The marketing landscape seems to be changing at a moment's notice, which makes it hard to keep up with, according to David Bakke, marketing expert for personal finance website operator Money Crashers, who explains the five key trends that are set to keep marketers ahead of the game - for now. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

No matter what changes are taking place in the consumer landscape or the market you're serving, effectively marketing your business remains vital to future success. Although there are always new technologies and 'marketing fads' - bandwagons to jump on - there are several key concepts and trends to which marketers must pay attention to achieve longer-term business goals and growth. For example:

  1. Mobile Marketing
    This is far and away the 'hottest' trend this year, according to Bakke. If you're not marketing your business through smartphone and tablet devices, then you're simply not marketing your business enough. More than half of all mobile phone owners have smartphones and, according to inMobi, more than one third plan on making a purchase with their mobile device.
  2. Big Data
    Big data can give your small business insight into your customer base: what drives them and what they respond to. Find out what makes people purchase your products or services and who they are. Then, determine what type of marketing they're likely to respond to best, and create a campaign accordingly.
  3. Mobile Apps
    About 80% of smartphone users spend time using mobile apps. If your organisation doesn't yet have a mobile app, the time is now to create one. Not only can this be an effective way to market to new and existing customers, but it's a great way to deliver solid customer service as well.
  4. Social Media Promotion
    Those who think they have a robust social media presence may need to think again. Extend your campaign beyond the basics of Facebook and Twitter, and consider weekly TweetChats, gift card giveaways for participation, and even developing a presence on Pinterest and Google Plus. Don't focus solely on the number of Followers or Likes you have, but instead focus on engagement, customer conversions, and other measurable fundamentals that will bring your business new customers and sales.
  5. Content Is Still King
    Regardless of how you market, one theme remains constant: Content is King. Providing your readers with actionable and relevant advice is a sure way to build your business. However, which medium you use to market will dictate the type of marketing you take part in.

One other factor will always remain important, no matter which of these paths you follow: while new trends in marketing can help you gain both exposure and customers, the financial cost and your return on investment (ROI) must always be made a priority.