Marketing is constantly evolving and its important to keep up to date. Here’s our take on some of the top marketing trends for 2018 that you should be looking out for.

5 marketing trends to look out for in 2018

Influencer Marketing1) Micro-influencer marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new – celebrity endorsements and brand ambassadors are an age-old marketing technique – but it is becoming increasingly accessible for businesses of all sizes to leverage the power of the ‘micro-influencer.’

What is a micro-influencer?
A micro-influencer is an individual who has built a large social following through publishing their own content or activity. A micro-influencer doesn’t need to have millions of social media followers (they could have as little as 10k upwards), but what’s important is that they have an engaged, captive audience. They could be posting content about sport, fashion or topics as niche as aircraft propellers or sprouting broccoli (there’s something for everyone!). Their followers identity with them, value their opinions and feel a strong connection with them, making them highly influential to their audience.

Whatever your industry, your target audience probably follow micro-influencers and the strong relationships they have developed with them are built on authenticity and trust. Identifying and working with the right influencers for your audience makes getting your business in front of them in a subtle, indirect way an incredibly powerful tool. It’s word-of-mouth marketing, but on a larger scale.

Web Chat2) Individualisation is the new personalisation

Personalisation in marketing – particularly email marketing and social media – is something we’re all used to and have come to expect. So it’s natural that this has continued to evolve.

Individualised communications such as one-on-one messaging are becoming favoured by consumers to deliver a ‘hyper-personalised’ experience. Chatbot functions on websites are becoming increasingly common, and whilst there is still a long way to go in terms of technology and uptake, the ‘bots’ can answer questions, add products to your basket and complete tasks based on your specific requirements and instructions.

Another area of individualisation, or ‘hyper-personalisation’ is in video content. YouTube recently launched several new tools including ‘Director Mix,’ which lets advertisers automatically create thousands of video ads from a single campaign, tailored to the different segments of their audiences. The ad the user sees will depend the video being watched.

Marketing Data3) Better use of data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is fast approaching and will impact all businesses. Treating all forms of personal data that you hold on your customers, employees, suppliers and anyone else with respect and compliance is essential.

Data + Marketing often equals a bad reputation, so this is the year to turn it around. For many businesses, data collection has been an ad-hoc mix of data capture forms, competitions, business cards, paid for lists and taking a wild guess. Assuming consent and pre-ticked ‘opt-in’ boxes were used in order to send emails and marketing messages.

With the GDPR, however, consent must be explicitly given. This means business may need to review their data and seek consent where none has previously been given. The rules for B2B marketing and B2C marketing may also vary. Whilst this is a challenge, it can also be seen as an opportunity to get things right and to focus your marketing on those who are happy to hear from you.

Take a look at the Information Commissioner’s Office website for full details of the GDPR and how to comply.

4) Transparency & openness

Honesty and trust, transparency and authenticity are huge factors in influencing customers. Before choosing your business, consumers will search for you, read the reviews, look at your social media profiles – then they make their decision.

Being transparent isn’t about giving away secrets, but is simply being human. Celebrate your successes, admit to mistakes, respond to reviews (positive and negative), show what’s going on behind-the-scenes, and project the ‘voice’ of your business on social media. The more customers can learn about a business and how it operates, the stronger their connection (and likelihood of choosing that business) becomes.

Video Marketing5) Video will continue to boom

Short-form videos, live videos, explainer videos – there are so many video buzzwords out there at the moment. Let’s break them down:

Short-form videos are short, to-the-point videos that are perfect for social media, where your audience’s attention span is limited.

With platforms such as Facebook Live gaining popularity, live videos are ideal for bringing viewers into the heart of your business. Wherever there is a story to tell, live streaming of video works – it could be an event, what’s going on in your shop, behind-the-scenes at a photoshoot, live demos or Q&A sessions – the possibilities are endless. According to Tubular Insights, viewers spend 8 times longer watching live video content than on-demand.

Explainer videos are easily absorbed, informative videos which are relatively short in length. They are great for communicating a message that traditionally may have been in a written format, such as a blog post or product information. Presenting this information into a video format breaks it down, makes it much easier to take in, and is far less work for the viewer than reading paragraphs of text.

The point is not to get hung up on the format of your video – what matters most is the content. If you can engage your audience through video, you have the power to influence and encourage them to take action after watching; which could be anything from liking and sharing it on social media, subscribing to your newsletter, or making a sale.

Want to discover how to embrace these trends within your business? Contact us to find out how we can help.