By John Eberhard

Every time the new year rolls around, you see tons of articles claiming to herald the latest and hottest trends in marketing for the new year.

Th other day I searched for articles of this nature, to get a sense of what other people are saying the hottest trends will be. Suffice it to say that my buzzword detector starting going off like a Geiger counter, and I didn’t really find anything mentioned in these other articles that I thought were important trends for marketers to be aware of.

But there are a few things that I think are important new trends, and I will also list out important things to think about that aren’t new but are important.

New Trends

SSL Certificate: I think it has become vital for marketers to add an SSL certificate to their websites, which changes the http in their web address to an https, and encrypts information going to and from that website. Google is pushing hard for all websites that ask people to enter personal information in forms, to get an SSL certificate. And both Chrome and Firefox display a white circle next to the URL bar, that when clicked, states that a site without an SSL cert is insecure. I’ve seen articles claiming this notification will get more assertive in the months to come.

Bing and Facebook Advertising: For companies doing pay per click (PPC) advertising on Google, I recommend expanding your advertising presence on Bing and Facebook. Years ago I had PPC clients on both Google and Bing, then Bing basically started producing nothing and being generally useless. But in the past year I’ve started up new accounts for clients on Bing that have out-performed Google. And the costs are lower.

And Facebook advertising is a great fit for certain types of companies, especially B2C (business to consumer) products.

Trends to Stay Away From

I came across a great article recently by marketing author Mark Schaefer, entitled “Why marketing technology is sucking the life out of the marketing profession.

In it he goes over how marketers have gotten into the habit of using certain technologies, which they knew people hate, because they “work.” I’ve even caught myself saying this. His examples include popups, endless email campaigns, and unsolicited email. He says:

“The heart, the soul, the truest pulse of marketing is vaporizing because our profession is turning into a glorified IT function. Marketing strategy is being derived from data scientists, SEO gurus, and statisticians doing A/B testing in a back room somewhere.”

“We are implementing strategies and tactics based on what statistically is supposed to work, instead of what customers really want.”

“You see, the problem is just going to get worse — much worse — as ‘marketing technology’ becomes synonymous with ‘creating consumer hate at scale.’

“With the amount of personal data being collected today, I believe we’re on the cusp of an era of unprecedented creepiness. Somebody in analytics is going to recommend a marketing tactic that crosses a line of ethics because … “it will work.” It is already happening. I predict that we’ll soon see some epic marketing failures in our business when the decisions are based on probability analysis versus common sense and good taste.”

A year and a half ago I read a booked called “Marketers are from Mars, Consumers are from New Jersey,” by Bob Hoffman. He points out that ad agencies used to be based around a creative guy who would find innovative, funny and creative ways to sell things. Now they tend to be based around numbers guys, who do everything by statistics. Several of the “new marketing trends” articles I read even listed “big data” as a vital trend in 2018, meaning we need to analyze all the statistics and make our marketing decisions based on stats.

Stats are important, but I tend to think Hoffman is right and that marketers need to concentrate more on finding clever ways to sell things, rather than just doing A/B testing.
Things That Aren’t New But Are Still Important in 2018

  1. Websites that are more than 3-4 years old need to be re-designed, period.
  2. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are potentially losing over half of your website visitors because the site will appear tiny and unreadable on a mobile phone, and your visitors won’t stay.
  3. If you have a local business, you need to be on Yelp.
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of permanently increasing the amount of traffic coming to your site. It’s not an instant gratification thing. It takes time but is well worth the effort.
  5. Pay per click advertising (PPC) is a vital medium for any company with a high ticket item (costs over say $500). But it has become complicated enough that you should go into it with an experienced consultant.
  6. I mentioned this in my last article, but the economy is booming. I think during the last 8 years the economy has been in the doldrums, and many business owners have slowed down or stopped their marketing outreach, and settled down into a world of reduced expectations. But all that has changed in the last year. So it is time to upgrade and increase your marketing efforts, and take advantage of that boom. Don’t let your competitors eat your lunch while you hesitate. He who hesitates is lost, and fortune favors the bold.

Let’s work to make 2018 the best year ever for all of our businesses!