Marketing trends and creative to watch for in 2017

By Dave McGurgan

In 2016, we saw businesses doubling down on content marketing, brands using personalization to deepen relationships with customers, and the use of high-quality content to drive thought leadership and provide value to audiences.

We asked an eclectic mix of our favorite creatives and marketers we admire what marketing trends they’re anticipating in 2017. We also asked what projects everyone would be focusing on over the next 12 months. The responses were very inspiring and should give you some marketing trends insights as we charge into 2017.

Claire Tillman-Shaffer of Fashion Victimless

Claire Tillman-Shaffer, Blogger
>> on vegan lifestyle, fashion

I think that 2017 will bring the rise of more vegan-only fashion businesses. More and more people are becoming vegan, not only in the United States but worldwide. Most people, when they become vegan, focus on the food they eat, not the clothes they wear. It isn’t usually until they start learning more about veganism that they begin to understand the role that animals played in the fashion industry and that it is cruel and unnecessary. You don’t need to wear animal products to be fashionable. The more people that choose a vegan lifestyle, the more need there will be for businesses that sell only vegan fashion.

>> On reaching new audiences via guest blogging:

I am planning on exploring other established vegan blogs where I can become a contributing writer. I currently write for and and would like to add at least one more site to my roster. I hope this would expand my reach and also drive more people to my Twitter@fshnvictimless and Instagram accounts, both which supplement my blog. Often people don’t know what to look for when trying to shop cruelty-free, so the more people that I can reach, through multiple channels, the more likely they are to choose a compassionate option when they buy.

Claire is the Chief Vegan Fashion Influencer at Fashion Victimless, a blog focused on vegan fashion.

Phil Woods

Phil Woods, Director of Digital Marketing
>> on the year of video

Video, Video, Video. I think video is finally reaching critical mass. It’s easier than ever to shoot and edit video, and it’s also more acceptable than ever to publish raw/uncut video – in particular through a medium like Facebook Live.

I strongly feel that businesses who aren’t considering some form of online video content for 2017 will be missing out.

Phil Woods is Director of Digital Marketing at WebStrategies, Inc.

Painter and Illustrator Kristen Margiotta

Kristen Margiotta, Illustrator
>> on politics in illustration

I was asked to participate in the New York Empire State Tattoo Convention in July of 2017 in NYC. This is my big project for the year. I plan on painting a new body of work to exhibit at this convention. It features some of the best tattoo artists in the world such as Paul Booth, Stefano Alcantara, Nikko Hurtado and the great Michael Hussar will be featured as well. It’s a different setting for me to exhibit in but I am looking forward to the experience.

>> On new opportunities for 2017

And of course, I always welcome any new illustration work. I’m closer in my pursuit of working with an agent. The Gustav Gloom book series has recently been licensed to a couple of international book publishers so I look forward to seeing what other foreign publishing opportunities arise with this book series in 2017.

Kristen Margiotta is a painter, illustrator and art instructor whose work can be found at

Illustrator Pat Higgins

Pat Higgins, Illustrator
>>on social justice via art

Historically, it has been the job of the creative world to bring social justice issues to the public in an accessible way. 2016 was full of politically charged illustration, cartooning and music. My prediction: 2017 will loaded with interesting, controversial and amazing commentary from artists. I am looking forward to sparking discussion and action through my work in the coming year.

>> On working with the right clients and personal projects:

I’m going to continue into 2017 with a similar plan to 2016. Last year I only took on clients and projects with subject matter that fit my interests: weird humor, music, politics and beer. This year I would like to continue to do the same, but make more time for personal projects as well. I’ve got a bunch of comic book and animation projects that are waiting for me on my own “to-do list.”

Pat Higgins is an illustrator, designer, punk rocker and beer nerd. His illustration and design can be found at

Jess Kelly

Jess Kelly, content marketing manager
>> on perfecting the meme:

In 2017, Memes, memes, memes … will gain traction; though I think it’ll continue to be a hard nut for businesses to crack.

>>> On shifting priorities:

I am focusing more on marketing and data, slightly less on content creation.

Jessica Kelly is a content marketing manager based in Davis, California, who often tweets about digital marketing at @jessgoddesse

Andy Duvall of Carlton Melton

Andy Duvall, Musician
>>On the unpredictability of trends

I spend little time thinking about trends. Predictability is boring. Words that I live by are “Keep ‘em guessing.”

>> On making music in 2017:

I’ll be working on a new record with Carlton Melton. Hopefully, the album will be released late summer in 2017, followed by a tour of Europe and the United Kingdom. This will be our sixth time overseas. I will be turning 50 in 2017, which may happen while the band is overseas.

I am planning on working on my book of band stories and photographs. I’ve wanted to do this for some time now. I’m just trying to connect with somebody who can help me with this; I need that motivation sometimes.

Andy Duvall is the drummer of Carlton Melton, an instrumental psychedelic band based out of California. Their record label is UK’s Agitated Records.

Joel Margavage of Eastmoor Digital

Joel Margavage, CEO, Search Specialist
>> On voice search


There has been explosive growth in the voice search since 2013. A big part of this is the improvement in voice recognition. New developments like Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon have changed the landscape of discovery for products and services.

The phrases people say vs. what they type into a search engine can be very different. There are new opportunities to take advantage of search engine marketing with Google, Bing and Yahoo for phrases that include “near me.”

Joel Margavage is CEO of Eastmoor Digital, a firm that specializes in digital marketing, search and analytics.

Dave McGurgan of Four Dog Creative on marketing trends

Dave McGurgan, Writer and Social Media Strategist
>> on leveraging live video

In 2017, one of the marketing trends we’ll continue to see the increasing adoption of live video for businesses that are marketing themselves through social media. It’s a powerful tool. I think smaller companies are likely figuring out how they can leverage it. I expect we’ll see more experimenting with live video for sure. I also believe that we’ll see more tools or add-ons that help make the production of live video even easier. It’s pretty amazing: You can launch a live video stream with one click and a mobile device.

>> On collaboration over competition:

We’ll continue to choose collaboration over competition and look for ways to work with our existing and new strategic partners. Storytelling is something that never goes out of style when it comes to marketing trends. We’ve been working hard at how we tell our story. We’re refocusing on how we use content to market our business. We believe it creates a point of differentiation from other organizations and helps us stand out more and makes it easier for people to get a sense of what it’s like working with us.

Dave McGurgan co-founded Four Dog Creative in 2015. He has been tweeting since 2007 @dmcgurgan.