I was recently interviewed for an Entrepreneur Magazine article about trending marketing tactics.

So I talked about the top marketing trends we’ve seen continue to build steam…

(This comes from all the surveys and research, our client work and my “thought leader” peers in the industry.)

But I also talked about how so many of companies I speak to feel like they’re behind.

They feel like they’re the only ones who are behind.

“Our industry is 5-10 years behind,” they say.

They all say that!

If so many people feel like they’re behind…

Maybe everyone is behind.

That means…

No one is behind.

AND YOU can get ahead!

The 5 Top Marketing Trends in 2018 (That Will Continue to Grow in 2019)

Here are the trends I mentioned…
  1. Consumer Privacy vs. Revenue and Affordability
  2. Facebook’s Continued Evolution
  3. Instagram Excitement
  4. Video Marketing Excitement
  5. Content Marketing ROI

Marketing Trend #1: Consumer Privacy vs. Revenue and Affordability

PRIVACY! GDPR had everybody worried and created a rush of activity up to May 25, 2018.

  • American businesses were rewriting their privacy policies, sending emails to renew opt-in in their lists, adding wordpress plugins to notify people about cookies and looking for ways to manage or make retargeting pixels optional and sending out email and mailed privacy policy updates.
  • A lot of people don’t necessarily market to or do business with Europeans, but knew they might have a few on their lists, or that for example a blog post might get shared via Twitter to someone in Europe, so they felt it was impossible to avoid it.
  • More about GDPR here.
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a one-time thing. This is similar to what happened with Cambridge Analytica… the common theme is PRIVACY. The big debate in America will continue to be: How can marketers help us find what we want while we maintain the privacy we want? What amount of privacy are we willing to give up so that we can buy the stuff we need? This debate has yet to be fully hashed out. I’m not sure everyone really understands yet why they might have to sacrifice ANY of their privacy for companies to be more efficient and profitable and for the things you buy to be more affordable. But it’s true… privacy is expensive, and to some degree worth it, but not all of it is necessary, because we want to save money, too.

Marketing Trend #2: Facebook’s Continued Evolution

  • Facebook will be removing their partner categories, the targeting that came from Acxiom, Epsilon and Datalogix (Oracle), as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
  • The good news on this is that we’ve always found that this targeting was much more expensive and not necessarily more effective than Facebook’s own targeting options, like interests, demographics and behaviors.
  • Facebook has been modifying and improving job title targeting for a long time. We’ve seen great B2B results for years.
  • Partner categories will disappear for new campaign creation on August 15th, and will no longer work after October 1, 2018.
  • The good news is that still leaves a lot of great targeting options, and the partner categories were always some of the most expensive options and not necessarily the best. We don’t expect that Facebook ad targeting will be worse without it, and people will feel more confident about their privacy as a result.
  • We’ve seen some interesting improvements in their automatic optimizations. They are getting better and better at showing individual ads to the right people within an ad set to increase the effectiveness of every ad.

Marketing Trend #3: Instagram is Getting More Attention

  • Businesses are wondering about whether they should focus more on Instagram, because the Facebook data scandal made people doubt Facebook, even if it’s temporary…
  • Young people seem to prefer Instagram and Snapchat, but Instagram is easier to market with than Snapchat.
  • In our experience, Instagram’s audience is much younger, but the posts and ads are much more positive and lifestyle oriented.
  • You can advertise on Instagram though the Facebook ad platform, and this is more effective than Instagram posting because you can add a link to drive website traffic, leads and sales, and can control your targeting better than with the in-app advertising options.

Marketing Trend #4: Video Marketing & Video Advertising Continued to Grow in Popularity

  • More and more people are committing budgets to it.
  • It’s getting more press attention.
  • At the same time, after Facebook said in 2017 that the average video view was only 15 seconds, it seems like video view lengths are decreasing even further.
  • There are more and more companies like Promo (from Slidely/LinkedIn) and Animatron that offer short video making tools with stock video footage.. You can put your snappy copywriting text over an interesting or funny video.
  • Surprising insight: our own ad agency data across many client companies shows that customers who submit leads and buy don’t necessarily watch videos very long (sometimes only an average of 5 seconds). In other words, how long they watch the video may not be the most important thing. So companies that are focused on social media leads and sales may want video views but know that video views don’t always drive the bottom-line. Ads that have images and clear, quickly readable text (about what you offer and why we should care) may drive better results than videos.

Marketing Trend #5: Companies Demanding More Bottom-Line Results from Content Marketing

  • Content Marketing has leveled off in popularity and budget, while more business people are asking for content marketing analytics, leads and revenue.
  • Many companies created line items in their budgets for content marketing (the average percentage of a marketing budget spent on content is 26%). They created content, and now they’re wondering, “Why isn’t this moving the needle?”
  • There is content that doesn’t convert. Convert that doesn’t sell. Content marketers who don’t know how to persuade or sell. Content marketers with no training in copywriting or direct marketing.
  • It’s fine to invest and have a strategy and be committed, but do you have analytics? Can you optimized? Are you getting results?
  • Over 65% of content marketers don’t measure their content’s ROI. Oh, so it’s just good at looking pretty? 🙂 72% of B2B marketers measure their ROI, but 65% of them don’t measure the ROI of their content. What?! This is a tragic misalignment and waste of money.
  • It’s true that Content Marketing requires work and infrastructure and can take time to work, but you still have to measure it.
  • You must design content marketing and marketing automation for conversion, whether your goal is leads or sales.

So, Are You Really “Behind”?

Despite what is new… My experience both in the agency and as a keynote speaker who talks to many SMB audiences is that many businesses are behind.

There are strategies and tactics we’ve been recommending for five years that many businesses have yet to even try.

For example, Facebook ads. No matter what is new with Facebook ads, and the fact that they could help many businesses, I would estimate 10% or fewer of them are using them. And for every ten audience members that agree they should, only a handful will either learn how or hire someone to do it.

Another one: even though Google ads have been proven to drive leads, sales and profits for over a decade, there are many businesses who still have yet to even try them once!

The business world moves very slowly for a lot of the 28 million small businesses that make up the majority of American businesses.

BEWARE Shiny Object Syndrome

On the other hand, some people are too far ahead for their own good. They get involved in fads and hype that never pays off.

Like Blab.

Or Foursquare, which 5 years ago was supposed to be the future… but most of the regular people who were supposed to be the main user base have never heard of it. Oh and it’s been valued between $250-500 billion.

And they wonder why Warren Buffet doesn’t invest in tech stocks!

How to Get Ahead NOW

So, you can catch up. You can get ahead. Stay away from fads and hype.

Do smart things. That means: proven things.

Like what?

Google ads. Facebook ads. Blogging. Content marketing. Analytics. Optimization.

And that’s how you’ll get ahead.

Get good at what already works, and it will work for you.
Privacy Policy and GDPR Info

Brian Carter is a popular business expert and keynote speaker with Fortune 500 clients like NBC, Microsoft and Humana as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways with the comedic flair of his stand up comedy background. His agency, The Brian Carter Group, creates marketing that excites customers and increases brand visibility, sales and loyalty. Brian is a bestselling author you’ve probably seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.