Part 1 | Jump down to Part 2
The field of marketing is evolving at an unprecedented rate. If you simply don’t have the time to dig in — which is reality for many a small and mid-sized company CEOs with limited internal marketing resources — it can feel like a runaway train.
That’s why this year’s top 10 marketing trends for the new year are tailor-made for companies of just that size. Sure, artificial intelligence, chatbots and virtual reality will no doubt impact your strategy in time, but these 10 trends can be practically applied in 2018 on a small to mid-sized company budget.
Increased accountability for measurable results: Where most marketing strategies have been filled with experimentation over the last few years given the introduction of so many new marketing tech options, 2018 will look different. While economists – according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey — believe the likelihood for an economic downturn in 2018 to be low, many concede that the driving factor is geopolitical uncertainty which is tough to predict. This instability may result in CEOs directing their marketing teams to reduce risk and increase accountability for measurable results — something I believe to be very good for our industry.
Micro-influencers: Influencer marketing saw a significant rise in popularity in 2017, making it tough for small and mid-sized companies to compete for the attention of these limited mega-influencers. That’s why in 2018, more small and mid-sized companies will be focused on identifying micro-influencers — generally those with between 1,000 and 50,000 followers. Research suggests that micro-influencers are four times more likely to generate comments on their posts than macro-influencers because they have a more direct, personal connection with their audience and an intimate sense of what they like.
Geofencing: This location-based mobile-messaging strategy is gaining traction due to its ability to target customers based on their location. Imagine if you could create a virtual geographic boundary, anywhere in the country. When a customer steps into that territory with their phone, they automatically receive a targeted message from your brand. Now imagine if that territory is your competitor’s place of business and how powerful that strategy could be for your brand. The key to geofencing is that you must have an app that offers your customers value. You must also get your customers to opt-in to location services and push notifications within the app, which can be done with special offers or special enhancements to the customer experience.
Prepare for these trends before your competitors, and you may very well create a competitive advantage, which is highly difficult to do in this highly commoditized world in which we live. Check back next week for more trends in part two of this series.
Part 2 | Jump up to Part 1
As a small or mid-sized company CEO, time is definitely not a luxury with which you’re familiar. Staying abreast of evolving marketing technology can seem impossible in light of all of your competing priorities. That’s why this year’s top 10 marketing trends for the new year are tailor-made for companies of your size — strategies which can be practically applied in 2018 on a small to mid-sized company budget.
Predictive Lead Scoring: With just an email address, tools like Infer can crawl the internet looking for buying signals from your prospects. Leads can then be scored and prioritized so that only the most qualified are shared with the sales team.
Multi-Channel Cold Outreach: Cold email response rates are low, given the increasing sophistication of spam filters. That’s why savvy B2B marketers are relying on a combination of channels, simultaneously deployed for maximum frequency of message, to reach new prospects — including email, digital ads, social outreach, retargeting and good old-fashioned mailers.
Rising Investment in LinkedIn Advertising: LinkedIn continues to be the most dominant of the social channels focused on the B2B space, which isn’t surprising given Twitter user growth has slowed. A site-wide user interface revamp combined with improvements to the ad platform are contributing to LinkedIn’s growth.
Less Gated Content: In 2018, gated content will become less popular as giant content engines realize that the benefits of strong search performance outweigh the benefits of locking down your content.
App Capitalization: It’s tough to get an app off the ground where it has enough consumer traffic to matter. That’s why in 2018, you’ll see more brands buying ads and exposure opportunities on apps that are already well trafficked — such as map, review, dining and transportation apps.
Native Advertising: Online advertising that feels like editorial content — in its placement, tone of content and design — is growing by leaps and bounds and will dominate in 2018. Compared to its traditional banner ad counterpart, native advertising generally generates notably higher levels of consumer engagement.
Evolving Video: There are three video trends projected to take off in 2018. The first is explainer videos which are short, uncomplicated, animated videos that explain your product or service offering. Wirebuzz.com reports that users are four times more likely to view an explainer video, when present, than read text on a web page. The second video trend is live streaming, since studies show that users watch live video three times longer than prerecorded content, with more and more of this content in 2018 being professionally produced as a result. And lastly, 2018 is projected to see a 49 percent spike in mobile video ad spend.
Lori Turner-Wilson, CEO and founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.