Trends Come and Go, but Classic Elements Stay Strong

February 25, 2015 Dawn Michalak

I head over to my favorite nail salon for a mani-pedi, and as I settle in the chair, the woman hands me a stack of fashion magazines. Thumbing through, I’m struck by all the headlines fighting for my attention:

“This season’s must-have trends!”
“227 fresh fall buys!”
“A whole new direction in style!”

Okay, no. I’m not going to try the Aspen Chic look that pairs a chunky Norwegian sweater with a miniskirt and ankle boots. I know what kind of style works best for me. I know the person I am, the kind of lifestyle I lead, and I know these particular trends aren’t for me. It’s not authentic. Yet, it still can be difficult to not get overwhelmed.

This line of thought got me reflecting on my work. Everyone is looking for the next big thing in digital marketing. We can’t help it. What’s the next trend? Could it work for me?

There is a parallel between fashion and marketing: Trends can be distracting. As you’re trying out the new stuff, don’t forget to come back to the classic elements of marketing, tried and true. It works in fashion, and it works in marketing.

Now, don’t get me wrong … trends aren’t a bad thing. We need to pay attention to what’s new, and try creative approaches and new technologies. But don’t forget to come back to these four reliable marketing principles:

1. Stick to the basics. 
Think of the white button-down collared shirt. It’s been a fashion staple for centuries. You can pair it with anything. It’s basic, it’s classic; you know it’ll work well and look great.

The marketing equivalent is content strategy, the fundamental basic element of topical content that engages your readers. This is a basic, and it works.

2. Know your audience. 
Take the little black dress. You can wear it lots of places: work, a party, a bar, a wedding—and you can customize it with shoes, jewelry and accessories to fit the situation.

This is something marketers have been doing for a long time. Good marketers customize content for their audience. Based on your understanding of their preferences and needs, you deliver what they’re interested in.

3. The devil is in the details.
Think about those big statement necklaces: they do make a statement. They’re impactful—they draw your eyes toward one single point of focus.

It’s like a website. You need to have one thing that the user immediately gravitates to. It’s powerful. Lay out your message in a simplified way, using compelling imagery, so your user’s attention is directed where you want.

Present your firm’s brand clearly, powerfully, strongly, simply. This is your statement necklace.

4. You need a strong foundation.
In fashion, you’ve got your undergarments, and most view them a necessity to complete an outfit.

In marketing, You can have great digital and content strategies, but if you don’t have the right foundation from a technical and resource standpoint, you’re going to run into trouble.

Marketing Foundation

In marketing, it’s a strong content management system that provides the foundation, the technology ecosystem you need to optimize your site. You need the power and capability to search and filter, relate content, obtain analytics, gain user insights, have systems talk to one another and so on.

Leave it to me to see the parallel between fashion and digital marketing.

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Curious about what else we learned at #1NLab14 last year? Watch all the session videos from the event, and stay tuned for more session recaps to come.


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Dawn Michalak Managing Director, Business Development
+1 312.873.6889

As Managing Director of Business Development, Dawn leads One North’s business development team to nurture relationships and direct sales efforts. Her background in account management aids in her ability to ensure the best experiences for One North's clients and prospects, as well as coordinate project delivery and services. If she could go back to any decade, it would be the 80’s - for the music, lava lamps and disco balls.

  • What you wanted to be when you were little: A hairstylist
  • Favorite Chicago spot: Southport Grocery on Southport Avenue – the best part of living in the city was doing the “Southport Walk” every Saturday with my husband.

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