Looking back at the past year has helped us predict 5 Marketing Trends for 2018.[/caption] You’re about to see a million articles about what you can expect from the marketing world in 2018 (and yes, this is another one). But let’s call it what it is in the title: Guesswork. That means two things: guessing and work. We’ve done both, starting with putting in some legwork to look back at 2017. That includes revisiting all of the data we’ve collected. It means digging into the successes we’ve seen, both in-house and elsewhere, with the mega-agencies we’ve always admired and the little guys who’ve knocked us off our feet. We also had to fairly own up to any changes we would have made, and we’ve thought about the mistakes that we saw others stumble over — and thought about the lessons we could learn from each. Then of course there’s some research and brainstorming — aka guesswork. That’s how we came up with the 5 Marketing Trends of 2018 that we’d now like to share with you:
- Getting more targeted. We’ve seen the future, and it’s hyper-targeted. Its hyper-local, hyper-granular, and it knows you better than you might even know yourself. The more we rely on the little computer in our hand, and in our car, and on our desktop, the more we’re giving Big Business the ability to track our likes, our needs, and even our personalities. And there’s a profit to be made from selling that info back to marketers, who can use it to specify which demographics see specific ads. Done right, it can be better for the consumer and the advertiser alike — no one’s wasting money or feeling bothered by spam they have no interest in. We’re all getting more savvy, and next year will be another big leap forward as companies pour millions into learning how to make $$$ off it.
- Less emphasis on influencers. This year saw the slow denigration of the influencer market, and the coming seasons are likely to finally kill it. Despite the fact that smart marketers have already long known to do their homework before investing in cardboard cutouts with huge social media followings but no real impact, it’s hard to ignore the allure of big numbers. But the optics are poor now, the shills are being exposed, the data cannot be ignored. And, right now, even as you read this, methods are being created to sniff out and replace empty influencers in 2018.
- Greater self-reliance. This of your smartphone camera and Instagram. Suddenly everyone thinks they’re a professional photographer. The same goes for marketing, with everyone thinking they can knock out their own graphics and winning slogans and websites, thanks to do-it-yourself templates and one-click tools. We obviously know that’s not true, and the difference that a professional campaign and gestalt creative+content can make. But sometimes, especially when it comes down to budget, people believe that going at it alone is the only solution (even if they’re just not going to see that same ROI manifest, without the correct investment pieces). Prepare your elevator pitches now to correct these misconceptions, because you’ll be having this convo a lot more in 2018.
- Becoming more vocal. Alexa, tell the readers why everyone is becoming more vocal in 2018. No? Siri, tell the readers that it’s easier to speak than type things into your phone. No? Google — yeah, you get the idea. Even though millennials still hate talking on the phone, the rest of the world is getting used to running their life by vocal cues, and these gadgets and gizmos for home and work are only getting more popular and more finely tuned in 2018.
- Embracing doubt. Forget “fake news.” We can’t be sure of anything these days, whether it’s choosing a cereal brand or favorite color. People are embracing doubt, even as they become more trenchant in certain beliefs. And that means when you come at them with new ideas as a marketer, they’re going to be immediately more resistant and need even more convincing than usual. Just remember: It’s not you; it’s everything. It’s just the safe mode that people are in right now, and embracing this fact of life will help you build in the smartest and coolest approaches into your marketing pitches and ads, allowing you to minimize battles and open conversations instead. Plus, people are simply getting smarter (see also: self-reliance). But at the end of the day, that’s always a good thing. Be grateful for smart customers and clients, and learn how that can be applied to your best advantage.