A Pragmatic Look at Marketing Trends


This post is part of a new series on industry conversations worthy of attention.

Marketing trends, or how we would call fads if they were with us for the long haul. It's hard to shift through search results and be impressed these days. Or find something pragmatic to do after reading/listening to some of those lists.

    Rand Fishkin has collected a list of top search results# for trends that are hardly new, hardly actionable, and hardly surprising, I might add.

    AI, voice search, chatbots, beacons, virtual and/or augmented reality, blockchain, native ads, video, ephemeral content, micro-influencers, mobile-first indexing, and mobile payments don't deserve to be marketing trends, according to Rand.

    They may seem actionable. But how could video or turning to the human side of marketing be considered things marketers can control or tactics that have proven to be effective? They're too generic, for starters.

    Any list should include criteria for making the list—why is this thing a thing? How is having this thing going to change our decisions about what to do? Is this thing a new development?

    Rand says:

Preparing for a recession by having excellent analytics and controls on cost of customer acquisition vs. lifetime value, on the other hand, strikes me as immensely actionable and wise.

Knowing which channels you're gonna cut, which you're gonna double-down on, where you can find more affordable growth vs. more experimental, etc.

Same goes for voice answers—determining a strategy to either get value from featured snippets in Google (which are what they use as the spoken voice answers for now), or prioritizing different keywords so you don't have to compete against featured snippets/voice answers.

    Jon Burg says we should not confuse technology (beacons), channels and behavior. He has a valid point. Many of the trends that circulate every year don't mix and match at least two of them, best if all.

    Hopefully, the interesting part of why this matters to you makes it to clients and customers. If you run a small business, you're not interested in the same things enterprise brands focus on.

    It's worth mentioning that something doesn't need to be a new trend to have impact on your business. Sometimes quite the opposite happens—missing the fundamentals can be the thing that gets you.

P.S. your search results will vary based on your browsing history, browser configuration, and region of the world. In fact, we have a fragmented view of the world at any one time.



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