Marketing Trends – Nothing but Hot Air?

Marketing Trends – Nothing but Hot Air?

Do an online search for any kind of marketing question for your small business and you will inevitably find something like this:

  • Why You Have to Use [insert latest social media platform] or Die
  • How [insert new gimmick] Makes Your Business Website Look Hipper Than Your Competition’s
  • X Ways [insert media type] Gets You More Clients Ever
  • How to [buzz word] Your Business With [buzz word]
  • The Anatomy of a Killer [insert marketing tactic]

You can insert pretty much everything that has been on the radar of most marketing blogs and platforms lately: Snapchat, periscope, carousels, pop-ups, video, growth hacking… there is more than enough making the rounds and keeping us busy.

(Hell, you will probably find similar things on this blog, although I try to make an effort to point out that your marketing should be as individual as your small business.)

Following the latest marketing craze, taking all these best practices to heart to be more successful – it’s not making our already busy lives any better. Many are simply switching off, but if you want your small business to develop further you have to find a way to pick and choose what’s worth considering and what is nothing but hot air.

We will probably always find ourselves on the marketing bandwagon from time to time and that’s not always a bad thing. But there is a time and place for it. So let’s have a look how we can try and cut through the noise to avoid the most dubious hypes and find a way to see if something is worth considering for your small business or just a distraction. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Best Practice

data statisticsThe ideal length of a Facebook post, the most popular content on Instagram, the best time to post on LinkedIn… There are lots of data-based best practice posts out there. And they’re not all bad. Especially if you’re trying something new, these case studies are as good a place to start as anything.

But keep in mind that your industry, business and audience are unique. And these stats might represent a different target group or country altogether. Or they might simply be so overgeneralised that they’re of no better use than a 7-day weather forecast in Scotland.

So use them as a guidance when starting a new marketing channel. But after you have collected enough data and experience yourself, start experimenting to find out what works best for your audience and business.

New Trends

best practiceSometimes it feels like the internet is full of early adopters: Think about periscope, snapchat, video, image carousels, infographics, one-page websites… Every new thing has them sign up immediately and hail it as the new kingmaker. And you certainly get a lot of handy insights from their ensuing blog posts.

Like most small business owners you are probably not keen on adding yet another marketing channel to your to do list. But if you’re itching to try it, make sure you have the time for it and most importantly: Make sure it is of value for your small business and target group.

Being a pioneer is not a bad thing and can get you a lot of traction. But not all trends work for your small business. Before you start, find out about the pros and cons and if it really benefits you and your customers.

Buzz Words

buzz wordsGrowth hacking, disrupting, big data, storytelling – every year a new set of buzz words and phrases have entered the world of marketing and follow you around the internet. New blogs praising them appear by the minute and self-proclaimed experts are highly sought after.

As much as buzz words were created to represent a new approach or set of ideas, there’s rarely a new concept behind it. A growth hacker turns out to be a marketer with a narrower focus on growth and storytelling has been around since, well, ever.

The problem with these fancy expressions is that using them sometimes becomes almost tribal and can alienate people. So always make sure you focus on speaking your audience’s language before using them.

Crowd Control

crowdGenerally, there is a lot of fluff around marketing blogs, platforms and discussion forums. Unfortunately some widely hailed events are full of them, too. But as much as we are tribal beings and quickly attune to trends and fashions, always keep in mind: You won’t stand out by following the crowd.

That doesn’t mean you have to invent the wheel over and over again. This is about finding your own voice and not be just another copycat producing hot air.

Don’t just follow every advice you’re given, pick and choose what works for you and make it your own. And always ask yourself: WWMCT – What Would My Customers Think?



If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
5 Truths about Small Business Marketing
Are You Getting Lost in Translation?
Is Your Marketing Annoying People?
Want to Stand Out with Your Small Business? Be Yourself!


Published byDenise Strohsahl

Denise Strohsahl is an Edinburgh-based marketing consultant, specialising in helping small, local businesses get more of their ideal clients.