Somehow we’ve reached July. It seems we wait all winter to enjoy the summer months and then they just fly by. While summer is certainly a time to hit the beach and enjoy dinner on the grill, it’s also an important time of the year for us marketers.

As we head into the second half of the year, we need to assess what worked and what didn’t from the previous six months and adjust our plans accordingly for the next six.

The World of Digital Marketing Moves at the Speed of Light Summer

Just like summer flies by before our eyes, so too does the world of digital marketing. While there was once a time when marketing teams could evaluate performance and set new plans on a yearly basis, those days are long gone. That’s because in the world of digital, trends change quickly and marketers need to keep up or risk getting left behind.

This speed of change means that as a modern marketer you must always be on the lookout for up-and-coming trends, for example by staying active on social media, reading various blogs and engaging with industry experts. It also means you need to review and refine your approaches more often than you once did, all with a cautious eye toward what has staying power and what is simply a passing fad.

4 Digital Marketing Trends Re-Imagined to Guide the Remainder of 2017

With that speed of change in mind, as you begin to plan for the second half of 2017, what are the top digital marketing trends of which you need to be aware? It turns out many of them aren’t actually anything “new,” just existing trends re-imagined. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Video makes way for live video: Over the past few years, B2B video marketing has picked up steam (so much so that 72% of B2B buyers and researchers now use video to aid in purchasing decisions). Going forward, that trend will only continue to grow, but it will evolve as live videos begin to pick up steam. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all offer live video now and everyone is taking notice. For example, Mediakix reports that Facebook Live videos are watched three times longer than non-live videos and Twitter’s content partners streamed over 600 hours of live video that attracted over 31 million viewers in Q4 of 2016 alone. Given these statistics, it’s no surprise that 50% of marketers wanted to learn more about live video in 2017.
  2. Interactivity makes way for reality: In 2016, interactivity (i.e. interactive infographics) were all the rage. In 2017, the idea of interactivity hasn’t lost its shine, but it has gotten an upgrade by way of augmented and virtual reality (commonly referred to as AR and VR). To unpack these buzzwords, AR adds on to an existing reality (think of a mobile app that turns a real-life, two-dimensional picture into a digital, three-dimensional model), while VR creates a new reality (think of a headset that transports the wearer into a virtual, life-like world). Both of these technologies are already being used with great success in the realm of marketing, but if you decide to take them on, you need to approach them carefully. A 2016 study from Nielsen and YuMe found that VR experiences engaged users for 34% longer and led to a 27% higher reaction compared to more traditional experiences; however, achieving success with these up and coming technologies requires a new mindset and a lot of creativity.
  3. Personalization makes way for relevance: Once again, personalization is nothing new, but what you need to do with it today is. A few years ago, adding someone’s name to an email could make a big difference. Today, people are hardly likely to even notice the difference. With all of the data you can now collect based on your prospects’ and customers’ online behaviors, you need to take your list segmentation to an entirely new level in order to deliver not just personalization, but relevance. As Ascend2 reports, 51% of marketing influencers find segmenting lists critical to personalization while 50% find individualizing campaign messages critical. Together, both of these factors — list segmentation and individualized messages based on demonstrated interests and behaviors — can help create a more relevant experience that builds trust, increases engagement and fosters loyalty.
  4. PR makes way for influencers: Good PR can do wonders for any business right? Well, yes, but the power of overt advertising — and even more subtle advertorials — is waning. Today, it seems people no longer want to be “sold to” but rather informed. Enter the age of the influencers. Today, influencer marketing can increase ROI by as much as 11x compared to traditional marketing tactics, and that’s a trend no one can afford to pass up on. The key to success in this area lies first in finding the right influencer, which is often a micro influencer in the B2B world, and then collaborating closely with that influencer to reach your target audience with the right messages. When approached correctly, an influencer strategy can go a long way toward expanding reach, surfacing new leads, building trust and loyalty and closing deals.

Putting Down Roots: Education, Value & Creativity Never Go Out of Season

Digital marketing trends come and go — or evolve as the case may be — but there are some factors that have moved beyond the “trend” designation. Specifically, tenets like educating your audience, providing value for them and launching creative, exciting marketing campaigns will always be important. In fact, all of the digital marketing trends of the past, present and future are built around these roots, making them critical factors to which you need to pay attention even as you build strategies around the latest and greatest trends of the season.