Survey: The 4 Marketing Trends You Need to Know in 2017

Some large-scale marketing trends can be seen a mile away. It’s not surprising that marketers are increasingly interested in Instagram, the most visual, niche-focused, influencer-friendly social platform out there. We even know why they stay away from the creative haven of Tumblr, which doesn’t offer the demographic data and influence-driven networking they need. But when it comes to the most recent trends and the biggest concerns in the marketing world of 2017, we need to rely on the latest study.

Incite Group‘s new research paper on marketing was composed based on the feedback of over 1,300 marketing executives across the early months of 2017. Here’s a summary of the most relevant data points on the newest trends those executives found the most pressing.

Personalization Is Huge

Being able to know one’s customers and address a single customer’s viewpoint is the biggest marketing concern of 2017, according to the report, which noted that nearly half of all respondents labeled it their biggest issue. Following recent leaps in big data and demographic personalization, it seems no marketer wants to be left with less targeting data than the rest.

Brand Storytelling Is on the Rise

From the report:

“Brand storytelling made a big jump, up some six percentage points, to the second biggest issue from fourth place a year ago. The focus was particularly stark among MarTech firms, with 52 percent of these respondents citing it as crucial. That was the highest reading of any issue with either MarTech or Corporate respondents.”

Coherent storytelling is essential for a successful omnichannel marketing campaign. Given the rise of closed-internet platforms on mobile or in newsletters, it’s increasingly important that marketers be able to offer the same experience across any platform. With the right storytelling approach, a brand can rise above the noise.

Social Media for Customer Engagement Is Now Essential

While the category of “Social Media for Customer Engagement” wasn’t the largest concern in the report, it did make the largest jump over its status from the previous year, indicating that it has quickly become unavoidable.

“The biggest overall leap was for Social Media for Customer Engagement,” the study clarifies, “which is clearly becoming table stakes for many brands. It rang up a 43 percent reading as essential this year, jumping from below 30 percent in 2016.

[…] A newcomer to the survey—Building Immersive Customer Experiences—finished with a strong thirdplace showing, garnering votes from 46 percent of all marketers.”

VR, AI, and IoT: These New Tech Gimmicks Aren’t Catching On

The gimmicks of marketing include any recent technologies that might wow consumers enough to nap an affilated brand a little extra attention. But not among the respondents here: VR/AR, AI, and the Internet of Things all clocked in at last place.

“VR/AR received an overwhelming 40 percent of all respondents saying ‘Not Important’ and that includes a whopping 45 percent of inhouse marketers vs. just 31 percent in MarTech. Meanwhile AI was the next least important issue, pulling 27 percent overall. IoT wasn’t quite as negative at 17 percent, but that total is still less than its ‘essential’ votes,” the study broke it down.

While marketers are pivoting sharply to address a media environment dependant on data and closed platforms, they see no need to shift towards a VR environment or getting any virtual real estate on an IoT hub. But give it five years. If any of these recent tech developments becomes an essential aspect of life in the near future, marketers are sure to get on board.

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
Back to top