geralt / Pixabay

Marketing has always been a shifting and evolving landscape and increasingly technology is leading the way when it comes to reaching consumers. It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and take advantage of new marketing opportunities as they emerge.

As we look forward to 2018, here are some emerging marketing trends to consider putting into action.

1. Social Media as publishing outlets

Social Media platforms are increasingly exploring options for users to move beyond simply sharing content by allowing them to publish their own content. Over the last year LinkedIn has been growing in popularity as a publishing outlet, with many companies using the platform to boost their B2B marketing via influential articles. Snapchat and Instagram now include linking features that allow users to swipe to read articles. And Facebook’s Instant Articles is becoming increasingly popular with many content creators using the feature to publish their articles directly to the Facebook App.

Content marketing is no longer just about creating great content for your website. It’s about getting your content in front of consumers where they’re already at. And using Social Media as a publishing outlet is an effective way to do so.

2. Instant connection via live streaming

Consumers are no longer satisfied with faceless, generic marketing. They want and expect real human connections. Businesses are using live video streams to establis real-time human connections with their audiences. Whether it’s streaming a product launch, running B2B webinars, offering Q&A sessions or streaming product reviews, live videos are becoming an established part of small business marketing strategy. And when you consider that 80% of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, it’s a marketing opportunity that really can’t be ignored.

3. Out-of-home advertising

Out-of-home advertising (billboards, bus stop posters, outdoor panels etc) is seeing something of a comeback. With the rise of digital billboards and panels, the format is becoming more flexible and relevant, as well as successful at driving online traffic. Many big brands have already recognised the benefits of linking their online marketing with out-of-home advertising. And with the rise of online platforms that offer click-to-purchase rental of billboards and panels, the medium has become more accessible to smaller businesses. Campaigns can be targeted to run at specific locations for as long as marketing budgets allow.

4. Purpose Driven Marketing

Marketing can be just as much about connecting with consumers’ emotions and conscience as it is about showcasing a great deal or new product. Brands can use purpose driven marketing to target an audience based on their shared needs and interests – particularly in supporting a worthy cause. Customers are loyal to brands that have a purpose, with 91% of Millennials saying that they would switch brands to one associated with a cause. Partnering with nonprofits and charities, or establishing a “give back” programme can give a brand a stronger presence by aligning their purpose with the values and priorities of their consumers.

5. Influencer marketing

2017 has seen a rise in the use of ad blockers, and as such digital marketers are looking for alternative ways to reach consumers. Influencer marketing is an effective way to get round ad blockers, as well as a way to reach relevant target audiences. Furthermore, influencer advertising can be far more powerful than paid ads with 90% of consumers claiming to trust peer recommendations, whilst only 33% of consumers trust adverts. 2018 will see marketers working more with micro-influencers. These are influencers with an audience of 1,000-100,000 people (as opposed to macro-influencers with an audience of around 10 million followers). Micro influencers are 4x more likely to get a comment on a post than macro-influencers and have loyal followings within specific niches. If you can find the right influencers in your specific niche, micro influencer marketing is likely to give you a far better ROI than paid ads.

6. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has been simmering away on the back burner for a couple of years now, and the medium is expected to go mainstream in 2018. You may not have the budget or know-how to ride the crest of the Virtual Reality wave, but the trend should serve as an indication of the importance of investing in visual content. Creating interactive graphics and video on a website now will serve as a starting point for future exploration into virtual reality marketing opportunities.