The world has morphed into a pretty chaotic place where it’s easy to get distracted. That’s why marketers are looking to focus time, energy and resources on improving the customer experience. Marketing trends of this year are all about learning more about your customer base so your business can better serve them. This will be easier to accomplish for a small business than it will be for a larger corporation, because they have a more diverse customer base. So small businesses really need to leverage this trend to their advantage and zero in on their niche market, find out what makes them tick and market to them beneath the surface. Read on for a deeper look at the marketing trends that are sure to shape your business in 2017.

Focus on creating a mind-blowing customer experience

Gone are the days of the passive customer, where businesses had all the say in the consumer model. Thanks to the digital transformation of the 21st century, the customer controls their own buying journey. You can no longer hide behind the business, you need to be front and centre. Therefore, what will set you apart from your competitors isn’t what you have on offer, it’s the experience felt by customers.

Some businesses may see this ultimate power the customer now possess as a liability, but it’s actually an asset. It’ll only be a liability if you choose to ignore customer complaints or if you take the wrong approach to addressing them. When customers are impressed with your business, they become brand ambassadors and spread the word about your business free of charge, and since we trust word-of-mouth so much it’s an effective tool for gaining new customers. It’s also important to bear in mind that adopting a model focused on the customer experience is all about relationship maintenance that requires commitment. The organisation needs to actively choose to delight the customer and not only because there is a company policy that requires them to do so. Customers can tell the difference between forced and authentic.

To be data-driven or not to be data-driven, that is the question

Businesses already use data analytics when making important marketing decisions. But according to the marketing trends and predictions from CEOs, CMOs and authors featured in this Forbes article “visual media content assets and channels have emerged – from mobile apps to VR to infographics to rich media ads.” The article goes onto explain that “design will become the new “big data”, the next differentiator, as big data becomes the new normal.”

With more importance on the ‘visual’, brands are looking to improve their in-app functionality. Facebook’s Instant Articles platform delivers a fast reading experience for users by improving article loading time. With a single tap on the article, users are instantly transported straight onto your website. Businesses will be able to better understand how readers engage with the content, by using first-party data directly from Facebook, you can measure the amount of clicks, time spent and scroll depth. This feature isn’t new however. Flipboard runs on the same concept and offers users the ability to filter only the content they want to see. As more brands play around with these app capabilities it will provide the grounds from which businesses can meaningfully engage with their audience.

Things need to get personal

The focus for marketing trends in 2017 will be to narrow down your customer audience and pay more attention to creating relevant content. In a previous blog hyperlink to: blog [How brand awareness generates significant ROI] we mentioned that today’s customer base wants relevant information at the right time. Content will no longer be created for the masses. It’s no longer about reaching high numbers, but reaching the right people. Content production needs to become more purpose-driven, it mustn’t just exist, marketers need to bridge the gap between content production and creating business value with it.
According to Steve Olenski, Forbes CMO Contributor and Sr. Writer for Oracle Marketing Cloud, “what I want to see happen in 2017 is that marketers will stop over-complicating and over-thinking essentially everything. It never ceases to amaze me as to the number of consumers who complain they get too much content that is not relevant to them.” Sometimes businesses fall into the trap of making their marketing reach too broad and trying and experiment with everything. You should focus on where your customer base is hanging out. For a home improvement business, you’re more likely to reach your niche market by advertising in one of our publications. Our publications are always there for your potential customers, waiting to be opened when the need arises. For more help driving your business towards a successful future, take a look at our Effective Business Management Guide below.

Image credit: YouTube