There’s no doubt the world of marketing has seriously changed over the last decade. Even in the B2B manufacturing, pharmaceutical and life science space that we operate in here at ramarketing, which is hardly (admittedly) at the cutting edge of the scale.

At the start of every year, I take the time to brush up on my own knowledge and understanding of all things marketing. I read countless blogs, articles and books about the latest tools, trends and platforms. I do this primarily to not be caught out by my clients and staff on stuff I should know about and to also add value to companies where I see something that could really take their marketing efforts to the next level and benefit their customer experience and business. Seems sensible, right?

However, this year (and maybe it’s just me getting older), I collated some key marketing trends and could not help but think… hang on, are these just old school tactics with fancy new names? The emperor’s new clothes of marketing. B2B marketing people understandably get rather excited about the next big thing but there are four fancy new trends with intriguing titles in particular that I am quite frankly outing as mutton dressed as lamb. Just to be clear. I’m not saying don’t do these, but be careful not to be swayed by what’s new and sexy just to impress your boss, when you’re probably doing most of them already…

Trend 1 – Visual marketing

Wow, doesn’t that sound so very impressive? Visual marketing. So arty. So creative. So, avant garde.

Erm, is this not just using pictures and photos? According to Wikipedia, the expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” was coined in a newspaper article in 1911. So, pretty old then?

The learning for marketing people? Use images in your marketing materials rather than lots of words. I know, groundbreaking.

Trend 2 – Native advertising

Not sure why I think of an aztec tribe but doesn’t this sounds tremendously fascinating, mysterious and novel?

It certainly does, but the more mature marketing folks like myself will know content that resembles the publication’s editorial content as an advertorial… now maybe in drag.

The learning for marketing people? If your content’s not good enough… then pay to pretend you’re relevant enough to an outlet’s audience.

Trend 3 – Interactive content

How wonderfully futuristic and virtual reality-esq does this seem please?

Getting folks to engage with your content and brand beyond just being a passive experience.

The learning for marketing people? Erm, remember surveys, competitions and a good old fashioned quiz? Yeah, pretty much that online.

Trend 4 – Influencer marketing

Marketing that influences people without paying a penny for it. Stop the press. This is the holy grail right?

Oh wait. So, there’s this thing called PR… Third party endorsement, credibility and trust are the foundations of this well-established profession, without needing a snappy new label.

The learning for marketing people? Identify leading outlets and people in your sphere. And then… wait for it… pick the phone up and talk to them.

Marketing coordinators, managers and directors I work with are busy enough with lots of tactics clogging-up an increasingly complicated annual planner so don’t duplicate your efforts and go chasing fashionable fads. Keep things simple and cut through the crap. There’s a reason why certain tactics have been around for over a century. They can work.

Whether you opt for visual, native, interactive and influencer in your marketing glossary or stick to pictures, advertorials, competitions and PR… you’ve still got the same job to do. Know your market inside out, work out how to reach them effectively and make your brand stand for something that makes you stand out. So basically, be anything but a native that blends into the crowd.