One of the keys to successful marketing is to stay one step ahead.
And in 2018, you’ll want to stay one step ahead of the trends and forecasts that will change the way you market your products or services…. creating amazing new opportunities for profits and growth.
These are the trends that will help you dramatically increase sales for your product or service, and avoid costly blunders.
Direct response rules apply to all of these new opportunities, whether online, in print, or even on television. Direct response advertising and marketing is always one person communicating with another person…and it always generates a higher response.
Here are 35 surprising, profit-growing, and possibly shocking trends and forecasts for 2018.
 

1. Integrated and multichannel marketing and advertising all to the same targeted audience will explode in popularity in 2018.


2018 will be the year when marketers combine all methods to the same targeted prospects or names in:

  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • Facebook ads
  • Banner ads
  • Amazon ads
  • Pre-roll videos

Integrated marketing continues to become more targeted and efficient with advanced data modeling. Our creative team at my ad agency CDMG has perfected this powerful response boosting strategy now for over two years. The results are higher and there is no waste on marketing to a wrong or inactive prospect.
With one dedicated landing page, video, and advanced retargeting, the strategy itself is built upon data modeling and optimized data.
Action items: Test this powerful strategy now to dramatically increase your leads and sales. Give me a call at (310) 212-5757 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com to discuss your integrated marketing strategy or ask for our free case studies.
 

2. Advanced data modeling will see giant growth in 2018.

As data modeling becomes more sophisticated and scientific in 2018, watch response rates rise even more.
Data modeling allows you to use transactional data to create “the perfect prospect”…so that you can target the potential customers and clients who are most likely to purchase from you.

Action items: Use data modeling to find new lookalike prospects … and gain valuable intelligence about your list. To learn more, contact Infomat at (310) 212-5944.
 

3. The integration of direct mail and video—the videolog—will become a prospecting and conversion series testing standard in 2018.

The videolog is powerful.
Powerful because you send an envelope mailing, a one-page cover letter … and a powerful four-page brochure that plays a video when operated. It can be 3 minutes or 30 minutes.
The videolog is expensive, but we anticipate prices will drop in 2018…test it now, knowing that prices will fall.
Action items: See videolog briefing here and watch it in action.
 

4. Amazon will become your most valuable marketing strategy in 2018.

Amazon is becoming a revolutionary marketing machine for all marketers.
I’m using its power now for clients who don’t have a product to sell on Amazon. And it’s amazing for those who do have products on Amazon.
Amazon uses powerful transactional data to serve ads to highly targeted prospects. You can upload your custom list to Amazon, build lookalike audiences, and create targeted segments based on different factors, such as lifestyle, demographics, and product search history.
Action items: Don’t miss out on this powerful marketing tool in 2018. For a list of “12 Little-Known Keys to Powerfully Boost Response and Profits on Amazon” click here.
 

5. Direct mail isn’t dead.

Is direct mail dead?
No!
There’s been a powerful resurgence of direct mail over the past few years, due to better targeting and understanding of postal lists.
Action items: In 2018, use an integrated campaign with direct mail as the foundation. Direct mail can be highly targeted, and will also give you the ability to powerfully retarget and remarket. See my video brief “Direct Mail Breakthrough Tips in an Online World.”
 
 

6. Direct mail remarketing will be one of your most powerful strategies in increasing response.

One of the greatest benefits and usages of direct mail is to remarket your product or service to the same names or contacts that have seen your ads online.
For example, prospects who respond to your banner ads then receive a direct mail piece with the same offer. This increases response and powerfully enhances your remarketing strategy.
Action items: Integrate this strategy into your marketing to boost response—and profits.
 

7. Informed delivery will transform your direct mail marketing.

Informed delivery is where the USPS digitally images the front of your mailpieces. Then they are emailed to the recipient to see what they are getting in the mail that day.
It’s a free service. And it’s popular. More than 2 million people have signed up. In fact, a USPS survey found that nine out of 10 people who signed up for the service checked their Informed Delivery notifications every day.
Action items: To take full advantage of this great new service offered by the USPS, make sure to use powerful teaser copy on your front envelope. That way, prospects receiving your mail will be more likely to open your mail piece when it arrives.
 

8. Value-added informational marketing will make or break your campaign in 2018.

Consumers have more options than ever…meaning they have more opportunities than ever to turn down or ignore your marketing efforts.
Value-added marketing sets your offer apart from all the others, meaning you’ll get an increase in response even as other marketers fail to keep up with the competition.
In a value-added approach, your prospects receive valuable information during your sales process, and it positions you as the authority on a subject. You’re now perfectly positioned to help them with your product or service. If your online or email copy is sales hype, you’ll be clicked into oblivion. Worse, you’ll actually be training your prospect to ignore you.
Action items: Call us at (310) 212-5757 and ask about how our V.I.V.A. (Valuable Information, Value Added) strategy could help your business succeed. To learn about our V.I.V.A. system – Valuable Information, Value Added – click here.
 

9. Native advertising boom.

Native content has experienced a recent boom in popularity.
Native content refers to advertorial content mixed in with non-advertorial content. For example, they could appear as advertisements for a natural health product that appear on a blog, or ads for a financial service that appear on Yahoo finance.
In 2018, expect this trend to increase, and for prospects to respond even more to native advertising.
Action items: Let’s talk about your native advertising strategy. Give me a call at (310) 212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com.
 

10. Peer-to-peer marketing will be an even greater, indispensable direct marketing tool.

Some of the most effective advertising occurs when a prospect passes your message on to a friend. Facebook and other social media sites easily allow consumers to be your advocates and give you more credibility.
Take advantage of these opportunities through informational videos, content, and new technologies like Periscope and Facebook Live. Your prospect can take your message and pass it on to a friend.
A good point to remember: prospects are ten times more likely to purchase a product if a friend recommends it.
Action items: Make sure your site has “share buttons” on all of your pages and emails. You’ll quickly spread the word about your product, and you’ll get a built-in “testimonial” to boot.
 

11. Email marketers will be forced to adjust their tactics… or be filtered out of business.

If you think ISPs and filter technologies have been making the email marketer’s life difficult, get ready. It’s going to get worse… which is why you need the tools that enable you to bypass these problems and get your message out.
Keep in mind, the success rate depends entirely on your copy.
If your copy isn’t informational direct response copy, your prospects will unsubscribe and delete, never to return. However, if your prospects receive value-added information with your message – information they want and need – they will keep reading.
Your subject line is critical to your success, so test different lines to see what works best. And remember, plaintext email wins over HTML, image-based email.
Action items: Make sure your emails contain something of value, not just sales pieces. No consumer will opt out of an email subscription that makes his or her life better.
 

12. Renting your postal mail and email database list will continue to be a major revenue earner as specialized marketing heats up.

Niche advertising is more popular (and successful) than ever. Your postal mail and email lists will be in big demand by direct marketers looking for specific niches.
You always have approval of the pieces that are sent out, and the rental is for a one-time use. Putting your lists to work will be an unbeatable way to bring in revenue in 2018. I just wrote a check for over $100,000 for one client’s monthly rental.
Action items: Take a look at your email and postal mail lists. Then call me at InfoMat at (310) 212-5944. Your lists could add tens of thousands of dollars to your bottom line.
 

13. Direct response copy will be the line between success and failure as competition, skepticism and alternative choices create sales pressure.

The average person sees 1,600 ads to a whopping 3,000 ads every single day (think about how many emails you delete per day or banner ads you see). People have become instinctively trained to weed out unwanted messages. Will your message get through? Or will it be tuned out?
Direct response copy makes the difference between hitting the bullseye and missing the mark. Focus your messages with a clear USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and benefit-based, “you”-directed copy. Tell your prospects how you’re going to make their lives better. If they’re swept up in effective direct response copy, your sales will soar… even in the face of stiff competition.
Action items: Review your current online and hard copy materials. Make sure you’re using solid direct response copy, not anti-marketing copy written by traditional image copywriters, editors and techies.
Subscribe to Direct Marketing Update for a “Direct Response Copy Tip of the Week.” Click here to subscribe if you don’t already.
 

14. Optimizing your shopping cart is more important than ever.

Is your shopping cart another opportunity to make the sale? Or is it a graveyard of lost sales?
Shopping cart abandonment rates are shockingly high—69%, based on 200 eCommerce sites.
In 2018, shopping carts will evolve into another direct marketing opportunity. No longer will shopping carts feature a blank techie page with fill-in-the-blanks. The smart marketer will use the following two strategies to raise response…
First, a seamless process of ordering. Every additional click through the check-out process is one more chance for your prospect to get cold feet. Credit card information is saved after the first purchase, so on subsequent visits, one simple click next to a product will order the item. No shopping cart…. Just a completed sale in an instant.
The second strategy is copy and graphic reinforcement. Most shopping carts are real yawners: blank forms that give your prospect every opportunity to walk away from the sale. Make certain there are graphics, testimonials and direct response copy throughout your shopping cart to guide your prospects… heighten their shopping experience… and ensure your sale.
And for anyone who abandons the shopping cart – smart remarketing with banner ads of the product they wanted will follow your prospect to other websites and retargeting emails will be sent.
Action items: Review your shopping cart. If it takes you more than three clicks to make a purchase or it lacks effective direct response copy, call me at (310) 212-5727. I can help you fix it to double or triple your current response.
You can see my video brief “Shopping Cart Blunders” here.
 

15. The digital video explosion will get smarter.

Watch Google, Facebook, and other media improve their video targeting and tools. Pre-roll videos such as Google True View (see “The Commercial before the Video”) have seen awesome results from marketers…and will continue to generate leads and response in 2018.
Personalized videos, informal videos, livestreaming videos, and customized videos will all see an increase in popularity.
Action items: Learn the rules for effective video marketing.

 

16. Pre-roll videos are key to your targeted marketing strategy.

Pre-roll videos are short commercials that play before videos you might watch on YouTube or cable TV (pre-rolls can be run on a number of platforms).
In 2018, pre-rolls will be a powerful part of your targeted marketing strategy. They can be targeted to a specific audience of prospects. You can use a custom list or look-a-like audience to target your pre-roll video, and choose specific channels to run it on.
Pre-rolls typically run about 30 seconds, and YouTube will only charge you if the viewer finishes watching the video.
Action items: Give me a call at (310) 212-5727, or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com to discuss your pre-roll strategy today.
 

17. New Payment Systems are on the rise.

New payment systems like Apple pay are on the rise, as many consumers- especially in the millennial generation- don’t even carry wallets.
Action items: Look out for the development of new payment systems and make sure your system is optimized for new forms of payment.

 

18. Explosion in online shopping.

2017 saw a massive increase in online shopping. Cyber Monday generated $6.59 billion in sales, up 16.8% from the previous year.
67% of millennials and 58% of Gen Xers prefer to shop online. But online shopping—including mobile shopping is becoming increasingly popular among seniors too.
In 2018, look for further integration of online and retail spaces—like that between Amazon and Whole Foods—that drives up overall sales and changes the way we market.
Action items: How targeted is your online strategy? For a free consultation of your marketing strategy to sell your products or services online, give me a call at (310)212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com.
 

19. Use “new credibility” in all of your marketing efforts.

Proving the credibility of your product or service is critical to your marketing success. Prospects want to know that they won’t be disappointed by purchasing from you.
In 2018, expect new credibility to come in the form of star ratings…one to five stars to show your product or service to be of moderate, great, or excellent quality.
Action items: Use star ratings in your ads to show prospects that your product or service has been proven credible, useful, and satisfactory. Don’t always use five stars…four stars will prove that the credibility rating is authentic.
 

20. Keep an eye on blockchain and cryptocurrency in 2018.

Many are predicting that blockchain will transform the way we market and massively expand opportunities to target prospects and increase profits.
By making critical transactional data available to everyone, it could help marketers strategically and efficiently target prospects like never before.
Action items: Keep an eye on the development and usage of cryptocurrency in 2018. This may become an extremely valuable opportunity for you as a marketer.
 

21. Texting will dramatically increase response and profits for marketers in 2018.

Texting is one of the most powerful ways to show prospects and existing customers what you offer.
As a part of an integrated campaign, texting is a strategic way to drive prospects back to a landing page.
Action items: Give me a call at (310)212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com to talk about how we can integrate texting into your marketing efforts.
 

22. Millennials are watching less and less cable TV…but the mature market still loves it.

TV viewership is dramatically changing…but it remains a powerful marketing strategy, especially for senior audiences.
Millennials prefer to watch online streaming TV over cable TV. In fact, 61% of those aged between 18-29 watch streaming services like Netflix. But the older generation still watches cable TV more than ever. 70% of people between 50-64 watch cable TV or livestreaming, and 84% of people over the age of 65 watch cable TV.
In 2018, cable TV commercials and infomercials are still an effective strategy to successfully targeting prospects.
Action items: I’ve created more than 400 videos, including 13 infomercials. Give me a call at (310) 212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com to discuss your TV marketing strategy.
 

23. Maturing Baby Boomers and Generation Xers will change how you position your products.

As the Baby Boomers are in retirement (or almost) and Generation X begins reaching their 50’s, smart direct marketers are adjusting their marketing and product mix strategies to take advantage of these new opportunities. As of 2017, 70% of disposable income in the U.S. was controlled by Baby Boomers. And over the next 20 years, the same generation will inherit $15 trillion.
The needs of both groups are now changing as they age. Baby Boomers care about investing issues, health matters and vacation packages.
Generation X has their eye on college, downsizing mortgages and long-term financial planning.
Businesses impacted by these changes must shift their marketing strategies and find the most effective ways to reach prospects. For example: Baby Boomers love premiums. Generation X loves discounts.
Action items: Take a close look at your product mix. Are you correctly gearing your products for changing demographics? Some of your products may need to be adapted to meet the new psychographic needs of Boomers or Generation X. For example, Jaguar was forced to not only change their marketing strategy, but even the look of their cars to avoid being labeled “stodgy.”
See my article on marketing to seniors for more information. Click here.
 

24. There will be a general explosion of activity as retailers fully focus on direct marketing.

The future belongs to retailers who use their databases and web-based platforms effectively. The retailers that flourish will be the ones that gather information on what their customers buy, create special programs to reward their best customers, create customer loyalty and bring back past customers.
Credit card companies and airlines have been offering rewards programs for years. You can generate powerful buyer loyalty from a well-run rewards program.
The future also belongs to the retailers that use multichannel marketing as part of their strategy. With so many buying choices, consumers demand more from the companies they purchase from.
And welcoming – not ignoring – mobile marketing is critical. New technological ways of reaching out to prospects near a store or enhancing the customer experience are critical.
Action items: Call me at (310) 212-5727 for a free analysis of your retail effectiveness.
 

25. In 2018, the Trump Administration will continue to dramatically reverse the stifling regulatory environment, excessively imposed by the dogmatic Obama administration.

Over the last eight years, President Obama has issued thousands of executive orders bypassing Congress … and hurting small businesses and job growth. Now President Trump has promised to repeal these overtly bureaucratic rules.
Expect a 2018 economic boom. Economists decried the historically low economic growth rate of 2% from 2008 to 2016 instead of 6-8%.
Action items: Watch and see major regulatory commissions like the FDA, FCC, and the SEC reverse course, which have expanded their power under the Obama Administration.
Become current on the new government regulations that affect your industry. Every marketer has areas open to scrutiny. And all marketers should watch for movement in privacy legislation, particularly postal mailing list opt-ins in upcoming budget and tax changes.
 

26. Net neutrality has been repealed…expect new developments, and for the battle to continue.

The FCC voted down net neutrality in favor of Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF), which will create more opportunities for innovation and growth.
Net neutrality has been repealed…but the mass hysteria surrounding the repeal might cause an ongoing battle, meaning further changes and developments.
Action items: Look for new opportunities for growth and innovation on the internet, and stay informed on what’s happening on the legal side of things.
 

27. The Postal Service continues to sink into debt…and hike up rates.

The USPS is an archaic, bureaucratic agency resistant to change. And it continues to collect billions in debt every year…in fact, it’s lost $65.1 billion in the past 10 years.
In 2018, a decision will be made about whether or not to dramatically spike rates of postage, from 34-41% over the next 5 years. This rate increase will hurt businesses, killing jobs and commerce.
Trump has an historic opportunity to make changes, privatize key functions of the postal service, hire staffers and workers who understand business, and fight against this new price hike.
Action items: Do your testing and marginal mailing before the price increases even more, and support congressional efforts to repeal the private express statute that prohibits postal competition.
 

28. Liberals in Congress will try to halt the tax deduction of advertising spending.

There are plans afoot by liberals in Congress to remove the tax deductions for advertising.
Their argument is twofold: First, the government can make more money. The last time this issue was raised, administrative officials claimed the government could raise between $10 billion and $34 billion if ad expenditure deductions were done away with.
Second, the business world would replace the money for advertising with money earmarked for research and other more “socially acceptable” capital expenditures.
Expect “antibusiness” advocates to bring up this bill again as a new Congress begins.
Action items: Keep your eyes and ears open for any potential legislative action on this front. Write your senators and representatives and express your opposition to this type of antibusiness legislation.
 

29. The government market will continue to be a major sales avenue.

Business-to-business marketers should remember that the government is a great prospect. No matter how the national economy fluctuates, the government market will always need goods and services.
Also, bureaucracies at the federal, state, county, township and municipality levels are on the rise. And as they grow, they have more buying influence.
Action items: Check out this avenue for expanded sales opportunities.
 

30. Newsalogs bring in huge response.

Newsalogs look like a newspaper and feel like a newspaper, but they are actually direct mail pieces.
Newspapers may be in decline, but in direct marketing, they are making a comeback. With the right direct response copy, they bring in huge response.
Action items: If you would like to create a newsalog for your next direct mail campaign, give me a call at (310) 212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com.
 

31. Magalogs will boom as a profitable marketing tool.

While the Internet is a stellar marketing tool, it’s just one element of a smart multichannel marketing strategy. Postal mail continues to be the number one avenue for most aggressive marketers to reach prospects. They often generate a lower cost per lead and sales—plus higher growth response and numbers. In an age of skepticism and sound bites, magalogs are an unbeatable, in-depth way to reach prospects.
Magalogs are 4-color sales pieces that resemble traditional magazines. They are infomercials in print. Typically 16 to 24 pages long, they feature one central article with several supporting sidebar articles. With great direct response copy, your prospects will be drawn into the article, and you get an excellent opportunity to make a full pitch for your product or service.
Action items: To learn more about magalogs, click here.
 

32. Bookalogs will rise in popularity as a valuable marketing strategy.

A bookalog is similar to a real hard-copy or e-book. It’s normally a paperback and typically runs about 100-150 pages long. This type of direct response sales piece has been used for both business-to-business and consumer marketing – including fundraising.
A bookalog looks like a book, feels like a book—but it’s really a sales piece. It powerfully positions you as an authority in your field.
Action items: Call me at (310) 212-5727 or email me at craig@cdmginc.com  and I’ll tell you how I can create a bookalog for you in 12 weeks. Be an expert author!

 

33. The classic internet homepage is officially obsolete – smart marketers will recognize this reality.

Smart marketers in 2018 will realize that the one-size-fits-all homepage is a sales depressor. The smart trend now is a move toward microsites and landing pages.
Microsites and landing pages are individual pages geared toward specific products and have definite goals. For example, one page may seek to capture emails for further contact with the prospect, another may focus on showcasing a particular product.
Studies show homepages are stagnant billboards, whereas landing pages have measurable goals and direct your prospect to act. Homepages are navigational nightmares, actually losing leads, sales and profits. Put simple: Homepages are antimarketing; landing pages are direct marketing.
Action items: Make sure your landing page or microsite has its own URL. Also, it should have no navigation options. It should direct the prospect where you want him or her to go and what action to take.
Take advantage of the possibilities with microsites. If your company sells many products, each site can have tailored direct response copy that maximizes your SEO or ad words.
To see my video briefing on homepages v. landing pages, click here.
 

34. Megatrend: An explosion in international marketing opportunities in 2018.

As emerging nations grow, their businesses grow. Limit your marketing prospects to stateside sales and you miss out on massive profit opportunities.
There are three global keys to consider here:
First, there will be an explosion in international direct mail. International mailing lists are more defined and targeted than they used to be. Mailing costs are higher internationally, but so are response rates. Multiple times I’ve done international campaigns, including Germany and Canada.
Second, international buyers are more loyal than U.S. buyers. Once you have them, it’s easier to keep them as customers. Testimonials from international buyers are a great way to establish trust in your company and product.
Third, online marketing has created a surefire way to reach international prospects. Remember: the world still sees American goods and services as the gold standard: email, banner and Facebook ads, retargeting, and more open huge opportunities.
Action items: English is understood in most of the world, but make sure your copy and shopping cart are applicable to both domestic and international prospects.
Make sure your shopping cart is geared to accept U.S. funds. The dollar is a currency used all over the world. Your email and websites should have your international prospects in mind.

 

35. Greater opportunities for JOBS Act marketers, and greater profits.

Crowdfunding continues to raise more money every year…as growing companies take advantage of the powerful opportunities provided by the JOBS Act.
If you’re raising capital for your business or company, you must know how to market, and how to market smart.
The first key is to market to investors, not to your customer base.
Action items: I have JOBS Acts clients that I have helped to raise massive capital and dramatically expand their businesses.
If you’re an investment marketer, don’t miss our upcoming webinar, “18 Surprising New Trends for Marketing Investment Products & Services” on Thursday, January 18th at 11:00 PST. During this free, no-obligation webinar, you’ll learn valuable new tactics and strategies for marketing to Investors in 2018.
Click here to register now.
 
2018 will be a significant year for marketing. If you want to drive up big response and turn up huge profits, make sure to keep an eye out for these trends!

Want to get ready for the new year with a power-packed direct marketing campaign? Call me at (310) 212-5727 or email me at craig@cdmginc.com for a free consultation.

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