You’ve got to hand it to the advertising/marketing industry for never resting on its laurels. In this business innovation, ideation, and the ability to see into the future are highly prized characteristics.
Here at GS&F, we like to think of ourselves as a group of soothsayers predicting the future of consumerism one trend at a time, and with 2018 right around the corner we decided to poll our team to find out what exactly we can expect from the year ahead.
Defining and communicating “social purpose”
Social responsibility/purpose carries a significant amount of weight with Millennial consumers and their growing purchasing power. Cause marketing and the publicity campaigns attached to them are nothing new, but my crystal ball tells me that companies who best define their social purpose and communicate those values to their current and potential customers will differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Blending of paid vs. earned media
More and more reputable magazines, newspapers, television news and radio broadcasts are monetizing their editorial space (print, broadcast, digital and social) by creating sponsored, native content—stories and segments that are made to look and feel like authentic news articles, but are, in fact, paid placements. While it creates an opportunity for savvy marketers and media buyers, the proliferation of sponsored content creates a new conundrum for public relations pros who believe we show our value through earned news coverage.
4K TVs are moving into the mainstream. The big streaming providers––Netflix, Amazon, Hulu—have been shooting and editing in 4K for at least three years, with their exclusive content available in 4K UHD. The move to 4K has been quiet but steady. By the fourth quarter of 2018, I expect most TV-centric content to be 4K, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at least half of our content is edited and exported in 4K.
Micro-messaging is in every client marketing plan I have seen as an objective for the new year. Every brand wants to be in the right place at the right time to reach their perfect consumer.
More Than Content Marketing
Obviously, content marketing will continue to run the show, but it is no longer enough to just tell your story to the right audience. Now, it is more important than ever to show your target audience why the story should even matter to them. Mobile users expect to be drawn into an experience—the more personal the better. In 2018, art, design creativity and messaging will be perfectly bonded with science in search of the other side of the screen.
We have been talking about artificial intelligence for years, but in 2018 the focus will be figuring out how to use it for marketing purposes. We are seeing higher adoption rates of pre-programmed chat bots on social media and websites as a customer service tool, and we will see these uses expand in the years to come.
Voice Assistants: A Rapidly Emerging Technology
Voice technology isn’t going anywhere and must be part of a brand’s forward-thinking strategy. With a current market size of 30 million, the expectation is that it will increase by more than 80 percent in the next quarter. Brands that embrace this quickly and effectively will take a sizeable lead, like Jeep––which is currently in the testing phase of locking and unlocking doors through Alexa commands.
Instant Gratification: Disruption’s Last Disruption
In today’s battle for relevancy, businesses must ask themselves, “What are we doing to create immediate gratification?” Think about it, Amazon started by eliminating the need for bookstores and expanded their model to include packaged goods from any store. Now, its sights are set on groceries. Netflix killed “Must See” TV, then cable, now TV altogether; Uber killed taxis, creating the rideshare industry; and Apple killed portable music players, your phone, even your alarm clock. Who knows what’s next? In order to get your customer’s attention, and stand out in the future, your business needs to follow suit and think in terms of immediate gratification—or risk obsolescence.