Okay, this might sound kind of antithetical to good marketing practice, but… I tend to avoid marketing trends as a rule of thumb. To illustrate what I mean by that, allow me to point you toward the state of web development.
There are new languages, platforms, and frameworks coming out left and right, claiming to be the best out there, and that all other languages are soon to be obsolete. Many developers jump all over them (see: Angular, Node, React, Go, Vue, Ruby on Rails, Less, MongoDB, I could go on for ∞ ), but sooner or later the fad dies off and they’re on to the next “best” thing, having to re-architect their entire codebase in the process.
It can tend to be a rabbit hole filled with waste – wasted time, wasted money, wasted resources racing to keep up with the next best thing, only to drown in the process because these technologies haven’t been around long enough to be proven or to accurately understand the drawbacks of using them. (Why in the eff are you using a non-relational database for your CRM???)
I believe the same is true with marketing. Keep an eye on emerging technologies, trends, and proven methods, but also be wary of the unsubstantiated claims and be aware of your market (you’re probably not going to have much luck marketing for local solar companies in Southern California right now, for instance).
Underneath all of Google’s Best Practices and the buzzwords and jargon, the core principles remain the same. Find a niche, speak to your audience on their level, make sure your product or service has a competitive edge, and alleviate their pain.
We’re all just people trying to sell things to other people. The best way to do that is to understand the people who you’re selling to, be it by doing market research, interacting directly with your consumer (asking for feedback, conducting surverys, follow-up), peer testing, etc.
In my experience, the most effective thing that has proven time and time again to work is to personalize the consumer’s experience and treat them like a fellow human instead of a lead among a sea of other leads. Be personable, listen to what they’re saying, don’t sound scripted, etc. In other words, make them feel special. This is especially important in competitive, overly saturated markets. Sometimes, a pen is just a pen and the only thing that really makes a difference is the actual interaction.