Back to the Digital Future: 2017 Digital Marketing Trends
At mid-year and deep into 2017 marketing budgets, we’d like to take a look at some of the digital marketing trends experts predicted for 2017. But before we do, let’s look at a communication phenomenon from the 19th century. It might shed some light on what’s happening in today’s digital marketplace!
In the 1870s, a cartoonist named Thomas Nast, working for the Harper’s Weekly, turned his sharpened pencil on Boss Tweed and his corrupt Tammany Hall machine in New York City.
After a series of Tammany Hall scandals were reported by the New York Times, Mr. Nast’s employer, Harper’s Weekly, decided to join the effort to drive the corrupt Tweed and his gang out of New York. To accomplish this, they turned to Mr. Nast’s highly-charged political cartoons to do the job.
Boss Tweed lamented he wasn’t worried about the newspaper articles because during those times, most of his constituents couldn’t read. But he fretted over “them damn pictures.” The cartoons spoke volumes to a wider audience than the stories in the Times. In the end, the images won the day and Mr. Tweed and his associates were convicted in both the courts of public opinion and jurisprudence.
What Does Boss Tweed Have to do With Digital Marketing?
What helped bring Boss Tweed to justice, “those damn pictures,” now work best for digital marketers who wish to influence target audiences. Whether it’s the emergence of 3-D immersive devices or live video or image-enhanced Tweets via Periscope (a live streaming broadcast video app), images enjoy a much higher rate of attention and retention than those without.
This digital trend will continue throughout 2017 and grow the use of all digital mediums well in to the future. And for good reason! Tweets with images receive 150% more response in the form of a retweet. Facebook posts with images get 2 to 3 times more response. And with the emergency of 3-D augmented technology, who knows how impressive and dazzling visual content is about to become!
The other big trend is two-way, one-to-one digital conversation through messaging apps that engage the viewers in unique and creative ways. Kevin King of Adweek claims “…there’s a chatbot revolution going on and its being fueled by major social media and messaging platforms like Facebook, Messenger, Google, Microsoft Skype, Salesforce, Slack, Twitter DM, WeChat, Kik and Line.” Marketers utilizing these apps can easily start conversations with their target audiences.
The best way to strengthen your messaging is to use visuals as well as words. Infographics make a huge impact on digital consumers because they display information easily for people who have neither the time nor the attention span to read lengthy articles and blogs (like this one!).
Transmedia professor Dr. Chester Branch believes “… marketing is all about conversion through conversation.” He also believes there are three progressive stages concurrently spurring on these conversations: content marketing, visual content marketing and interactive visual content marketing.
In the Web 2.0 world, audiences do not want static content and they certainly don’t what brands delivering their messages through passive media like television ads. They want visual engagement and immediate interaction. Viewers want to stop, see, click and connect!
Getting Personal to Get More Business.
In case you haven’t heard, we’re in the age of big data. Big data can help marketers utilize personalized information in many ways. It can segment audiences out of massive databases allowing marketers to create messaging that is singularly one-to-one with their customers. This allows them to speak directly to customers who are predisposed to their products or services.
Much of this information gathering is now being done by Marketing Automation software. It not only tracks and analyzes audiences, but also keeps track of what kinds of messaging they react to. In other words, these automated systems can analyze a campaign’s effectiveness. This capability has not gone unnoticed by major corporations, like Netflix or Amazon or Spotify. They have already developed branded content for targeted audiences based on automated feedback.
Digital Behavioral Scientist, Jillian Ney says, “2017 will be the year that social intelligence grows up… more and more brands will focus on customer experience branding, coupled with the advanced use of customer data in the organization.”
One example of this trend is the growing use of mobile beacons in retail outlets. These are in-store devices which use Bluetooth to monitor consumers’ mobile devices and then analyze their shopping behavior. This gives marketers a very detailed picture of a customer’s purchasing history.
Customer monitoring is even being used by Snapchat, the instant messaging app embraced by Millennials. Snapchat now offers a business app called Snap-to-Store which tracks the increase in the number of people who go to a venue or store after they’ve seen an ad or marketing message for it on Snapchat.
This kind of target audience data collection is also being used on the business-to-business side. In the B2B world, the trend is called “account based marketing.” Capturing customer data and creating a strategy to increase account awareness helps B2B marketers know their customers better. It allows them to utilize personalization techniques to speak to each customer on a one-to-one basis. This helps them build stronger account relationships through email marketing, social media or content marketing techniques.
The Trend Towards Mobile Continues.
Last year, Google began requiring advertisers to develop responsive websites that adapt to mobile devices. This was done because sites designed for desktops did not translate well into mobile formats. It was also done because mobile usage was beginning to overtake desktop usage. That trend continues in 2017 as more and more companies utilize mobile responsive web design.
This kind of content is in some ways more immediate than content on larger desktop devices, mainly because mobile devices are carried with you all the time and the small screen format forces designers to direct the viewer more intentionally. Again, it is the visualization of the content that makes the difference.
Web search activity is now being performed on mobile devices more than ever. Google recently confirmed that more web search activity now occurs on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
Native Advertising has been around for a while. Basically it is delivered in the form of an article written for a brand about some news in the industry and sometimes with a brief brand reference in the article.
The reason Native Advertising is a growing trend in 2017 is because there are no effective ways to block advertising messages delivered through content that appears to be unbiased and not ad-like. An example would be an avionics company placing an article about ADS-B and how its benefits outweigh the cost.
One digital trend that will continue to increase digital marketing usage is the emergence of wearable technologies. While not everyone owns an Apple Watch or a Fitbit or some form of augmented reality device, many will be joining the legions that already have these devices. With more and more digital technology at everyone’s disposal the reason for digital marketing to break through and capture those wearing such technology grows exponentially.
What does this have to do with the Aviation Business?
Let’s be honest, we’re becoming a digital world. Steam gauges in aircraft have been replaced by glass-panel cockpits. Paper charts have been replaced by electronic ones stored on iPads and other tablets. Our entire air traffic system is morphing from radar to satellite. More importantly, our pilots and technicians are coming of age in a digital age. If aviation businesses are to compete for the dollars and attention of this new aviation population, they will have to do so in a modern, more digital way.
We have by no means exhausted all the trends that are going on in digital marketing in 2017. There are sure to be some surprises the futurists never saw coming, but the more aware of what’s flying in the marketing world, the more goods and services in the aviation world will be flying high in the future.