The world of marketing is constantly evolving. Clients often approach us with questions regarding new trends that often are marketed as the next Holy Grail. As strategists who deliver marketing programs designed to drive business performance, it’s our job to stay ahead of how the industry is trending, advising what our clients should care about and when a trend is worth considering.

  1. Organic-Only Digital Strategies
    On its own, SEO no longer serves as effective digital marketing in 2018. Given the repeal of net neutrality, display and PPC ads will be critical for driving traffic to websites of smaller, lesser-known companies. In fact, online ads generate an average of 31% brand lift, and are only going to continue to grow in importance.1 We’ve seen this trend directly reflected in our digital success—specifically for a Honeywell Cable campaign — where well-crafted PPC ads have increased awareness by 27x, increased engagement by 10x and increased conversions by 15x over the course of three months.
  1. Quantity Over Quality
    Individuals are quick to move on if they do not find the information they immediately need. In fact, individuals are 1.5 times more likely to purchase and recommend a brand following a helpful interaction.2 Defining your brand’s value proposition and key messages is critical to offering high-quality content, which significantly impacts success. For B2B organizations, strategically leveraging messaging platforms—including LinkedIn, e-communications, thought leadership pieces in trade publications—and focusing on value rather than volume will make your marketing efforts count. Personalized, high-quality content will serve businesses better than aiming strictly for impressions and reach.
  1. Macro-Influencers
    Micro-influencers—individuals with smaller followings who are viewed as more relatable peers by consumers—deliver far better engagement and conversion rates. In fact, before making a buying decision, 70% of individuals consult social media, while 82% are likely to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer.3 Although the shift from macro- to micro-influencer is upon us, influencer campaigns can take on many forms and will remain a strong, relevant strategy for B2B companies seeking to expand their reach among powerful decision-makers.
  1. Separate Online and Offline Experiences
    Establishing a cohesive customer journey is critical. Across mobile, social, print, in-person and more, brands must not only connect with their audience, but deliver consistency across multiple channels. After establishing messaging that highlighted Metro Mold & Design’s dedication to problem-solving, our team shared those messages across multiple channels including web, social, print and more. Additionally, the look and feel of the company’s presence on these channels seamlessly matched its in-person experience at the MD&M Minneapolis Tradeshow. Design and build a cohesive journey for your target customer. The results will follow.
  1. Brand Literature Materials
    In the ongoing battle for customer attention, video is king. Materials have trended away from text-only designs and we fully expect this to continue. Why? Simply put, video gets people’s attention. This is true for both your customers and your employees. It’s critical to build brand ambassadors within your company who can effectively speak to the value proposition of your business; therefore, it’s equally important to educate these employees in a way that resonates with them—and this will not be through text-based materials. Quad Graphics recently leveraged short, TED-talk style videos to communicate important company messages via an internal communications program. Following a post-program survey, an overwhelming majority of employees (83.1%) said this program was effective and praised the video-based approach. Brands must consider the most effective ways to engage their customers and video must be in their consideration set.

Maintaining the ability to analyze current trends, objectively evaluate strategies and accurately predict the ways in which your company can adapt is critical in today’s changing marketing landscape. “In life, change is inevitable. In business, change is vital.”

2Source: Google/Purchased, “How Brand Experiences Inspire Consumer Action,” U.S. smartphone owners 18+=2,010, brand experiences=17,726, April 2017.