Rounding the corner on 2018 – and what will likely be a more sophisticated and competitive digital marketing landscape – it’s time to look back at the highlights of 2017. There has been a lot of evolution in the past 12 months.
User-generated content and a rainbow of influencer strategies have been changing the way brands interact with consumers. The huge shift in mobile, on-the-go consumerism is forcing marketing leaders to change the way they look at marketing platforms. Video isn’t just the next big thing anymore. It’s everything, everywhere. It’s live, animated, 3D, and popcorn-worthy, and not just for big budget companies. And, there is the skills gap, plaguing many CMOs who are trying to keep up the pace with yesterday’s innovations in marketing technology, while other marketing heads have been forging ahead with brilliant, sometimes daring applications of new technology and human creativity.
If we want to know where we are headed, we need to understand where we are coming from. Here’s a roundup of 2017’s top digital marketing posts. These are the articles that made waves in the industry this past year and define the direction our collective arrow is pointed in for 2018.
1. How Much Should B2B Companies Invest in Digital Marketing?
Published at the beginning of 2017, this post provides an excellent overview of where B2B marketing budgets are headed over the next few years. It’s not just a shift towards bigger digital budgets, but more money will be directed towards mobile, with B2B CMOs expecting their own mobile spend to go up by 118 percent over the next couple years.
2. 5 Reasons Why Cold Calling Is Dead
… And Digital Marketing Is the Future. This is the blunt, in-your-face, concise write-up that sums up what hundreds of articles have been saying. It’s time to start moving on. It’s not just that the whole word is now digital. The root of the issue is trust.
Consumers may have their mobile phone in hand or within three inches of their person for 22 out of 24 hours every day. This doesn’t mean they’re going to pick up a call from an unrecognizable number. People are losing trust in cold calls, traditional advertising and other outbound marketing methods.
What they are growing to trust are online reviews, consumer feedback and brand interaction on social media, and authoritative website content.
3. 25 Marketing Technology Trailblazers
With everyone’s eyes on the next explosion in marketing technology, it’s no surprise this was one of the year’s most shared digital marketing posts. This is a well-curated round-up of the most standout martech minds.
What were the major trends according to the 25 trailblazers? The top predictions for 2017 were more machine learning and AI, particularly with more chatboxes, virtual assistants, and automation, as well as location data and real-time analytics taking a bigger role.
4. How Digital Transformation Can Revolutionize Marketing
There were plenty of discussions on digital marketing transformation in 2017. This isn’t just a shift to digital marketing that we’re in the midst of. It’s a total overhaul of how marketing is done – the technology used, the insights gained, the skill sets required. We’re not just engaging with consumers digitally. We’re operating digitally.
It’s a data-driven, automation-powered arena, which must constantly edge towards closer levels of perfection via analytics – more personalization, better UX and more sophisticated, real-time insights.
How to achieve full transformation in 2018? Small steps and agile methods. And, reading up on digital transformation thought leaders like the one featured in this top post.
5. The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing Tools That Won’t Cost a Cent
Need a convenient list of free digital marketing tools to empower your marketing in 2018? Here’s the ultimate list of tools and resources digital marketers have been using in 2017. From dynamic Google resources that every level marketer should be using as standard, to tools to create free infographics and elegant visuals, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available to modern digital marketers today.
6. 10 Reasons You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy in 2017
This is an article every digital marketer should read. Strategy has been a big theme this year, with CMOs and marketing managers pushing for a more integrated and thoughtful approach to all the digital channels being used today. Putting it all together is the secret to creating a better user experience.
You may have a quasi-strategy or an undocumented plan. However, if you fit any of the descriptors in this article, you’ve likely some work to do in improving your digital strategy.
7. 3 Best Practices for Digital Marketing in the Market Research Space
A helpful piece to help fuel your market research in 2018, this article is filled with actionable tips for cleaner, more efficient research. What are the essential takeaways?
- Know your audience.
- Test your messaging and learn from it.
- Track conversions.
Check out the article for a more in-depth look at each step, as well as advice on using what you learn in your research and applying it to your digital channels.
8. The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics
This is Hubspot’s list of every possible worthwhile statistic that could be of value to digital marketers in 2017. It takes a look at what’s been going on for the past three years in SEO, blogging, content strategy, podcasts, social media, visual content and more.
9. 7 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2017 (Infographic)
Here’s an excellent infographic that looks at the trends for this year. What were the standout trends in 2017:
- Content is more effective than paid search.
- Digital marketers, particularly with B2C brands, are still trying to increase content quality.
- On social media, if you want engagement, you need visuals.
- Interactive content, infographics and visual user-generated content are all rising engagement tools.
10. CMO vs CIO: Who’s Responsible for Digital?
Digital marketing continues to push the role of CMO to new boundaries. Today, it’s a must for CMOs and CIOs to work together in order to create the fluid, customer-driven experience consumers expect. With digital infusing technology into everything that traditionally CMOs are responsible for, in 2018 and beyond, the lines between these two roles are likely to blur even more.
Do you have a digital marketing article favorite for 2017? Please share in the comments below…