20 Marketing Experts Share The Growth Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2018

With 2018 fast approaching, we asked 20 marketing experts for the growth marketing trends, tactics, and strategies they see taking centre stage in 2018. We’ve organized their responses into seven categories:


Data and Analytics

Paid Acquisition

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Video and Live Streaming

Other Channels and Strategies

General Growth Marketing

As marketing trends often change and it is hard to keep up with them, people working in marketing often search for information related to this subject. Therefore making a podcast explaining current trends would get you many views. Buy Soundcloud plays if you want a guaranteed high success rate for your podcast.

SEO and Content

Brian Dean

The big SEO trend in 2018 will be Google’s AI algorithm. The days of nerdy engineers turning the dials at Mountain View are fading fast. Instead, Google’s AI program (RankBrain) is figuring out if users are satisfied… and shuffling around the search results accordingly. That said, links, on-page SEO, keyword research, and other “traditional” SEO strategies will still be necessary. But they’ll be less critical as time goes on. – Brian Dean, Backlinko

Casey Armstrong

SEO Tip: At its core, SEO is about content and links. Stop trying to recreate the wheel and stop reading so many blog posts. Dive into Google Search Console, see which high-intent queries you are getting volume but have a poor impression-to-click ratio, and optimize accordingly.

SEO Trends: Both have been around a bit, but semantic relevancy and snippets will continue to be huge in 2018. These take some creative “hacking” or knowing where to look but can provide step function lifts in your organic traffic and allow you to leapfrog competitors with more robust domains and backlink profiles. – Casey Armstrong, BigCommerce

Tim Ash

There is no ‘best’ on-average website for all visitors. Copying your competitors is never a good idea because you do not understand critical aspects of their business model, audience, brand strength, or strategy.

So what is the correct answer?

It would help if you listened to your site visitors. The best way to do that is to pay attention to what they do on your site. You can change the site experience in real-time based on this information. Personalization can pay huge dividends because it makes visitors feel special and dramatically increases their relevance. – Tim Ash, SiteTuners

Lars Lofgren

AMP isn’t gaining headlines or a sexy growth hack right now, but it’s not going away; it’s steadily gaining steam. In the SEO world, I wouldn’t be surprised if AMP moves from a “nice-to-have” to a “make-the-switch-right-now” over 2018-2019. Even though giving Google control of our site makes me super nervous over the long term, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a deal with the devil that I’ll get forced into signing. – Lars Lofgren, I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Barron Ernst

It’s more important than ever to ensure you do a good job targeting email based on actions and other personalization elements. The era of the generic newsletter is over, and click-thru rates continue to decline for it. It’s vital that the message has some relevance to the customer and addresses their specific user behaviour within your product. And you should tie your email to a specific business outcome; not just clicks on the email.

Also, people still don’t understand the basics of deliverability. Spend time understanding why you need multiple IP addresses, how to monitor inboxing across various ISPs, and what leads to evil and spammy emails. Make sure you are spending the time to deeply understand what drives the success of emails hitting people’s inboxes. This is especially important if you are growing and changing email providers. It’s widespread for this transition to cause problems as you transition your IP addresses, send domains, and get started on a new email service. – Barron Ernst, Showmax/Growth Consultant

Dominic Coryell

I’m a big fan of Zaius for email marketing right now. They take a B2C CRM approach, allowing me to spin up behavioural emails based on a seemingly unlimited # of micro-segments. – Dominic Coryell, Grabr

Data and Analytics

Benji Hyam

I hope more companies will move from a last-touch attribution model to measure ROI from channels to a first-touch and last-touch attribution model. The last touch isn’t a good representation of what drove a potential customer to take action or make a decision. By also considering first-touch attribution, companies will better understand what channels influence a sale and be better at allocating budget. – Benji Hyam, Grow and Convert

Melinda Byerley

Google Analytics + Salesforce integration could be a game changer for B2B Marketing. Attributing marketing spending in sales-driven organizations is a perennial challenge, and the connection between the two platforms is notoriously tricky and error-prone. We’re optimistic about this opportunity and encouraging our B2B clients to explore it as a top priority in 2018. – Melinda Byerley, Timeshare CMO

Nate Moch

Building a platform that can tie together your data across channels is a fundamental requirement for growth. The future of growth is in machine learning, as we will use it for everything from personalization to activation, from content to marketing. You can’t take advantage of the potential of machine learning without access to all of your data in one place. If you haven’t invested in your data infrastructure, make it happen in 2018. – Nate Moch, Zillow

Paid Acquisition

Logan Young

Optimize your content for mobile. Not only are users viewing content on their mobile devices at an increasing rate, but they’re also becoming more comfortable going through the entire purchasing process from their smartphone (as opposed to switching to a desktop to buy). Shoot vertical videos, use images/headlines with stopping power, and don’t ask users to leave social and go to a site with lousy loading time since most are using data and will abandon the request if the load time is longer than 3 seconds.- Logan Young, BlitzMetrics

Brian Rothenberg

The paid acquisition will continue to be a viable tactic for many and a required one, given the diminishing reach of organic social and other platforms. Competition is increasing, so CPMs and CPCs are as well – this will require the most successful paid marketers to better leverage data (ideally first-party data for segmentation and lookalike audiences) and to better monetize their services, in turn, enables higher spending via paid acquisition. Paid acquisition is a tool in the toolkit, but don’t let it be the only one — if you do, the only long-term winner will be Facebook/Google. – Brian Rothenberg, Eventbrite

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Will Bunker

The cost of doing machine learning is meagre. All the algorithms are available on open-source and cloud platforms. It is a matter of finding the most exciting data to use for insights. We can train the data to identify better who is more likely to be a great customer or predict churn and allow companies to be proactive. – Will Bunker, Growth

Conor Lee

The most hyped thing ever. Few teams have the talent resources necessary to apply it. – Conor Lee, lead

Eric Siu

A tool like Automated Insights can help you crank out unique content at scale (that doesn’t sound like a robot). – Eric Siu, Single Grain 

Oli Gardner

Machine learning and AI will create more intelligent systems. If they are exposed via APIs, that will empower the growth marketer with even greater acceleration and experimentation potential. – Oli Gardner, Unbounce

Video and Live Streaming

Dennis Yu

Video will become central to the modern marketer’s strategy– not some side thing or freelancer project. Central means that the company produces video as their primary content, produced by the company themselves (not hired actors), and edited by an in-house team. – Dennis Yu, BlitzMetrics

Tony Tie

The live streaming boom will depend heavily on internet bandwidth and improving speeds. I don’t know if we will make leaps in access and speed in 2018, but when the streaming experience is as seamless as a prerecorded video, it will take off. – Tony Tie, Expedia.

Other Channels and Strategies

Todd Wilms

One of the more significant challenges for marketing is internal, not external – the sales organization. “He Said, She Said” in-fighting over leads kills the pipeline and only leads teams to play it safe. Build alignment by having shared goals (revenue, touches to closure, lead to closure duration, etc.) for which both teams own and share responsibility. You are one big team driving growth, so act like it. – Todd Wilms, The Consultant’s Collective

Sean Work

Focus on improving your brand. Work on improving your image, trust and authority. This is the stealth CRO hack that no one can steal from you, and it will improve your conversion rates across the board. When people are familiar with your brand, and your brand looks/feels sharp, trustworthy, and friendly (and not some fly-by-night operations), guess what? You’ll close more deals and sell more products. You’ll grow! – Sean Work, Crazy Egg

Sean Sheppard

Be proactive and lead your customers to their desired outcomes with actionable insights. The most successful companies generate the majority of their revenue from existing customers. Find ways to grow with them! – Sean Sheppard, GrowthX

Ryan Kulp

If you build a chatbot, make sure the customer knows this is a bot. NO bots are good enough to “trick” people into thinking they’re real… that’s called ‘Passing the Turing Test’ and Facebook Messenger won’t do this anytime soon. Instead, make your chatbot so *obviously* a chatbot that your prospects and customers will get a “kick” out of interacting with it. –Ryan Kulp, Fomo

General Growth Marketing

Ada Chen

There are specific marketing channels that are incredibly specialized, like paid marketing, email marketing, and SEO, where a world-class practitioner is worth their weight in gold. As growth marketing matures, we’ll see less generalized ‘growth marketing’ roles in teams and more focus on building teams with channel experts. – Ada Chen, Notejoy

Brandon Redlinger

The majority of companies will get growth wrong. Instead of focusing on “how can we build a better product and deliver more value to customers,” the focus will remain internal. They’ll still be trying to figure out, “how do we get more money from our customers?” The allure of VC money and front-page headlines that our society prizes are only distractions. As a consequence, they will miss the real revenue opportunity.

However, I’m very bullish on the growth marketing movement in the long run. I think companies will wise up. The most innovative companies will re-think the growth marketers’ roles, responsibilities, and relationships, and they will be given more responsibility for the customer experience. – Brandon Redlinger, Engagio

Hana Abaza

I think it’s never been harder to move the needle. It’ll be less about tactics and hacks and more about sustainability and delivering something your audience wants. – Hana Abaza, Shopify Plus

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