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By Nick Roi, MD, Perivan Technology.

At the start of 2016, as happens annually, industry expert published their predictions for the year’s technology and marketing industry trends. Now, close to a year later, it’s time to review those trends and look forward to find out what is expected of 2017.

In 2016 Smart Insights made predictions based on its own industry survey of 1,500 marketers. Each participant gave their views on the digital marketing trends that would have the greatest impact in the coming year; rising to the top was Content Marketing, Marketing Automation and Big Data. Now a year later, we evaluate these predictions and what impact they’ve actually had on business.

As predicted, Content Marketing has been a key focus for general marketers in 2016. However regulatory compliance has made it a daunting prospect for those in financial firms. In 2017 we expect this to change.Marketers will start to collaborate better with compliance teams to understand constraints and learn what they can and cannot say. From this they will have a strong foundation on which to build content.

In 2016 Marketing Automation demonstrated its benefit, not just for marketing teams, but for compliance, sales and regulated businesses as a whole. Firms successfully experimented with business process technologies to automate workflows and simplify project management. This has helped bring the disparate teams in line, minimising the risk of compliance errors from distributed content.

An increase in content output in 2016 has resulted in a growth in opportunities for data collection. Analysing that big data has given teams the opportunity plan stronger, strategic marketing activities, by assisting in developing an ongoing and positive data circle, helping regulated firms embrace a digital approach.

Though Smart Insights’2016 predicted trends have been understandably slower on the uptake in regulated industries, we see them taking a stronger hold in 2017. Yet while these trends continue to develop, there will also be a number of new trends in 2017 to keep an eye on.

The digital guru, Mark Schaefer, recently published his thoughts on these, calling them ‘four marketing mega trends nobody’s talking about’. They are: content marketing re-constructed the rise of private networks, the influence crunch and content in the cloud.

Rise of the private networks

Schaefer argues that, as people grow tired of their personal information being made public, in 2017 we will see an emigration from open networks like Facebook and LinkedIn towards private ones including WhatsApp and Snapchat.

This is a trend we don’t envision happening beyond 2017 – it certainly won’t happen within regulated industries yet. Social media is still being explored by financial service companies and it is important for these markets to mature their use of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook before embracing further platforms.

Content marketing re-constructed

According to Schaefer a saturation in online content will force new approaches to marketing in 2017. Calling this ‘Content Shock’ hear gues firms need to be smarter in terms of published content in order to defend against competitor marketing. What the market truly needs is an ROI calculation of true content value.

In regulated firms marketers will need to adapt their approach with their audience firmly in mind. Persona models should be followed faithfully; now more than ever it’s going to be about quality over quantity.

The influence crunch                                                                                         

As influencer marketing grows, marketers in some sectors will experience an‘influence crunch’. Greater competition for a limited pool of influencers will bring challenges such as an increase in the cost for getting influential people involved with the brand.

Luckily for financial marketers, influencer marketing isn’t yet in this sector as other; firms will experience less rivalry than those in other areas – for now at least!

Content in the cloud

Schaefer’s last trend for 2017 is about content in the cloud.He cites a mantra that advises never build your house on rented land’. In other words, keep the most important aspects of your content in-site. As he points out, it’s a code we can’t keep much longer.

Audiences want maximum return for minimal input these days. This attitude stretches as far as stopping audiences from moving between platforms to gain information. If they start on LinkedIn, they’ll be disinclined to leave the page and visit your company ‘about us’ page.

This particular trend is also driven by the results of the content shock described earlier. With an overload of content scattered across the web, having everything available on one platform can cut out the competition. However, it would also cause brands to lose the ability to drive traffic to their site for SEO purposes.

Driving traffic to a website is a primary reason for most digital activity. Without this, do the objectives and measures of digital activity fundamentally change? There isn’t yet a clear answer, which indicates that this trend may be one the marketers, across the board, are not yet ready for.

All things considered, we can expect a lot of industry movement in 2017. Marketing developments predicted for 2016 have not fully emerged in regulated markets, yet there are already indications of successor trends emerging. That’s a whole lot of industry movement to learn, adapt to and keep up with. Marketers may be about to face a challenging year but change is inevitable in all sectors. With the right strategy in place, the outcome will open the door for more creativity and innovation in every market.