Entrepreneur and blogger Lior Levin (@liors) examines the best ways businesses and professionals can stay ahead of the latest digital (and traditional) marketing trends. Read more posts by Lior.
Marketing methods are constantly changing, and it’s no wonder that marketing professionals find themselves spending just as much, or even more, time trying to keep up with the trends as they do actually applying those trends to marketing campaigns.
With so much information coming in at rapid speeds, it’s essential for marketing pros to take a systematic and purpose-driven approach to keeping up with the trends. Otherwise, it will be easy to get stuck heads-down in the work, and neglect newer and possibly more efficient ways at bringing products and services to market.
On the other hand, trying to get a handle on all of the new trends can feel overwhelming.
Keeping up with the ever-changing developments in marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. So, here are five great ways to stay on top of marketing trends that anyone can do.
1. Join Online Q&A Boards
Online Q&A is a rising trend in information-sharing and content research, and it’s a great place to find out what new tools, resources, and trends are taking place in marketing and PR.
Focus is a professional Q&A service that allows professionals in various industries to ask and answer all sorts of questions, but it is especially good for marketing information. LinkedIn is another – and answering questions here could lead to the right business opportunities as well.
Quora rose to popularity in 2011 as a place to be recognized as an industry/topic expert, and as a result, Quora.com has positioned itself as the go-to site for marketing and those interested in marketing. Right now, the topic of marketing on Quora has over 70 top-rated questions, and 1200+ open questions (questions yet to be answered by anyone).
2. Subscribe to Top Blogs
Blogs are leading the way when it comes to disseminating information about new trends in marketing. The major benefit of subscribing to top blogs is that, often times, they publish posts that are aggregated lists of marketing tools, in additional to sparking conversation about the topic at hand.
You can also peruse the comments in articles on popular blogs. People who comment are often in the industry, and like to share their knowledge and expertise often. You can pick up new trends just by reading the comments others are leaving, and this is also a great way to get your questions answered.
Duct Tape Marketing and MarketingVox are two well-known marketing blogs to subscribe to for both general marketing tips as well as discussions on recent trends. However, a few lesser-known by equally as useful marketing blogs to check out include:
3. Network, Network, Network
Networking isn’t just about meeting new clients or getting leads. There is a lot you can learn from being around your peers. Network meetings are great opportunities for not only learning new skills (many networking events offer continuing education) but also for gaining inside access to what your peers are doing to bring in new business.
Meetup.com is a website that you can use to find thousands of in-person networking groups in your area. You can also use Meetup.com to create your own local group in which you discuss marketing trends, if one isn’t already there. The idea is to get around people just like you – that have a vested interested in staying on top of marketing trends – and discuss them. In the meantime, you meet new people, including friends and potential clients.
Not all meetups are just for shaking hands and chit-chatting. Some can be very focused and educational. For example, the 216 members in the San Francisco Startup Marketing group hold fun meetups to discuss topics such as “acquiring customers, demand creation, blogging, analytics and measuring marketing effectiveness,” and more.
4. Don’t Neglect Traditional Media
With all of their resources and access, traditional media publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Forbes, cannot be ignored as a resource for staying on top of the latest trends in marketing and PR. Several of the world’s oldest and most prestigious media outlets are not only talking about trends, they are leading the pack in implementing the new marketing trends.
Marketing and PR has become a trendy topic all on its own, with new (now old) trends such as social media and SMS marketing hitting the front pages all the time. Traditional media has the resources to put journalists on trend beats, and their sole job is to tell you all about new trends. Don’t neglect these great sources of new information.
5. Join Professional Marketing Organizations
Professional marketing and PR organizations exist to keep the level of quality in the industry high. They seek to develop and accelerate the progress of their members. You can find online resources, in-person seminars, webinars, and annual conferences that will teach you new trends and how to apply them to your work.
One example of a great resource board is the at the American Marketing Association’s website. This library is updated frequently with resources to keep members and non-members informed on the latest trends in marketing.
Other professional marketing organizations to check out are:
- Direct Marketing Association
- Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA)
- eMarketing Association
You may wish to seek certification, which is offered by several professional membership organizations. Your membership in many organizations grants you access to continuing education that is otherwise not offered to members outside the organization. Plus, being part of such a group is something you can be proud of.
Staying on top of the trends will keep you knowledgeable and efficient, and it will also help when it comes to managing client expectations. These five ways of keeping up with the trends are just the beginning, and they will ensure that you are always on top of your game when it comes to new ways of marketing.
This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a company that offers psd to xhtml conversion, and who also consults for a neon sign store that provides custom neon signs online.