Vox Pop: Bringing back the renaissance marketing trends in 2017 (Part 1)

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Bringing it all back: the marketing renaissance trends we will see in 2017

From top left to right: Movidiam, Zazzle Media, Return on Digital, JJ Marketing, iCrossing. From bottom left to right: Salamandra, Rooster Punk, Strawberry, Lab, AgencyUK

Marketing 'renaissance' trends are back. Email, direct mail, podcasts; the hark back to arguably simpler times communicating with audiences has been noted over the past year or so. For example, the podcast renaissance has been around for a while with hit series like This American Life and Serial, and we expect brands to continue whispering in the ears of potential consumers for the rest of 2017. The Drum Network asked its members, what other renaissance marketing techniques do you think we will be hit with this year? Or do you believe it will be a case of forward thinking AI and biometrics galore?

Alex Vero, co-founder, Movidiam

2017 is already the year that silent video will make a full return. According to a variety of publishers, 85% of all video on Facebook is played on mute, an important consideration for creators, agencies, brands and publishers.

Email is the new IP. This is not so new, since 2015, the email inbox has become an important and valuable battleground. Perhaps due to the relief of spending more time on platforms like Slack, we are happy to receive and show our email inbox some love again. Email is back with a vengeance, and this time it's driven by analytics and insight.

The brand website or brand hub is back. Social channels have over promised for the past five years. Brands are starting to realise they have 'over-invested' according to WPP's Martin Sorrell. In 2017 we will see a return to brand owned platforms where content, of course video and digital content, will serve engaged audiences the brand can control.

Simon Penson, founder, Zazzle Media

For me 2017 is very much about moving away from an adtech led approach and towards a much more rounded marcomms strategy; one that blends all channels seamlessly into a wider marketing plan and moves the conversation away from tech and back to audience. Clearly content plays a huge part of that and we are now working with brands to place content strategy at the very heart of their brand. We call this ‘brand as publisher’ and its very much a ‘renaissance’, turning brands into the leading publisher in their space and allowing them to own the audience and then monetise with their own products and services.

I would then also add video that list. Internet connectivity is pushing the format back to the front and centre again and the rise of social video consumption and on demand TV will make it a critical part of that central content strategy.

Guy Levine, chief marketing officer, Return on Digital

The renaissance marketing strategy making a comeback in 2017 is something that should never had disappeared; an obsession with the customer. In the good old days of direct mail, every element of the mailing was focused on the hopes, fears and dreams of the potential customer to ensure they opened and read the piece. There was no compromise based on ranking for search, or percentage of image which includes words, just a focus on interacting with the conversation already going on in the prospects head. For 2017, AI should help with this true personalisation, but as marketers we need to get back to the old-fashioned principle of marketing to people and not visitor or session numbers. To not think about changing a button colour, but to think about why they are not clicking the button. In the attention economy, whoever understands their prospects the most will win.

Paula Cunningham, client development director, JJ

Renaissance trends in marketing may be having a moment but let’s not forget that it’s not purely an old trend resurfacing, these are techniques that worked in the past and are being revived in a digital space. Podcasts are back and thriving at a time where the average commuter spends nearly an hour travelling to work and mobile devices make podcasts increasingly accessible.

Countless other trends are likely to resurface as digital breathes new life into them. Direct mail is already experiencing a revival with greater tracking capabilities, greater cut through in a B2B environment and new, immersive technology taking the traditional direct mail piece and turning it into something that really grabs the recipient’s attention. Developments such as augmented reality and conductive ink are bringing the tangible and the digital closer together and we expect to see some truly innovative concepts come out of this renaissance trend this year.

Alistair Dent, chief media officer, Icrossing

You know what’s going to be big in 2017? Town criers. Or the internet version, at least. Until recently each person’s news came from one or two trusted sources: a newspaper or one preferred channel’s TV news, typically. With the advent of the web that same behaviour moved online, but social media changed our consumption to use a single platform with a variety of sources involved. Brands have tried several times to create a curated newsfeed tailored to an individual, but they’ve either got the weighting wrong (e.g. summly defaulting to the most popular news) or suffer from a filter bubble, with algorithms showing us what we’ll like, not what we should read.

In 2017 we’ll see a resurgence of news being curated by individuals, not brands. Social sources give us the broadcast platform, and we’ll see trusted influencers providing our news selection, not companies funded by advertisers.

Emma de Mattos, design and new business, Salamandra

Only in recent years have marketers fully appreciated the potential of video content marketing. 2016 saw a considerable surge in its popularity, but it is in 2017 that video use is set to expand exponentially in the digital marketing industry. Video’s appeal might be attributed to its ability to hold our attention in increasingly indolent consumer times, but also, as I like to think, because of growing need for visual story telling in our data driven worlds.

What better way to communicate complex, narrative filled video content than through animation? So, could 2017 be video, and specifically animation’s renaissance for brands? Yes, most definitely.

Russell Garn, creative director, Rooster Punk

Making a comeback soon – the long copy ad. As we’ve recently seen, folk are rebelling against so-called experts and their opinions. So, while most readers are used to skipping around a digital landscape curating their own #bite-sized @content, the good old-fashioned long copy ad will suddenly look new and shiny. ‘Wots this?’ they will tweet (no doubt with a quizzical emoji), after being faced with all the information they need to make an informed decision. And of course, it will unfold through a brilliantly written narrative that compels them to read on to a table turning conclusion; they are now the #experts. All we need is a revival of good writers.

Jonathan Leafe, managing director, Strawberry

We’re heading back to the glory days of advertising where the creative and message was the most important thing. No matter what the data said. As Winston Churchill once said ‘beware’. Some individuals use statistics as a drunk man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than illumination.” Less analysis more creative in 2017. That’s my renaissance prediction.

Justin Thorne, head of performance marketing, Lab

In this world of algorithms and marketing platforms, it’s easy to forget that at the customer-end of all this fantastic technology, is a human operating system. Good old fashioned personas and communications strategy are due a renaissance, so don’t count out your Gen X digital immigrants from high performance digital teams.

Sammy Mansourpour, managing director, AgencyUK

Marketers have been fixated on the merits of targeting and segmentation offered by digital for a while now. With platforms like Facebook and programmatic ad buying allowing marketers to target specifically based on interests and behaviours, the natural assumption was that this would boost sales. After all, greater personalisation increases the likelihood of engagement, right?

2016 saw the first cracks in this mindset appear. Back in August P&G announced it was scaling back its highly targeted marketing in favour of a broader approach, after discovering segmentation often didn't lead to the expected sales boost.

When heavyweights like P&G adapt their strategy people sit up and take notice. There's no doubt that personalisation will remain an important feature of digital marketing but 2017 could see a refocus on great creative storytelling that appeals to a broad audience, as brands realise there's more to marketing than segmentation.

Look out for Part 2 soon...

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Naomi Taylor

Naomi Taylor is editorial account manager at The Drum Network, covering members' news, insights and publications.

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