As we gently delve deeper into 2017, it becomes alarmingly apparent the holidays are over and its time to put the nose to the grindstone once again. Now sets in the cold reality of January for businesses after a prosperous Christmas. It’s time to work again. Looking ahead this year will be one that will reward the companies which don’t stand still. The marketing landscape is changing and changing rapidly.


Analyzing the battlefield before me has led me to identify some marketing trends set to dominate Ireland in 2017. They are as follows:


1. Blogging

It’s easy to underestimate the impact blogging has on marketing strategy. Many get caught up scrutinizing vanity metrics like the number of shares, likes, and viewers. Yes, the utopian ideal is that everyone will read your blogs. The harsh reality though is most people won’t. Time is limited. Some will read, others will skim but the majority will skip. That’s just life. However, it shouldn’t deter you from blogging.


Blogging amplify’s everything your business is about, establishing the business as a thought leader and authority in its field. Every blog demonstrates a knowledge and passion for the industry. They also have an irrefutable impact on SEO. Google spiders frequent your website on a regular basis gauging activity levels. Search engine ranking is boosted by an active blogging strategy. The more words the better. This ferments the website as a knowledge provider. Ideally, blogs finalizing between 750-1000 words in length satisfy both the search engine and the reader.


Blogging increases the chances of your website being found through long tail or short tail customer keyword searches also. E.g A person can find this blog if they type in “Marketing trends Ireland 2017”.


2. Mobile Marketing

Mostly, my hands are welded to my phone like Robin is soldered to Batman’s side (and not from the Jokers mischievous antics). Both are rarely parted. I take my phone everywhere with me. It is more than a phone. It’s a computer, social connector and hub of information. I browse the internet with my phone as well as read newspapers, magazines and generally do routines the computer handled years ago. This presents many opportunities for brands to reach my attention if they can craft the right message. But it’s also so much harder. We browse 10 times faster on a phone than on a computer.


Advertising in this space must be relevant and eye-catching if brands stand any hope. They need to add value to my life in order to hold my gaze. Geo-location is currently testing how retail department stores can deliver messages directly to people’s phones and direct traffic throughout the stores according to Ad age. In any event, there is a thin line to cross between providing added value and intruding on people’s personal space. Brands must thread carefully.


3. Search Engine Optimization

We observe it every year on blogs proselytizing next year’s apparent big trends. But SEO isn’t going away anytime soon. Interestingly, this year global mobile usage topped desktop for the first time ever. In Ireland, desktop retains popularity still but mobile is catching up fast (58% - 42%). This highlights the need for companies to optimize their website for mobile emulsifying fast loading and easily digestible content into one.  Failure risks losing viewers. You can check how your website compares by following this link.


As I mentioned earlier, mobile searches are increasing in popularity. This piles pressure on businesses to achieve satisfactory ranking on Google in order to attract viewers approaching 2017. Most people don’t search beyond the first results page. Speculation also exists that Google’s rank brain is monitoring traffic and bounce rate for websites. This is to ensure people are happy with their search results. Unhappy viewers and your website could lose ranking.


4. Visual Storytelling

People are drawn to pictures and 2017 will be the year when visual storytelling really takes off. Video marketing is already hugely popular. It provides a way for brands to ingratiate themselves with their fans. It is also a great method of product promotion and evangelization. Ultimately, Video does, however, take some time to consume and those that aren’t fans will tune off. This is where well designed and curated graphics, images, and photography will come in. Use of these can help brands appeal to the mass market.


As people earnestly search with their phones, they will want to be inundated with less information. When promoting products a picture tells a thousand words. Brands must visually communicate their story this year or risk it becoming ignored. Creativity is the secret sauce to grab attention and aid message consumption.


5. Influencer Marketing

We are becoming more careful when it comes to who we listen to. This is largely thanks to the stupefying amount of information heading our way. Influencer marketing is taking off at a frightening pace, especially with social media platforms like Instagram. Niche experts can make money by posting about their industry tickling their baying fans ears with news on the latest accessory. Many women have taken to the channel showing off fresh fashion staples supplied to them by well-known brands. Issues exist with some questioning if brands are merely buying fans (and influence).


Advertising is becoming less effective for large brands forcing them to be more creative. They are now ceding advertising control to these passionate brand advocates on social media and paying them handsomely for their troubles. Check out some Irish blogging success stories here.


Going forward

In Ireland, marketing budgets aren’t large which adds pressure to spend well. Going into 2017, all these trends will play an important part in shaping the future of marketing. Are you ready?