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We wanted to know if the hype about which marketing tactics were going to be hot in 2017 was real or not. This is what we found.

We asked business owners to share their plans for marketing in the year ahead. Here’s a summary of who chimed in:

  • Ninety-three business owners responded, the majority of whom employ 99 or fewer employees (79%).
  • Most sell exclusively to business (67.4%), while just over one quarter market to both businesses and direct to consumers (26.1%).
  • Nearly all are focused on U.S. markets (99%), with a significant handful also serving customers in other parts of the world (22% Europe/Middle East/Africa [EMEA]; 16% Asia/Pacific [APAC]; and 11% Central/South America).

Your marketing goals for 2017

A good number of our respondents prioritize multiple marketing objectives for the upcoming year. The majority will focus on increasing sales (71%). Half of those responding will focus on generating qualified leads (50%), while 28% plan on expanding brand awareness.

Social media marketing (69%) and email marketing (66%) top the list of marketing tactics going forward. About half of respondents plan to invest in content marketing (55%), direct marketing (48%) and managed events (trade shows) (48%). Digital advertising (37%) and traditional advertising (22%) round out the list.

Two areas considered by some to be worth exploring are: Programmatic Advertising, which involves enlisting data-driven automated platforms to purchase and place highly-targeted digital ads (16.5%) and Account Based Marketing (ABM), a strategic approach to marketing and sales efforts with the goal of deepening engagement within specific accounts (20%).

The takeaway: Select the mix that works best for your business

Social media and email both ranked at the top of our survey. While these marketing tactics are extremely popular, your message can get lost in the noise. They are most impactful when enhanced by targeted efforts and supported by other traditional tactics such as direct mail or trade shows. A successful digital presence also requires a continual refresh of value-added content. Are you prepared to take this on?

So what is the right marketing mix for your business? It depends. The challenge is in knowing who your targets are and identifying where they prefer to get information on which to base their buying decisions. Armed with this insight, you can tailor your marketing strategies to activities that help you connect and engage your customers. Test different tactics and invest in the channels that yield the best results for you.

Be sure to check out our resources page to learn more about the strengths of widely used marketing tactics, including when and how they work best. And don’t forget to check out our corresponding ‘in the know’ blog posts for additional insights and best practices on the marketing we do every day.

1 Statistics compiled from indigoOne “What’s your goal in 2017” survey. Survey was conducted 12/27/16 – 01/14/17.