Looking back, 2016 brought exciting new terrain to the world of digital marketing. But it also brought some complex questions about how the market would take advantage of new technologies and interfaces. This year brings more clarity on those questions, and new opportunities to build on what we know works best. So let’s take a look three of 2017’s most noteworthy digital marketing trends:

 

Digital Trend 1: Immersive Marketing

 

Marketers owe Pokemon Go a serious debt of gratitude. The enterprise demonstrated how deeply users are willing to integrate technology into their daily lives. Immersive marketing responds to this willingness in various ways–augmented reality, live video feeds, interactive campaigns, and 360-degree tilt-to-view. The list goes on and on, and new innovations are plentiful. But most importantly, immersive marketing gives your audience the chance to interact with your brand in a deeper way. It helps them understand not just your products, but your ethos and your style. These are all of the things that allow customers to align themselves with your vision. Immersive marketing brings content alive, and allows your customers to get a sense of how they’ll experience your product or brand.

 

While much can be done to frontload a digital immersion to attract customers, it works the other way, too! Meticulously designed physical spaces can indeed translate into immersive digital marketing boons. Who among us doesn’t love to share photos or create video stories of the unique and wonderful places we’ve visited on vacation, on the weekend, on the walk home from work… the possibilities for consumers to become your best immersive marketers abound. Here’s a great resource on using immersive marketing to communicate your story.

 

Digital Trend 2: Personalization Via Big Data

 

Personalized baby gifts. Bespoke suits. Specialty monthly makeup bags. Custom adult tree houses (yep, that’s a thing). Consumers love customization. And with more data available now than ever before, marketers can harness consumer information to deliver a carefully curated and seamless digital and tangible experiences for clients. As Kit Smith over at Brandwatch notes, “the personalization of Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify show how data can be used to improve the customer experience. This level of one-to-one marketing will slowly become more prevalent as brands weigh opportunity and cost and find ways of introducing it into their messaging”. With the internet ever-expanding the average consumer’s options for EVERYTHING, personalized marketing can play an increasingly relevant role. This is providing that the data is accurately analyzed and acted upon, in helping consumers navigate their choices and develop brand loyalty.

 

Here’s a helpful infographic to get you thinking about how to, as Laura Forer at MarketingProfs suggests,  you might begin to use big data to “organize around identity: implement a continuous identity solution that can recognize a customer in any channel and enable a customized experience in milliseconds.”

 

Digital Trend 3: Mobile Goes Instant

Since the arrival of smartphones, we’ve known the importance of a “mobile first” strategy. But the digital consumer has developed expectations that go beyond encountering an accessible mobile version of your website. Today’s consumer has become accustomed to the conveniences of instantaneous connection, entertainment, and customer service. In her interview with Kate Harrison at Forbes, CEO and founder of Influence-Central Stacy DeBroff notes that while growing up immersed in technology 24/7 has made consumers social media-savvy and quick to adopt new apps that pique their interest, they’re likewise a generation which has “grown up with instant response as its baseline expectation. We can count on at least three platforms we’ve never heard of rising to social prominence next year that embrace faster, more pictorial, and more spontaneous ways for rising Gen Z to bond.”

 

So, what does that mean for digital marketing? It means that marketers need to keep on top of social media trends and find ways to integrate them quickly. It also means that companies must redefine what operations like customer service look like. You must calibrate chat features, email forms, and response time to the speed of today’s consumer.

 

See this article for a thoughtful discussion of solutions to instantaneous response expectations.

 

What trends are you excited about for 2017? Let’s hear about what your bets are on and why in the comments.

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