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Decoding Digital Marketing:
Navigating the Ever-Evolving Landscape of Future Trends


Written by Jacqui Wang

5 minute read

“Blueberry milk nails”, “Gorpcore fashion”, “Euro summer”... such offer just a glimpse into the prolific, ever-evolving world of trends - namely micro-trends - that filter through our screens on the daily. Characterised by their short-lived popularity and impermanence in mainstream media, micro-trends are effectively an accelerated version of the typical trend cycle that shortens their lasting capacity; styles that used to last decades are now considered “out” by the end of the year. Media trends may be better understood when likened to fast fashion; they are produced and disseminated en masse, audiences swiftly over-consume it, and then, due to oversaturation, trends are discarded in favour of newer, more captivating ones. 


Whilst some marketers scramble for these opportunities to rebrand and capitalise on the perception of existing products turned “trendy”, the question arises: how sustainable can these marketing ploys be if they remain built on the fickle foundations of microtrends? Declining audience patience for trends further perpetuates the transience of internet culture, thus augmenting the challenges faced by marketers to navigate the dynamic digital landscape - a delicate balancing act of creating lasting, impressionable content whilst remaining relevant to audiences in the fast-paced world of digital consumption.


Tracking trends and tactics 

Consumer hyper-fixation on “newness”, coupled with overexposure to trends on digital platforms, make it increasingly difficult for marketers to stand out amidst the plethora of content touch-points available to audiences. As such, it becomes a common challenge for marketers to either gain enough traction for their content or to maintain their virality. Whilst these challenges exist, it is not to say that participating in trends is necessarily bad or ineffective; in fact, it may serve as an entrance strategy for smaller marketers to scale and expose their brands to wider audiences. Given the unpredictability of trends that inhibit marketers from fully grasping and taking control of the digital space they work within, there are ways to navigate trends that maximise the impact of content produced.

If micro-trends can exist, why can’t macro ones?

So long as micro-trends dominate mainstream media, audiences remain bombarded by new, vivid content that satiate their desires for instant gratification. However, the rapid over-saturation of trends makes it unproductive for marketers to play catch-up in a game that rarely awards long-term success. Instead, applying a “macro” mindset that aims for slow, positive growth may be more effective. In MINT’s last Marketing Mixer Event (shameless plug!), Porsche Australia’s Marketing Communications Manager, Hamish Fitzpatrick, shared one of the ways marketers can navigate the plethora of future trends appearing in the digital landscape; by consuming content. In other words, here’s your free pass to jump onto TikTok for “market research” purposes! To avoid building a marketing strategy based solely on microtrends, it may be beneficial to gain a good understanding of the current digital space; how other marketers are contributing to it, what works, what doesn’t, and what seems to be sustainable. Being selective with using trends relevant to your brand lends itself to better reach and resonate with target audiences. As a result, a hybrid approach balancing the use of micro-trends to captivate audiences and “macro-trends” to promote long-term growth can serve as a way for marketers to embrace the crucial influence of trends on mainstream media. As CSR values and sustainability remain at the forefront of business growth and branding, sustainability within the digital marketing space is equally significant to effectuate long term, lasting impact of brand messages. 


Beyond the Hype: Navigating Sustainable Branding in the Age of Greenwashing

On the note of sustainability, one should beware of falling into the trap of “greenwashing” trends (check out MMI’s “Greenwashing” post from @theimpactupdate to read more about it!). Whilst immensely effective in promoting marketing and brand exposure, trends can rapidly disseminate negative messages across all digital channels. The issue played out in H&M’s 2022 greenwashing scandal, which saw unsubstantiated claims of sustainability in clothing production and materials. 


Pressured by the onset of environmental awareness and the hyper-connectedness of social media, the trend of calling out companies for “greenwashing” peaked in 2023, damaging the reputation of all complicit brands. Whilst already difficult to successfully establish a brand identity in the digital marketing space, it is even harder to dispel unfavourable perceptions held by the public, tainting a brand in the long term. As such, it is evident that following performative trends for the sake of raking in likes and views isn’t going to make the cut. Audiences now are as critical as ever, and truthful, authentic brand messaging is the one foolproof way to avoid negative trends and publicity. 

In the fast-paced realm of digital marketing which continues to evolve, the key to success lies not in blindly following the latest trends but for marketers to lead campaigns with authenticity, integrity, and a commitment to long-term value creation. As ironic as it sounds, sustainable marketing is the next biggest trend!

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