Top marketing tips for 2017

Every business wants to stand out from others. If a company is noticed more easily, it can draw attention and therefore customers, leading to profits and success. Being the best is meaningless if no one knows about your business.

With today’s technology, standing out is both easier and harder. This is due to the wealth of tools available, letting more people engage in smart ways to raise brand awareness – but this also means stiffer competition.

No wonder some companies are considering such drastic steps as artificial intelligence (AI), to help manage their marketing. CMO investigated these very recent developments, especially since they stem from some of the biggest tech companies in the world:

“Recent months have seen technology providers such as Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft bring new AI-based technologies to market, promising to derive insights and improve conversions by mimicking the processes of the human brain in software. Salesforce, for example, is rolling out its Einstein AI technology to provide functions such as product recommendations within the Commerce Cloud, email content recommendations within its Marketing Cloud, and predictive forecasting tools for sales managers with its Sales Cloud.”

This ties in to wider considerations of what marketing trends can teach the modern business, to help broaden their appeal and reach greater audiences. These are some top marketing tips for business in 2017.

Document everything

It’s important to focus on tracking buyers’ behaviour. This lets us see how they got to their eventual purchases, what tipped them and so on. Of course, that depends on them reaching our site in the first place. But, once they’re on, it’s important that we know their movements, using tracking software.

But documenting isn’t enough, we also need to interpret the data properly. One of the most important lessons taught in marketing courses is knowing how to interpret a user’s behaviour. With more data in our hands, we have more basis on which to make informed conclusions. This is also the very data that AI can help manage in future.

Think wider

The world has become more connected thanks to the Internet. This is why we can do marketing courses online, gaining insight from all over the world. Whether we’re studying marketing courses in Egypt or marketing courses in London, there’s a universality to these ideas that lends itself to wider thinking. But, far more interesting, is to glean insights about particular populations and their behaviour.

For example, what matters to the average Londoner or Egyptian citizen might differ when it comes to certain categories of interest, such as sports or entertainment. Payfort, for example, points out that most Egyptian shoppers are under 35 years of age and its female shoppers do most of the online purchasing. Last year, the Royal Mail Group researched how the average UK shopper operated:

“86% of non-grocery shopping budget is now spent online, up from 80% in 2014, and the average spend is increasing. Consumers spent an average of £287 per person online in the last three months vs £274 spent online in the same period in 2014.”

Given our move toward online sales, it’s important we do not limit our research to only a few locations – we should be looking wider, tapping into what unites and differentiates shoppers around the world.

Social media

Everyone by now realises the importance of using social media for business. Not only does it provide legitimacy, but it also allows us to engage with customers. Indeed, social media can lead directly to sales, since we can announce deals, answer questions and so on, all of which leads to customers making a purchase.

However, in 2017, marketing experts have suggested we expand further. As Forbes’ Jayson DeMers notes:

“People are also starting to demand social media as a conduit for more vicarious experiences. It’s no longer enough to post your sentiments about an event; you have to show your users what it’s like to be there. You can do this with things like live video, 360 images and recordings, and even just more real-time posting. The idea is to make your users feel like they’re a genuine part of the experience, as it’s unfolding.”

New technology

As we already noted, marketers have shown an interest in AI as a means to help them deal with enormous amount of data. Yet, it’s not only the future technology of AI that is being regarded within marketing. Augmented reality and virtual reality are in homes all over the world and the average consumer is able to engage with new forms of interaction.

Jay Shemenski examined what these new technologies could mean for brands:

“In all of these applications, VR, AR, and 360 are giving brands opportunities to create remarkable experiences that are pushing the boundaries of content as we know it. But it’s important to remember that novel tricks will not build and nurture audiences. Instead it’s the enhancement of stories and value these technologies enable that is so powerful.”

Of course, they can only enhance content that is already good – they cannot themselves conjure up quality on their own. These are merely platforms, but it remains dependent on marketers to use them in innovative, creative and positive ways.

In the end, the trends that matter for 2017 are concerns we’ve had throughout 2016. Now is the time to reflect on what we can do to enhance these goals, making our businesses stand out in the years to come.