Analog vs Digital: Are You Stuck In the Past or Trending?

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

Trends Driving The Future Of Marketing

For the most part, it’s not healthy to be stuck in the past. Sure, we’re all guilty of doing it sometimes, but dwelling on the past isn’t a good way to live your life. It’s also not a good way to handle your marketing. Yet so many marketers get used to doing things a certain way and have a hard time advancing when it’s time. Are you this type of marketer?

Other marketers have the opposite problem; they spend too much time focusing on the future rather than the present. They want to know what the next big thing is and how it will impact their marketing campaigns. While it’s smart to look ahead and anticipate certain changes, it’s also important not to lose sight of what’s working today. Perhaps you’re this type of marketer.

Past, Future or Trending?

Ideally, it’s best to take a future trending approach, meaning that you follow the current trends but look toward the future. You don’t necessarily let possible future trends drive your success, but you are aware of what they could be and how they could affect your campaigns. Marketers that follow this approach tend to be most successful in their efforts. Maybe you are this type of marketer, and if so, that means you are close to perfect.

The truth is that most marketers have a hard time moving along with the trends. So don’t feel embarrassed if you’re having a hard time, too. It’s easy to get hooked on certain practices because they are comfortable and easy, and because it can feel complicated or stressful to learn something new. Don’t take the easy route. You’re a marketer and you have to be up for the challenge.

Let’s explore some of the top trends that are driving the future of marketing.

Mobile Takes the Cake

Just about everyone has noticed the impact of mobile marketing. Between smartphones, tablets and wearable gadgets, mobile is everywhere, and it’s influencing the marketing world big time. As more people access the Internet on smaller screens, brands will have to work harder to develop personalized relationships in this on-demand format. Already, brands are moving in this direction, and mobile will only become more dominant.

Transparency Defines Relationships

Customers don’t want surprises - unless it’s a free item you’re packing along with their order. The best brands will be transparent when dealing with customers, offering real value that will make the lives of their customers better. Part of this transparency will come from better engagement; part of it will come from honesty. What can customers expect from the product? How does it compare to their competitors?

Good Content is an Expectation

Don’t expect the need for good content to slow down. In fact, expect it to accelerate. Content continues to dominate in the marketing world, so brands need to move right along with this trend, building out bigger and better content marketing plans that align with their business goals. What can you do to ensure you’re stacking up to your competition? Create great content at a fast speed and mix it up. Visual content is important, too.

Customers Write the Book  

Each year, content continues to be fine tuned to better meet the needs and interests of readers. That’s why we’ve seen visual content grow in popularity; it’s something that engages people, and it has the potential to go viral. Watch for the new hit: user-generated content. Brands know they have to evoke positive emotions in customers when it comes to their products or services, and one way to do this is by maximizing the use of online reviews, social media posts and blogs.

Social is the “It” Factor

As of right now, we consider social media a channel for marketing. But eventually, social will become the channel. Social is an integral part of most marketing campaigns, but brands are still balancing it with other marketing mediums. In time, we can expect to see brands fully transition their marketing efforts to social channels. The emergence of social media combined with the transparency and inclusion that customers want will propel this trend.

Millennials are Growing Up

Many brands are focused on a particular group - the Millennials. Part of the reason is the sheer size of this group. It’s larger than the Baby Boom generation and three times the size of Generation X. That’s a lot of people to market to. A second reason is because Millennials tend to drive technology trends. They spend tons of time on their smartphones. They connect with brands on social media. They wield $1.3 trillion in annual buying power.  

But, Millennials are growing up, which means there’s going to be a new generation to contend to. Brands won’t be able to focus on the Millennials anymore. They will need to take the time to understand this new, younger generation that will hold the cards for future social trends.

Measuring Gets Precise

The only way to truly know how your brand’s marketing efforts are working is through the data you collect. Otherwise, you can only make fair guesses about the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Luckily, analytic tools have gotten more precise, but there’s still room for them to grow. Expect to see this trend continue as more accurate measuring tools become available. The superficial metrics of likes, shares and tweets will be replaced by more meaningful metrics, though don’t expect to know what your customers are having for dinner.

Innovation Wins

Great customer service will never go out of style. But this is the future we’re talking about, and you don’t want to get stuck in the past, right? In addition to good service, the most successful brands will thrive on innovation. What can the next product accomplish? What features will allow it to surpass its competitors? Brands that practice innovation will ultimately hold the best retention rates.

These trends aren’t just guesses for what will happen in the future. They are the trends that are already shaping the future of digital marketing. So buckle up your seatbelt and get ready for the ride of a lifetime. Marketing is changing, and you’re in the driver’s seat.

 

About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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