Should You Follow Digital Marketing Trends?

Posted by Indiana Lee

From tools like TikTok to techniques such as working with micro-influencers, digital marketing trendsetters are constantly reinventing the way marketers connect with their target audiences. But, is seeing an industry leader adopt a new digital marketing trend enough reason to implement it yourself?

Should You Follow Digital Marketing Trends?

Even the most expert digital marketers know the feeling of creating what they believe is a fool-proof strategy, only to have a new trend emerge and completely change the game. From tools like TikTok to techniques such as working with micro-influencers, digital marketing trendsetters are constantly reinventing the way marketers connect with their target audiences. But, is seeing an industry leader adopt a new digital marketing trend enough reason to implement it yourself?

While big companies generally move to embrace or, at least, respond to new trends, smaller businesses don’t always have the luxury (or marketing budget) to put every new trend into action. You must be intentional with your marketing resources, and utilise trend identification to decide which to put into action. It’s essential to develop a system for evaluating trends so that you can access criteria to see if you should dedicate your resources and follow them.

You likely already know that not every digital marketing trend is appropriate for every business. While it may seem safer to wait until a trend is tried and tested, doing so could cause you to miss out on the benefits of early trend adaptation. Examining recent digital marketing trends, such as video content, will help you understand the importance of staying up to date with emerging trends, or, better yet, staying one step ahead.

Why You Can’t Adopt Every Digital Marketing Trend

While big companies certainly have more capital to experiment with digital marketing trends, that doesn’t mean their budgets are bottomless. Deciding which trends to follow and invest your valuable time and money into is a critical part of financial planning for businesses of every size. Solopreneurs and small business owners must be even pickier with the trends they ultimately decide to follow. For example, while omni-channel marketing trends might seem like a good idea, your company might not have the resources to implement such a vast trend immediately.

As if limited resources aren't pressure enough, digital marketing trends can fade into obscurity quickly. Imagine having invested months of work and a significant portion of marketing budget to a Snapchat campaign only for the rollout to coincide with the debut of Instagram Stories. When it comes to new trends, don’t underestimate longevity.

Finally, not every digital marketing trend is right for every business. It’s less a matter of if you should follow any digital marketing trends and more so how to decide which trends to follow. Before you dive head first into a new trend, you must take the time to evaluate how the trend aligns with your buyer personas, brand, strategy and business goals so you can make an informed decision.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Following a Trend

With each new trend that emerges, you need to reflect on some key questions prior to jumping on the bandwagon. These questions paired with a growth mindset for flexible thinking will guide you in deciding whether or not following a new digital marketing trend is in your business’s best interest. 

First, is this trend relevant to my business and target audience? 

Consumers are complex, and the needs of your target audience are unique. Since you know your customers better than anyone else, use that understanding to predict how they might react to you implementing a certain trend. For example, if your buyer personas  don’t spend time on Instagram, it’s likely not worth your time to invest resources into creating content for Reels. Use your data and insights from reporting to help you judge the relevance of each trend and how it relates back to your buyer personas. 

Next, does my business have the resources to implement this trend? 

You need to take an honest look at whether or not your business has the capacity to pull off a new trend. While launching a YouTube channel to harness the power of video might sound like a good idea, it might be hard to realise if you don’t have anyone on your team capable of editing video. If you decide to outsource the video editing, you’ll need to crunch the numbers to see if contracting help is actually feasible. 

Finally, how will this trend affect my current standing? 

To date, all your marketing efforts have worked to solidify your brand reputation. Any new trends you decide to adopt should align with that. While innovation is important, you also shouldn’t try something so different from what your buyer personas have come to know you for that it confuses their idea of what your business is about. 

You must do your best to anticipate any negative setbacks and try to navigate them in advance. Similarly, the new trends you decide to follow should support your business goals and help to move the needle in the right direction. For example, if your goal is to raise brand awareness, offering discount codes to your email list might not be the most useful trend to adopt.

How to Approach Recent Digital Marketing Trends

To formulate your plan for how to approach new digital marketing trends, it’s helpful to evaluate recent trends. With any new trend you evaluate, keep in mind the possibility of embracing the “anti-trend” approach. When you go against the grain and commit your resources elsewhere, it could potentially be successful just because not going with the crowd sets your brand apart. 

One of the biggest trends in digital marketing is video. Because of its adaptability, video is relevant to nearly every business and target audience. From 15-second Instagram Reels to long-form YouTube content, you have a lot of choices for how to incorporate video into your digital marketing strategy in a way that is relevant to your business and target audience. When consumers were spending a lot of time at home during COVID-19, many brands adjusted their social media strategies in response to consumers spending more time online. One trend was an increase in live video and the opposite of that – the use of asynchronous video tools like Vidyard

Based on the resources at your disposal you can decide whether you create your video content in-house or outsource production. Perhaps the most important consideration is the potential video has to increase your authority and grow your relationship with your target audience. Given that 83% of marketers report that video gives them a worthwhile return on investment, it’s clear video won’t soon fade and you can safely follow this digital marketing trend.    

From how a trend is relevant to your target audience to estimating a trend’s longevity, there’s a lot to think about before deciding whether or not to invest your business’s valuable resources into following the latest digital marketing trends. In order to stay relevant, you must put a system in place to evaluate the potential of new trends. Not every trend is a good fit for every business, and by utilising your system, you can tweak new trends and techniques to work for your unique digital marketing strategy.

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