Continuing education is an essential part of most professions. Lawyers, teachers, nurses and doctors are all required to take seminars and classes throughout their professional careers in order to keep their certifications.
As for marketers, we work hard to achieve our degree(s), build up our job experience to beef up a thin resume, and ultimately, could end up working for a reputable company. But does that mean you are done for good? Not necessarily!
While governing laws do not require marketing professionals to take continuing education courses, staying on the cutting edge is undoubtedly critical to not only your success, but also for the success of the company you are working for.
So, what does this imply? Whether you are a member of an external marketing agency or in-house marketing team, staying on top of marketing trends is vital for staying relevant in the market and rocket your company ahead of the competition.
However, let’s face it: How to Stay on Top of Marketing Trends with a constantly changing and evolving industry such as marketing is easier said than done. After all, how can you stay abreast of all the changes that affect marketing, especially with a full-time workload? To help you, here are a few effective ways to keep up:
Read Marketing Related Blogs
Find the most influential bloggers in the marketing niche and follow them. There are several marketing-related blogs on the internet that cover a diverse range of marketing disciplines. This list from Inbound.org should prove useful in finding the best marketing blogs to help you stay on top of your game, keep up with the latest trends in the industry, and gain an edge of your competition.
Being a marketer yourself, it is also essential to have a blog of your own to share your insights, thoughts, experiences and ideas. In fact, setting up a blog not only establishes you as a thought leader in the industry, but also allows you to get a clearer view of your profession and community. Not only this, you also learn more about industry resources and even search behaviors!
Subscribe to Trade Journals
There is no better way to stay updated about specific issues in your industry than subscribing to trade journals that are actually devoted to covering them. However, remember, subscribing alone isn’t enough and you will have to read the whole thing, whether online or in print, to consume whatever information they offer.
While some marketers prefer reading trade journals in print form, there are others who find it more convenient to read journals and magazine in bite-size chunks. The point, though, is that no matter what approach you choose to go with, make sure you understand what you are reading rather than merely repeating what has been said.
Network Inside Your Industry
You can learn a lot just by talking to people. So, attend local events and joint a marketing organization to seek out people in your industry. Having face-to-face discussions with peers can be particularly enlightening, and is one of the easiest ways to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in the industry.
LinkedIn, the popular business-oriented social media site, offers a great way to network inside your industry via ‘Groups Directory’. Here, you can join relevant groups and discover like-minded professionals to learn more about emerging trends and discuss issues of significance. In fact, you can contribute your expertise and knowledge as well.
Reddit is also a great platform for networking. But you need to learn to network and market on Reddit.
As busy marketers, chances are we don’t have the time to attend every seminar and conference that sparks our interest. However, with webinars, you have the opportunity to learn about trends and issues prevailing in the marketing world, that too, without leaving your office! Watching an hour-long webinar, or even a 15-minute one, will give you a better understanding of the topic at hand.
Now, moving to the important question: which webinars should you attend? Well, many renowned companies, like PR monitoring service Vocus, and Google, the largest search engine in the world, offer webinars. And what’s better is they are usually free to watch. Besides the online course, a downloadable presentation may also be provided which you can use to train your team members.
Get on Twitter!
And lastly, how can we forget about Twitter? The social media site is all about having insightful conversations and exchanging ideas. Not only should you tweet, but also follow as many great companies and marketing-thought leaders as possible. But, out of millions of people, how do you find the right ones to follow?
- Start with brands that you like and know. You can easily find them with the Twitter search feature. However, if not, look for their Twitter handles on their respective websites.
- Once you have followed them, look at who they are following, and add the ones you find interesting to your list.
- Twitter’s Who to Follow is a useful feature that provides recommendations on Twitter accounts based on categories you are interested in as well as the people you follow.
- Utilize online resources like Twellow to find profiles influencing key marketing-related conversations and topics.
However, feeds from hundreds of contacts can be hard to keep up with! What you need to do is filter your industry leaders and VIP contacts by creating lists that you can engage and reference on a regular basis. But if you are looking for a more convenient solution, taking advantage of services like HootSuite can help you manage your social media communications even better.
And with that, we have come to the end of this article! These are a few effective ways to stay on top of new ideas and trends in the ever-changing marketing industry.
Obviously, you can’t tackle all of these ideas at once, but what you can do is start with at least two ideas so you can stay ahead of the pack. Rest assured, once you do, both you and your clients will benefit significantly!