Top People-Driven Digital Marketing Trends for 2017

February 12, 2017

As mobile devices overtake desktops in popularity, digital devices become increasingly inter-connected, and AI, AR, and VR become household buzzwords, it’d be natural to assume that digital technology is undermining the centricity of human-driven interaction in marketing.

But take a closer look at the top digital marketing forecasts for this year, as well a review of the opinions of the leading experts in the field, and you will find that people-driven digital marketing is still of paramount importance in driving prospect nurturing.

Here are the three top digital marketing trends that are keeping the focus firmly on human beings in 2017:

Niche curation
As information overload becomes a norm, niche content curation sites focusing on photos and video sharing on one particular theme or topic are rising in popularity. Peer specialists who know their subject intimately and have the confidence and ability to share their opinions, techniques and knowledge with a niche audience can resonate with a large audience base. Digital marketers and trend spotters are tuning into the insights generated by niche content distribution to understand the lifestyle, interests and ideals that motivate an audience segment in a niche category. Contrary to popular perception, niche content is popular not just with the younger generation, but also with a very large consumer base across many varied demographics. Check out this insightful story on contentmarketinginstitute.com that highlights how Thao Le, vice president of marketing at Hyland’s, combined creativity with analytics to channel niche content marketing to actively engage active seniors consumer segment.

Influencer Marketing
The rise in niche content marketing has directly led to an explosive growth in brands channeling social media celebrities for influencer marketing. Influencers grow their fan base organically, which means that their audience is super-engaged and self-motivated to pay close attention to their recommendations. In 2017, leading brands are focusing on a mix of social media influencers and celebrity endorsements. As Sarah Mawson, head of celebrity at Marketing Week’s sister brand Celebrity Intelligence puts it on Marketingweek.com, “This trend is likely to intensify in the year ahead with social media specific campaigns and promotions becoming more important for brands and marketers.” Influencer marketing also is finding favor with most leading enterprise organizations, such as Microsoft, AmEx and Adobe, which are planning to spend more on influencer marketing this year, most commonly with the goals of improving brand advocacy and expanding brand awareness.  

Reputation Marketing
According to the research findings of the Annual BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2016, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Contrast this with MarketinSherpa’s results from a survey of 2,400 U.S. consumers where it asked the question: “Of the companies you interact with, how many put your needs before their own interests in marketing?77% of the respondents felt that companies do not practice customer-first marketing. More than ever before, real-time social proof of rock-solid reputation is becoming vital for brands to grow and retain a larger consumer base. MarketingSherpa’s survey also highlights the fact that a majority of satisfied indicated that they’d be very likely to give a recommendation. This presents a huge opportunity for digital marketers to gain customers trust in 2017. Digital marketers must make continued customer engagement and satisfaction a key part of their marketing strategy.

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Partner Voices

Until recently, the opportunity to have a celebrity attend an event, attach themselves to a name-brand or endorse a certain product or idea was untouchable. The thought of paying a person to promote a product was seen as something only Fortune 500 companies could afford. Social media has changed all that with brands and businesses utilizing celebrity influencers to connect directly with their demographics and increase sales and profits.