The Top Five Marketing Trends That Will Define 2017

By Erin Sullivan, Responsory Marketing Associate

The marketing world has come a long way since our agency’s inception 17 years ago. When Grant Johnson, president and CEO of Responsory (formerly Johnson Direct), founded the company, email was the hot new trend for direct marketing. Website design was static and there was no such thing as smartphones. Marketers presented ideas to clients using large storyboards rather than iPads and laptops. And SEO and social media didn’t exist. (We know – hard to believe!)

Today, the industry continues to evolve at lightning speed, and marketers must learn to keep up. In 2016, we saw brands start to use social media as a channel rather than a strategy, with omnichannel campaigns that allowed customers to order pizza via Twitter and apps that transported users into augmented reality. But now it’s time to look ahead to the top marketing trends of 2017.

Here are the five marketing trends that need to be on your radar now:

1. Increased Focus on Customer Experience

Increased focus on customer experience

Customer’s attention spans are continuously shrinking, and marketers need to find new and engaging ways to reach them. To make your brand stand out, it’s important to create a memorable customer experience. Chatbots, for example, are a great way to improve interaction with customers and may also lead to an increase in completed purchases. Businesses should spend time getting to know and understand their customers, and should realize that this process goes beyond initial interactions.


2. Personalized Everything

Personalize everything

2016 was the year of mass customization. Consumers could get their names printed on a Coca-Cola can, shoes, just about anything. In 2017, this trend will transition to personalization and needs that go beyond your company’s website. Brands should look to personalize social media efforts, email campaigns and in-person interactions. It’s important to know what your customers want and need. Marketers must think outside the box to create a personalized experience for every single customer.


3. Switch to Direct Marketing

Switch to Direct Marketing

Switching from Brand Marketing to Direct Marketing can help generate tangible results and build your bottom line. Direct mail will continue to be on the rise in 2017, despite popular belief that it’s becoming outdated. Research shows that physical mail produces higher response rates than email, and when executed as part of a multichannel effort, can help start conversations with hard to reach prospects.


4. Right-Time Marketing (vs. Real-Time Marketing)

Right time marketing

Real-time marketing has been hot the past few years with brands looking to capitalize on live events like Oreo’s “Dunking in the Dark” campaign during the 2013 Super Bowl. This year we will see a transition away from this trend and towards right-time marketing, which focuses on conveying the right message to the right people at the right time and place. Planning is key. Instead of sharing valuable content right away, marketers should aim to deliver messages at a time that will be most meaningful to the customer.


5. Content is Still King (but it’s changing)

Content is king

Yes, content is still king, but content type is evolving. Brands should focus on incorporating more visuals and video in the upcoming year to avoid being passed up and left behind by customers. Don’t be afraid to experiment with live-streaming video and visual storytelling. These tools can be used to enhance the overall customer experience, and help create memorable messages.


As we look ahead to 2017, one thing is clear – it’s an exciting time to be a marketer.  Be prepared to see these top trends take shape over the coming year, and most importantly, make sure to leave room for the unexpected and unpredictable, too. And if you need a fresh take on your 2017 marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. Contact Responsory to get started today.