Technological change and digital innovation are having a revolutionary impact on marketing. The average SME and business start-up can easily become lost in a digital blizzard of marketing information. But what are the essential marketing trends emerging in 2017 that they should know and exploit? Here are 4 I think all SMEs need to be aware of.
1. Marketing trends: Creative Visual Content
Differentiation is vital to marketing success and creative visuals are becoming even more important in digital marketing. According to HubSpot, “B2C marketers still place more emphasis on the importance of visual content in their marketing portfolios. But B2B marketers are catching up quickly.”
the really big trend in 2017 will be video
The primary driver is the desire to make content more compelling and shareable. The more we use social media and digital channels, the greater the need to use creative visuals to differentiate and communicate. Social media posts already share and combine photographs, images and text, and companies increasingly use info-graphics to simplify and share complex information. Free online design packages like Canva can help SMEs maintain branding while coping with the diverse posting sizes of various social media. But the really big trend in 2017 will be video.
2. Marketing trends: Make Websites Mobile Friendly
In 2014 mobile devices officially overtook desktops as the preferred method of viewing web content. By 2017 over 64% of website views were from mobiles, yet many small SMEs have still to adapt their websites to the viewing technology. Almost all CMS now allow you to view your website as it will look on a desktop, a tablet or a mobile phone. By the end of 2016, 50% of all B2B companies had implemented a responsive design for their websites. Unfortunately, SMEs are lagging well behind. One thing you can do in 2018 to improve access to your business, is a quick redesign of your website. Ensure it’s optimized for all viewing formats and linked to your social media channels.
3. Marketing trends: Personal Narrative – Executive Branding
Executive branding is one of the growing trends of 2017. The internet, mobiles and apps have revolutionized delivery systems and increased product and service innovation. However, what can really make your business standout from the competition, is a focus on your people.
It’s not just the Steve Jobs and Alan Dyson’s of this world whose stories we want to know. It’s you as the business owner or senior executive we want to hear from.
We shouldn’t be too surprised about this. After all, marketing is about satisfying customer needs and building relationships, not just about selling. And all the evidence is that people relate to people. In an increasingly atomized society there is considerable power in the personal narrative. This is actually good news for SMEs where the sole trader or partners are closer to their customers but were previously reticent about executive branding. And social media presents great opportunities for SME business owners to share their stories, challenges and success alongside promoting goods and services. The real challenge is in getting the mix right.
In an increasingly atomized society there is considerable power in the personal narrative
4. Marketing trends: Video and Visual Storytelling
Which leads naturally to the other big trend for SME’s in 2017, video. Over 1 billion people use YouTube on a regular basis, a number that has increased about 40 percent since March 2014. All other social media platforms are cashing in. Facebook launched Facebook Live in April 2016 giving all of us access to broadcasting on the world’s biggest social-media channel. And marketeers have embraced the new capability and are adapting its capability to increase ROI. From webinars to live stream broadcasts from trade conventions, anyone can get in on the act. The cost of entry is low which should help SMEs. However, content and quality will still be king. The real challenge is to ensure where it fits in your marketing mix.
© Fergus Cooper Linen Green Marketing