B2B marketing organizations in particular seem to be drawn to the newest shiny marketing object.

Pinterest? Native Advertising? The World Wide Web? Responsive Design? Inbound Marketing?

Before diving headfirst into an empty pool, yes, you need to take the time to determine if you should be diving in the first place. (No duh, you already knew that).

But the real million dollar question is this one:

Why is everyone throwing themselves at that shiny object in the center of the bandwagon like a bunch of teenage girls at a Justin Bieber contest in the first place?

The shine on that object comes from evolving preferences, styles, capabilities, priorities or behaviors. As you dig into it, you will find trends and insights that will apply across your marketing. Even if you ignore the shiny object.

Case in Point: Visual Content

Visual content was hot in 2012. If it was for infographics or Pinterest, images, graphics or illustrations became de rigueur for marketers. But what are some of the elements underlying this trend?

LOL! ROFL! (serious face) What I'm Really Doing

  • Easy to consume information. Remember the memes of yesteryear? (Yes, they are still around, but I’m trying to forget about them). It took 2 seconds to get the point even before a cup of coffee. Compared to text, visual content is brief.
  • It is a real craft. Everyone can write a crappy article or create a boring talking-head video (and nearly everyone does). But graphics and images with a clear and concise point are more difficult to create and reflect the craft and skill of the creator, making good visual content stand out in a sea of crappy content.
  • Shows ideas words can’t describe. When used for interior design and decorating ideas, Pinterest allows people to pin and discover what words cannot express.
  • The pendulum is finding a new equilibrium. People have different content preferences. For some of the reasons here, more people are looking for or appreciating visual content today.

Many of these trends and insights apply beyond visual content, yet many marketers jumping on the infographic bandwagon are completely missing these underlying and more important trends:

  • Keep it brief. Your content, regardless of form, should be easy to consume quickly.
  • Practice your craft. Your content is your craft, not an item to be checked off on your to-do list.
  • Find the right format. Both the information and the audience preferences should guide the choice of formats.

By focusing on visual content, you would just add visual components to your existing marketing. However, the underlying trends you discover can improve nearly all of your marketing.

In Summary

Marketing is changing so quickly that marketers are glomming on to the latest trend or shiny object for fear of missing the boat. It is time to stop accepting these shiny objects at face value and look for the deeper underlying trends.

Or you could just jump on every shallow, trend-chasing marketer bandwagon that goes by.

Your Turn

Will you dig deeper, looking for the trends underlying the shiny objects this year? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@wittlake).

Top image credit: imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net