The big tips for 2018
The marketing world is in a time of intense change. Gen Z, the demographic that has spent their entire lives on the internet, are now in their early 20s and how do they communicate? In #hashtags and on SnapChat. We keep seeing the words ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ in our newsfeeds, and suddenly voice-activated home operating devices (sorry, Alexa – she has a name you know!) are replacing breakfast shows, news reports, iTunes, ATMs and, well, everything else.
So where to from here? Based on what we’ve seen in 2017 and the expectations for 2018, The Marketing Factory team sat down to identify our top marketing predictions for the year ahead.
1. DigitiSe or die!
It’s 2018. The internet has been around for 20 years. So, enough with traditional versus digital – it’s all marketing now, and a truly integrated marketing campaign will cover everything. The biggest change we have seen in our industry in the past 20 years is the way we market – the challenge now is to embrace it. Invest in upskilling your staff, outsource to a consultant, but whatever you do, make sure you’re doing something in the digital space. The reality is, if your marketing people can’t handle the digital side of marketing, then they need to get on board quickly – it’s not going anywhere, and it’s getting more complicated every day.
2. Facebook changes will impact business
We already know that Facebook is going back to meaningful interactions and personalised peer-to-peer content in its newsfeed – this will mean a huge drop in organic reach, video watching time and traffic for Facebook business pages. Specifically, Facebook users are going to see more posts from people they’re connected to in their news feed and less content from the pages they follow. Content ranking will be prioritised by the number of shares and popular talk topics among friends, not hits on pages. Our advice? Post inspired content that will get your followers talking, engage in group chats to keep conversations flowing, and produce quality, share-worthy videos and advertise.
3. Everybody wants an “experience”
In this digital age, we literally have the world of consumer goods at our fingertips. Despite this, there is still the ongoing expectation that each transaction will be a ‘personalised experience’. And why not? With a plethora of rival brands available at the click of a button, a negative customer experience may mean no second chance for your product. The trick to this ‘personalised experience’ will be the careful integration of technology and consumer information to deliver a seamless customer-focused transaction. Collect meaningful information about your customers at every touch point – website, social, email – and make sure this data is easily transferable to other systems. Invest in new technology that supports this data collection and use it to provide a fast and personable customer experience across all platforms. Amazon’s entry into the Australian market will highlight one organisation’s effective use of technology to enhance the buying experience – and sadly those that can’t match that level will be left behind.
4. AI, AR and VR
A huge part of enhanced customer transactions will be the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) to increase the consumer experience and automate anything repetitive and remote. Think Amazon’s Echo or Google Home; these handsfree voice-activated devices connect you to their operating system and play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more – instantly. Creative marketers will find ways of doing this outside the home through VR/AR applications and AI – like Estee Lauder’s “lipstick advisor” chatbot on Facebook Messenger that lets users ‘virtually’ try on different shades and use their phones to scan colours in real life and find a shade online that matches. Wow!
5. Video content is still King
Video is still king of the content world – it’s easy to share, tells a story, and generates an emotive response in the consumer to a brand or product – all in 30 seconds. At least, it used to. The end of 2017 saw the growth of the six second ad and long form video, challenging the status quo of the traditional 15 and 30 second spots available through mainstream media. This trend will continue in 2018, and the task for creatives and marketing alike will be to effectively communicate their product message in video short form, maintain audience engagement in long form, and efficiently manage audience insights, distribution and how the video intersects with consumer needs at the relevant time.
6. Corporate trust and brand integrity
This one isn’t new, but it’s certainly gained in importance. Consumers want to trust the brands they’re passionate about – trust that is built on positive interactions, ongoing relationships, delivering on promises and offering full transparency. In 2018, consumers will continue to support organisations that have a voice on societal issues and produce their products and services ethically. Forget clever one liners and catchy jingles about your product – base your marketing on authentic brand-building storytelling campaigns that highlight the integrity of your product or service and the transparency of your organisation.
7. Tell me what I want before I want it
The key ingredient to a successful marketing strategy is to market to people before they need your product or service. Having a good vision of your industry and the ever-changing needs of your customers has never been more important; 2018 is the time to go beyond the personalised experience and to the predictive personalised experience. Customers want you to tell them what they need when they need – it’s up to you to determine the relevant moment and address your customers’ needs with accuracy, speed and efficiency. And how do you do it? Data, data, data. We can’t emphasise enough how important collecting consumer data is. Invest in CRM software and use it. Now!
8. Voice activation is here
Techonology has surpassed touchscreens
and QR codes – 2018 will see a huge uptake in voice search as a result of smart speakers and voice activated systems, completely changing how we interact with our mobiles and smart devices.
According to research by ComScore, search by voice will account for half of all internet searches by 2020. The impact of this on the marketing industry is huge and multifaceted; solving real, daily problems will be reshaped in the home with an opportunity for brands to do the same in the minds of all Australians. Start doing your research and thinking ‘outside the square’ in how your company can get on board with this change in technology.
Need advice about some OF these predictions? Want to get into the digital space but aren’t sure where to start? At the Marketing Factory, we take a holistic approach to your business’ entire communications strategy, blending your message with our own special brand of quirkiness and our market knowledge to create a business personality for you that your customers will love. Developing an effective marketing campaign is all about connecting your message to the right people, using the right tools, in the right way, at the right time. Basically, we connect the dots for you. Contact us today and discover how we can help your business reach its full potential.