Crystal Ball Post: 2018 Marketing Predictions

Well, folks, another year has come and gone and if we look at trends for the beginning of 2017 and the trends towards the end it feels like it’s been ages of marketing and changes. 

From AR to VR and from the beast of content marketing and contributed content to social media and the powers of influencer marketing. 2017 had it all - and it leaves little to the imagination of what the new year could possibly have in store for us. 🔮

Of course, many predictions for 2017 made in 2016 have come true. We’re still seeing a major shift from desktop-first to mobile-first SEO and video, both live and not, are still reigning supreme when it comes to… Well, anything at all.

In this post, I’m going to take a peek into my crystal ball and go over a few of the key marketing predictions for 2018. But before we dive too deep into that - let’s take a quick recap of all the marketing magic that was made in 2017!

Influencer Marketing

It doesn’t surprise me in the least bit that this marketing prediction for 2017 came true. I wrote a post about the powers of this marketing strategy earlier this year with the Katy Perry case study. She quite literally dominated all avenues if influencer marketing with the release of her album Witness, and she’s not the only master of this craft.

For the most part, Sprint has been referred to as the weakest service provider compared to competitors like Verizon and AT&T. But in 2017, Sprint has been able to market very differently, almost creating a new name in an effort to increase sales. With their latest campaign, #LiveUnlimited, Sprint used major influencers to advertise in a new light. Social media superstars like @lelepons, @gerardadams, @princeroyce, @bradleymartyn, and @rachelc00k are included in this campaign, each with their own niche and audience. What is most interesting about this campaign is that they don’t have their influencers act in a commercial, instead they have them advertise through their personal style and expertise, making it that much more entertaining for the viewer. Due to the fact that each influencer generates a different following, Sprint was able to engage with a staggering amount of customers through these 5 influencers. 

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People respond better to things that seem real rather than fake or forced- just think of the negative reaction the collab between Pepsi and Kendall Jenner received. Sprint took a more natural approach and it has been working out pretty well, to say the least. After all their success, Sprint is seen as the new, cool and affordable service provider that is in the ranks with its competitors. Nothing like a little influencer marketing to help you out!

Content Marketing

People have been including content marketing and contributed content in their marketing predictions for a few years now but we really saw it explode in 2016, and this year was no different. It’s true when they say that content is king, but it’s the different ways you diversify your content that truly makes it one of the most powerful trends we saw grace the Internet in 2017. 

Sujan Patel himself tweeted that “In 2017, content will get shorter, sweeter, more unique and punchy” which completely lines up with Rand Fish’s predictions of content markets focusing more on niches rather than broader more vague concepts. 

We also keep seeing a rise in the way we utilize video in our marketing campaigns. We usually chop this up to its own category of marketing delivery and let’s be honest for a second, it deserves its own lane for sure. But when you really break it down, video is a form of content marketing - So it’s really no surprise that the two always end up on these predictive lists, and other recommended types of content posts. 

With content, however, we did see a focus on distribution with content like Ross Simmonds Distribution Checklist, which yes I have mentioned on this blog before because it's just THAT good 👏🏼

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AR/VR

I’m not gonna lie to you I’m still sitting on the fence with all this stuff. It’s no secret it’s made its place known on the world stage with major brands like Jaguar, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola, but what is there for the little guy? Unfortunately, unless you have a major budget for a national agency ($10,000), not really a whole lot. But hey, that could all change in 2018!

We all saw the rise and very quick demise of Pokemon GO in 2016 so it’ll be interesting to see what and who the AR/VR comeback kid will be. 

I lump these two together because in my mind they’re both relatively new players on the court and I’m equally unsure about both of them (besides the fact that they do hold the power to create amazing user engagement, if you get it right of course) but if you want to understand them both Marketing Tech News does an excellent job of breaking it down in laymen terms and even goes into a few pro’s and con’s of both technologies.

There. Now that we’ve covered some of the predictions that came true for 2017 - Let’s take a peek into that crystal ball and see what marketing magic awaits us in the new year. 

Robots Will Take Over The World

It’s true. But not Will Smith in iRobot true. More like chatbots like Drift true. Everyone who knows me knows I literally don’t shut up about my obsession with Drift. They basically are cultivating this new era of marketing dubbed “Conversational Marketing” and it’s brilliant. You hear AI or Artificial Intelligence and it feels scary and cold, but in reality - Marketers are just looking for ways to make the customers digital buying journey feel more personal, hence the focus on “conversation”. 

When I first fell in love with Drift I had just taken on a contract at a private college and tasked with increasing their admissions for their business programs. One of the first things we did was install drift as their main point of contact for interested students browsing the website. Within the first day, they had increased their tours (which had impressive conversion rates) and ultimately had to find a new home for their business class as they had outgrown their own campus. Now THAT is hella powerful. 

Now, with that being said I literally can’t wait to see what these guys (and honestly their competition too) have up their sleeves for 2018. 

The Face of Social Media Will Change

Currently, we see the social media “Holy Trinity” as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram… And it is definitely no surprise that Instagram is headed for world domination. Many marketers are predicting that Instagram will overpower Facebook in its monthly active users and become the dominant platform. And as much as I hate to admit it, we may even see Twitter quietly fade into the background. I’m not going to hold my breath for the death of Twitter because we all know the power of politics may very well keep it alive but they did struggle extremely to grow their users in 2017 and I’d be hard-pressed to see a comeback in near future (but we can hope right?)

On the B2B side of things, Linkedin made a surprising advancement in user engagement this year. A well-needed site-wide refresh and shortly thereafter followed by the quiet dismissal of Pulse, changing the way it’s users publish content for the better, in my opinion. And am I the only one who noticed improvements in their ad algorithms as well? I’ve seen many conversations on Twitter about how users are getting more bang for their buck with Linkedin ads as early as the summer. I personally have seen an increase in extremely honest and vulnerable content about the realities of being human in business, and the engagement is crazy right now. Fingers crossed we’ll see more of this in 2018!

It Will All Be About The Experience

Customer Experience. It’s actually one of the most important parts of building loyalty and retention, it also has seemingly been left behind for a long while. Until now that is. We’re seeing the customer experience gain more relevance to marketers than ever before. We’re even seeing roles in the C-suite be dedicated to mastering this part of the funnel. According to Social Media today 68% of marketers say their business is increasingly focusing on customer experience in marketing.

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Trust is really big here. Consumers see your brand as literally a sum of experiences they’ve had with you. And this is so much more than whether or not your service rep was smiling or not. It comes down to the smallest infractions of if you’re Facebook page banner aligned with the rest of your brand or not. Are the dimensions of your Twitter profile image off. Is your content engaging and consistent? Does your website look updated? And a thousand more tiny little things that you may not even realize needs to be managed.

I think because of this we’ll also see maybe not a rise, but definitely a significant importance and need for more Integrated campaigns

The way that consumers engage with products, brands, and the content we create is changing. People want us to be more human, honest, and vulnerable. They want to be able to relate and trust us, in a lot of ways it’s become a very valuable part of the entire customer journey. 

Did I miss anything?

Hit me up on Twitter @JaredGoodmanInc and if you have any of your own marketing predictions for 2018 I’d love to include them! There are still two weeks of 2017 left so lots of time to predict the future before it actually arrives! 👋🏼