Hobart Mayfield Launches Ecommerce Store

Any fan of high school, college or professional football is well-aware of the concern many players, coaches and owners have about the rate of head and brain injuries suffered by players across all levels of the sport. Head injuries and concussions caused by contact sports are a growing epidemic, particularly among young athletes. If left unprotected, concussions can result in long-term brain damage and may even be fatal. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that concussions have doubled in the last 10 years and The American Academy of Pediatrics has revealed a two-fold increase of emergency room visits for concussions in kid’s ages 8 to 13 years old. Concussions have also risen 200 percent among teens ages 14 to 19 in the last decade.

As school athletic programs and league rules committees scramble for ways to mitigate these injuries, one innovative early stage company, Hobart Mayfield, is applying science to finding a better way for players to avoid serious head injuries. Their innovative solution is S. A. F. E. Clip, an energy absorbing connector located at connection points where the facemask attaches to the helmet. By absorbing forces of a direct impact on the face mask, S.A.F.E. Clip demonstrated a reduction in force of 24% and 28% for translational acceleration and rotational acceleration, respectively compared to the standard face mask clips.

Justin Summerville, the President and CEO of Hobart Mayfield, is an entrepreneur who follows Thomas Edison’s mantra, “there is a better way, find it.” And he and his team found a better way. They are partnering with schools to customize and fit student helmets with the impact absorbing clips. Justin says, “Because we believe that every athlete deserves the opportunity to succeed and be protected from unnecessary head injuries, we have spearheaded a program that will help provide our product to athletes all around the country.”

Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) recently partnered with Hobart Mayfield to design and develop a new website to showcase the S.A.F.E. Clip and its many benefits to athletes of all ages.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the folks at Hobart Mayfield,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO, of Junction. “We are passionate about working with start-up companies who believe not just in the power of the technology, in this case the S. A.F.E. Clip, but also in their ability to generate a positive impact for players of all ages. We look forward to watching this company impact this industry in a big way!”

For more information on Hobary Mayfield, visit www.hobartmayfield.com.

Cost Management Group’s New Digital Presence

The Gartner Market Guide for Telecom Expense Management (TEM) Services in May 2017 reported a 45% increase in end-user enterprise enquiries concerning TEM since 2016. With IT costs rising, organizations need to more closely monitor and control the cost of technology. The report stated, “The continued growth and evolution of enterprise telecom services prompts many companies to evaluate TEM services for ongoing cost optimization and efficiencies, especially if they lack the internal resources to effectively optimize or have limited governance on telecom and IT procurement over a complex enterprise footprint.”

Being able to effectively scale solutions with the right balance of strength and agility, for enterprise-level organizations, mid-size businesses, and SMBs, is nothing new to Cost Management Group (CMG). Headquartered in Atlanta, GA since 1996, with additional offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Costa Rica and the Netherlands, CMG specializes in driving down the operating costs of its client companies by applying proprietary methods and tools, or those of its carefully chosen partners who possess a particular and uncommon expertise. CMG, as a leader in the industry, is committed to its vision, believes in its mission, and is driven by a set of core values.

When searching for a partner to assist in telling the CMG story, it was important to find an organization that shared a common set of core values and focus on quality, extraordinary attention to service and innovative solutions. Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) worked with the team at CMG to redesign its online experience that includes a wealth of content to engage prospective clients and partners.

Julie Gareleck, CEO and Managing Partner, Junction, says, “As the marketing landscape changes and consumer expectations evolve, it’s critical to remain ahead of design trends whether it is a website or a comprehensive set of solutions to support sales and marketing. We are proud to expand on our creative portfolio by working with an organization like CMG.”

The Importance of Understanding Your Customers

More than ever before, to be successful in launching or growing a business, success rests on the ability to understand consumer behavior, their needs, wants and beliefs. Customer behavior is changing almost daily as technology, advancing its influence over how consumers make their buying decisions. Fully understanding these shifts in consumer behaviors and beliefs will help you unlock fresh insights to drive your business forward. The traditional marketing and sales approach to creating “target audiences” of creating a profile based on gender, age, demographic, and geographic data alone is an approach that will cripple your ability to reach target audiences in an effective way.

Personal factors such as individual interests and opinions are influenced by demographic data such as age, gender, culture, profession and background, but psychological factors like perceptions and attitudes can play an even more important role in a consumer’s ability to process and comprehend information. Extensive social media interactions and personal relationships with family and friends is an increasingly significant influencer on customers purchasing decisions. Identifying and understanding the most critical factors and influences that affect your target audiences’ buying decision is essential to making a successful connection. How does your customer consume information and what sources do they get it from?

Just as technology has changed human behavior, entrepreneurs and business owners must adapt to the new approach to marketing and sales strategy. Consumers have unprecedented access to information from multiple and more mobile sources than ever before. The speed of change and the rapid introduction of newer technologies are impacting consumer behavior more quickly and some businesses are unable to adapt to the frenzied pace. Those who are too deliberate in recognizing and responding effectively, run the risk of being left behind in the marketplace. Brian Vellmure, in his article “How Technology Is Reshaping Human Behavior (And What You Should Do About It)” said, “As I look around, I see too many companies still wrestling with solving yesterday’s problems, woefully doing their best to survive, while the speed of technology renders their efforts irrelevant.”

Whether direct to consumer or B2B; online or brick and mortar; today’s consumers are better educated and technological savvy, and freely utilize multiple mobile devices to demand improved purchasing interactions with their product and service providers. Dave Parro, partner and vice president at Walker Sands, says, “The priority for retailers no longer lies in increasing the number of consumers who shop online, but rather improving their experience—whether it is online, in store or across different product categories,”

In order to respond to this rapid disruption to traditional purchasing processes, it is advantageous for businesses and entrepreneurs to gather important insights and perspectives  by aligning with strategic partners who understand the evolving dynamics of consumer behavior – – not just in your industry – – but across industry.  “The insights and data should drive your overarching strategy. This is critical to not only increasing awareness for your business or the product and services you provide, but also identifying those that are in the market for your products and services”, says Julie Gareleck, founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions.  “This can significantly impact the length of the sales cycle and can reduce costs and time spent on securing these customers.”

Are you effectively reaching your target customers?

Traditional Agencies and the Importance of Being Relevant

Change is inevitable and the one constant among a universe of constants that is destined to be changing perpetually. Business models once thought to be permanent, only needing occasional refinements, are learning that nothing is forever, and in today’s fast paced technological era, nothing is forever for very long.

Legacy advertising agencies, historically a model where marketers hired well established teams of “Mad Men” types to create thirty-second television commercials and high-gloss magazine pictorials, are finding that even their vision has to change. To resurrect a familiar automotive advertising tag-line from the past, “It’s not your father’s Buick anymore.”  A long time industry veteran and CEO of Speakeasy Guild, John Winsor, recently said, “Advertising agencies are no longer the valued partners they once were.  In fact brands don’t really even need agencies anymore.  It’s not just their work that’s losing relevance; the ad agency business model itself may now be defunct.”

Like many other industries, advertising agencies of the future will find it necessary to become far more focused on their client’s need to satisfy their customers and less around the brand or the channels utilized to connect with consumers. Digital has disrupted the status quo of every market player’s business model, creating new pathways to consumers, opening up the market to new competitors and instilling significant and challenging innovations in organization and methods at an ever increasing speed.  Mark Read, CEO of WPP’s Wunderman and of WPP Digital says, “We’re going to need to be much more accountable to our clients for results, by which I mean sales. Part of this means we need to use technology and data to track our work to sales. It also gives us the opportunity to build new capabilities and expand our offer into e-commerce.”

At the mega brand PepsiCo, Brad Jakeman says, “The most effective creative will come from the integration of content creation and distribution, and greater in-house content publishing resources. For a brand like Pepsi, it was once sufficient for us to produce four pieces of content a year — mainly TV — and we could spend about six to eight months developing that one piece of content and spend $1 million on each piece of film. Now, those four pieces has turned into 4,000; eight months has changed to eight days and eight hours; and budgets have not gone up. Maybe [we have to publish] so quickly and efficiently that it needs to be more of a content-publishing group that sits inside the company and augments the work done through [agencies].”

What is required of agencies to remain relevant to its clients? Arthur Sadoun, the new CEO of Publicis, says “……”clients have three challenges: low growth, pressure on costs and a need to restore trust in their brands. All three are forcing them to transform their businesses and change the way they deal with customers. This is a race. It’s a race to be relevant. The big difference between today and yesterday is speed. You need to be much faster on the execution.” Mr. Sadoun is now faced with the cultural challenge of integrating and scaling up this business model.

Marketers and agencies are racing to get ahead but given the quick pace of technology – it’s a head to head challenge many are finding difficult to encompass. Julie Gareleck, founder and CEO Junction Creative Solutions says, “It is clear that we are in a new world and a new era. We have to adapt to entirely new marketing channels, make important decisions every day on how to invest our efforts and capital in utilizing new technologies in order to compete on an expanded global economy. Our firm was founded on a hybrid approach – valuing strategy and execution.  You need to be able to show value in terms of dollars, as opposed to just the number of overall impressions.” To Gareleck’s point, the impact that traditional management consulting firms have on the life of agencies is evident.

What is happening in so many industries today is a real game changer. It won’t be enough to tweak the old model around the edges. Agencies who fail to identify the new dynamics in the environment and react in a timely manner risk being left behind.

Vision Alone Didn’t Put Man on the Moon

It was a time of great promise and anticipated opportunity emerging from a sustained period of relative world peace and prosperity after the former decade of world division, war and unparalleled human atrocities. With the threat of another decade gravitating towards a return to the mistakes of the past it was a time for new leadership, one which predicted great things and unimaginable triumphs into the remaining year’s of the 20th century.

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave a historic speech before a joint session of Congress that set the United States on a course to the moon. “First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” For those who lived in the time, the proclamation from this new young leader of the free world left little question as to what kind of leader he was to be.

Many people use the term “visionary” to describe the kind of leader they are, but fewer understand what is required of the visionary leader to succeed at achieving their vision. Whether leading a nation, state or business venture, visionary leaders retain important skill sets and personal qualities that separate them from those who are idea generators and who leave the minutia of the journey to others. True visionary leaders possess charisma, a state that Merriam-Webster defines as a “personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty.”  “It is a natural attraction that draws people to the leader and the leader’s enthusiasm.”

Visionary leaders are most often the chief organizer and risk taker; are never satisfied with the status quo; are consumed with making the future a better place than today; are accepting of change and optimistic about the future and achieving the success of their dreams. But most critical, visionaries understand and believe that strategic planning is at the core of achieving their journey to success.

Strategic planning is an organization’s process designed to set forth goals and objectives, creating a plan of action based on known facts, reasonable and flexible assumptions and allocating given resources towards the accomplishment of the ultimate objective. The visionary leader defines the strategic process and what it will resemble into the future and how it will function. Such leaders aren’t authoritarian or dictatorial, but seek to provide the freedom to believers to determine the best path to success.

History has shown that the most effective leaders in business or government are often not the best educated or intellectually gifted, but have unique skills and personal characteristics like enthusiasm and drive that is directed to achieving a goal no matter how seemingly challenging or improbable. They attract others with the talents to set the journey in motion, make the best business decisions possible and overcome the hurdles to success.

John F. Kennedy, in setting forth his example of a visionary leader, understood that conquering the challenges of space would be determined by winning over the hearts, minds, skills and talents of the tens of thousands aerospace engineers, technologists, educators, wrench turners and dreamers who were willing to buy into the dream, believed it was possible, follow the plan and work tirelessly to be part of the ultimate accomplishment. In the following of the 21st century, new visionaries in business and industry like Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others are refining what it means to be a visionary by influencing the ordinary among us to do the great and impossible.

“A visionary is a leader of excellence who sees what others do not see, who achieves for now and plans for the future, which positively impacts different generations and rises up other visionaries.” – Onyi Anyado.

Vision alone didn’t put man on the moon. What kind of leader are you?

Managing Sustainable Growth in an Evolving SaaS Marketplace

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Software as a service (SaaS), the distribution of software over the internet to users, is becoming the fastest growing software distribution model. As business consumers adopt cloud-based software to manage key business functions, the market for Sass services continues to grow at a meteoric pace. Along with its Cloud cousins, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), the market for third p[arty provided software is predicted to surpass $112.8 billion by 2019 , outpacing traditional software product delivery by a multiple of five. In 2019, it is forecasted that the cloud software delivery model will likely account for $1 of every $4.59 spent on software.

This significant growth pattern has SaaS providers salivating over the potential growth in profits and market share. Unlike tangible products, marketing an unfamiliar intangible which is delivered from the cloud can be a formidable marketing challenge. Add to the mix the insane pace of product upgrades, ease of market entry and short sales cycle and the challenge to capture, maintain and sustain growth can be daunting, even to the most experienced marketing professionals. “SaaS sales, is all about rapid sales” say Peter Cohen, managing partner of SaaS Marketing Strategy Advisors.

The path to profitability requires a strategy to uniquely differentiate your solution to customers, focus on retaining current customers and to provide an unrelenting commitment to service, not software. The approach to selling customers is more of a “free trial offer” than one of free golf outings, major league sports tickets and comforting resort retreats. While “free” may be the initial hook, it becomes critical to covert, covert, convert.

According to Gartner, 80% of all future SaaS revenue will come from just 20% of current customers. A study by Bain & Company found that focusing just five percent of your marketing efforts on retention can generate an increase in profitability by 75%. It’s essential to create marketing content that is directed specifically to addressing each client’s unique needs.

A proper marketing strategy includes elements that seek to gain market share, focus on customer retention, successfully monetizes services, and one that contains an attainable plan for sustained growth over the long term. Lincoln Murphy, a Customer Success Consultant offers, “When creating your SaaS marketing plan, you must understand that your business model of choice is a fully-integrated architecture where all aspects of the business — product, support, revenue model, and marketing — are tightly-coupled.”

At Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), we have a growing list of SaaS clients who are benefiting from our understanding and insights of the frantic SaaS marketplace”, says Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO.  “Our experience has led us to become uniquely qualified to develop successful growth oriented, customer centric strategies that can lead our clients to long term sustainable growth.”

Gareleck comments, “Consumer behavior is continually changing, with a sharp decrease in brand loyalty. General industry growth will offer an opportunity for SaaS companies to engage more customers but the value of the software has to be sticky. It has to satisfy a business need or solve a business challenge. In the absence of a strategy, sustained growth can prove challenging.”

Contact julie@junction-creative.com to learn more about our success stories with SaaS based companies!

Fake News, Believe it or Not, Is Not New

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When Facebook initiated new features last year designed to make it easier for its users to keep up with the news and social media marketers a chance to promote content directly to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his crew failed to foresee the oncoming calamity of such an opportunity. Perhaps it was unpredictable that so many news generating outlets would respond so overwhelmingly to the invitation, particularly those who apparently failed the journalism integrity exam in grade school. In addition a number of Facebook managers responsible for monitoring the fairness code were charged with simply failing to recognize the truth from pure fiction. Pressure on Facebook managers to promote certain stories over others was reported and a liberal bias to the selection of news stories, true or not, became a perception.

With the Pew Research Center finding that nearly half of Americans click to social media outlets for their news, the tarnish to the reputation of Facebook, marketers and even reputable news outlets soon began to build like barnacles on the hull of a shiny new boat. Advertisers who are always careful not to associate their brand with distasteful and distrustful public debate began to apply pressure to turn back fake news stories. Facebook turned to algorithms in hopes to stem the charges of personal bias of their human monitors and ultimately declared the right to declare some organizations news offerings as fake.

This month, Facebook began flagging “disputed news stories” that it determines have no basis in fact. “The “disputed” tag is part of Facebook’s grand plan to crack down on fake news as the company tries to tamp down the controversy over its role in the spread of misinformation that sharpened political divisions and inflamed discourse during and after the presidential election.” The process is the first hint of a serious effort to wipe out the practice of made-up news which has become rather pervasive.

History reveals many instances of “yellow journalism” and ranting demagogues during the age of print and broadcast long before the magic of the digital era. Most readers and viewers back then were expected to take responsibility and personally filter printed and broadcast outlets news offerings with a healthy amount of “Don’t believe everything you hear or read” skepticism or “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” response.

As claims of censorship and barriers to free speech fly over the new flagging efforts, perhaps the best response to the new yellowing of the truth is to encourage the “clicker” to practice a healthy amount of due diligence in selecting their news and its providers. In the end, truth over time will begin to silence the fakes, or at least cast them aside as irrelevant in the grander scheme of reality.

Helping Architects Accept Change and Embrace the Modern Marketing Era

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For most purveyors of goods and services, the act of marketing can be traced back in history to the very beginning of commerce when conveying the benefits of ones products and services over a competitor’s was a practice of simple communication, using the very rudimentary of marketing tools and collateral. But practicing the science of modern marketing has its beginning with the Industrial Age when new mass production techniques and evolving production technologies and improved modes of transportation demanded better strategies for selling and delivering finished goods and services to an ever expanding marketplace and an increasingly more competitive business environment.

But for many in the personal services sector, even the most basic marketing efforts are a relatively unfamiliar, new-age endeavor. The first Principles of Practice adopted in 1909 by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) actually barred architects from marketing themselves and even now, in the relatively early stages of the newest century, many architectural firms remain relatively unpracticed in the art and science of modern marketing.

In an article entitled, “Inspire Change for Sustainable Growth” and published in the Atlanta Institute of Architects’ Annual Publication “Design Equilibrium”, the authors at Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), an award winning strategic agency committed to creating high impact solutions for SMBS and Fortune 500 companies, reviews why many architects are struggling to understand the language or the practice of modern marketing. The AIA seeks educate and inform the architecture communities by highlighting topics designed to start a conversation.

Junction discusses the importance of establishing well-defined strategic goals and objectives and developing a brand that differentiates a unique set of capabilities that will set a firm apart from the competition. Today’s architectural firms, regardless of size or position in the business life-cycle, must be willing to accept change and embrace the emerging marketing tools and approaches from this new technological era and elevate themselves in a crowded, multi-dimensional marketplace to create a more sustainable business.

“We are very excited to be included in the 2017 Annual Publication,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO and Managing Partner, Junction. “It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for professional services companies to compete. We’ve built incredible results for our clients across various professional services industries.  With our knowledge of what has worked for others, we are confident in our ability to assist the Architectural community in developing unique strategies to grow their businesses.”

To read the full article, visit https://www.aiaatl.org/design-equilibrium-2017/ or contact the Atlanta Institute of Architects for their latest copy of Design Equilibrium. To learn more about how Junction Creative Solutions can help you create impact for your company, visit www.junction-creative.com.

Gettysburg Cancer Center Impacts Cancer Patients by Providing Comprehensive Care

Comprehensive Cancer Center

A Leader in Oncology Care Across the Region Since 1989

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Technology and connectivity continues to disrupt how we access information. Once limited to a one-or two line posting in the local telephone Yellow Pages (remember those?) medical practitioners of all disciplines felt little incentive to promote their services any way other than personal referrals from current patients and an occasional advertisement in the local papers.

As an aging population ignited an increased demand for specialty medical practitioners, the competition among medical services including hospital systems, urgent care networks, private practices, cancer treatment centers, telemedical service providers and others has intensified. Today there is a greater reliance on more sophisticated marketing strategies to bring patients to the medical providers. Choosing a doctor is no longer a random or arbitrary choice but one easily researched from among many providers from the comfort the patient’s home or mobile device. John Socratous, Wizmotions CEO, says, “One of the biggest consumer segments we see moving to aggressive advertising are doctors. Explainer videos, SEO and online reviews seemed secondary in the medical field for many years. Today, that is no longer the case.”

At the Gettysburg Cancer Center (GCC) in Historic Gettysburg PA, the doctors understand the importance of being accessible as patients embrace the technology in learning about their illness and the expanding science of treatment and care. Even with their all-encompassing oncology and hematology programs providing a complete range of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up cancer care, Gettysburg Cancer Center has launched a new website that is designed to educate and inform its patients. Dedicated to providing insightful, compassionate care to all of their patients, GCC understands that every person is unique as they strive to ensure every patient the highest quality care and best possible outcome for their cancer treatment. Their new website and strategic marketing initiatives now reflect that elevated commitment to cancer care.

Junction Creative Solutions, an award winning strategic agency committed to creating high impact solutions, was uniquely qualified to design and execute a successful implementation of social and digital collateral to satisfy GCC’s commanding presence in the cancer treatment center marketplace. With many years of experience in the telemedical, pharmaceutical, hospital and consultative medical services sectors, Junction is perfectly positioned to answer the creative needs of GCC.

Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO, said, “As the marketing landscape changes and consumer expectations evolve, it’s critical to remain ahead of the trend, particularly in the healthcare field where connecting patients with the best possible care providers can often have life or death implications. Junction believes that an effective content strategy adds significant value to a business, particularly in an era where patients have access to information – and a lot of it.  Healthcare companies must focus on communicating with patients where they are accessing information.”

For more than 25 years, Gettysburg Cancer Center has been committed to providing cancer care in a community-based setting close to their patient’s home. Their caring and educated staff is dedicated to providing a caring environment for patients and their families with individualized treatment, utilizing the best technical approach, and recognizing each patient’s psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs during their journey with their illness and healing.

To see more about how Junction’s creative team of marketing specialist is helping GCC successfully connect with their patients, visit www.gettysburgcancercenter.com.

Interesting and Challenging Times Ahead for Marketers

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At the coming of the end of each calendar year there comes a practice that appears to be an unavoidable part of our culture. It is understandable that at the end of something there certainly must be a beginning of something else, a sort of evolutionary ideology that mandates a certain continuity of things both past and present. Predicting outcomes of the future, whether by flight of fancy or scientific “guessimation”, has always had a certain risk of accuracy when measured in the hind-sight but it appears that the level of success has had little impact on stemming the seemingly unavoidable practice of prognostication as each old year ending approaches. So what’s coming ahead in the business of marketing in the New Year? How will it propose to be better or worse than from where we have just come?

The digital era will continue to dominate marketing efforts across the spectrum of business sectors. Consumers are dictating to marketers how they want to consume information. Users are no longer using 1 or 2 devices so mobile expansions for marketers is critical. This trend is likely to strengthen in the coming year as the technology continues to improve in scope and ease of use. In 2017, if you haven’t already, embrace mobile!

Content and marketers focused on providing quality content to audiences will continue to dominate the mainstream marketing environment. We have come a long way from the early efforts to first imagine the potential impact of social media marketing and then to follow through on its promises by mastering effective and more conversational and interactive content messaging. The conversation will continue to project the brands promise to seemingly individualized consumers while finding that efficiency sweet spot. The keyword in content will become “personalization”, which doesn’t fit in 40 characters or less.

The Influencer factor will continue to motivate consumers’ as confidence and trust rise in those who will be viewed as thought leaders. Selecting the appropriate influencer will be critical in establishing brand credibility.

Purpose Driven Marketing continues to extend marketing efforts beyond the sale and promotes a feel-good impression with customers. Look to see more brands form charity partnerships with non-profits in 2017.

Social media channels will continue to grow in quality and selection as yet unproven technology like livestreaming, virtual and augmented reality arrive to satisfy the appetite of 2.5 billion active social media users worldwide. Marketers will be challenged to identify and utilize those channels that work best for achieving their goals. Messaging apps will begin to find their utilization. Chad Martin, North American Director, Social and Emerging Media at VML, states that, “The idea of being able to engage with a customer in a one on one way is huge. The hurdle will be figuring out how to develop relevant content to so many.”

Given the surprises in the geopolitical world in 2016, we cannot underestimate the likelihood of something unforeseen and unpredictable in 2017, whether it’s new technology or yet undetected swings in consumer tastes. The unexpected can certainly arise. Whatever the reality of marketing trend predictions, it promises to be a very interesting and challenging time ahead.