By Tasha Gideon, Verrah

Big data, artificial intelligence, voice and machine learning dominate public and industry conversations about marketing. Here is our short list of other trends we think are worth your attention.

The embrace of sales in marketing efforts. These disciplines are traditionally at odds, since sales thinks short-term and marketing is the long play. Their day-to-day priorities generally don’t align. More and more, we’re being asked to help with sales enablement. We used to suggest tying things together; now clients are asking. Their teams are more open discussing how that might work. Part of the trick is making sure that Sales doesn’t feel like their on-the-fly agility is being cramped and that Marketing isn’t being asked to report to Sales. Workflows that support lead generation, customer acquisition and lifetime value can be beautiful when thoughtfully developed.

Leveraging marketing techniques in HR. Just as companies want to differentiate in order to compete for customers, they are increasingly asking for marketing help with recruiting, retention and building their corporate culture. Often, they have a good culture, but they just aren’t communicating it effectively. In a competitive market like Pittsburgh tech, which is starving for qualified candidates, it’s a smart approach. Modern marketing techniques focus on things that effective human resources directors have always been good at: careful listening and staying relevant to their audience. Inbound marketing pays close attention to maintaining a fair exchange between the parties. Your email address for my downloadable checklist, or my time for a paycheck. When the relationship is off-balance, you have unhappy customers or unhappy staff. The goal is to create win-wins, whether it’s with clients or employees.

The normalization of including underrepresented groups in marketing discussions. This used to involve a series of meetings and infographics with clients where the burden was on us to demonstrate not only how to involve women, for example, but why they should do that. We’ve worked with heavy industry and lingerie companies and — across the board — those preliminary discussions have gotten a lot shorter. For companies coming in late to the conversation, there is a posture of openness we haven’t seen before. They are asking, “What should we do? How do we put our best foot forward?” It is feeling less compulsory and more earnest. The embarrassment of getting it wrong (Pepsi, Heineken) is part of this shift. The compelling revenue implications are also in play. In our recent interview with economist and female futurist Danielle Kayembe, she said, “Once they realize what a resource women are, I think companies are gonna be kicking themselves.”

“For companies coming in late to the conversation, there is a posture of openness we haven’t seen before. They are asking, “What should we do? How do we put our best foot forward?”

The beginning of consumer exhaustion with the content avalanche. 24/7 content is wearing thin on a significant segment of consumers.It’s a whisper, but we see definite signals. The rule of thumb used to be “publish constantly or die.” There is only so much that’s worth saying or showing, so there is a lot of fluff in people’s faces. And people are finding themselves allergic to fluff. We also now have a tweet-based news cycle. A lot of people are waking from the mania of 366/25/8 content and shutting their iPhones off. Our friends at Light Phone saw this coming years ago and developed a product that reverses the “more-is-more” trajectory. Check out their hilarious “Smart Phone” video series.

The impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This EU data privacy legislation has implications for many U.S.-based companies. That said, compliance efforts can be repurposed by marketing to significantly enhance customer trust. We’ve seen this with new FDA regulations in the past. Operations activities can often pay marketing dividends, and we expect the more savvy companies to approach the GDPR rollout with this in mind.