by Kristin Brighton on January 6, 2017

Hot marketing trends 2017

I love learning about the latest marketing trends and new technologies. However, as someone who spends most of her time with clients who spend less than $250,000 a year on marketing (and some much less), I often have to translate how cool new innovations can benefit our smaller budget clients.  

In other words, while I’m fascinated with what cool tools like marketing automation and augmented reality can do (think Pokémon GO), most of our clients aren’t financially in the position to exploit them — at least for now. The ROI is just too much of a gamble.

However, often the ideas and philosophy behind these cool innovations can be applied in a way that is realistic for smaller budgets. Let’s explore a few of these hot trends and how we envision using them with our clients this year.

Influencer Marketing

Word-of-mouth has always been the most effective form of advertising. Digital marketing just magnifies word-of-mouth. We ask our “friends” on Facebook before trying a new restaurant. We buy shoes, books, and appliances based on user reviews. YouTube celebrities have huge influence over their followers’ buying habits. Product placement in entertainment is also a form of influencer marketing — when a famous person uses a product in the media, it immediately becomes more desirable.

This works on a small scale, too. Opening a new store or restaurant? Hold an exclusive event, create a hashtag, impress the socks off people, and just wait for local VIPs to share their experience online. Or, identify a small group of relevant people with a strong social media following — like bloggers, journalists, or the cool kid in school — and send them your product, hoping they’ll write about their experience and influence their followers. Influencers can be hugely powerful, and their impact can be felt on any scale. We can help you identify and connect with logical, natural influencers that make sense for your organization’s goals.

Real-time Video

It used to be that if you had a press conference, drew a name out of a hat to pick a winner, or announced a big acquisition, that you had to invite the media to come and cover your news — or at least write a press release to package up the news for distribution. Today, with real-time tools like Twitter's Go Live and Facebook Live, you can broadcast things happening in your world in real-time, and even interact with viewers. The power of these tools is incredible, and we are only beginning to fully understand how live streaming will transform marketing communications. We will be exploring with our clients how they can go live and make it work for them.

Purpose-driven Marketing

This one is possibly my favorite. Consumers today — especially Millennials — really value opportunities to promote social change with their spending. In fact, a study released last year by Havas Worldwide found that 63% of Millennials agree companies will have a more important role in creating a better future than governments.

If there is a way to tie your products or services into supporting a greater mission, it can be extremely powerful. Think about brands like Tom’s, Newman’s Own, Burt’s Bees, KIND, Headbands of Hope, Cole + Parker, Kiva, or the Global Orphan Project’s Go Exchange brand, and the passion consumers feel about those products. In such cases, customers become brand ambassadors because they are emotionally invested in the business’s cause. Fueling that passion becomes the entire marketing focus.

Any company can give a percentage of their profits to charity or set up a corporate foundation to focus philanthropic efforts. But the true power of such acts is magnified when the actions feel authentic because they align with a company’s leadership philosophy, target audience, visual identity, and products. As long as people don’t feel like your mission is self-serving, then purpose-driven marketing can be gold. We can explore how your core business and practices can align with important values that your target audience holds, and use those values to connect with that audience more effectively.

More than anything, I challenge you to not be complacent in your marketing strategies. Businesses that embrace change, take risks, and use new technologies in smart, innovative ways usually rise to the top. If I’ve piqued your interest about doing some new things next year, then let’s brainstorm some new paths to explore. The journey will be exciting!