With nearly two weeks into the new year, digital marketing experts are looking ahead to the innovative trends that are bound to shape 2018.
Marketers and entrepreneurs foresee a consumer-focused year, with a heightened focus on themes like compassion and empathy, which give way to a new form of inspiration. At January's drawing boards, marketing experts are harnessing the modern consumer's increasing desire to learn, grow, and better the world—not just to invest.
Embrace Loving-Kindness - Seriously!
In today's hectic political clime, modern audiences are looking for an online shopping experience they can feel good about. The world is in a perilous position, with violence splashed in every headline and humanitarian crises at the forefront of every news feed. As such, today's altruistic consumers are bound to shy away from heavy-handed, overly aggressive marketing tactics. Instead, predictions suggest that compassionate marketing will take center stage. Some organizations, for example, are bound to pair up with humanitarian aid organizations and other non-profits to help raise social awareness—and even funding. Other entrepreneurs might focus more on marketing efforts designed around themes like mindfulness, relaxation, or even playfulness - tactics designed to inspire, motivate, and calm.
Keep it Local
Whereas the content of yore might have been created at a corporation's global headquarters, it's now being developed on-ground, wherever it's needed. Gone are the days of trickle-down content, which often requires translation and complicated media placement. Now, local offices are shaping "trans-created" content, wherein top-down content elements, like images and headlines, are refashioned to suit local audiences. Hyperlocal content uses search terms that are relevant only to a specific geographical area, and could include mentions of landmarks, neighborhoods, or even local festivals and events. Hyperlocal content assures specific audiences that they matter; as such, highly tailored and heavily localized content will be something most consumers come to expect in 2018 and beyond.
Strive for Better Content - Every Time
In 2018, high-quality content will toe the line between entrepreneurship and education, since today's savvy consumers will need to be persuaded more than ever before. Modern content will need to go beyond mere sales pitches if it's to be successful - and the top entrepreneurs recognize that the best content informs a customer rather than just convincing her to buy. In the new year, focus on innovative content that blurs the boundaries between the traditional sales tacks of previous years, and you're bound to see an uptick in traffic. Targeted blogs, whitepapers, and even authoritative entries on sites like Quora can boost a brand's credibility, working to provide consumers with the information they need to make a purchasing decision they can feel good about.
When considering content in 2018, it's wise to keep Facebook at the forefront of your approach, since the site continues to enjoy 2 billion monthly users—and counting. Though loopholes and policies always seem to be shifting, Facebook makes a terrific avenue for broadcasting high-quality content—especially video, whose popularity is bound to keep rising into the new year and beyond.
It's All About the Journey - Not the Destination
In 2018, marketers will hone in on the route each consumer takes to reach that final purchase. Modern shoppers are conducting careful research, asking questions on a wide range of forums, and eking out answers however they can - and most are able to recognize a credible source instinctively. To set a brand apart from large-scale websites like Amazon, entrepreneurs would do well to create a reliable stream of credible content that isn't designed to make a sale. When users see that companies care about education for the sheer sake of delivering knowledge, they're much more likely to trust the brand - again and again, today and down the line. By crafting strong content that doesn't just work to sell a product or service, businesses can develop an informed pathway for each potential and returning customer.
Approach the Influencer - With Caution
2018 will bring with it the increased rise of the influencer, whose job as an influential individual is to market products to their broad and often diverse social media followings. Modern beauty brands have long harnessed the power of the influencer - imagine the many celebrity faces of the cosmetics' companies Neutrogena and CoverGirl, for example - but as we head into 2018, we're likely to see many more brands identifying and working with influencers in their fields.
Today's entrepreneurs are looking to the power of the influencer as a way to make their advertising seem more authentic, genuine, and personal. Even smaller brands new to influencer marketing are jumping on board, harnessing the efforts of "micro-influencers," or those with just a few thousand social media followers. Micro-influencers may not be breaking the bank, but they're proud to enjoy corporate perks, like insider insights and free products, as ways to help deliver better, more distinctive content to their unique audiences.
In 2018, innovative marketing approaches paired with singular content are bound to deliver success to all who embrace them. For today's marketing experts, thinking outside the box is the way to get ahead in the new year—and beyond.
About the Author Seth Worby is the CEO and founder of Champ Internet in Newton, MA. Contact Seth at email@example.com.