What marketing trends can be expected in 2017? In a nutshell: Technologies and methods that will usher in the customer era. Here are our top ten:
Regardless of whether in the B2B or B2C markets, what counts is the experience that a company offers its customers. These ten trends are making it possible to address customers more personally with content that interests them and on the channels they use to communicate.
- The customer is the main focus.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate one’s offering based on traditional factors like the product or price. What matters is the individual customer experience. Customer centricity is the term used to describe this important competitive factor. In the future, companies should make every effort to get to know their customers personally, find out what interests them, the channels they use to communicate and which expectations and wishes they have in order to address and meet these specific individual needs.
- Mobility rocks on.
This fundamental strategic alignment entails other trends that are not new, but still essential. In 2017 mobile devices will continue to play the lead role in digital customer communication with a rising tendency. Therefore, all communication content, platforms and campaigns also have to be designed for mobile use. “Mobile First” applies more than ever.
- Mobile First will mutate into Multi-Device.
But this alone is not enough. Connected customers use numerous devices. And they are increasingly expecting to switch devices without interruptions. For example, they want to finish the placing the order they started in the commuter train when they get to their desktop at home in the evening without having to re-enter all their data.
- Real-time communication via messaging.
Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Threema and iMessage are gaining popularity. According to Statista, two-thirds (69 percent) of internet users age 14 and older in Germany use a short message service. They appreciate the benefits of this simple, fast, direct communication media that allows for easy integration of pictures and videos. A growing number of customers expects companies to communicate with them in real-time in this way.
- Content remains king.
The biggest challenges that will continue to grow in 2017 will include the creation and distribution of relevant content. In today’s world, everyone is producing and sharing text, photos and videos. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out and address one’s target groups in this explosion of content. The same motto applies here as for trend No. 1: Which content inspires customers? A valid method in this regard can consist of producing less, but better content.
- Gamification: life is a game.
There are many ways to make content more attractive for users. Gamification is one of them. Fitness apps, which are enjoying increasing popularity due to the spread of wearables, use intrinsic motivation, for example, to gain many users. There are many ways to make use of playful competition elements. The app JouleBug, for example, rewards environmentally friendly behaviour. Its users collect points by drinking their coffee from a mug instead of a paper cup, riding a bike instead of driving a car, etc. Utilities companies are using this type of app to build customer loyalty.
- Snapchat: content available for a limited time
Anything that is only available for a limited time is inherently interesting. Snapchat has transferred this principle of scarcity to visual content by providing still images and videos, which are quickly created and shared and then disappear again after 24 hours at the most. Around 100 million users use this simple and fast way of communicating on a daily basis. Early adopters include the car rental company Sixt and the German television broadcaster ProSieben, which provides glimpses of everyday work life on Snapchat for recruiting purposes and behind-the-scenes clips of TV productions
- Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR)
One of the hottest current trends is digitally augmented and emulated reality. AR and VR headsets are especially offering a lot of marketing potential when it comes to giving customers an intense, direct and emotional experience of a product or brand.
- Predictive analytics
Addressing customers in a personalized way is all well and good, but how are marketing professionals to know which content is inspiring to which customers? Predictive analytics is used to search through the growing amounts of data and detect patterns that could divulge what the customer finds interesting and what they want to buy precisely.
- Chatbots and artificial intelligence
But companies don’t have to shoulder this trial-and-error process alone. Siri and Cortana are two of the programs that can provide them support. These voice-controlled applications get to know their users better with each interaction using artificial intelligence (AI). They are so good at this that they can eventually make restaurant recommendations, book tickets and provide navigation to the cinema on their own. In combination with predictive analytics, this type of algorithm can help companies anticipate the needs of their customers and thereby differentiate themselves from the competition in a positive way.
What matters is the impact
Despite all the new options for online communication, conventional tools seem to be retaining their relevance depending on the task at hand. Even online marketing trendsetters are now more cautiously assessing the effect of certain online tools. For example, some are critical of extremely focussed targeting measures that avoid wastage, because they make it very difficult to gain new customers. The “scattered gains” achieved by widespread advertising or PR may actually have a greater impact in this regard.
Ultimately, it’s about the measurable impact of the ever-growing, barely manageable range of possibilities for communication and marketing. When it comes to measurability, online advertising tops the list, but sometimes at one’s own expense due to its lacking impact.
For more information about Digital Marketing Trends 2017 also read our articles Latest Heimtextil-App 4.0 brings digital and real trade fair worlds together, Digital trade fair marketing provides the platform for connecting real and digital worlds, Artificial intelligence: science-fiction in marketing and A look into the glass ball of data: predictive analytics in marketing.