Video content became better, Artificial Intelligence and Chat Bots went mainstream, social media marketing got more focus, and customer experience received more attention – All these defined marketing in 2017.
Marketing and PR Experts have been talking about the trends they foresee to take center stage in 2018, and their opinions are widely varied. However, there are certain notions that cut across the majority of them as marketers and brand experts strive to envisage the trends likely to chart the course of the marketing profession in the coming year.
Here are some of them;
Increased Customer Engagement: A customer service revolution is in the offing and is set to break out in 2018. Brands and marketers will seek to connect with customers on an emotional level. Relationship building will be the name of the game, and gone will be the days when rational marketing was sufficient to gain traction with customers. The new age consumer is better educated and more aware of their choices, and the marketer must raise his game and interact on a more personal level with prospective clients through effective customer engagement.
Influencers will gain prominence: In the quest for more engagement with customers, brands will rely more on micro and macro influencers who have a loyal following and possess the star power to draw the target audience to their brand. Again, the goal is to establish real affinity and interaction with customers and drive brand awareness and visibility.
Generation Z as the “new brides”: 2018 is likely to see marketers shift their focus from Millennials to the Gen Zers who are coming into their own as full blown adults. As this category of people get into the labour market, they will stake their claim in the scheme of things. Young adults in this generation are socially conscious and addicted to social media. They prefer Snapchat and Instagram to Facebook. Marketers will be eager to connect with them early enough to win them over as brand loyalists.
Digital marketing will further drown Traditional Marketing: The use of digital media, particularly social media as a marketing tool has been on a steady rise while the influence of traditional marketing has waned. The coming year just might be the year when traditional marketing is finally relegated to the background as brands continue to seek ways to maximize their limited resources while expanding their reach.
Advances in Artificial Intelligence: AI will gain further prominence next year and marketers will be the better for it as they will be spared the stress of carrying out routine tasks and can focus their energy on more creative endeavours. With AI expected to drive digital advertising in 2018, brands would have to apply machine learning to their activities or stand the risk of being left behind.
Videos will continue to rule: Let’s face it, we are in a visual generation, and there’s nothing that resonates with a target audience more than videos. High quality, easy to access and mobile responsive videos should be a priority for any brand looking to connect with consumers in 2018.
Entrepreneurs, Marketers and Sales Pros will turn to LinkedIn: Brands will look to LinkedIn for more targeted marketing. Gone are the days when the gospel of a brand was spread by marketers alone. The coming year will see other employees and executives take advantage of the credibility associated with LinkedIn to carry out B2B marketing.
Story telling will separate the “boys from the men”: Content will continue to play a huge role in brand story telling in 2018. Brands who desire to see more website traffic and patronage from clients, and ultimately separate themselves from the pack would have to up their story telling game through original content.
A Balance of Creativity and Technology: Data-driven insights will be deployed to tell compelling brand stories that drives consumer engagement. Many companies will take advantage of the unbeatable combination of creativity and advancements in technology to reach their target customers.