Blog Post

6 Marketing Trends To Watch For, and Act On, in 2017

2017 Digital Marketing Trends

Ever since 2006, when HubSpot began providing some focus on the concept of inbound marketing, businesses have been on a seemingly endless quest for the next big thing in content creation and distribution. The smart ones look for upcoming trends. The successful ones look for ways to capitalize on those trends. Here are 6 marketing trends to watch for in 2017, and some thoughts on how to make them part of your own marketing strategy.

1. Mobile Use Will Continue To Expand

This is really no big surprise, as evidenced by the fact that mobile internet usage (51.3%) worldwide surpassed desktop usage (48.7%) for the first time last year, according to StatCounter. What is currently a small gap will do nothing but get larger in 2017 and beyond as more mobile apps and other capabilities are developed.

The immediate challenge, for those who haven’t already done so, is to deliver content in a mobile-friendly format. This goes beyond just having a mobile-friendly website to other content like coupon images, videos, survey forms, subscription opt-ins, and social media. What content do you currently produce that could be more effective if published in a mobile-friendly format?

2. Email Content Still Rules

In spite of what many people think, email is far from dead. In fact, it’s as healthy as ever. The email newsletter (formerly known as “ezine”) is still one of the most effective ways to communicate your message to customers and prospects. Of course, the successful email newsletter of yesteryear, which contained primarily textual content, has been replaced by a more vibrant piece containing color imagery and/or video. In today’s email newsletter, text plays more of a supplemental role.

In addition to more eye-appealing content, today’s email newsletter is more personalized than the old “Dear {first_name}” greeting that your auto-responder filled in. With email list segmentation, you can tailor your marketing campaigns based on a variety of customer preferences and behaviors from buying frequency to call-to-action clicks.

Review your current email newsletter program, and look for ways to make the content more appealing; both in terms of its look and feel, and targeting. If you don’t currently have an email newsletter, make it a priority to create one that meets current email marketing standards.

3. Live Streaming

One surefire way to identify growing trends is to follow the money. With Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube all investing significant sums to improve their own live stream platforms, it’s a no-brainer that this is a strong trend. While 2016 was a breakout year for live streaming, 2017 promises to be even better as marketers discover new ways to use live streaming in their overall marketing strategy.

In addition to the live stream event itself, which is a great way to attract attention and engage people, you can continue using the video as a marketing tool for years to come. A great example of a live stream creating a lot of immediate and residual engagement is Buzzfeed’s Watermelon Explosion video, which had over 807,000 live viewers at the peak of its 45-minute run time, over 1.3 million views on Facebook (as of November 11, 2016), and more than 870,000 residual views on YouTube (as of February 22, 2017).

If Buzzfeed can create that kind of success with a 45-minute exploding watermelon video, what can you do with live streaming to market your products and services. Here’s a hint: it doesn’t necessarily have to be a product-centric video.

4. Niche Marketing Will Grow

In years past, marketers targeted a broad range of people with their content – the more people, the better. The idea was, if you blast content at a large group of people, a certain percentage of them will eventually become customers. This practice was based on the law of large numbers.

With the growing use of social media, it’s becoming easier to cater to more specific groups of people based on the websites they visit, their social media usage, and other factors. With such detailed information available, it makes sense for marketers to focus on specific niches.

To niche market effectively, you should start by understanding your prospect and customer base better than you have in the past. The best way to do this is to create buyer personas. HubSpot defines the buyer persona as:

“…a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

When you understand your ideal prospects and customers better, you’ll be better able to craft content that speaks to them and their needs.

5. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is another phenomenon that began to takeoff in 2016. As more people gain access to virtual reality, marketers will be forced to get on board and start producing virtual reality content. To get a feel for the impact of virtual reality on the viewer, you need only take another look at Samsung’s 2016 Christmas commercial.

The challenge for you, regardless of what kind of business you’re in, is to come up with ways you can use virtual reality to attract and engage prospects and customers. Imagine, for example, how much more impactful Buzzfeed’s Exploding Watermelon video would be if the viewer could watch it through the eyes of one of the people putting rubber bands around the watermelon.

6. Blasts from the Past

Our final trend is actually the rebirth of a popular content distribution tool from the twentieth century – the print magazine. One of the first apparent benefits of the internet was the ability to consume print media on a computer monitor, and later, a mobile device. Well, for some, that trend seems to have gone full-circle; and smart marketers are taking advantage of the fact that some consumers are harkening back to the days when they consumed print content.

But it’s more than just the harkening back of Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials. Centennials are almost completely unfamiliar with print media because they literally grew up with digital media. So, print magazines like AirBnB and allrecipies, are seen by them as new and unique.

What can your company do to take advantage of this trend back toward print media? Here’s a hint: think beyond magazines and newsprint. Is there content that you can produce in printed form (ie. special reports, case studies, testimonials, etc.) Of course, you should continue distributing this content online too.


As you work to take advantage of these trends, remember that providing quality content is always key. Regardless of how you deliver it, if your content is sub-par or irrelevant, it won’t do you any good. To learn more about content marketing in 2017 and beyond, contact us. Meanwhile, we invite you to follow our blog for more great marketing content.