One-on-One Marketing, Content Automatization, Identity-Based Marketing, Content Remarketing, Digital Assistance and Hybrid Advertising.

These are just a few of the trends ‘you can’t afford to miss out on in 2016’. But how many of these trends are really going to change the game?

Maybe one or two will have somewhat of an influence in the industry, but are these trends really the best way to attract more customers? To drive sales?

Let’s stop looking at trends for a second. And let’s look at what works and what has always worked.

Because that’s where we can still learn a lot.

For obvious reasons, we always look at the trends of the coming year, not at those in the past.

But let’s turn it around for a second. Just for fun. Let’s take a look at what was ‘trending’ in the past years.

  • The rise of marketing technologists (2015)
  • Agility marketing (2015)
  • Micro-targeting (2015)
  • Location based marketing (2014)
  • Conversion Optimalization (2014)
  • Integrated Marketing (2014)

Now how many of these trends really changed the game?

Just to be clear: I’m not saying that these trends haven’t had an influence in the marketing industry. And I’m not saying that they can’t be useful tools to implement, but if we look at everything in our marketing-arsenal, are these trends really the things that are going to drive our sales the most?

Let’s look at the things that really did change the game.

The true game changers

The first print advertisement ever was produced during the Song dynasty in China (from 960 until 1279). It was put to use by the Liu family, who owned a little family needle shop in the streets of Jinan.

The print ad was a bronze copper plate that read: “We buy high quality steel rods and make fine quality needles, to be ready for use at home in no time.”

It said what the needle shop of the Liu family was all about and what their USP was: ready for use at home in no time. Simple, but effective advertising.

And as the years went by, our world evolved. And so did advertising.

For example, bamboo flutes were played in China to help sell candy. It engaged the customer – it entertained them; it captured their interest.

In Europe, fruit and vegetables were often sold on cars and wagons in the city square. And to draw customers to their cars, vendors started using Word-of-Mouth marketing by sending out people to announce the whereabouts of the vendor.

Simple. Practical. Efficient.

What will get you more customers

The best advertising and marketing, the kind that is able to attract new (and old) customers, is always relatively simple.

It’s never that new high-tech gadget or that one smart tool that was just released.

It’s always based on human nature. And it’s always based on people’s emotions.

It’s the kind of marketing that manages to truly engage the audience. To really capture their interest. It’s the kind that tells the story of a brand, without interrupting or annoying the customer.

That’s the kind of marketing that works. The sort of marketing that helps brands grow.

We shouldn’t be looking for ‘The Next Big Thing’ in advertising and in marketing.

Because The Next Big Thing has been around for hundreds of years.