As brands look at their planning for 2017, it’s time to ask
which consumer trends are going to drive next year’s most
effective digital marketing strategies? There are three big
ideas that will drive digital marketing strategies in the
coming year. They have to do with the changing demands of
today’s digital consumer.
So what are these “big ideas?”:
• Health and fitness – Consumers are aware of
the negative impacts of an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle.
They’re defining health differently, not just as
the absence of sickness, but as positive choices they can make
that will help them live a healthier life. What’s more, they’re
seeing tech as part of the problem, but also as part of the
• Community – In a technology filled world,
there’s a generation of customers defined not by their age but
by their desire to make human connections with others in their
physical, digital and virtual communities.
• Convergence – Recent studies indicate that
adults in 2015 spent nearly double the amount of time
with mobile digital media that they did in 2010, for a total of
nearly 10 hours a day of screen time. They’re overwhelmed by
choices online and offline. At the same time, data and technology are converging and
enabling digital marketers to better understand customer
journeys and deliver on customer expectations for a cohesive
experience across mobile, online and offline channels.
Let’s look more closely at some of these big ideas and how to
use them in your digital marketing efforts.
Health and Fitness
Consumers’ adoption of mobile devices, apps and platforms might
seem at odds with trends toward healthier living and physical
activity, and desire for community. But after years of negative
attention to physical and health issues brought on by poor diet
and lack of exercise, consumers understand how their lifestyle
choices – including mobile and digital use – are affecting their health.
This understanding plays into the increasing popularity of
wearables. Wearables like the Fitbit or Apple Watch allow
consumers to track health information and movement; in
the case of Apple Watch, they can perform a number of other
functions as well, such as keeping in touch while on the go,
without the inconvenience of having to carry a phone.
Wearables provide data about users’ location and activities
throughout the day, and can even provide insight into their
state of mind. Digital marketers should look at how health,
fitness and emotional data can be used to help solve problems
or provide rewards for consumers. For instance, marketers could
deliver a coupon for a certain number of miles, increasing
sales while also supporting healthy living.
Building Community On and Off Line
Google recently studied consumers who are actively engaged as
consumers, technology adopters and brand advocates online.
According to Google, these “Gen C”
consumers are not defined by age but by their activities
online. They are not passive consumers, rather they are driven
by the urge to create,connect and build community. They’re two
to three times more likely to buy online than other consumers,
and up to nine times as likely to participate in online
communities as other consumers.
How can brands engage these consumers in 2017? Marketing hubs, online destinations where
consumers can find not just content but a sense of community,
are one strategy digital marketers can leverage to fulfill
consumers’ desire for community while telling brand stories and
meeting strategic goals.
Augmented reality games and apps may be another tool to engage
Gen C. The recent popularity of Pokemon Go demonstrated the
promise of augmented reality as a community building tool. Games that can be
played in the physical world and that invite interaction
between players or brands are ways digital marketers can use
augmented reality to develop community.
Everything Must Converge
Consumers have repeatedly demonstrated an appetite for the idea
of convergence, of being able to do more than one thing at a
time. That’s the reason mobile phones and devices are also
cameras. Consumers want technology to simplify their lives, not
make it more complicated, and they want experiences that work
with them across multiple platforms.
We can leverage this in our digital marketing efforts in 2017
by looking at how technology and data can create a better
ecosystem for understanding the customer and making their life
Big data and the Internet of things will
enable marketers gather and analyze more complete and better
information about their customers and how they use products and
technology, leading to insights about how to deliver better on
customer needs. Omnichannel marketing will continue to be
a key digital marketing strategy in 2017 to support the
customer’s desire to easily research, make decisions and take
action. Digital marketers should constantly be seeking ways to
better understand and support the customer as he moves across
Successful digital marketing in 2017 should understand what big
ideas are driving customers to visit their web or mobile site,
or ultimately buy their product. What is the larger purpose?
When marketers understand this purpose, they can employ the
rights strategies to support the customer journey.