Sure seems like this year flew by, didn't it?
We have covered a lot of territory this year in "On Marketing." As we enter the final couple of weeks in 2016, let's shift our focus more on the future and plan our efforts for 2017.
Because I'm a student of marketing and communications I like to study trends. Each year I will write five(ish) columns on trends and predictions in marketing and communications. The tastes and patterns in how people consume information are constantly in flux, so it's important that we pay attention to what's happening and what's about to happen.
Rather than make a "top 9" list or something like that, today I offer the most important predictions, as I see them, in the five most important categories of marketing and communications.
Let's get started
2017 General Marketing Prediction: "Big Data" Normalizes into "Real Data"
For years we have heard about big data in just about every marketing study, keynote, and business publication.
In 2017 we finally evolve in our viewpoints and abilities with data we stop doing everything that's possible with data collection and focus on doing what's prudent and most useful.
Having lots of data seems great on the surface. "Bigger is better" right?
Not with data. Big data implies we have a lot of information at our fingertips, but offers nothing about having the right data available to us.
Next year the emphasis by marketers and businesses is placed on having the right data, and then cultivating promotional programs and products based on the most important data available to them.
It's about time.
2017 Business-to-Business Marketing Prediction: B2B Marketing Modernizes
Too many industries like business-to-business and medical devices, to name a couple feature marketing materials that are rich in content but poor in production quality. Imagine if a topic that might seem uninteresting like steel alloy compounds was presented to potential customers the same way a new car is presented in a brochure?
Car brochures are a good example of an industry gold standard. They have great paper quality, cool finish on the paper like embossing, a collection of beautiful images, sparse language, and a strong call to action.
In 2017 business-to-business marketing will finally realize that their target audiences are worth paying a bit extra to reach in more high quality and sophisticated ways.
It's not just about brochures. It's also about better leveraging the array of communications channels their target audiences are using like email marketing, paid and organic search marketing, and paid and organic social media.
It's a brave new world in B2B, and the companies that get started the fastest will look cutting edge the longest.
2017 Content Marketing Prediction: Big Brands You're Not Expecting Will Begin Developing Original Content
Would you watch a drama that was developed by Marriott instead of HBO or NBC?
Well, get ready. The massive hotelier hired David Beebe as its new vice president of global creative. He's won two Emmy Awards.
Marriott has made the investment to convert over to a media company, and has already produced content including a short film and a TV show. The production queue is full, too.
Marriott, and other large companies, are taking their customer-base and spending the time to turn them into an audience. The business goal is to preserve the attention of the target audience between stays.
Marriott will be one of many brands attempting the crossover in 2017.
2017 Marketing Technology Prediction: On-Demand Demand Grows, Supply Catches Up
Raise your hand if you're also tired of hearing that X new company is going to be the "Uber of industry Y." Yawn.
Uber is worth multiple billions of dollars and isn't even a decade old yet. Uber is not common, and the comparisons must stop.
However, companies that deliver in-real-time, or on-demand, are the ones poised to make the most money in 2017. The supply of technology that enables this type of customer experience is finally catching up. Whether the technology facilitating the experience is augmented reality, virtual reality, drones, or something we haven't heard of yet, companies are going to get better and better at satisfying their customers in the moment.
2017 Marketing Budget Prediction: Social Media Wins Most New Budget in 2017
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) indicates that most businesses are investing about 10 percent of their marketing budget in social media right now.
Next year, that number goes up.
The DMA is predicting an increase of 15 percent, but I think it could be higher for some businesses.
There are entire industries that have an active customer base on social media but are not speaking to their customers there. That's a miss.
Even if you sell a purely industrial product, the people that purchase that product are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. It is fair to market to them on those platforms. Failing to do so is a big time missed opportunity.
What are you predicting in 2017?
Josh Gordon is an award-winning marketing communications professional and President of Full Spectrum Marketing, a full-service advertising agency with digital roots based in Kent, Ohio and Wooster, Ohio. You can reach Josh at email@example.com.