Four marketing trends to look out for in 2017
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Four marketing trends to look out for in 2017

Following on from our review of 2016, we look at four trends – some new, some familiar – that are set to influence marketing strategies in the year ahead.

Rounded reality

Just before Christmas 2016, Pokémon GO announced via Twitter that since launch, the worldwide Pokémon GO community had collectively made 200,000 trips around Earth. If marketers needed evidence that the real and virtual worlds were merging, this was it. In 2017, it’s likely that marketing campaigns via augmented and virtual reality will start to make a mark for brands, driving campaigns and altering spend and strategy. Add to this tech such as chatbots, personalised online assistants and home devices such as Amazon Echo, plus the ongoing optimisation of media buying and marketing, and marketers have a suite of tools that, in theory can supply consumers with in-the-moment, engaging brand experiences. But this new ‘rounded reality’ won’t create itself, and if marketers are to set their stall by it they will need to ensure they have the resources and arguments within their own organisations to back up their plans, before consumers see the benefits.

Next generation

2017 is the year when marketers might need to start shifting their focus from the millennial demographic to Generation Z. Describing people born between 1997 and 2011, it’s a global constituency estimated to count 2 billion members. These are the consumers who know nothing of the pre-digital, pre-multichannel world. The customer journeys they navigate are non-linear and truly always-on. They are also characterised as having a self-starting attitude to their own lives and by being wary of the promises made by brands. Their challenge to marketers will be to prove an organisation’s authenticity and to offer a seamless brand experience.

AMPlification

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project was launched in 2016 and is predicted to influence marketers’ content strategies even further this year. The project allows publishers to build pages that load quickly on mobile and figure highly in search results. It’s a further demand from the search giant for brands to offer responsive design for mobile, and those that can commit will reap the rewards of increased visibility. For everyone else there is likely to be a second-wave scramble to play catch-up. Whatever your budget, the battle for search is now firmly being waged on mobile. If your organisation only has an online marketing strategy rather than a mobile one, it might be time for a rethink.

Influencer marketing

For a few years now, marketers have sought to extend reach and engagement through courting online influencers who can act as brand ambassadors. The strategies for so-called influencer marketing have often been rudimentary, however, and in the coming year they’re set to become more nuanced. Celebrities, vloggers and the like have been shown to offer an initial spike of engagement – given the right product to shout about – but some recent campaigns seem to suggest that it’s the ‘second-tier’ influencers that deliver medium- and longer-term impact. L’Oreal has recently tiered its influencer strategy – it has gold, silver and bronze categories that reflect the size and reach of their influencers. It’s an approach that marketers building social media campaigns might follow.

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