I subscribe to more email lists than I care to think about. Part of the reason is I like to see what people are offering and what the trends are going to be. I have noticed more and more that the emphasis is engagement. This makes sense because first you have to get someone’s attention (with a cool video or neat thing to do) to start a relationship. The key word in that last sentence wasn’t “attention” (although that is important,) it was “relationship”.
Relationships are hard to start and harder to maintain. That is why so many of us prefer to try to get someone to buy something now. The problem is that there are so many things vying for people’s attention, and the percentage of immediate buyers for our particular product or service is very small, that it is really an uphill battle.
On top of this is the changing patterns of what works and what doesn’t. Things that worked today won’t work tomorrow, and things that stopped working years ago start coming back.
To that end, check out this article from Inc. Magazine. While they are described as trends in Internet Marketing, several of them apply directly to most any kind of marketing. You’ll see that the emphasis is on engagement and relationship building. Ads, which were never great, but had some usefulness to smaller businesses are going to get harder to use for engagement. Content will need to be richer and more useful.
None of this is bad news. It is simply the way things go. The one New Years resolution you should have is to plan to bring your prospects and customers closer to you, not through ad bombardment, but through relationship building. Make them feel you understand their problem. You don’t need to be their best friend, just a trusted advisor.