It’s Your Business: What’s trending in your world?

Joe Smith column

Joe Smith

Special to The Record

In looking at what trends will be impacting business for 2018, an internet search shows that basically not much has changed in the past few years. Social media will still play a key role in getting the message out and new developments in technology – especially AI (artificial intelligence) – will profoundly change the way we communicate with customers.

It is pretty much understood that generically reaching out to consumers as a primary communications tactic has run its course. It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to get up close and personal with their current and potential customers.

Report after report makes it clear that businesses need to be in tune with today’s consumer trends, which are more focused on self-care, value and trustworthiness.

While many marketing strategies rely on rational engagement to sell products and services, there is a noticeable trend for consumers to react more positively to an emotional engagement. As a result, businesses that have the ability to engage customers with stories that empathize with their personal outlook towards life and the world around them will make far greater inroads than those who rely solely on price point.

On the other hand, with much emphasis being placed on “fake news,” Mintel Research suggests the best way to achieve greater loyalty is to communicate not only with transparency and honesty, but with proven facts as well … the operative word, of course, is ‘proven,’

Another growing trend in the world of marketing communications is the rise of video, especially on social media. For those using Facebook just take a look at the number of videos that come up on your newsfeed.

While value would seem to be a given in any transaction, a consumer trend reports that with growing pressure on middle-income earners value really does matter. One report notes that 36 per cent of Canadians say they worry about money a lot of the time and 52 per cent say they are more cautious about spending.

These trends just touch on the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to marketing and communications. Each type of business will have to be aware of the trends that will be affecting their specific product or service.

For example, one food and drink industry report highlights that transparency and traceability, personalization and even the trend for consumers to react more positively to food that appeals to multiple senses will become important marketing tactics.

In the world of retail, it will be important to understand what is driving online-only retailers to open up their own brick and mortar stores and how local small retailers can capitalize on this new turn of events.

The real winners, of course, will be those who are not just reacting to these trends, but are able to get ahead of the curve by embracing them as part of their overall marketing and communications strategy.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at joesmith@shaw.ca

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