High-waist jeans, overalls, neon brights, and fringe are but a few trends making their comeback from the 80s. Much like fashion, marketing trends are an evolution of previous trends. The most popular trends developing as we move into the second half of 2014 are digitally influenced—short and easy to digest content in mobile and quick and easy communication through social media apps.
Driven by events like the World Cup, 2014 has noticed an influx in worldwide marketing, with spending expected to grow as we enter August. ZenithOptimedia recently boosted its 2014 forecast (PDF) for the third time, to show growth of 5.5 percent worldwide, based on signs of stronger growth in the U.S. and Asia. It also forecast Europe will show growth for the first time since 2010, as markets there recover from the Eurozone fiscal crisis.
Shift from Millennial to Middle Class
In the 2012 elections, the focus was on the millennials and their new forms of communication. Since there is wider adoption of new technology, the overall consumer marketing focus is shifting back to the middle class. As we head into the midterm elections, expect the drumbeat about the middle class to sound even louder in political ads and to bleed into the culture at large. Sarah Davanzo, Chief Cultural Strategy Officer at Sparks & Honey noted that cultural and fashion trends are shifting to the middle in a reaction to years of fast fashion and fast change. Consumers are deliberately dressing down in fashion trend called “normcore,” and entertainment is embracing Average Joes plucked from YouTube.
The Content Marketing Institute notes that complaints about quality are starting to arise as more than 90% of marketers are engaged in publishing content. It’s no wonder that as more brands stampede into blogospheres, social media content writing and more, it becomes harder to stand out. Even sophisticated content has a hard time being successful without putting the right resources behind your efforts—content needs to be managed internally and externally.
Consumers expect content and brands to keep up with real-time occurrences. Unless you have a team ready to tweet, post, or vine news and events, as they happen to keep up with world fads, it can be hard to engage in real-time marketing. Help your consumers from tuning-out by exercising restraint. Instead of constantly giving in to real-time marketing and getting lost in the pool of brands attempting to do the same, attempt more creative and engaging marketing that stays in line with your messaging. Entertain with originality.
Smart Content Stands Out
Another trend that is developing well into 2014 is authenticity. Google has become smarter about content and will weed out content that isn’t as authentic as they would like it to be. For example, the most recent Google update, Panda v. 4.0 is designed to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. Panda 4.0 affects different languages to different degrees. In English for example, the impact is ~7.5% of queries that are affected to a degree that a regular user might notice.
Entrepreneur.com notes that the goal of Panda is to prevent websites from being rewarded that simply copy (steal) someone else’s work or just fill their pages with unreadable content that is stuffed with keywords. To avoid getting hit by these constant changes (Google updates Panda about every month), only add high-quality original content to your website that provides value to your readers. Would you be confident publishing your website content on a major news or industry website? If your answer is yes, then you have nothing to worry about. If you are not sure or if the answer is no, then it is time to change your content strategy immediately.