2016 is slowly coming to an end – it's been yet another exciting year, full of revelations, especially in the world of marketing and technology. With the new year being just a few steps away, we've decided to ask marketers about their predictions related to upcoming 2017 marketing trends. Keep reading if you want to know what they told us!
Technology will take away the heavy-lifting
In the last couple of years, topics such as artificial intelligence stopped being just a sci-fi movie theme, but became a reality that marketers are, rather enthusiastically, looking forward to. Soon enough, AI will be able to take away much of the decision-making and analysis processes off our backs, leaving us more time to improve our product offering.
Dave Chaffey – CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights
"Across digital marketing as a whole, we're seeing more use of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques including in marketing automation. So what I hope we'll see is marketing automation becoming more automated based on predictive analytics. To take one example, commonly today, marketers have to set lead scores manually, which requires skill and experience they don't have, but it is possible to use a training data set to review historical data to see which prospects consumed which content, the actions they took and whether this led to a conversion. Using this data, it is possible to predict propensity to buy or become a marketing qualified lead."
— Isabel Sabadi (@isabelsabadi) November 17, 2016
Barry Feldman – founder and owner of Feldman Creative
"The winning marketers in 2017 and beyond will be those that perpetually improve their ability to address the individual needs of prospects and customers. "Data-driven marketing" has been part of the discussion for years, but now it's far easier to actually do. I look for marketers to employ more ways to gather insights from prospects—such as online assessments, behavior tracking, etc.—and apply them with more personalized email, social media, and more.”
You can't deny the power of automation. From bots to tasks, this industry stands to see tons of growth and a rich future.
— Jeff SanGeorge (@jeffSanGeorge) November 18, 2016
Technology will change how we interact with brands and each other
Almost overnight, many of us have become news correspondents as live video broadcasting became available to pretty much anyone who holds a smartphone in their hands. The sudden growth in popularity of VR and AR on the other hand, has proved that thousands of people, regardless of their age or location, are ready to adapt to new technologies even just to go around the streets chasing digital creatures. What's even more interesting, whilst doing so, they don't mind looking at the world through a screen no bigger than the palm of your hand.
Erik Qualman – bestselling author and motivational speaker
"Marketers begin to realize mobile video on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and beyond are more powerful than NBC, BBC, CNN, Fox. Your mobile devices are the modern day version of the television. Businesses will continue to leverage and humanize artificial intelligence tools like chat bots to improve customer service."
Daniel Brzezinski – CMO & Vice President of GetResponse
"The year 2016 was the year of Pokémon Go. And, despite a fade down the stretch, its overall popularity — including 55 million users in its first month — makes one thing very clear: location-based data is still the key to understanding customer context, as mobile becomes the dominant screen.
From traditional channels like email to more bleeding-edge platforms like augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree video, location data powers insights on how to best engage customers in a more personalized way through mobile. That’s why 2016 will go down as the year most advertisers realized just how critical geospatial data will be for the future."
hopefully more wide spread use of personalization of love dynamic content modules like product carousels, video in email
— Kelly Haggard (@kellyp7) November 19, 2016
Frank Ravanelli – affiliate marketing and performance marketing expert
"What we are already witnessing now, and will become even more visible in 2017, is the growing popularity of VR and performance-driven partnerships. VR because it allows customers to better connect with people, companies, products/services, and places, etc. It empowers a stronger experience with brands and what they stand for. Performance-driven partnerships because the old idea of paying for "eye balls" is no longer sustainable: partners need to believe in the products/services they are bringing to their audiences, sharing rewards – and risks – with the companies who advertise with them."
Jeff Bullas – CEO at JeffBullas.com
"There are a few marketing trends we need to watch in 2017, including streaming video and artificial intelligence with tools like chat bots in that mix.
Streaming video is highly engaging and AI has a few years before its impact will become significant. But the one to watch and embrace that is going mainstream for businesses small and large is marketing automation.
It is also the one "big" thing that will make the biggest difference to your leads and sales if you learn to harness its power."
Customers will shape the conversation
Over the years we've seen that the control of the conversation has been shifting away from the brands, and now the customers are the ones who choose what information they want to receive. They are the ones who decide the topics of the conversation, the format in which the information is served, or its frequency. Brands have to adapt and take away from those conversations as much as possible, as that's the only way to build strong relationships and get to know their audience better.
Dave Sutton – founder of TopRight, LLC
"Marketing transformation will accelerate in 2017 as:
- “Mass marketing” will take on an entirely new meaning as the masses will control much of the dialog (and all of the authentic advocacy) about brands and their reputations;
- Connected Customers will demand full control over the timing and process of communications and consumption, so businesses will be expected to meet customer needs as soon as they materialize via whatever channel the customer has chosen;
- Marketing campaigns, once thought of as one-way communication paths from brand to customer, will truly become two-way streets. Continuous engagement will be the norm and episodic campaigns will be in the rearview mirror for most companies;
- Company marketing processes and the insights and intelligence embedded within them will coalesce. Not just because they overlap so much, but because the customer experiences them as parts of the same interaction;
- Static “rule-based” marketing automation processes will not be able to keep up with the pace of market change. Machine learning and more predictive marketing processes and decision-making will be required."
Jamie Turner – CEO of SIXTY and founder of 60SecondMarketer.com
“There’s a major shift away from traditional marketing to a new technique called nonlinear marketing. Linear (traditional) marketing interrupts a consumer’s life with advertising that tries to sell them a product. Nonlinear marketing is when the brand develops content and experiences that become part of a consumer’s life. If you look at what Starbucks, Red Bull, and Coca-Cola are doing, you’ll understand what nonlinear marketing is — content and experiences that consumers digest and participate in without overtly being sold a product or service.”
A significantly greater focus on #creativity
— Carla Johnson - Keynote Speaker (@CarlaJohnson) November 16, 2016
Jason Falls – founder & partner at Conversation Research Institute
“I think 2017 will be about the maturation of brands leveraging social data to improve their marketing. That's why I'm doubling down on conversation research as a product offering. The more brands realize they can analyze what people are freely saying online to inform everything from product and feature development to messaging and targeting, the more will come to understand that you don't have to post on Facebook to be successful with social media.”
Michael Brenner – CEO of Marketing Insider Group
"The marketing leadership mandate for 2017 is transforming the entire company culture. Consumers and buyers are tuning out (or blocking completely) self-serving promotion and ads. Leading marketers in 2017 will strive to create a culture focused on delivering value to their customers that translates into better marketing results. We'll see brands creating more customer-focused content and delivering personalized and relevant content experiences to build brand awareness, engagement, and purchase consideration. For marketing practitioners 2017 will see the combination of the power of marketing automation and Content Marketing, to deliver quality and relevant content personalized to the buyer journey."
Kath Pay – CEO of Holistic Email Marketing
Game changing trend or tactic in 2017? It's not technology. It's not a tactic. The game changer will be a change in the mindset of the email marketer, which in turn will affect their strategy. Whilst email is a channel, the email marketer of 2017 will look more at the complete customer journey than just the email itself. They will realize that email marketing is so much more than just the email being pushed out. They will understand that it is all to do with the customer journey and that optimizing the customer journey is central to their success as an email marketer. Email marketers of 2017 will become customer experience marketers – doing what they can to improve the customer experience and reduce the barriers to conversions.
Reno Van Boven – founder of Yoonla
“The digital space is rapidly growing, with more and more business going online on a daily basis. Over the next year, I think social media will become an even more important part of digital marketing and for businesses to interact and engage with their customers. The social proof it provides can work very well for consumers to make an informed purchase decision and for businesses to increase conversions and gain more customers.“
To keep the ROI, brands will have to allocate their budgets carefully
Online media channels have their ups and downs. As users and their behavior are changing, so are the platforms that brands use to communicate with them. Social media websites such as Twitter or LinkedIn may not be as effective as in the past, whilst paid advertising is getting more and more expensive each year. If brands want to keep meeting their business objectives, they may need to reconsider how they allocate their marketing budgets.
Karolina Kurcwald - Chief Wordsmith at GetResponse
"2017 will look less to individual channels, and see them more as tactics to execute an overall marketing strategy. With marketing folks specializing in very narrow niches and specific channels in the past few years, I believe we've come to a tipping point where we need to go back and look at the big picture. Marketers coming from different backgrounds will understand they need a much deeper, hands-on knowledge of their companies' business and communication goals overall. Content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, etc., will no longer be there just for their own sake, however successful they might be, but will be seen as parts of the puzzle that ultimately lead to one omnichannel experience for the customer."
— sean mullins (@realemailmkting) November 18, 2016
Lon Safko – CEO of Extreme Digital Marketing
“2016 has seen a lot of changes in the way we digitally communicate. From 2008 until this past year we have seen the steady growth of social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We also saw the demise of traditional marketing. Newspapers, radio, direct mail, and television all suffered the same fate, a steady decline in viewer/listenership until the ROI (Return on Investment) made them nearly a waste of money. During the past two years, we have now seen a steady decline in the effectiveness of digital communication. Facebook ads no longer convert, Google AdWords are too expensive and don’t convert very well, Vine and Blab have shut down, Twitter is nearly completely ineffective, and LinkedIn participation is at an all-time low. So what do we do now that all of our marketing tools stopped working? Two things; email marketing and integration. First, email marketing still has a 40x conversion rate that Facebook. If email marketing is done correctly, we can still count on it as having the highest ROI of any tool. Second, total integration. That’s why I wrote the bestselling book “The Fusion Marketing Bible”. We need to now more than ever, test every tool we have at our disposal and completely integrate or connect them so one tool will enhance the performance of the other. With all of our demographics distributed over so many traditional, digital, and social marketing tools, you have to use everything to gain a critical mass. Email marketing has to be on top of your list for greatest ROI in 2017.”
What do you predict?
Do you think technology will have a big impact on what's happening in the marketing space? Will brands move their marketing budgets towards VR and AR? Or maybe you believe that consumers will continue to have the final say in how they interact with brands? Share your thoughts in the comments 🙂