Top 6 Marketing Trends in 2017

As marketers, we embrace the expectation that we have to constantly come up with new, innovative methods for reaching target audiences. We love to come to work in the morning where every campaign needs to be a “game changer.” We strive to conjure up “purple cows” every day.

Marketing spend needs to go further to meet these elevated expectations. But in this new digital reality, how do you be both efficient and effective, and how do you differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace where everything is presumed to be new?

Here are the six key trends that will dominate 2017 and allow marketers in the know to get ahead of the curve:

1. Customer data is skyrocketing as big campaigns plummet.

Data on customers or potential customers is readily available. Demographics, behavior, interests, browsing history, previous purchases, and on and on. All of this data can be used to deliver personalized, relevant content to individuals across any channel, leading to the death of the one-size-fits-all campaign. The days when marketers would do a long march towards a big campaign launch are over. We need to be executing daily, weekly or monthly campaigns that are consistently optimized and put into the world.

2. Virtual reality is now reality.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have matured. Stories can be told in 360 degrees, enabling brands to engage with customers like never before. B2B marketers should look for ways to tie their products or brand to an associated VR use case. Examples include immersive presentations at industry events, software trials, product simulations, and training and learning.

3. Predictive marketing is taking over for rules-based automation.

Automated marketing has fallen short of expectations, with only 7% of marketers seeing measurable ROI. Early adopters have moved to predictive marketing systems that can learn, adapt and improve with every customer touchpoint. These platforms will rely on practical machine learning, advanced modeling and cheap cloud infrastructure.

4. Long live email!

Don’t dismiss email; it’s still a useful marketing tool. According to reports from GigaOm and eConsultancy, marketers continue to rank email as the single most effective tactic for customer awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention.

5. Elevate content maps with customer intent.

Customer journeys and persona maps tend to be too conceptual. Thankfully, we can make them more concrete by tying them to retargeting platforms using cookie data. The key to delivering ROI on your cookie marketing is to update content mapping to include customer intent data. Success will come from segmenting your audience based on what they want to do, not who they are.

6. Growing expectations will require highly-personalized smart content.

Customers expect to be wooed with unique content that is relevant to them. They expect vendors to know their purchase history and make recommendations that make sense. We need to give audiences experiences that reflects their individuality and anticipates their wants and needs.

Here are keys to success in 2017

As the marketplace continues to fragment, marketers need to be both efficient and effective in order to stand out and stay ahead of the competition. It will be vital in 2017 to embrace predictive, event-triggered marketing strategies that can be continually tweaked and personalized for multiple audience segments. We need to embrace new technologies that are changing the industry forever, such as AR and VR, while not forgetting traditional media, such as email, that are perfectly suited for today’s mobile world. Marketers who recognize and embrace these trends will lead their companies to success.

To read our full guide on the marketing trends for 2017, visit here.

Originally published at on September 8, 2016.