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An Eye on the Top Digital Marketing Trends and Goals for 2017

digital marketingAs 2017 marches on, it’s good to stay updated on what to expect when it comes to current digital marketing trends. It just so happens that Econsultancy and Adobe recently got together—as they do every year—to ask over 14,000 marketing executives what they’re planning for 2017. Here’s what the study found out about their attitudes on content marketing, the customer experience, and more.

Digital Priorities for 2017

According to this study, marketers will be all about developing and nurturing relationships with their audience this year. About 29 percent say content marketing will be their top priority, while 28 percent say social media engagement will be their main focus. Targeting and personalization comes in third place here, with 25 percent of marketers saying they’ll work harder on this in 2017.

So, what’s on the bottom of this list of digital marketing trends and goals for the year? Predictive marketing, real-time marketing, and programmatic ad buying all scored the lowest on this survey. There’s always next year for these burgeoning digital marketing concepts!

How Marketing Budgets Will Change This Year

One of the most exciting findings of this study on digital marketing trends is that marketers who claim to want to focus more on content marketing, social media marketing, and personalization realize this means they’ll have to spend more money on these tactics. That’s actually a rare find these days, and it indicates that the marketers in this study are serious about their priorities this year.

In particular, 56 percent of respondents said they will increase their budget for social media marketing. About 55 percent said they will spend more on content marketing, and 51 percent plan to spend more on personalization.

Of course, the budgets for most areas of digital marketing will stay the same this year. About 63 percent said they’ll keep their affiliate marketing budget the same, and 59 percent will keep sales enablement spending the same as usual. About 55 percent will stick to the regular budget for paid search marketing (SEM and PPC).

Improving the Customer Experience

This study saw a clear focus on making the customer experience better this year. In fact, when asked what their brand’s main digital marketing opportunity is in 2017, 22 percent answered “optimizing the customer experience.”

Furthermore, 70 percent of the marketers in this study said that “optimizing the customer journey across multiple touchpoints” would be the most important part of their marketing strategy in the near future. This goes along with the increased focus on personalization and content marketing this year.

In fact, 16 percent said that creating great content for digital experiences is their best marketing opportunity this year. Coming in third place was data-driven marketing with a focus on the individual, which is the best opportunity of the year for 12 percent of survey respondents.

Surprisingly, very few marketers are excited about the possibility of using bots, as only 2 percent said using artificial intelligence/bots to drive marketing campaigns is their best opportunity in 2017. This is despite the fact that some studies show that many consumers are willing to try chatting with bots for customer service. Maybe this isn’t quite the year of the chatbot, but with all the marketing automation we already see, this concept is probably not going away any time soon. Give it a few more years and I bet we’ll start feeling more comfortable having a nice chat with a customer service-oriented bot!

You can download the whole report here. Then let us know what you think. Are you familiar with these top digital marketing trends and priorities for the year, or are there any you’re surprised are not on the list?