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When a Trend isn’t a Trend

What we can’t afford to ignore in the marketing world for 2018.

digital marketing

As we consider what the New Year will bring, the marketing team at Cubiq, shares what we can’t afford to ignore in the marketing world for 2018.

As a rule, most people avoid trends. They’re perceived to be risky and adopting them too early, or keenly, can make you look like an idiot. You only have to look as far as Twitter to see how quickly trends can change, but a blanket rejection of the ‘new and evolving’ isn’t the answer for 2018. Businesses can be hesitant to embrace what they consider to be transient trends in the digital world, because they don’t think they’ll still be relevant in years to come and aren’t worth the investment. But there are developments that have moved beyond ‘trend’ status, and are now essential to how we market ourselves in the modern world.

The Age of Social

Social media has evolved to become an undeniably important part of how we communicate. Years ago, it was labeled by many as a total ‘fad’, but now – budgets are doubling for social left right and centre. It’s grown up and now produces a visible and measurable return on investment, if implemented correctly.

Those who adopted early are entering a second wave of sophistication as they’ve learned from the mistakes they made early on, and are reaping the benefits. Insights from early campaigns have shaped knowledge of customer behaviour across different channels and activity has been refined accordingly. Businesses need to look at how they’re performing on social to identify what can be refined and improved from a strategic perspective.

Rise of the Robots

Data science and new technologies are enhancing the artistry of marketing at an industrious pace. The influx of data, and its increasing complexity, has resulted in a real skills gap for many businesses, which will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. This data is being collected from website analytics, email marketing software and social media channels, as well as back office systems, but many are struggling to make best use of this information. Understanding data and gathering insights that help make informed decisions, is an undeniably valuable skill set for 2018. Getting to grips with multi-channel attribution modelling, customer flow visualisation and conversion rate optimisation should be high up on the priority list. The digital space has become more sophisticated, and as more platforms evolve their ability to generate income, advertising technology (AdTech) has raised its game. Social media advertising, mobile marketing, PPC, display advertising, re-targeting and more have become an essential part of how businesses operate online. Keeping up to date with what’s possible, and which channels can provide the best return are essential next year.

Building The Library

As we publish more information online, on social media, via email and in printed form, we’re adding to our ever- growing library of content. In 2018 we need to start putting more emphasis on developing our digital assets in a way that’s sensitive to how they’re being shared.

By designing channel-specific assets, we’re optimising their ability to make an impact. Engaging visuals and video content work best on social, whereas mobile-landing pages need to be short, snappy paragraphs. Using the same information in blanket fashion won’t get you anywhere any more.

Getting Personal

As mobile, social media and email marketing have evolved into being established marketing channels – they’ve collectively produced a new trend that is seeing increased investment from both B2B and B2C organisations. It might sound odd, but technological advancements allow us to be more personal with our communications than ever before. Segmenting email data, targeting Facebook adverts, or dedicated direct mail offers are all techniques that should be part of our arsenal moving forward. Adopting a ‘relationship’ view helps us to broaden the horizons from a traditional transactional marketing model, encouraging us to have a longer-term narrative. This extends into how our brand identity will evolve as customers expect a more human experience across the board.

The Might of Mobile

Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ algorithm signifies the importance that we should all be putting on evolving this technology – but also as marketers. It’s more than ‘a website thing’, it’s a state of mind. How our customers interact with us on mobile should be central to how we design and deliver our key messages.

It impacts how our websites look, sound and how they’re optimised, as well as how our emails are formatted and our content is displayed or shared on social. Under the ‘relationship marketing’ umbrella, investing in your mobile marketing activity will pay dividends as you’re creating experiences for your customers that have been tailored to how they’re interacting with you.

Get it Together

Connected communications are, without doubt, more effective than a disjointed approach. As our channels diversify, it’s never been more important to invest in an integrated approach to your marketing efforts. Social media isn’t something for the intern to ‘do’ at lunchtime, and emails shouldn’t be fired out once a month without consideration for what else is going on within the business. Operating in silos is an outdated model that just won’t work in 2018. Get your teams together and look at what you’re producing and see how it can be better aligned to ensure you’re making the most impact from your activity.

Elevate Your Emails

If we’re suspicious of adopting trends too early, we can also be guilty of abandoning things too quickly. People have been saying that ‘email marketing is dead’ for years, yet marketers still attribute this channel as providing an excellent return on investment.

Email is fit and healthy – if you’re using it properly. Times have changed and if you’re going to see the desired returns, you need to raise your game. As consumers, we’ve come to expect quality, relevant email communications that have been personalised according to our interests. If you’re still sending corporate style newsletters in 2018, you’re missing a real trick.

More information on what’s going to be big news next year get in touch with the Cubiq team by calling 01638 666432, or by emailing info@cubiq.co.uk.