6 Reasons to Ignore the Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2017

January 17, 2017   /   by  Diane Callihan

You’re Wasting Your Time

I was just perusing the web for blog ideas and came across the annual horde of posts dedicated to the hottest marketing trends you must follow this year if you want to be a savvy and wildly successful marketer.

As I started reading these articles (as I have for probably every year for the past 20 years), I had one of those “Aha! moments” that Oprah used to talk about, which is this:

This is all a bunch of hooey.

No offense to the bloggers out there – I’ve probably written this story at some point in my career too. It’s practically obligatory content. (People LOVE lists! People LOVE trends!) But I think you’d be much happier and just as successful if you take the time you spent reading these posts and go eat some Twizzlers instead.


1. Every year, they are almost identical. I challenge you to find one of these lists over the past 10 years that does not mention “Mobile” or “Video”. Are these really still trends? No. They’re not. The first iPhone came out 10 years ago, and YouTube’s been around since 2005.

2. Being on-trend has nothing to do with marketing success. Remember when Meerkat came out in 2015 and everyone was like OMG! Let’s livestream EVERYTHING! Well, it turns out that live streaming isn’t a good fit for every business, and Meerkat is now nothing more than an adorable member of the mongoose family.

3. Trends can distract you from the basics. I’m sure you’re going to read somewhere that you need to start working virtual reality into your marketing plans, or find a way to capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT). But do you want to know the number one tactic we’ve discovered for lead generation? Good old fashioned email.

4. Your customers may not be trendy. Sure, if you’re marketing to millennials or the tween crowd, a Snapchat campaign may be a viral sensation. But if your buyer persona is a conservative CEO in their 50s or 60s, he/she may find your efforts bewildering or gross. (That face that vomits rainbows is the worst!)

5. Buzz doesn’t always equal leads. Do you remember the Super Bowl commercial that showed cowboys wrangling and herding cats? It was hilarious. It came out in 2006 and I still remember it. Anyone remember who the ad was for? Anyone?

6. Trends focus on commonalities, not what sets you apart. The “All the cool kids are doing it” excuse didn’t work for you as a teenager, and it won’t work for your business. You need to plan a marketing strategy that supports the specific goals of your company, meets the specific needs of your customers and delivers proven results. Maybe that solution will be trendy, and maybe it won’t. Either way, what’s hot should have nothing to do with your decision. You only need to worry about what works.

Need some help? We can help you drive traffic, generate leads and increase sales by creating a strategy that’s customized to your business. Trends come and go. We’re interested in helping you achieve lasting success. Let’s Talk.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.