Modern Marketing Trends That Matter

Digital Marketing December 27, 2018
digital marketing trends illustration

Modern Marketing Trends That Matter

Marketing trends evolve with the landscape of technology, consumer interests, and a million other things. Fashion, for example, can dictate the trends seen in marketing. Knowing which technologies are tracking as would-be permanent solutions can pay off big time. Knowing which ones to ignore completely can help as well.

We see interesting headlines from the technology sector on a daily basis. Any of these could potentially catalyze a new marketing trend. For example, the launch of Facebook’s chatbots got a lot of people excited. We put that one on our “ignore” list.

All new technologies have their fanboys that claim a revolution is nigh. We’ve seen trends develop, enter the marketplace, live out their natural lives, and wither away as new trends emerge. It’s not unlike the cycle of life—except that some trends remain eternally relevant. Here’s some interesting trends that we think will stick and some that we think will disappear.

Mattress & Consumer Direct Pricing

If you have been out of your house in the past five years you’ve probably seen a mattress ad. These things are everywhere. What the hell happened that suddenly everyone needs to be told to buy a new mattress? Was their a new federal guideline passed? No. Was there some toxin discovered in existing mattresses? No, well—maybe.

All this renewed vigor stemmed from the launch of Consumer Direct Pricing within the mattress industry. This isn’t a new concept though, so why the sudden fervor? The biggest hurdle in consumer direct pricing is shipping. Manufacturers have to handle their own distribution which, in the case of big-ass mattresses, isn’t so easy.

A couple of companies like Casper, Nectar Sleep, and Tuft & Needle realized that memory foam mattresses can be vacuum packed pretty effectively. Fold it, wrap it in plastic, and suck all the air out. What you’re left with is a two-by-two-by-four box that can ship using UPS. That’s a game changer.

This exemplifies how new technology can combine with a long-held marketing approach to completely revolutionize an industry. Now every blogger with a keyboard has a mattress review on their website. YouTube probably say a 5% increase in total video uploads just for mattress buyer’s guides (not really.) To be fair, there are still some great resources out there for dedicated comparisons of the best mattresses. It’s not all bloggers.

The Myth of Artificial Intelligence

Marketing is the single most susceptible industry for buzzwords. This is true in terms of both using buzzwords and being used by buzzwords. We’ve all been there: a meeting, led by a higher-up, takes a turn towards a technical subject and buzzwords are used to replace actual instruction.

“We need to see a better synergy between marketing and DevOps!” some dipshit VP might be heard to say.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been heralded as a game changer. Truth be told: it absolutely would be, if it existed. Save secret government projects or what’s on alien moon bases there is no form of genuine artificial intelligence. There’s some really cleveer computer algorithms out there but SkyNet is far from being a reality.

Companies like Facebook market their new technologies, such as chat bots, as being AI. It’s not just wrong, it’s a flat-out lie. These programs using machine learning and highly optimized natural language processing to identify subjects, requests, and related consumer concerns. They then filter these identified parts of speech (POS) through rules that route them to specific responses.

For example, a chatbot might pick out the word “refund” from a customer’s message. There’s probably a rule that says: “respond to refund inquiries with a message and request for an order number.” With that information, a simple computer script can provide an instant answer to a question. In other words, the best chatbots for conversions do little more than route questions to answers, kind of like an assisted search engine.

Chatbots can’t think about the question and respond with genuine concern though. So, before you go outsourcing your customer support to Facebook, remember the power of human communication.

Data Security is no Laughing Matter

Access to supercomputing power with the ability to cast wide nets of security exploit probing has gotten pretty cheap. Would-be hackers are probing the Internet for billions of failure points every day. Guess what? They find them sometimes.

Ask any seasoned network security engineer how to ensure your data’s security and they’ll tell you this: “nothing is ever 100% safe.” This steps on the fairytell we were told by the free anti-virus software included with Windows—but it’s true. You should assume anything you provide online will, at some point, fall into the hands of someone you don’t want it to.

What this means is that the marginalization of threats and boasts of security infallibility touted in the press by Big Tech is nonsense. Real measures to ensure data privacy and security are still in their infancy. The GDPR has been a shit-show of overzealous caution. It has also started a legislative conversation in many other nations around the world.

Even businesses that don’t solicit information from their customers still likely collect user data from their websites. Being poised to comply with any new legislation, data-handling guidelines, and emerging issues is going to be key in the future of marketing. We’re far past click to unsubscribe.

Multi-Aspect Video Formatting

Video is huge. Video has been huge. Video is going to remain huge. The widespread adoption of mobile devices has changed how users around the world consume content but has especially changed how they interact with videos.

Viewing a traditionally-formatted video on a mobile device requires turning it sideways. Platform-dependent video formatting has been a thing for awhile but the rise in smart device popularity has made it a possible game changer.

Unfortunately, there still seems to be a schism in video as far as the eye can see. That is: one format for mobile devices and one format for traditional devices. No one’s making the argument that 16:9 format isn’t ideal—just that it’s a pain turning your phone anytime you want to watch it.

Be prepared to integrate mobile formatted videos into your marketing campaigns in the near future. It might be a necessity to compete. Re-thinking one’s creative development process to make creating two unique formats easier is a good first step. Currently, we consider this marketing trend “on the radar” but not an active threat.

Goodbye Millenials, Hello Generation Z

How to market to millennials has been the focus of most marketing departments for the past decade. They’ve seen the emergence of web services, micro-marketing, ultra-niche design, and every odd-ball tech creation under the sun. In the face of all this nonsense one this has been clear: Millenials tend to have class.

Generation Z is now coming into full-fledged adulthood and products and services are going to need to start catering to them if they want to be successful. This could mean radical redesigns of long-held marketing mantras. After all, this is the first generation that doesn’t remember rotary phones, America Online, Dial-Up Internet, or mail ordering anything.

The demands of Generation Z will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on the nature of future marketing and business. They’re online like first nature and see things differently than any generation before them. Their emminent positioning into the forefront of marketer’s focus brings one clear message to businesses everywhere: adapt or die. If your business isn’t capable of pivoting where necessary plan to die a slow death (what’s up Sears?)