Marketing is the art and science of communicating value for purpose of selling.

Sounds simple, right?

But with the decline of traditional marketing like newspaper and TV ads, and the rise of “holistic” marketing that considers everything from the product and the whims of the public, to the power of a crowd and fostering relationships, it can get a little crazy for the average business person to get to grips with the latest trends.

Thankfully, it’s not as complicated as you might think. Here’s a look at a handful of the current trends that are red-hot game changers:

Go Native

Native advertising, also known as “organic” advertising, is all about leveraging the power of a social network without anyone being overtly aware it’s happening.  A sponsored post on Facebook is the prime example. It sits as the status update of a company, product or individual but circulation is increased by paying Facebook a fee.  These can be very lucrative and a lot less annoying than a stream of random ads (or even targeted ads) sitting on a sidebar.

Another popular form of native advertising is placing a sponsored post on a blog. Often the content is written by the company or individual paying for the promotion and is merely hosted by the blogger.  Depending on the weekly and monthly traffic of that particular website, this too can be a fairly cost effective way to reach large numbers of potential customers.

Video – killing more than just the radio star

YouTube is one of the largest search engines on the planet (second only to it’s parent company, Google), so it should come as no surprise that video marketing is one of the hottest marketing trends.

Some videos are clearly a lot better than others, and some are works of art. In fact, watching ads has become a popular past time. Those mobile phone ads with the pony dancing to Fleetwood Mac are pure genius, and where once American Super Bowl ads were a million dollar one-night-only kind of event, thanks to YouTube, people can watch their favorite ads over and over – at no additional cost to the company.

Can a business still leverage video marketing without a high priced Hollywood produced video? Absolutely. Whether it’s hosting a Google hangout on a topic related to your expertise or creating your own budget-sensitive ad, video marketing is a viable option for everyone.

Infact we recently tried it with great success, and made a video explaining responsive website design.

In the Cross-Hairs

Geo-targeting is one of the fastest growing trends in marketing.  Thanks to mobile technology, businesses can now present personalized advertising to mobile customers based on the customer’s location. The phenomenal growth of smartphones is a driving force behind this trend.

Mobile phone towers can be used to position phone users; this location targeting can then be used to serve relevant ads to the users mobile device. It’s responsive, real time, and pure genius.

Combine this with the growth of company and brand apps, and you have a winning strategy.

It’s getting Crowded In Here

Crowdsourcing is all about harnessing the power of a large, enthusiastic crowd. From developing marketing concepts, working through project iterations, to targeted feedback, outsourcing a campaign to a cloud of experts, customers and interested people is not only cost-effective, it’s practically a no brainer.

What makes this kind of marketing strategy unique is the holistic nature of it. It relies on a two, and sometimes five or ten way conversation between the company and interested stakeholders. These conversations are gaining increasing recognition for not only encouraging innovation, but for being cost-effective, too.

The Google+ Behemoth Just Got Bigger

Google+ is the social media platform for content creators. for anyone with a content marketing plan that includes blogs and social media engagement with clients, customers and prospects, a presence on G+ is mandatory.

Why?

Simply put, G+ favours its own.

Google+ is the cement that brings the entire Google network together, from Chrome and Google Docs, to Gmail and Youtube. The Google algorithm now favours results that appear on it’s own products, including G+. This means that engaging on G+ can boost Google search rankings, and that’s pure gold dust.

Like a lot of game changing ideas that take some time to get used to (goal-line technology springs to mind), adapting your marketing strategy to fit current trends not only seems necessary, it’s also probably inevitable.

But once you get started, you’ll quickly forget why you ever did it any other way.