1. Paper is not dead – in fact it brings brands to life!
Print was still a force to be reckoned with in 2017. Yes, of course there are those people who want to go mobile, download the app, pay and bank online… However, when it comes to marketing – persuading people or engaging with a reader – the sheer convenience, speed and apparent ease of digital can work against you. Do you really want someone to skim over marketing materials and just pick out the two or three things that interest them, or do you want them to take a bit more time and follow your argument. Paper continues to add value and worth to a marketing proposition. It has a physical presence that conveys something far less ephemeral, somehow less fickle than digital. People still love a catalogue, and response to direct mail is still reassuringly robust.
2. That aging population are getting online!
Recent research by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) showed 75% of adults aged over 65 use the internet – with women over 75 showing the greatest increase! The ONS also found that almost 25% of adults aged over 65 use social networking sites. The internet is becoming increasingly important for elderly people looking for ways to stay connected to society. Artificial intelligence assistants like Amazon Echo can carry out vital tasks through voice control, from checking the weather to locking the house, reminding people to take pills, take exercise or stay in contact family members. The age of the silver surfer really is upon us…
3. The High Street is still under attack – but direct marketing offers a lifeline
Famously Mary Portas attempted to tackle the demise of 10 failing high streets in 2012 with a portion of a relatively small £1.2 million grant in a bid to transform them into thriving retail hubs. It turns out these towns – like many other comparable locations – have since lost nearly one in five of their shops. The upshot is that high streets have to change their function. No longer are they retail hubs, they are social spaces and places where people can meet. They have a future serving brands as showcases, testbeds and launch pads – while the point of sale moves to a more direct methods – a rich opportunity for direct marketing.
4.Tangible is making a comeback
Who would have thought that the shops would be full of turntables and that people would be buying old-fashioned vinyl once more? But it seems the multi-sensory experience of playing a record is appealing to those tired of the purely digital experience. 2017 saw the biggest sales figures for vinyl in decades with sales peaking at £4 million. The lesson: don’t forget the power of holding something in your hand!
5. We are spending slightly less, on slightly more interesting stuff
People are indeed spending a little less, as the ‘squeezed middle’ become the ‘just about managing’. However, it is interesting to note that certain sectors have seen a new trend. Wine is a good example. A few years back, the big brands like Echo Falls and Blossom Hill were dominating a wine market driven by price and consistency. People just wanted something predictably ‘good enough’ for about a fiver. This year, though, Blossom Hill saw sales fall by a staggering 15%! Retailers saw sales drop, but unit prices rise slightly. According to wine experts Decanter, the answer is that people are searching for the remarkable, the extraordinary, the exciting and unpredictable – and they are willing to pay just a little more for it.
We learned a lot in 2017 – every day is a school day! Despite the growth of digital marketing, there are a number of trends that indicate that traditional methods are still effective. People still appreciate the tangible, they are prepared to spend a little more on something if they can see the benefits, and they are revisiting old media. Of course, older people are using online more and more, but everyone still wants engagement – be it in the high street or on the doormat! And that demands a direct approach!