What Inbound 2016 Meant For Marketing In 2017: New Tactics, New Channels, New Skills

By Mira Lyubenova, Scratch Marketing + Media

Wrapping up the marketing efforts you made in 2016 can only mean one thing: New Year’s jitters as you start to plan budgets and strategies for 2017. Marketing in the 21st century changes incredibly quickly, and staying up to date with new tools and successful tactics is a daunting task.

One of the best remedies for those jitters is to attend industry events, where you can find out what thought leaders and subject experts are predicting for the coming year. Back in November, I attended HubSpot’s event Inbound 2016 and I walked away from there confident that I am up to speed with the latest and greatest in marketing, ready to face the New Year’s challenges.

Since good marketers always share useful information they’ve learned, here’s an overview of the trends and the practical tips from Inbound 2016 that I think will help you get on track for a successful 2017.

Keep Your Edge With New Channels, Tactics and Skills

In his opening session, bestselling author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk reminded us how fortunate we are to operate in the era of the greatest technological change in history. Making marketing programs more risk-tolerant is not an option, it’s a survival strategy; instead of shying away from a new platform  —  say, Periscope or Snapchat  —  marketers need to jump right in.

But this rise of new technologies is also changing the job picture within the marketing industry. Artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics are positioned to perform some of the marketing and sales functions currently handled by people, possibly replacing them  —  or, if you look at it from another angle, will free those people from routine, repetitive tasks like research and reporting, allowing them to focus on better understanding and engaging with their prospects.

Vaynerchuk emphasized that it’s imperative for today’s marketers to marry both science and art  —  to be UX-focused and data-driven at the same  —  so that they can identify the right channels and then offer killer creative content that can’t be skipped.

New Consumer Behavior Calls For New Tactics

Several speakers  —  including Hubpsot’s founder and CEO Brian Halligan and social media experts Larry Kim and Mari Smith  —  pointed out how the success of the modern marketing program depends on the ability to execute across both non-paid and paid channels. Given the diminishing ROI from organic social promotion and SEO programs, bundling content marketing with paid amplification is a must to ensure maximum reach and increase the viral effect.

During his keynote speech, Halligan shared his observations on the major changes in consumer behavior for the past 10 years and provided practical advice how to thrive in a crazily competitive market in 2017.

  • Marketers are fighting for the attention of a distracted generation: In the multitasking world, prospects are consuming content via various channels while also cooking breakfast and talking to their kids. And while extensive digital stimulation has contributed to improved multitasking skills, attention spans are shrinking. According to a Microsoft Canada study, the average attention span of consumers has gone down to 8 seconds from 12 seconds in 2000. To make sure marketers increase their chances of reaching their prospects, they need to distribute a variety of content formats across a variety of platforms.
  • Offer value to prospects before they purchase: Free trials are the norm now. To survive in a world where supply outstrips demand, companies need to offer more value and help prospects who have come to expect a taste of the product before spending a penny.
  • Video is not optional in the modern marketing content mix: It is the most-consumed type of content on the web. Halligan advised CEOs to stop looking for bloggers and instead hire videographers. The shareable video formula is: short and sweet, subtitled (since muted is often the default setting) and not necessarily professionally made.
  • Prospects expect personalization, automation and self-service: Being spoiled by platforms like Uber and Airbnb, prospects want super-personalized, automated, self-serve experiences within your communication channels, consumed on their own terms.

Those are some good takeaways, but they’re only part of what I learned from the marketing gurus who presented at Inbound 2016. I will share more insights from Inbound 2016 in my next blog post. Meanwhile, if you want to engage with a trusted marketing advisor, come visit us at ScratchMM.com.

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