro-influencers with around 1,000 to 100,000 followers will be more effective in gaining trust. The key here is to make sure the micro-influencers are an expert in their respective field, which is aligned with your brand.
Second, expect podcasters to rise as influencers. Podcast hosts are generally an expert in their field and will have less resistance from their listeners when promoting a brand and/or product.
7. Improved Chatbots and A.I.-Driven Tactics
While we see a lot of A.I-driven technologies including the handy chatbots. Yet, let’s admit it, they are far from perfect. While A.I.-driven tools can be helpful from time to time, there are also plenty of times when they simply don’t work as intended. Chatbots can be extremely cool, and when done right, they can be really helpful in saving your time and resources to interact with customers.
Yet, there are definitely limitations to chatbot performance, and sometimes a customer won’t get anywhere with automated responses that are limited to data. There are also occurrences where chatbots are engaging customers or prospects when it’s not necessary.
However, the field of A.I is continuously advancing at an amazing rate, and so we can expect new versions of chatbots, as well as other A.I-driven tools that will be more helpful in our marketing efforts. We can predict new chatbots with better behavior in engaging customers, especially in deciding when and whether they should start a conversation.
8. Growth Hacking is Dead, Long Live Growth Hacking
This one will probably be a disappointment for some, but surely we’ve seen it coming in the past few years: many marketers and businesses are finally realizing the fact that growth hacking is just hype and BS without any execution and tangible,sustainable ROI. The negative sentiment regarding growth hacking is not new, in fact, it has been there since 2012 or prior. Yet, we see even during 2017, the term ‘growth hacking’ and ‘growth hacker’ have lost popularity compared to earlier years.
In 2018 and onwards, we can expect the role of growth hacker and growth hacking strategies to be eliminated, due to little to no ROI and very limited organizational value. We’ll soon embrace (again) the reality that there’s no shortcut for marketing and business success in general.
The roles in modern marketing can then be differentiated into just two main groups: advertising and lead generation. Advertiser, as the name suggests, will focus on publishing contents, creative, and social branding. Lead generation will focus on any activities that can generate leads, including but not limited to paid ads, influencer marketing, offline/online events, webinars, podcasts, email marketing, and lead nurturing.
9.The Rise Of LinkedIn Ads
Even in a B2B environment, Facebook ad is still widely regarded as the most effective advertising platform. Why? Because Facebook is still the most active social media platform, and the advertising options it provide is highly versatile. Yet, we predict that this will soon change, and LinkedIn advertising can take over as the king in the B2B environment.
Even before the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many B2B marketers have started adopting LinkedIn ads, because they are now more aware of how context and relevance are huge factors for conversions.
10. Sales-Marketing Alignment
Year after year, we see blurred lines between sales and marketing are getting even thinner. The role of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), unifying the roles of CMO and CSO, are now becoming more common than ever before.
In the modern, digital lead generation era, the early stages of the sales cycle like qualifying leads belong to marketers. On the other hand, areas that are previously exclusive to marketing can benefit a lot from salespeople, who directly interact with customers. In 2018 and onwards, we expect the classic issue of marketing and sales alignment will not be as prevalent.