With the beginning of each year, it’s important to reflect on the previous year—analyzing wins, non-wins, close calls and overall shifts to the industry and how you do business. Ultimately, by looking back, you will be better equipped to look forward and prepare for changes that are likely to impact your organization in the next year. While some shifts may have an effect throughout an entire company, other trends present specific implications to different departments. As such, we asked our executive leadership what new development in the marketing landscape will have the biggest impact on their work in 2018. Here are their responses.
We are living in a fascinating time where there is a general feeling of instability with everything from our safety to the weather to the political system to the economy to the state of our global affairs. The list goes on and on. Add this to the fact that distractions are at all-time high—our access to information from wildly disparate sources is immediate while the ability to have personal opinions shared widely is available to anyone. Keeping a dynamic team with a wide range of personalities, opinions and skills motivated, positive and working collaboratively towards a common goal is increasingly challenging, albeit strangely exciting.
While the never-ending struggle of finding the balance between the levers of speed, quality and cost (you can only pick two, right?) is always going to generate the largest impact on a creative’s ability to deliver engaging work, the area where I see the most potential over the next year is in custom, higher production-level content.
The media landscape is awash with brands trying to simultaneously differentiate themselves while demanding your attention. The more effort attributed to custom content – hand-lettered typography, long-form experiential storytelling, rich packaging details, realistic lifestyle photography, high-production video, etc. – the higher the engagement from your consumers. People react positively to thoughtfulness and craft, and the brands that support those efforts will be the ones well-rewarded and well-remembered.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been picking up steam through 2017 and will only find more verticals to disrupt in 2018. With the value of data ever increasing, the intelligent real-time use of that data leads us to AI. From chat bots, to data analysis, to programmatic and digital ad buying on Facebook and Google, AI is set to dramatically change the marketing landscape.
From the strategic side, new developments in data-driven marketing programs will continue to shape our strategic planning efforts and how we report on the performance of campaigns. Clients are now hyper focused on how marketing dollars are being spent to drive bottom line growth. So, when we report on the effectiveness of campaigns, we don’t just talk about the soft advertising metrics (impressions, video views, share of voice, website sessions), but also dive deeper into how marketing is driving real business results (units sold, product purchased, loans applied, etc.).
Similarly, from an account standpoint, ROI justification has changed the way we look to service our clients. Now more than ever, it’s critically important to move away from the account client dynamic being a relationship and rather have it be a true partnership. Partners share in success, share in failure and are committed to each other—we learn our client’s business inside and out, study their industry, understand their internal dynamics and stay in consistent communication to always ensure we are in lock step with our clients. This ensures that the client will feel good about their investment in having us as a valuable extension of their team.
I’m excited about the evolution of content and digital marketing in 2018. These are clear trends in the current landscape and two service lines we were actively working on well before they were trendy. How we work internally to scale and grow our offering in those two areas in a year when they will be taking center stage for several of our clients will be an exciting endeavor.
As we head into a new year, it’s impossible to predict the changes that will affect marketing and advertising with 100% accuracy. As a company, we are committed to our values, and one of our top values includes a relentless pursuit of relevance. That pursuit helps insure that we are staying ahead of new trends in our industry and able to adapt in a way that best serves our client-partners in the modern marketplace.