With a limited view into the days ahead, conceiving strategies with client budgets on the line can be extremely frustrating for advertisers. However, with skillful analysis and professional insight we are able to take a very educated guess. Per our panel of pros, here are the biggest trends to look out for in 2018:
Cory LaGrange – Digital Marketing Strategist
“Less is More” Will Be No More
When it comes to content, “less is more” will be no more. The consumer’s appetite for content hasn’t waned — the tolerance for being “advertised at” has. Considering this, storytelling and brand values will take center stage. Content will grow both in length and value. The brands that master storytelling, while distributing it to the proper audience via the optimal channels, will be the big winners this year.
Eddie Talbot – IT Director
Championing Positive Growth Sans Net Neutrality
Once Net Neutrality protections are removed from ISPs, more thought will undoubtedly be given to older, alternative ways of marketing, particularly with small startups and single-proprietor businesses. Marketers will go with options they can afford and will be as inventive as possible. On a large scale, it could be the impetus for companies like Google to implement alternative forms of data delivery. Think balloons, lasers, community mesh networks or additional fiber networks.
Chris Witham – Director of Account Strategy
Veni Vidi Visualized Data
The idea of integrating and leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) will become more mainstream within business operations, primarily as a means to activate insights from different groups of data. In the not-so-distant past, businesses began deploying all manner of systems to capture, track and visualize data with limited foresight as to what they would or could do with this information. As AI becomes more purposeful, practical and attainable, however, data synthesis may literally be as simple as asking for it.
Monica Hebert – Media Director
Interactive Ads, Coming to a Refrigerator Near You!
The Internet of Things will allow for easier media placement in 2018, giving small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to specifically target the most viable audience. Other advertising mediums will also become available for purchasing ad space using an online system. The issue with this convenience is that non-marketers don’t fully understand the media buying discipline and how to purchase this space effectively.
Andre Dugal – Associate Creative Director
Cut the Clutter by Creating Cognitive Connections
Digital work is no longer just a factor of marketing, but a requirement. Brands will need to emotionally connect in order to cut through the noise. Banner blindness has now expanded to marketing blindness, so businesses will need to invest in identifying the personality traits of their customer base to support those specific lifestyle needs. Accurate touch points are expected from modern consumers, so insight-based usage of data will be what sets the successful brands of 2018 apart.
Daniel Kedinger – Digital Marketing Director
Micro Audiences, Macro Results
This year, we’re going to see a shift from broad reach ad campaigns to micro-audience targeting. This change will require hyper-targeted creative with the assistance of marketing automation software. Brands will begin leveraging consumer behaviors and purchasing data to help make smarter decisions for their marketing spend. These highly specific campaigns will likely resonate better than a large-scale national ad campaign.
Tim Landry – Senior Copywriter
Blurring the Lines Between A-List and B-List
In terms of on-screen talent, expect American advertising to feature a record number of A-list celebrities. The small-screen/big-screen chasm that once separated Hollywood’s elite from the common cable masses is shrinking. One reason being the massive success (and by extension, prestige) of streaming platforms like Netflix. Expect the lines of demarcation regarding “celebrity status” to become increasingly blurred, and for stars of all sizes to appear in 90-second ad breaks, rather than exclusively in 90-minute blockbusters.
Emily Burke – Senior Account Executive
Small Brands Invest in Big Data
Successful small and medium-sized businesses will begin to implement customer data to better understand their audiences and make smarter, more effective marketing decisions. With so much data available and so many scalable platform options to use, there’s no longer an excuse for not taking an insights-driven approach to marketing. Knowing who your customers are, understanding their behavior, tracking their engagement and automating your responses to capitalize has never been easier.
Samantha Rebowe – Lead Project Manager
Transparent Content for Maximum Effect
In 2018, I see brands becoming even more transparent with their audiences. With businesses increasingly turning to social media to reach consumers, they can give an intimate look at product creation, their services or company culture. People love to know their favorite company’s story, so giving them this inside look will help earn their trust—and money!
Brie Hodges – Senior Account Executive
Direct Mail, Direct to Consumer
I foresee direct mail and catalogs making a comeback in 2018. Catalogs are now an extension of a company’s brand story. Companies want you to get to know them through authentic content and attractive imagery. With the mass of emails we receive each day, it’s vital for brands to cut through the clutter and get something physical in to their customers. Think about this: many millennials report not getting physical mail ads as adults. They savor this experience (77% report noticing direct mail advertising over digital). Bonus points if you make it to their coffee tables, of course.