Before the ink dries on your 2017 marketing plans, what if you could mind meld with fellow industry professionals to compare notes on the hottest trends impacting marketing?
Last week, the American Marketing Association PDX aimed to do just that by bringing us predictions from a few local marketing pundits:
- Ryan Lewis, Founder and President, Bonfire Marketing
- Colby Read, Account Supervisor, CMD
- Andrew Schpak, Partner, Barran Lieberman LLP
- Neil Sniffen, Sr. Digital Strategist, Subtext
- Paul Weinert, Principal Owner, Graybox
What new trends should we be on the lookout for in 2017?
Regarding new digital technologies:
- Understand and develop a point of view about Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and 360 video to be able to recommend if and when to use these emerging technologies.
Regarding search and new platforms:
- Search will increasingly be about voice and less about touch interaction. Technologies like Amazon Echo do not have digital browsers.
- Keep in mind that YouTube is the second biggest search tool in the world.
- Search is becoming more personalized to enable customers to quickly find information that is relevant to them. Algorithms are increasingly more responsive to “longer tail” keyword searches. Think phrases not just words.
- Think mobile first.
Why is it so important to update websites?
- To keep up with the growing prevalence of cross-device uses. Marketers need to invest in sites that work across all new platforms, including phones, watches and other surfaces. Set aside a monthly budget to make website changes on an ongoing basis.
- People judge you in nanoseconds. Hire professionals to do the copywriting on your website, and cut out the pages and services that visitors aren’t using. Copy should be simple and empathetic to the audience.
- Stop relying on organic search, you will get algorithm-ed out. You have to invest in ads and search. Even a budget of $100/month will make a difference.
- Google penalizes sites without responsive design.
How should marketers prioritize website updates?
- Do a website audit to identify your gaps or friction points. Even small businesses can use this type of information to make little bets on changes that make a big difference.
- Test content on different platforms to see how it performs. Review analytics. Place your money where you have the biggest bang for your buck.
- Make sure you have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) enabled. Sites that do not show up as secure have big bounce rates.
What are you excited about that is coming next?
- Bridging the digital and real world. We expect to see more and more sensors in the real world that allow brands to interact with the digital world and personalize their marketing to individuals.
- Personalization is becoming more and more possible for the little guys.
What should social media and content marketers do well?
- Be curious and open to all new things.
- Be able to partner with others in the areas outside of your direct expertise and work together FOR the client; because you can’t be everything to everyone. For example, a PR agency and an SEO firm.
- Understand how analytics and algorithms will increasingly drive marketing decisions. Be able to prove your content is working.
- Remember that all social media lives on forever and has been asked for in litigation.
- Everything is connected. What happens on social media relates to what happens on a website or at retail, so you will need to be a generalist but also an expert in your particular area.
- People are more comfortable relating with companies that behave like people. Brands need to be personable.