There are just way too many trends to keep up with as far as marketing in the digital age goes. For years we were teased with the promises mobile communications had to offer. When Facebook dethroned MySpace and ascended into the mainstream, social media became the object of brands, the undeniable Holy Grail we just couldn’t ignore. There have been more than enough supposedly great marketing tactics to come our way, but as we have learned on numerous occasions, not everything the hype machine produces lives up to the acclaim.

Just think about all the trends that were launched to plenty of fanfare, but only fizzled out in the end. Where do we even begin? For the purpose of time constraints, we really don’t have to look any further than Google. Though the well balanced internet giant can be viewed as a huge success, Google Buzz, Google Wave and Google Video are just some of its products that appeared to have great marketing potential initially but ended up being duds.

Effective marketing is not about employing flashy techniques or hopping on the latest bandwagon. It’s about engaging your audience and building relationships for the long haul. Here are some quick tips to help you do just that:

Change with the Times – Business may be great now that you’re indulging in social media and other hot marketing channels, but where will it be in the next five years? Will social still be all the rage? Maybe, maybe not. The point is that you must learn to adapt with the times and remain relevant even when the trends you were leveraging fade away. Focus on optimizing the channels you currently use to make sure they represent your business in both a truthful and appealing way. If some channels lose their contemporary prominence, you will still have a valuable resource for your customers to interact with while you spearhead other venues.

Understand Your Audience – Whether you are using a trendy tool like social media or an older but evolving medium like email marketing, the success of your marketing strategy will ultimately be determined by how well you know your audience. It is important to not only understand who they are as a market, but who they are as individuals. Fail to take the time to learn what keeps them up at night and you could lose them to a competitor who already has that part of the game down pat.

Know What’s Hot and What’s Not – Trying to keep up with all the trends in the marketing world these days is both impossible and impractical. The smartest thing you can do is track the ones with the most potential and incorporate those that fall in line with your vision. Knowing which trends are worthy of reacting to is a simple way to save yourself a lot of precious time, energy and money. A prominent marketing trend may be perfect for some companies but the absolutely wrong direction for your own. Do not let a fad derail your company’s vision.