Marketing moves at the speed of light … um, at least that’s what it feels like when you’re coming up with a new campaign or strategy, and suddenly a new statistic or technology version changes everything.
Yearly, quarterly, and even monthly, new trends and techniques emerge, changing the way we attract, connect with, and market our audiences.
However, it is not always enough to keep up with these changes. To be successful in the fast-moving world of marketing, you always have to be one step ahead of the game. That’s why we created this guide – influenced by some of our own HubSpot experts – so you can keep bookmarking and come back to some of today’s top marketing trends.
Why Use Marketing Trends?
If a particular marketing strategy or approach has worked consistently for your business, why change it?
Just because something works now doesn’t mean it will work again in the future. You need to be one step ahead, or at least keep up with emerging trends that will affect your marketing success next time around. Why shouldn’t your company care about marketing trends other than keeping up with developments in the industry?
With marketing trends, you can:
- Stay up to date on how your consumers are buying and researching your products and services (and those of your competitors).
- Stay informed of changes in consumer behavior and priorities
- Make sure you are ahead of the curve when you know who your target audience is and what they need from your company
- Listen and respond to changes in the market to save money
- Stay relevant in your target market and with your competitors (now and in the long run)
New and emerging marketing trends
- Invest in inbound marketing.
- Make customers your biggest promoters.
- Create and share video content.
- Reach new audiences with local advertising.
- Use both short-lived and permanent social media content.
- Work with micro-influencers.
- Implement voice search tactics.
- Offer responsive, mobile-friendly website design.
- Integrate artificial intelligence.
- Use virtual reality and augmented reality.
- Add chatbots to your website.
- Give your customers more control over their data.
As we said earlier, a lot of things change in the marketing world – and often. That’s why we’ve listed some of the most popular types of marketing trends – and an example or two of each – to help you adapt to those developments if necessary, and to equip your business with the knowledge you need to be successful.
General marketing trends
General marketing trends can be applied to virtually any type of company, regardless of size or industry. These trends will help you reach your target audience effectively and attract more potential customers through your company’s marketing content.
Two common trends today are inbound marketing and the process of using your customers as marketers (and promoters).
1. Invest in inbound marketing.
Since disruptive outbound marketing tactics that interrupt viewers from whatever they’re doing are less effective at reaching potential customers and prospects, inbound marketing has come to the fore of effective tactics.
The process of inbound marketing requires product quality and valuable content that is tailored to your target audience and buyer personalities and their needs.
Sign up for a free inbound marketing course to reach more audiences organically.
2. Make customers your biggest promoters.
The marketing funnel is old news. Today the flywheel – and a subsequent focus on service – has replaced the one-way direction of the funnel.
In the world of the marketing funnel, customers were an afterthought. By the time they became paying customers, companies thought they were out of date – until, of course, it was time to re-sign that contract.
The flywheel, on the other hand, places the customer in the middle. Since word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tactic, it is advisable not only to serve your customers, but also to equip them to become advocates and promoters of your brand. The flywheel illustrates this process: excellent service as your own marketing strategy.
By keeping the flywheel at the center of your marketing efforts, plIf you put a lot of emphasis on customer service and training to equip your customer service team with the tools to handle inquiries and issues, you will excite and empower your customers.
This leads to customers who can market for you – they can promote and stand up for your business through their networks both online and in person.
Content Marketing Trends
All types of businesses in a variety of industries focus on content marketing – posting blogs, investing in resources to create unique content, and paying for content ads.
So why should you also be interested in the current content marketing trends? Because 47% of shoppers view three to five pieces of content before contacting a sales rep, and 70% of customers say they’d rather learn more about new products through content than traditional advertising.
To ensure that your content marketing efforts are as effective and accessible as possible, look for the type of content that resonates best with your buyer personalities, your target audience, and your current customers.
3. Create and share video content.
Video marketing is not a new idea, but its effectiveness and popularity have definitely skyrocketed in recent years. 83% of marketers say video gives them a good ROI, and over 50% of consumers say they want to watch video content more than any other type of branded content.
Alicia Collins and Megan Conley, video producers and editors at HubSpot, say, “This [consumer behavior] Also indicates that video can be used in any part of the flywheel – not just as a marketing asset. When incorporating videos, companies have historically used them as a means of introducing their brand, product, or service offerings. However, this is no longer the case. Video can be a valuable addition to both sales and customer service. “
In the past, video was limited due to costly resources and production. Today it’s much more accessible. With a lower cost barrier, video has become less intimidating to include in your marketing efforts.
No need to hire a production team or marketing agency. All you need is a smartphone like an iPhone and editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro.
4. Reach new audiences with local advertising.
If your brand is paying to publish content on a third-party website, invest in native advertising. Unlike traditional advertising, which is meant to interrupt and highlight, native advertising is designed to integrate and promote your brand to a new audience that may otherwise never know about you.
Because native ads don’t “feel” like traditional ads, they are more likely to be consumed by consumers. In fact, consumers are over 50% more likely to see native ads than banner ads. Examples of native advertising can be found on social media, through search engine results, content recommendation platforms (these links to various other content that you can click on at the bottom of the page to learn more about the topic or related to the topic), or in campaigns.
For example, Buzzfeed is a popular publication and blog that routinely partner with native advertising brands. Google Home has published content on back-to-school recipes. The only mention of the brand is in the byline. Google Home promotes its product by embedding its brand in otherwise native content.
Look for publications that are relevant to your brand to incorporate native advertising into your marketing efforts. Remember to sound natural and avoid being pushy or obviously promotional.
Social media marketing trends
79% of people in the US alone have some kind of social media account – and there are over 3.7 billion social media users worldwide.
For this reason, social media marketing is a popular trend that has become part of the marketing strategy of almost every company. With social media marketing, you can authentically connect with your audience on a personal level and humanize your brand.
5. Use both short-lived and permanent social media content.
Not all social media are created equal. Different types of content are better on different platforms. This includes short-lived (fleeting) and permanent (long-lasting) social media content. Let’s take a closer look at ephemeral and persistent social content:
Ephemeral social media marketing
Nowadays, Instagram and Facebook stories specifically make it easy to create ephemeral content – Instagram and Facebook stories are photos and videos that live for 24 hours before disappearing “forever”. (Well, not really … there is an archive function where all of your stories are at the end of the day. But you get the point.)
Kelly Hendrickson, a social media marketer at HubSpot, says, “Ephemeral content versus persistent content is often determined by the social platform and the behavior of the audience on the platform.”
Take Instagram, for example:
“[Instagram] Stories are becoming more and more popular, and user behavior of stories tends towards playful, fast and low-fi content with heavy use of functions in the UX (gifs, boomerangs, polls, etc.). Their fleeting design isn’t the only differentiator. Instagram Stories can also be heavily edited with filters, GIFs, colored text, and a lot more. Because of these fun additions, brands have added a brand new strategy for creating and posting ephemeral content that is different from their other social media content. “
Permanent social media content
Permanent content is a little different:
“Instagram can organically serve a wall post over a long period of time, so brands have less opportunity to be on time (who wants to see the New Year’s post when they’ve already made their resolutions ?!). As Instagram users become more active on weekdays during the standard work day users seem to be looking for a break!
It’s important that you use your branding voice and point of view to figure out how to serve your audience during this break. Should your presence be inspiring? Nice? Informative? Playful? Stylish? They all have a place on Instagram’s permanent wall. It just has to fit your brand’s message. “
By combining ephemeral and permanent social media content on platforms like Instagram and Facebook that have the ability to create both, you can enable your business to show more of your brand’s personality and flair.
Kelly says, “The combination of a running clock and a lively audience is a great opportunity for brands to rely on fast, timely content that shows off their brand’s more lighthearted elements. Conciseness and clarity are key to the content. “
6. Work with micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing plays an important role in all types of modern marketing (ads, videos, social media, blogs). However, companies are no longer limited to big celebrities and names that everyone knows when they choose to work with an influencer.
In fact, micro-influencers have found their niche in the social media world as well – and it’s a huge role they play in converting leads, engaging with viewers, and building brand awareness.
Micro-influencers are social media promoters with a smaller niche fan base (typically thousands to tens of thousands of followers). While these people may have fewer followers, their posts often offer more clout because of their higher engagement.
Since they are considered “average” and “everyday” people (as opposed to hard-to-reach celebrities), viewers see micro-influencers more like friends and family and are therefore more likely to trust their opinions and recommendations.
Rosie, known as The Londoner, is a popular travel and lifestyle influencer on Instagram. She has over 330,000 loyal followers who interact with and engage with her posts. The following picture of a post in profile shows that Rosie gets almost 11% engagement with almost 36,000 likes.
Micro-influencers are the future of influencer marketing. While it can be tempting to just look at the number of followers a user needs to have in order to determine their influence, keep that in mind real influence lives in engagement rates (Clicks, subscriptions, and purchases). They also promote social excitement by creating and posting personal content and are much more cost effective for your business.
Marketing trends for search engine optimization
61% of marketers say that improving search engine optimization (SEO) to increase their organic presence online is their number one priority in inbound marketing.
Are you one of those marketers? If so, have you figured out how exactly are you planning to improve your SEO and organic presence? Optimizing for certain types of consumer behavior can make your business more discoverable online.
Download a free SEO Starter Kit to get your website and content ranking in 2019 in search.
7. Implement voice search tactics.
It’s likely safe to assume you’ve used Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and / or Google Assistant in the past month. I’m right?
These digital assistants not only answer brief informational questions such as “Who is the actor in Mission: Impossible?”. or “What’s the weather like in Boston today?” but they have also begun to process more local, chatty, and personalized searches. These might sound like, “Where is a nearby cafe that I can work at today?”, “What time is it open?” And “Do you serve iced coffee?”
Because of this emerging behavior, organizations need to react and change the way they frame information. Instead of going into Google’s manual search algorithm, Optimize your content ask questions.
When you implement voice search tactics this way, your users can get the answers they want and need. You can ask a question in the conversation tone mentioned above and in return you will receive a high quality and accurate answer. They can multitask while asking questions and getting answers and getting the answers they’re looking for faster.
Aja Frost, SEO strategist at HubSpot, says, “Companies should look at a topic and say,” What questions could users ask about it? “Then they should plan subtopics accordingly and look for ways to add questions as headings. This way, voice assistants can easily answer questions and identify content as solutions.”
Aja also encourages companies to look for featured snippet opportunities. These are the information previews that Google provides when users search for definitions or questions. Voice assistants usually pull answers directly from these fields.
8. Offer responsive, mobile-friendly website design.
48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine, and the first position in Google search results for mobile phones has a click-through rate of 31.35%.
It goes without saying that mobile usage is increasing rapidly, especially when it comes to search queries and research. For this reason, companies should ensure that their website is discoverable and readable on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Website speed is also becoming increasingly important as Google prioritizes better performing websites on its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Familiarize yourself with designing and optimizing your website for mobile use. This usually requires an attractive design. This means that your website “reacts” and changes its design and layout when users access it on their desktop or smartphone.
Technology marketing trends
Much like marketing, technology is always changing – and it’s happening just as quickly (if not faster). There are a number of ways to use technology to your advantage when it comes to your marketing, especially since so many new opportunities arise every day.
9. Integrate artificial intelligence (AI).
In general, artificial intelligence refers to a subset of computer science that teaches machines to do things that would require intelligence if performed by a human. Think of tasks like studying, seeing, speaking, socializing, thinking, or problem solving. When they are run by computers, they are considered AI.
The AI has completely infiltrated our daily life and tasks. When Spotify recommends a song, Facebook recognizes and tags someone, or texting a friend using Siri, tap AI. As we use AI more and more (especially as consumers), marketers and businesses need to respond.
The point of AI is not to replace humans or the need for human touch. It’s about improving and expanding our ability to connect with our audience and help them solve their problems faster and more thoroughly.
In fact, authenticity in marketing is more important than ever to consumers. AI is also incredibly useful in collecting and analyzing data, and in making data-driven decisions. Look for ways you can incorporate AI into your company’s marketing strategies to better serve your consumers and make your life easier.
10. Use Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).
In virtual reality, a computer-generated, lifelike scenario is considered. Augmented Reality is looking at the real world, supplemented by visual, haptic, olfactory or visual additions. VR and AR offer different experiences, but both are making waves in the marketing world today.
They also affect your life. Have you ever seen a 360 video on Facebook? This is VR. What about IKEA’s IKEA PLACE app that allows you to visualize virtual furniture in your real space? This is AR.
VR and AR are used to complement and enhance the customer experience online and at events. In general, this is a trend that marketers have been slower to adopt due to expensive equipment and bulky headsets. However, with increasing access to VR glasses and AR apps, companies can expect to include this technology in their marketing strategy.
11. Add chatbots to your site.
Did you know that over half of consumers expect a marketing, sales or customer service query to be answered within 10 minutes? How can that be humanly possible?
It’s not for humans anyway. Enter: chatbots.
Bots are powered by a computer program that automates certain tasks, usually by chatting with a user through a conversational interface. Bots are made possible by artificial intelligence, which makes it possible to understand complex requirements, personalize responses, and improve interactions over time.
Bots provide quick and easy solutions to problems of all levels of complexity. No more live chat or literal one-on-one digital conversation. Bots provide the perception and engagement of a 1: 1 service experience when working with hundreds of customers – something no customer service rep or team could ever do.
Listen to the consumers who hate repeating themselves to multiple sales or service reps (33% to be precise) – chatbots are and will make your life a lot easier. When used correctly, they manage large-scale conversations and aggregate data from multiple data sources, from calendars to knowledge bases, blog posts and videos.
Jon Dick, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, said, “It’s up to you to make things as simple as possible. Your buyers want to use live chat? You should give it to them. They’ve had the same thing three times in the last month Problem? You should already know and have a plan to fix the problem. “
Privacy Marketing Trends
In the marketing world, data is very valuable … and not just for you as a marketer or business owner. Whether it’s an email address, credit card information, or smartphone location, consumers also consider their information valuable and privileged – and it is your responsibility to take care of it.
12. Give your customers better control over their data.
Whether it’s a software company, a bank, a government agency, or a soda stand, every company works with data. It is the elixir of life of all things like marketing, sales, service and more.
And hackers know. When a data breach occurs, valuable information falls into the wrong hands, resulting in untrustworthy businesses and exploited consumers.
For this reason, the General Data Protection Regulation was issued. The EU is working to give consumers better control over their data. Under the GDPR, organizations must ensure that their data is collected legally and securely and that those who collect and manage that data protect it and respect consumer rights.
Following GDPR guidelines may seem like a burden, but being fined for non-compliance will feel a lot heavier. The fines range from 10 million euros to 4% of a company’s worldwide annual turnover.
Is this a risk you want to take?
Probably not – so do your research. Learn more about GDPR and read our GDPR checklist to make sure your business is compliant.
Use marketing trends to grow better
You are in the know … for now. If your current campaigns and advertising don’t align with these trends, don’t fret. Slowly apply these changes to your marketing efforts and make sure that all of your activities are compliant and legal.
As long as you are always on the pulse of current marketing trends and are always open to change, your company will not fall behind.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated for completeness.