The start of a new year is an excellent time to look ahead to major trends affecting your industry and seek out new opportunities to grow your business. As part of our series of trends our teams sees in various aspects of marketing/advertising, here are 5 marketing trends that business leaders should take into consideration as they plan for 2018:

The need for content marketing distribution has never been greater.

As brands and marketers increasingly rely on content marketing as a major part of their marketing strategies and produce more content of their own (as they should), it's becoming harder to cut through the noise and grab your audience's attention before your competitors do.

The solution to that problem isn't to create content at an even faster pace. Instead, you've got to think about how you can distribute your content better than anyone else in your space. This goes beyond social shares, especially as Facebook's organic reach is dropping significantly. Particularly in 2018, it’s going to be crucial to put together a comprehensive content distribution strategy to get your message to the right people when they need it most.

Video content is here to stay.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a hundred times: Video isn’t going anywhere. 55% of people consume video content thoroughly, and by 2020, online videos will account for more than 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic. Bringing video content into your marketing strategy might seem like a big undertaking, but you can (and probably should) start small. It doesn’t have to be the sole focus of your budget or even the biggest portion of it to be valuable.

Public relations and content marketing are aligning.

In the past, PR and content marketing would have been separate departments with separate budgets based on different goals. If you read some of the recent content marketing books, you'll see that brands are starting to realize that they share goals between the two, and they're making PR and marketing alignment a major objective.

Voice search is on the rise.

Hey, Siri: Is it true that typing a search query is becoming a thing of the past? As a matter of fact, more consumers are going off-screen and relying on voice-activated personal assistants to search for information, with some analysts estimating that as much as 50 percent of all searches will be conducted through voice by 2020. Your marketing messages need to be crafted with voice search in mind, which means targeting long-tail keywords and featured snippets.

Chatbots are emerging to help brands in all industries.

The great news about chatbots is they’re not directing users away from the social platforms they’re already on, such as Facebook Messenger. This enables marketers to meet their audience where they are already consuming content. In fact, brands in different spaces, from National Geographic to Whole Foods, are already implementing this. Plus, the barrier to entry here is low, so consider testing a chatbot with your own team. There are some free tools out there to help you get started, and you can obviously put some budget dollars behind other tools for different experiences. This simple investment can help you quickly engage your audience and nurture a more personalized relationship that keeps them coming back.

In Summary:

As the menu of marketing tactics becomes longer and more diverse, marketers are challenged to consider their budget and strategy from every angle. With these trends in mind, there’s no doubt 2018 will be one of the most interesting years for marketing yet. What new developments have affected your budget for 2018? Let me know your thoughts on the trends that are on your radar.