Editor's Note: This is the first in a two-part series.
The field of marketing is evolving at an unprecedented rate. If you simply don't have the time to dig in -- which is reality for many a small and mid-sized company CEO with limited internal marketing resources -- it can feel like a runaway train.
That's why this year's top 10 marketing trends for the new year are tailor-made for companies of just that size. Sure, artificial intelligence, chatbots and virtual reality will no doubt impact your strategy in time, but these 10 trends can be practically applied in 2018 on a small to mid-sized company budget.
Increased accountability for measurable results: Where most marketing strategies have been filled with experimentation over the last few years given the introduction of so many new marketing tech options, 2018 will look different. While economists – according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey -- believe the likelihood for an economic downturn in 2018 to be low, many concede that the driving factor is geopolitical uncertainty which is tough to predict. This instability may result in CEOs directing their marketing teams to reduce risk and increase accountability for measurable results -- something I believe to be very good for our industry.
Micro-influencers: Influencer marketing saw a significant rise in popularity in 2017 making it tough for small and mid-sized companies to compete for the attention of these limited mega-influencers. That's why in 2018, more small and mid-sized companies will be focused on identifying micro-influencers -- generally those with between 1,000 and 50,000 followers. Research suggests that micro-influencers are four times more likely to generate comments on their posts than macro-influencers, because they have a more direct, personal connection with their audience and an intimate sense of what they like.
Geofencing: This location-based mobile-messaging strategy is gaining traction due to its ability to target customers based on their location. Imagine if you could create a virtual geographic boundary, anywhere in the country. When a customer steps into that territory with their phone, they automatically receive a targeted message from your brand. Now imagine if that territory is your competitor's place of business and how powerful that strategy could be for your brand. The key to geofencing is that you must have an app that offers your customers value. You must also get your customers to opt-in to location services and push notifications within the app, which can be done with special offers or special enhancements to the customer experience.
Prepare for these trends before your competitors, and you may very well create a competitive advantage, which is highly difficult to do in this highly commoditized world in which we live. Check back next week for more trends in part two of this series.