We may not have a crystal ball in our office, but even so, after 18 years in the marketing business, we’ve developed a keen sense for where our industry is headed. Below are some of the trends we think will be big deals in the coming year—and beyond.
1. Contextual marketing will start to replace traditional advertising
The old-fashioned days of passive, one-way advertising messages are going away, replaced by highly targeted contextual marketing that delivers the right message in the right place at the right time.
2. Purpose will be more powerful than promotion
More and more, consumers are embracing brands that share their mission, values, and purpose. Look for brands to communicate their values more as these qualities become more influential in consumers’ purchase decisions.
3. The rise of the machines
The use of chatbots and voice assistants (such as Siri and Alexa) to drive marketing and provide customer support is gaining steam. In fact, Gartner, a leading tech research firm, predicts that 85% of customer interactions with companies will be non-human by 2020.
4. Artificial Intelligence will grow smarter
Combined with big data and machine learning, AI is expected to grow, allowing for highly customized automated content based on consumer preferences and lifestyle. And count on AI in marketing to increase even more as the technology improves.
5. Geofencing will gain traction as a marketing tool
Geofences are specific wifi enabled areas that prompt mobile notifications when a customer is active in a certain location (if you’ve played Pokémon Go, you’ve experienced this in video game format). Using this technology, marketers can send contextual messages to their customers and engage with them in a more relevant and immediate way.
6. Video content rules the net
Fifty-five percent of people consume video content thoroughly. According to research, by 2020, online videos will account for over 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic.
7. Live streaming = social media gold
Live streaming accounted for 75% of all internet traffic in 2017. In addition, studies find viewers watch live streams three times longer than prerecorded videos. This year, look for social media sites to capitalize on the live video trend by improving feed quality and adding more interactive features.
8. Influencer marketing will continue to work on young consumers
Almost 95 percent of those practicing influencer marketing believe it works. These days, consumers, especially younger ones, prefer content that’s more authentic. As a result, sponsored content promoted by influencers will keep gaining popularity.
9. Multi-channel campaigns are more effective than single channel
With fierce competition over consumers’ attention, plus more ways to opt out of unwanted ad messages, the most successful marketers will implement integrated marketing campaigns that use a combination of email, digital ads and other channels.
10. Authenticity matters more than ever
In the digital age, consumers crave a human connection to their favorite brands. Honesty, shared values, and respect are important qualities that will continue to go a long way toward building successful relationships between marketers and their customers.
11. People prefer content marketing over ads
70% of consumers say they’d rather learn about a business through an article than an ad, which gives content marketing an important advantage. (It’s also cheaper than most other marketing channels.) Besides articles, content marketing can take many forms, including social media posts, blogs, videos, and infographics.
12. Mobile video consumption will keep on growing
In 2018, mobile video consumption is expected to grow by 25% (and decline on laptops and desktops for the first time ever). And you thought people stared at their phones too much already!
13. Transparency becomes even more important
Between the media, online reviews, and social media, the business world has become a lot more transparent. For marketers, authenticity and honesty will continue to help build relationships and create loyalty, especially with millennials.
14. Personalized content will drive more messaging
Since personalized content is more effective than general, non-targeted content, marketers will continue to incorporate personalization into their marketing messages whenever possible.
15. Live events will make a big impression
Approximately two-thirds of marketers say they will increase the number of live events they host next year. Why? Because they know that live events create a more effective, more tangible, and more emotional brand experience.
16. Augmented reality creates a new marketing reality
Augmented reality apps let consumers engage with virtual versions of products—letting them test products before they buy them. This new form of interactive shopping technology is so popular that its growth is expected to surpass $100 billion by 2022.
17. Quality content will matter more than quantity
It looks like we’re finally reaching a point of quality over quantity in marketing, at least in terms of content creation. After being bombarded by an overwhelming amount of messaging and content, the focus this year will be on depth, relevance, and meaning.
18. Instagram will continue to be the social media darling
In 2018, Instagram is the place to be on social. With 800 million users each month, the fast-growing social media platform will continue to be one of the most influential, if not the most influential social media channel out there.
There you have it, 18 marketing trends to watch for in the coming year. Do you agree with our picks? Do you disagree? Either way, we’d love to know what you think.
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