Marketing Diamonds Online

With the new year well underway, it’s time to take a look at some of the biggest stories from the past 12 months and to consider what we might expect in 2018.

The Evolution Of Online Marketing

Looking back at 2017, it’s fair to say that no industry or niche segment was left untouched by digital transformation. From healthcare to retail and travel, we witnessed an evolution in consumer behaviour that saw people increasingly prefer to do business and conduct transactions online. This was particularly evident in sectors where the benefits of going digital were most keenly felt, such as online marketing. From SEO and content strategy to email marketing and webinars, the world of online marketing changed significantly in the past year. Here’s a run down of the five key changes that we, as marketers, need to take note of in 2018.

1. Personalisation Is Everything.

In the past, a marketer would design a set of products (e.g., shoes, handbags, purses, etc.) and would then decide which ones would be available for consumers to purchase online. However, in today’s digital world, the shoe (or handbag or purse) is no longer separate from the person wearing/carrying it. Thanks to the power of personalisation, marketers can now create unique experiences for each individual customer that they encounter. This way, instead of just offering a choice of shoes (for example), personalisation allows the shopper to select the colour, style, and even the fit of the shoe based on their personal preferences.

2. SEO For Real People.

In the past, SEO was all about cramming as much content into a website as possible in order to boost rankings. However, today’s SEO is extremely customer-centric, putting the needs of the individual ahead of the needs of the business. With this approach, marketers can ensure that their website is easily discoverable by the right audiences whilst also engaging them on a personal level. The ideal SEO strategy involves a 360-degree approach that includes both on- and off-page activities and is heavily influenced by digital marketing data. This way, SEO becomes less of a black art and more of a science that every marketer can master.

3. Video Content Is On The Rise.

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from watching YouTube in the past year, it’s that video content is here to stay. As people become more accustomed to consuming content in the form of short-form videos, the demand for professional video content increases. Thanks to the rise of TikTok and similar platforms, users now expect quick and snappy videos that they can engage with and share with their friends. This trend will continue in 2018 and beyond.

4. Inbound Marketing.

If there’s one trend that permeated 2017, it’s that of inbound marketing. Put simply, inbound marketing focuses on attracting, engaging and delighting customers rather than marketing to them. To achieve this, marketers should adopt a humble and inspired approach, continuously seeking feedback and acting on it rather than relying on top-down directives. Most importantly, inbound marketers emphasise the “people” element of marketing and place a heavy emphasis on research and analysis rather than relying on gut feel or hunches. This customer-centric approach resonates deeply with audiences and marketing professionals, particularly in an era of increasing marketing automation.

5. Marketing Is Local.

With local searches increasing by 62% in 2017, it was clear that local marketing was important and will continue to be so in the future. This trend is particularly prominent on Google, which offers advertisers the ability to target individuals within a certain radius of their physical location. Thanks to platforms like Google My Business and others such as Citysearch and Yelp, which offer similar tools, consumers have more choice than ever before when it comes to where they browse and make purchases online. As a result, we’re likely to see a rise in niche marketing in the coming year, targeting particular areas such as restaurants, bars, and hotels within a certain radius of a customer’s location.

With 2018 well under way, marketers are now looking towards the future and considering what trends will emerge in the year ahead. Although we’ve seen significant changes in the past year, the world of marketing will undoubtedly continue to evolve in line with the changing demands and preferences of consumers.