What is your marketing strategy for 2017? As you evaluate marketing trends and try to determine how to prioritize and invest your marketing budget, keep your overall business goals in mind. Using the newest or coolest marketing trend isn’t for every business kind of like the way dying your hair pink doesn’t work for everyone. Here’s a list of what’s at the top of our radar. With the exception of one new and really cool piece of technology and one area of expanding tech, we’re sticking to marketing tactics that are tried and true and produce results.

 

  1. Earned Media

In other words, PR. Public Relations. It’s one of those marketing trends that has never really been a trend. There’s just a new name for it that’s actually catching on with marketers. Earned media is content created by third parties such as magazines, websites, television coverage, or blogs. This includes mentions, shares, reposts, and reviews – anything that has potential to drive business to you. Earned media is widely regarded as the most trusted source of information, and a classic marketing adage states that it is worth three times the value of a paid ad. Ads can be bought, but earned media has to be won through thoughtful, strategic, and consistent public relations outreach to the right media outlets. That content and the potential backlinks it provides improves SEO and helps your organization dominate page one of search results. And it makes your mother proud. Check out this report about earned media value in social networking for more specific rates.

 

  1. IP Address Targeting

You may have heard of this new tech trend and dismissed it as too complex, but in essence it is actually quite simple. Every device that participates in a computer network, including smartphones, has its own unique IP address, or Internet Protocol address. These addresses can be traced to an approximate geographic location so businesses can better tailor their advertising efforts toward individuals. For example, if a person’s IP address on their smartphone indicates that they are in the area of a convention where you have a tradeshow booth, you can target advertising to them to come to your booth. You can even target a specific list of mailing addresses with an online campaign by utilizing algorithmic databases. While there is a slight creep factor, it’s highly effective. Jump on this trend before it becomes saturated.

 

  1. Direct Mail

In contrast to the recent innovation of IP targeting, direct mail is a marketing staple and it still works. There is just something about a physical piece of advertising that can be extremely effective, you can’t just swipe your screen and make it go away. Direct mail can be a great way to break away from the inbox clutter. It’s also been proven to work well in cooperation with an email campaign. It can be an expensive but impactful touch point. Put measures in place to track it, but it might be a fit for your 2017 marketing plans. If you’re shocked, read this recent Inc. article with the impressive data that supports this re-emerging marketing trend.

 

     4. CRM Integration

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are great to help organize and keep track of current and prospective customers. Managing and generating new business leads can be made much more effective through the use of CRM. Though a useful tracking tool on its own, CRM is much more successful when integrated with your website. Manual input of customer data can be tiresome, and instead CRM can automatically add entries of its own based on visits to your website and email campaigns. CRM works on a grading structure that you design to determine the value or interest of each customer, and uses that grading system when entering data into the system. For example, when a person visits your website, CRM will grade them and add them to the system based on what they did on the website. This allows businesses to view when that prospective client last visited the website, what they clicked on, and how long they were there. This is tremendously valuable if you are tracking and ensuring your marketing team’s return on investment.

 

  1. Events

People buy from people. Events have the potential to have a much more lasting impact than a postcard or an ad. Events are great for demonstrating your brand personality and driving more meaningful conversations. In-person events also have the potential to make news – and drive earned media – see point 1. 😉 If offline meetings are not a fit, consider online events. Streaming services and social media make networking with others over the internet easy and accessible.