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Lucas HamonNov 9, 2016 9:35:48 PM5 min read

Digital Marketing Trends for 2017: #INBOUND16 Key Take-Aways

It's all going to change, but nothing is changing.

It's almost midnight on Wednesday, the end of the first full day at Inbound 2016. It's my first time here, and after a sleepless post-election night, I spent a full day soaking in knowledge from some of the greatest minds in digital marketing.

For me, the day was filled with keynotes from industry leaders like Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan (co-founders of Hubspot - coiners of the term "inbound marketing"), sessions with colleagues from other inbound marketing agencies, as they share their stories of failures and triumphs, and a little bit of food truck food, beer, coffee, and water. Oh, and lots of what appear to be Ben Sherman shirts (back in my twenties I had a roommate who loved his Ben Sherman, and they're all pretty much exactly the same).

I've learned a lot, crammed quite a bit into my little brain, and I gotta say, I'm really excited about 2017.

Supply is up, but demand is flat, and this is not a good time to be a big business - but it's a GREAT time to be an SMB.

By the way, I am running on fumes, so please bare with me. I have to get this out of my brain, so I can get some sleep, and I'm sure there will be plenty of great typos to stress about tomorrow.

But yes, apparently supply is way up, but demand hasn't changed a lot... in the last 10 years anyhow, which is important, because this year actually marks Hubspot's 10 year anniversary.

And, apparently, only 298 of the Fortune 500 from 2006 are still in existence today.

What does all of this mean? For marketing purposes, this means that the SMBs are starting to take over, which is good news for everybody care about. And they're doing it with inbound marketing.

But things are changing... even in the world of inbound. The basic formula will continue working, sure, but we also need to adapt and update. Some of these things were confirmation of what I already knew, like Facebook. Others were real eye-openers, and completely changed the way I view certain marketing tactics.

Here are the places you need to be active and the things you need to be doing in 2017 according to the greatest minds in digital marketing:

1. Facebook

Brian Halligan had a lot to say about Facebook. A lot. We don't live in Google's world anymore. We live in Zuckerberg's world.

Apparently, Google gets upwards of 2.6 billion search queries every day. Facebook gets 2 billion.

Think about that. I remember getting into verbal fistacuffs over Facebook, because no matter how you dice it, YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE ON FACEBOOK.

2. Videos

There's nothing new about videos, but the way we consume them continues to evolve. We're actually experience the days of the silent movie! Something like 70% of all video clips shared in Instagram and Facebook are viewed without sound.

What can YOU produce for your website or for sharing on social media that can be consumed without sound?

People don't want to read anymore. Videos are in. Make more videos.

3. Sales Enablement

Apparently, traffic and leads and qualified leads aren't enough. You want sales too. Okay, well I guess that makes perfect sense. The problem, however, is that marketers often have a hard time thinking like sales, and in the world of inbound it is CRITICAL that they are aligned.

Hell, in any world where money is important to the success of a business it's important that they are aligned. That means we as inbound marketers can't get locked into delivering leads, but rather, be partners in your success, which means making sure you get the most out of your inbound leads.

4. Bots

There is no single greater digital marketing trend that excites me more than the artificial intelligence we are going to augment ourselves with in 2017 and beyond.

I know I've gone on record talking about how much I hate bots (more HERE). In fact, when Gary Vaynerchuk spoke on Tuesday, my favorite moment was when he said to STOP F***ING SPAMMING ME THROUGH LINKEDIN! I've been saying it for years.

What I'm talking about isn't something that sticks its ugly bot hand in your face pretending to be a person who knows you. What I'm talking about is artificial intelligence that augments the website experience making it super custom and much more immersive.

I actually heard this from two people today: Paul Roetzer from 20/20 PR Marketing and Dharmesh Shah, and the way it was explained to me that doesn't bring visions of Skynet destroying humankind was that it's not about replacing humans with bots, but rather, exponentially improving our capabilities by incorporating bots into the overall experience.

I think this is all we'll be talking about next year.

CONCLUSION:

I'm not sure if Ben Sherman shirts will be all the rage next year, and quite frankly, I'm not even really sure if those were Ben Sherman shirts. It's much later than when I started this post, so let me gather the last few functioning brain cells I have, and wrap it up.

People continue to change the way they consume. If you think about how far the internet has come in the last 20 years, it's absolutely mind-bending... from the days when there were less than 2,000 websites (1996) to today when we have over a BILLION.... and 90% of the content you see online was created in the last TWO years.

The digital marketing trends they shared aren't telling us that we're doing everything wrong, but they are suggesting that we spend more time understanding how to reach our consumers with experiences that are immersive and engaging. And we should never stop pushing the envelope, even if it means BOTS!!!

In fact, let's get some bots!

The end of the year is upon us. Do you need help planning for 2017? Schedule a free marketing, website, or sales enablement consultation today!

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.

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