2018 Marketing Trends

2018 is here and the digital realm continues to evolve prompting new marketing trends, so what will be big in 2018? Below are a few of the marketing trends we know will continue to be huge this year.

  1. Transparency and Accountability for corporations: Just like every other realm of life, accountability is HUGE. People want others to be held accountable for their mistakes, and the same is expected for businesses. Brands that are green, assist the community, and treat their employees well are viewed much more favorably. This is the year for authentic brands and for brands to SHOW consumers behind the scenes.
  2. Non-visual content: People can now ask Siri, Alexa, and Google what the weather is, to order more paper towels, and text a friend, making consumers more comfortable with a non-visual experience. Podcasts are also gaining in popularities, so brands need to capitalize on these opportunities
  3. Individual communication: A simple FAQ page is no longer sufficient. Consumers demand easy, personalized answers, which is why chat bots are huge right now for any business that needs customer support or sales information.
  4. Influencer content: Bloggers were all the rage in 2017, and though this is still true, there is a slight change in brands strategy. Now, brands are honing in on individuals who have similar values, target audiences, and have established communities. It is easier and less expensive to gain traction with an established individual than build a community from scratch.
  5. Live video: Between Instagram, Facebook, and personal pages, live videos are taking off. It is a way for a stronger consumer connection and Facebook reported users comment 10x more during live videos, thus encouraging greater interaction. Now, these videos need to be relevant and well thought out, but they are more genuine and authentic than prepared videos, which relates to our first note.



Maximizing Your Marketing Strategy

If you are in retail, now is the time to be pushing your product(s). The holiday season is upon us and consumers are shopping, but with so many products out there, how do you make sure you’re seen? Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  1. Know Your Audience: Who is your targeted demographic? Make sure your marketing strategy is focused where these consumers are looking.
  2. Timing is Key: This is especially on social media that now has unique algorithms. It’s important to be relevant, consistent, frequent, and engaging.
  3. Be Relevant: Though this was mentioned before, it is extra important and deserves its own point. Be a part of the current conversation and know what is trending at the moment. This is the easiest way to engage with your audience.
  4. Be Authentic: Establish a brand image and stick with it. Let people know what to expect when you are posting and be a subject matter expert.
  5. Have Fun: Marketing is supposed to peak people’s interest, which can be noticed through true enjoyment. If you love your product, you can demonstrate it in fun and creative new ways and your consumers will notice your genuine excitement.

Holiday Marketing

The holidays can be a profitable time, but you have to make sure your product is in front of the consumer. There are a few steps to creating an effective holiday marketing strategy, and if you put forth the work, you could see great reward! Here are our recommended steps:

  1. Make a holiday calendar. Develop a schedule and maximize the time you have. Also, keep note of the big shopping days: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and of course, all the days leading up to Christmas.
  2. Take note of the trends for this year and capitalize on them. Do you sell what everyone is talking about, or can you contribute to the conversation in some manner?
  3. Be a holiday shopping resource and make holiday gift guides! You consumers will appreciate it.
  4. Make a holiday event or a sale. It’s an expensive time of the year, so everyone loves to think they’re getting a deal!
  5. Be true to your brand, but this is also a great time to show your human side. Show your employees, family or other meaningful messages.

What is SEO?

SEO is a buzzword recently, but what is it and why do you need? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is ultimately the process of enhancing your website so it populates and performs well in organic searches. SEO is what allows a plumber’s website to be placed in front of potential customers in need of plumbing services instead of other local plumbers. It is the best way to ensure you are connecting with your targeted audience.

First, you need to determine your demographic, and then figure out how they might search for you and what keywords they are using to search for you. Next, these words need to be implemented into your website. Search engines continue to develop their algorithm making it necessary to remain current. You have to be cognizant of what should go in your meta data, review your Google Analytics, and evolve as search engines do. It can be a lot to think about, but that’s what advertising agencies are for and the work definitely pays off!

Discover Your Brands Voice

Whether it’s social media, blog posts, or email newsletters, it is important to establish your brands voice. This should be reflective of what the company does and how you want it perceived. For example, a lawyer should be approachable, but also serious. This is a person you should trust.

A consistent voice gives the perception of being a reliable brand, one consumers can trust. This will also build brand loyalty if consumers believe they can expect the same level of service and quality every time. Nordstrom has perfected this with their customer service focus. Consumers know what to expect when purchasing from Nordstrom. Similarly, a consistent voice can build a following. Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign attracts go-getters who appreciate and relate to Nike’s strong, empowering message and persona.

Developing a voice can set you apart from your competitors and let consumers know why they should choose your brand. Be relatable and consistent.

Social Media Best Practices

Social media has never been more important, but merely having an account does not mean you will be successful. Follow these best practices as a basis to make sure your social media platforms curate meaningful connections:

  1. Consistency: No, not all of your pictures have to use the same filter (though people do enjoy an aesthetically pleasing flow on Instagram), but what really matters is remaining true to your brand’s voice. Define who your brand is and what it stands for to ensure a consistent appearance that consumers can trust. Signature hashtags are also a great way to remain consistent and find your consumers, which comes into play with #4!
  2. Research: Understand who your consumers are so you can remain current. Word choice and images are key as groups vary on what speaks to them. If you know your audience, play to their needs.
  3. Know Your Competitors: See what your competitors are doing- what works for them and what doesn’t. Don’t copy them, though, as that will undermine the trust of your brand, but it could encourage new ideas.
  4. Engage & Interact: Consumers love brands who will engage and respond to them. Make your consumers/audience feel involved and special. Little things like replying to a post or answering a comment go a long way, but don’t feel like you have to get to everyone if you’re a large brand! Do your best.
  5. Select Your Platforms: Not every brand necessarily needs to be on every social media platform. Once you know your voice and audience, determine WHERE you can best reach those people with your message. Also, be creative! If pictures of your product aren’t the most interesting, maybe consumers using your product will be more so. Williams-Sonoma doesn’t just post pictures of baking tools, but instead posts recipes and food that uses their products.

Google AdWords Campaign Types

Google AdWords has so many features and is constantly changing, so it can be a little difficult to understand. This month, we’re breaking down the different types of campaigns so you can understand which functions of AdWords best suites your business needs.

  • Search Network Only: Ads in this campaign appear in Google search results and other Google sites when people search for terms that are relevant to your ad’s selected keywords, i.e. “BMW X5” will show ads for car dealerships that sell BMWs.
  • Display Network Only: Display Network only campaigns are designed to show ads on websites and apps when your keywords are related to the sites’ content, i.e. if your search term is “dog training” and the website features information on dogs and the ways to train them. Basic location targeting and remarking campaigns are some of the features.
  • Search Network with Display Select: The Search Network with Display Select campaign type helps you reach people across Google search and related websites. It combines the aforementioned campaign types.
  • Shopping: Shopping campaigns allow retailers to promote their inventory and increase traffic to their website or local store.
  • Video: Video campaigns let you show video ads during streaming content on YouTube and across the Google Display Network.
  • Universal App: These campaigns allow you to promote your Android or iOS apps on Google Search, Play, YouTube, and Display Network.

Web Design Trends Beginning of 2017

We’re officially halfway through 2017 and you might have noticed a few web design changes on your favorite sites. Some design elements are more subtle, while others are bolder. Design is constantly evolving, meeting the needs of readers/consumers, so make sure you remain current and user friendly. Here are the 2017 trends we’ve noticed thus far:


  1. Content at the heart of design: This should be obvious, but there is a greater trend towards designing for the user- understanding the demographics, trends while on the site, etc- an incorporating this knowledge into the design flow.
  2. Bold type: This doesn’t necessarily mean bold typeface, but rather, a short description or statement that is awarded its own area to make a bold statement.
  3. Richer backgrounds and patterns: Think bright colors, geometric patterns, and moodier aesthetics.  These colors and designs make a statement on their own and are a contrast to the simple design previously dominating the landscape.
  4. Contrasting typefaces: Typefaces don’t need to have a flow, instead, they need to have a stark contrast. Again, this makes a statement just by being different.
  5. Animation: Visual tools hone in users and make the design more engaging. Watch for new tools to make animation more prominent, streamlined, and unique. This is not only visual, but also stimulating and educational.






Social Platforms for Your Business

Social media is huge right now, a single post can make or break a company, but how do you decide which platforms are right for your business? We have a few questions to ask your self below to make sure you’re advertising where you need to.


  1. Instagram: Do I have a visual element to my business? Is our product something consumers will be interested in seeing pictures of? If you answered yes to these then you DEFINITELY need to be on Instagram. Instagram is all about the pictures and short captions. Any company that has a visually appealing product, like a bakery, can succeed on Instagram. Products like ATMs that are not as visually appealing do not need Instagram.
  2. Twitter: Do you have events? Do you have something to say? One of the best aspects of Twitter is following events and watching them transpire, like the Frye Festival or Super Bowl. Live Tweeting is a common phenomenon where people tweet as an event unfolds. If you can get in on these sort of conversations, you’re golden. Otherwise, Twitter is a great place for short thoughts like quotes that align with your business.
  3. Facebook: Do I have something to say? I bet most people said yes to this simple question and that’s because Facebook is really the catch-all of social media platforms. It’s been around the longest, so it has a larger demographic and can be utilized in multiple ways. Businesses can post pictures, videos, long statements, menus and basic business information. Really, all businesses should be on Facebook.
  4. Pinterest: Is my product visually appealing? Is my product used in crafts, DIY products, or recipes? If yes, then definitely! Pinterest is sort of like Instagram, except more where people go to be inspired, whether that is with a home improvement project, a new recipe, event planning, or styling new outfits. Anything in this realm can be very successful on Pinterest, but do not, it is used far more frequently by females than males.

SXSW 2017 Free Events

SXSW is officially upon us, and if you find yourself badgeless this season, don’t worry- there are tons of free events. Merely being in the presence of all the innovation, food, artists, and companies downtown makes this event exciting and invigorating, but there are more ways to partake.


March 15-18: Waterloo Records Day Parties (Band parties in the parking lot)

March 15-18: South by San Jose (Live music and local vendors)

March 16: Bloody Mary Morning presented by KLRU and ACL (Free tacos, drinks and music)

March 11-12: Job Market (Business skills for musicians)

March 11, 13 and 14: Screenings Outside at the Long Center

March 16-18: Concerts at the Outdoor Stage at Auditorium Shores