It may not be widely used yet, but by all accounts, visual search is set to become an extremely efficient and popular method of online search. It likely won’t ever surpass text-based searches, but as AI improves more people will certainly start using it. Some mobile phones already have AI implemented in their camera functions that will help speed the use of this technology along.
Another trend here is the adoption of dashboard reporting and analysis systems. At Smart Insights, we have adopted Google’s Data Studio (since it came out of Beta) for our monthly and weekly trading reports alongside the Google Sheets Add-In for the Google Analytics API, which we use for pulling the data through for our RACE digital marketing dashboard.

#1 Content marketing - this has featured consistently in the top 3 for several years. I think it's number 1 since content marketing can be applied by all types of business regardless of their sector or size and if the right strategy is followed can make an impact that supports communications across all touchpoint of the customer lifecycle. It fuels all digital channels from search, email and social media marketing. This makes having a defined content marketing strategy essential to competing in many sectors.
Optimization is not strictly for content; it’s important that you optimize your website as well. Your landing pages need to be user-friendly and straight to the point. If you want to secure as many registrations for your event as possible, for example, you need to make sure that your landing page drives users to that end result. This is where your unique selling proposition, a video or slideshow of images, the benefits of attending your meeting, client testimonials, and a solid call to action all come together.

Systems to gather unstructured feedback from customers are also increasing in popularity with larger brands. This case study from Vision Critical gives an example of how How Prudential Singapore accelerates product growth with customer insights. The company launched the PRU for You (PFY) community in July 2016 to allow greater engagement with customers and to give them a voice in developing new products and services. PFY has  4,500 members: 88% are customers and 12% are agents.
Paid media is a bit self-explanatory in what its name suggests -- and refers to any vehicle or channel that you spend money on to catch the attention of your buyer personas. This includes things like Google AdWords, paid social media posts, native advertising (like sponsored posts on other websites), and any other medium for which you directly pay in exchange for visibility.

Too often, businesses think that they have fulfilled their social media duties by merely posting a few messages on various social networks. But a real and impactful presence on social media requires a lot more effort. If you are promoting a conference, for example, you can’t simply publish the link to the registration page on Twitter every day until conference time; you need to be ever-present and engaging, making sure to answer any questions by attendees and prospects. Did you know that nearly 50% of all customers who complain to businesses on social media expect a response in 24 hours or less? You need to make sure you’re present and available to answer your participants’ inquiries – it’s the norm.
Video advertising - This type of advertising in terms of digital/online means are advertisements that play on online videos e.g. YouTube videos. This type of marketing has seen an increase in popularity over time.[51] Online Video Advertising usually consists of three types: Pre-Roll advertisements which play before the video is watched, Mid-Roll advertisements which play during the video, or Post-Roll advertisements which play after the video is watched.[52] Post-roll advertisements were shown to have better brand recognition in relation to the other types, where-as "ad-context congruity/incongruity plays an important role in reinforcing ad memorability".[51] Due to selective attention from viewers, there is the likelihood that the message may not be received.[53] The main advantage of video advertising is that it disrupts the viewing experience of the video and therefore there is a difficulty in attempting to avoid them. How a consumer interacts with online video advertising can come down to three stages: Pre attention, attention, and behavioural decision.[54] These online advertisements give the brand/business options and choices. These consist of length, position, adjacent video content which all directly affect the effectiveness of the produced advertisement time,[51] therefore manipulating these variables will yield different results. Length of the advertisement has shown to affect memorability where-as longer duration resulted in increased brand recognition.[51] This type of advertising, due to its nature of interruption of the viewer, it is likely that the consumer may feel as if their experience is being interrupted or invaded, creating negative perception of the brand.[51] These advertisements are also available to be shared by the viewers, adding to the attractiveness of this platform. Sharing these videos can be equated to the online version of word by mouth marketing, extending number of people reached.[55] Sharing videos creates six different outcomes: these being "pleasure, affection, inclusion, escape, relaxation, and control".[51] As well, videos that have entertainment value are more likely to be shared, yet pleasure is the strongest motivator to pass videos on. Creating a ‘viral’ trend from mass amount of a brands advertisement can maximize the outcome of an online video advert whether it be positive or a negative outcome.
It's important to note that even if a campaign runs over the course of a couple of years, it doesn't make it a strategy -- it's a tactic that sits alongside other campaigns to support a larger marketing strategy. For example, ETF Securities (cited above) hosted a campaign to increase its followers on LinkedIn, using the digital strategy of sponsored content (a form of paid media). This one strategic campaign might be one small part of a larger digital marketing strategy that serves to generate more leads for one of its products or business lines.
The marketing automation coordinator helps choose and manage the software that allows the whole marketing team to understand their customers' behavior and measure the growth of their business. Because many of the marketing operations described above might be executed separately from one another, it's important for there to be someone who can group these digital activities into individual campaigns and track each campaign's performance.
Unlike most offline marketing efforts, digital marketing allows marketers to see accurate results in real time. If you've ever put an advert in a newspaper, you'll know how difficult it is to estimate how many people actually flipped to that page and paid attention to your ad. There's no surefire way to know if that ad was responsible for any sales at all.
User testing services e.g. WhatUsersDo - this platform allows you to test your website remotely with users in their own homes. Users record their screen and audio, so you can see the full experience. You give them tasks to focus the user test. You can then use their tagging tool to collect insights from the video outputs. It's fast, focused research that provides insights to help improve your website
Now imagine you had that brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the page where it's hosted, and you can collect the contact details of those who download it by using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you're also generating qualified leads when people download it.
Mention Me - This software powers the referral programmes of leading retailers worldwide. The referral software works with just two javascript tags and works with many ecommerce platforms and tag containers, so your tailored refer-a-friend scheme can be up and running quickly. As well as 16 social sharing options, their software also enables their unique "share by name" functionality. AB testing comes as standard.
Smartling - Smartling’s Translation Management Platform is an end-to-end solution for digital content translation designed to simplify and streamline translation by eliminating 90% of the manual processes and costs associated with localization. Smartling’s advanced technology centralizes global content in the cloud and integrates seamlessly with any tech stack to provide visibility through a centralized workplace and deploy flexible workflows that enable team efficiency and ensure translation accuracy. 

Ultimately, it is the business, marketing, and brand development strategies which drive the growth of a business, so it is important to have a sound marketing strategy and branding in place before working on the digital tactics. Otherwise, it’s likely your hard work on the digital tactics will be wasted if they are directed at the wrong audience and your value proposition isn’t strong enough.


It’s clear that the people (but not the companies) of the world are getting serious about privacy, and marketers – who rely on those people – have no choice but to play by the new rules or miss out. One of the new rules is that marketers and brands will have to “‘earn' the contact information of their targets” rather than engage in mass marketing. As Forbes points out:
Search engine marketing - Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. SEM may incorporate Search engine optimization, which adjusts or rewrites website content and site architecture to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages to enhance pay per click (PPC) listings.
A key trend in overall digital strategy development is the ongoing popularity of digital transformation programmes. A recent poll on a members' webinar in digital transformation showed that a third of businesses are planning transformation within the next 12 months with a quarter already having embarked on them. This is similar to what we’ve seen in our more general surveys.
As our CEO, Lee Odden, often says, “everyone is influential about something.” B2B influencer marketing isn’t only always about pairing your brand with a celebrity spokesperson. Influencers can range from popular industry speakers and authors, to boots-on-the ground industry experts and up-and comers. Our unique approach to influencer marketing can help you reach your target audience by building relationships with influencers who already have industry authority and credibility, and match your brand’s values and those of your prospective clients.
#4 Big Data (including market and customer insight and predictive analytics) - It's good to see big data in the top five since we believe in the power of data-driven marketing. Big data analysis such as predictive analytics typically requires larger budgets, so will be restricted mainly for larger organisations, but the use of market and customer insight using the tools shown in our Martech tools wheel is open to all businesses and I think is why this is a relatively popular choice.
For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

Attention is getting more and more expensive as more businesses have easier access to it, meaning it's more important than ever to make the most of the attention you capture. People are so overwhelmed with messages that they're starved of significance. This is an opportunity for you, because as soon as you capture their attention, you capture their loyalty and wallet.
Smartling - Smartling’s Translation Management Platform is an end-to-end solution for digital content translation designed to simplify and streamline translation by eliminating 90% of the manual processes and costs associated with localization. Smartling’s advanced technology centralizes global content in the cloud and integrates seamlessly with any tech stack to provide visibility through a centralized workplace and deploy flexible workflows that enable team efficiency and ensure translation accuracy. 
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