At the beginning of each year, prognosticators and crystal ball enthusiasts practice the craft of forecasting coming trends in everything from the coming year’s sports champions to the price of all things necessary or extravagant. The field of marketing has its own bevy of practitioners providing perceived trends for the coming year. Regardless of the direction taken to connect best with customers in 2018, the journey will be marked by continued advances in technology and shifting consumer acceptance and utilization of that technology.
Newspapers, magazines and other written media channels will continue to see significant erosion in influencing consumers in 2018. With the rapid advancement and consumer acceptance of digital communication technologies, hard copy collateral’s decline appears to be in a free-fall that will be difficult or improbable to stem. The forecast for 2018 predicts another 6.8 percent decline for the embattled industry segment. However, the traditional print media are not the only marketing purveyors predicted to suffer set-back in the coming year.
As other social media outlets continue to experience growth in user base, Twitter was unable to advance the ball in 2017. Twitter sought to increase its number of users by increasing the popular 140-character limit to 280. It didn’t prove to be the key to differentiate itself among other social media leaders. Marketers are already using other social media platforms to connect with prospects in more than 140 characters. It is a trend of decline for Twitter that some predict will continue in 2018.
With more platforms incorporating big data capabilities within platform infrastructure, marketers will tap into the myriad of consumer data points in order to remain competitive. In addition, consumers are expected to continue embracing interfaces that require little or no physical inputs, such as the smart speaker. People are interacting with these devices as part of their daily lives, using voice commands and listening to the results. Thus, there is a substantial opportunity for marketers to communicate with them in a different way.
Additional marketing tactics predicted to be winners in 2018 include:
– Influencer Marketing. Influencer marketing is expected to remain a useful strategy. With nearly 95 percent of marketers touting it a successful strategy in 2017, brands are expected to continue utilizing influencers to connect with their customers through social media.
– Apps. The future of apps remains bright. A prediction for 2018 suggests strong growth in app utilization and capitalization.
– Live Events. Nearly 66 percent of marketers say that they will increase their participation in hosting live events in 2018. Live event hosting remains a reliable and highly effective marketing channel.
– Social Media. “Social media has undoubtedly become a critical platform for marketers,” said E.J. McGowan, vice president and managing director of Campaigner. According to a digital marketing forecast survey by Campaigner, 73 percent of digital marketers believe it was a top strategy in 2017. Using video to carry more of the message through social media is forecast to rise in the coming year. “In their easily digestible format, videos serve as an excellent way to convey a brand’s message in a creative and interactive way,” says E.J. McGowan. “As a result, social networks and other media have made it easier for individuals to consume and broadcast video. As video continues to grow at a prodigious pace, marketers must learn to adopt this disruptive technology or risk falling behind to competition.”
– Augmented Reality. Ground gains are anticipated in the utilization of augmented-reality (AR) content. As new devices like iPhone 8 and iPhone X populate and go mainstream, brands will begin to increase their exposure through AR-branded content.
– In-Car Advertising. As driverless cars begin to arrive on the roads of America in greater numbers, in-car advertising may be the new frontier in advertising.
The best marketers may be those who effectively blend multiple digital channels to engage with their customers. The trend in social media integration is to combine marketing strategies to impact a broader audience. “The most crucial integration this year, however, is social media and email,” said McGowan. “When leveraged correctly, social media and email marketing can have a synergistic relationship for brands, with social media driving email subscriptions and emails bringing more followers to social channels. Marketers should coordinate the timing and content of posts and emails, and ensure congruent messages are being sent across all channels. Marketers can leverage these social networking sites in 2018 by crafting media campaigns that highlight the strengths of each site,” continued McGowan. “For instance, video may fare very well on Facebook; however, marketers should pivot back to text content when launching campaigns on LinkedIn.”
“While some industries have embraced the paradigm shift in how they reach, engage, and mobilize new customers, I predict that we will see even more attention and focus being placed on getting the marketing mix correct,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO& Managing Partner, Junction Creative Solutions. “The buzz word used to be ‘contextual’ but we reached that stage when consumers adopted smart devices. ‘Relevance’ is going to be the buzz word for 2018.”
How are your strategies stacking up in the New Year!?