CEO, Spin Sucks
There are three trends we're focused on for 2018: Artifical intelligence, content repurposing, and better metrics.
- Artificial intelligence is not a new trend—we began talking about it last year. But many marketers still have their fingers in their ears and are singing very loudly so they can't hear you. Artificial intelligence is not scary. It's not going to replace you. You're not going to lose your job. Your job will change, but you'll become more efficient, which will allow you to be more creative. Chatbots, smart software and algorithms will do the mundane parts of your job so you can focus on doing what you love.
- Repurposing your content is something everyone should be doing, but sadly that's just not the case. Just like artificial intelligence makes you more efficient, so does repurposing your content. Let's say you write a blog post. As soon as you hit publish (or schedule), pull your microphone and record some audio. Then use Lumen5 to create a video. You should have a goal of five ancillary pieces of content for everything you publish.
- I'm a communicator by trade and it drives me insane that we don't have better PR metrics. Borrowing from marketing and from sales, we can certainly prove attribution, when it comes to our activities, and ROI based on what those people do. A big push for anyone who works in a marketing discipline must be around metrics. Start your year off right by benchmarking where you are right now so you have something to measure against by year's end.
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
- There will be a historic number of articles in 2018 on the "death of content marketing"
- Three Fortune 500 product companies will purchase small to mid-sized media businesses instead of launching from scratch.
- Rumors will start on Apple buying Disney...but will not consummate the deal until 2019.
- Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu will win more Emmys than traditional media companies.
CEO, Marketing Insider Group
2018 is the year that CMOs take ownership of culture because employees represent the greatest source of content and the largest power of distribution. The most authentic and engaging content will not come from ad campaigns. But from the experts inside their own company, sharing what they know and what they love. HR is the new Marketing.
Co-Founder Prevailing Path and MC/Host Brand Innovators Summits
Social is moving to a prove it or lose it stage... so start thinking how Content IS the Ad. The importance of content in your SEO and middle funnel strategy will be critical. Social media platforms are essentially huge AI systems designed to keep users 'tuned in' by showing them things they want to see and using data to improve the success of that goal each time a user engages. But AI isn't really that smart yet. Most AI is big data pattern recognition that gets better at predicting what they will do as more people use the systems. It's not actually 'thinking'. As the Trump media machine proved, real thinking beings can manipulate these systems with relative ease using anchor content such as a blog post, or video, bot based syndication (half of Trump's Twitter followers are fakes) and then the power of real people sharing and training the algorithms to 'think'. Add in some well-placed adds on automatic networks like Facebook and bam, media that motivates. Brand marketers can easily do this in a less nefarious way and tune the process to eliminate endless digital spam and create awesome content that the AI algorithms connect with people along the path to purchase that might actually care.
All of this is so important because shopping behavior is changing from a world where consumers go to stores to get products (walking around and finding what they need, to one where products come to consumers. Stores aren’t going away tomorrow, but the fundamental role of a retailer is going to change over time from a physical location to a service that fits the product needs of a consumer whenever and wherever she chooses, including product discovery. What’s more, much of a future consumers product needs with be anticipated and automated, moving towards a friction-free experience. The challenge for retailers and brands alike will be remaining relevant in a consumer’s mind. The combination of the decline of the store shelf coupled with the end of push advertising effectiveness will eliminate some brands and retailers while others will thrive like never before.
RETAIL RELEVANCY will become all about SIMPLICITY... Frictionless buying IS the future of Retail. Simplicity is the new EDLP. Make it easy and... she will buy from you again, and again, and again. #RetailRelevancy
Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions
There are three big forces pounding the marketing landscape.
- First, the sheer amount of content being spewed into the world over increasingly fragmented channels raises the cost of producing something that truly stands out.
- The second is the decline of traditional advertising, primarily due to the ad-free subscription models (like Netflix).
- Third, will be AI which will utterly transform how we work in marketing and connect with consumers. These trends are creating cataclysmic changes in our field that will force a reset for agencies, organizations, strategies, budgets, and skill sets for years to come.
General Manager, UBM
Content marketing will become less trendy, less faddish, and more ingrained in the marketing fabric of organizations of all sizes. Investments will be made in great writers, researchers, and creative geniuses – and marketers will spend more time with these folks and less time churning out product pitches.
Co-Founder, Orbit Media Studios
You won't like hearing this. I predict lower click-through rates from search and less organic traffic. Google isn't done filling search results with new features, so we can expect more visual noise and less visual prominence for organic search rankings in 2018
Currently, around half of all clicks in Google search results are for Google Ads or Google Products (local listings, images, YouTube videos, answer boxes, etc). As that number goes up, the amount of traffic passed through to websites goes down. Life isn't getting easier for SEOs
But don't be discouraged. The universe of potential keywords is always expanding. Listen to your audience. Create content that answers their questions and aligns that content with relevant phrases. Give it a great headline that inspires a good click-through rate. There is no limit to how much you can publish or how relevant you can become.
Google might take a larger slice of their own pie, but that pie is still growing. And you can take a bite by publishing something great anytime you want!
Principal of Marketing Insights, Salesforce
Marketing Automation 2.0
In 2013 when I wrote Marketing Automation for Dummies, published by Wiley, there was only one type of ‘automation’ called a marketing automation platform (MAP). These centralized tools allowed for limited data sets to guide a few internal and external actions; namely lead nurturing, lead scoring, and lead routing. That was marketing automation 1.0. In 2018 and the following years moving forward we should expect to move past a 1.0 and into a Marketing Automation 2.0 world.
Marketing Automation 2.0 is a decentralized web of technology able to consume any data, manipulate automation across a range of tools, and execute on any platform/channel opening up possibilities far exceeding the bounds of a MAP. This is the future of marketing in a hyper-connected world where on average high performing marketing organizations are using 14 tools on average to create a cohesive customer experience (Salesforce State of Marketing 2017).
Brands are already starting to employ more connectivity between tools requiring a new middle layer opening up automation not possible within the native applications. These middle layers of tools such as Tray.io and Zapier will allow all data and tools to have automation between them opening up the doors for automation far beyond lead scoring, and nurturing allowing brands to create a fully automated personal customer experience across every channel including messaging applications, Chabot’s, and backend data systems.
SVP Marketing, SnapApp
The new B2B buying journey:
The rise of a new buyer journey, ushered in by the 40% of Millennials now making or influencing buying decisions, means marketers will need to tailor their efforts to respond to this shift to deliver results at scale. This new generation of buyers wants sales intervention later in the buying process and deeply values personal connection and company values. Marketers will need to show not tell in 2018.
It’s time to ditch the old B2B playbook:
We saw a lot of marketers wake up to the reality that the old content marketing playbook doesn’t work anymore in 2017. Research shows It's no longer enough to write a whitepaper, wall it off behind a leadgate, and wait for the MQLs to roll in. To break through the noise in 2018 marketers will need to ungate their content and focus on creating more engaging experiences that inspire further relationship building with your brand.
Founder, The ID Group
‘I think we have all got carried away with finding a niche where we can jump into a hole where we think that no one else is in, whether we use words such as storytelling, VR, AI, intelligent, inbound etc. we need to put the brakes on and recognise who the people are that buy our products and services and lean in to them.
While people look to carve something out of thin air (I still don’t know what artificial intelligence or blockchain means), let's start looking at the ultimate goal, loyalty.
If 2018 is about creating loyalty, then you can drive revenue. When you have achieved this, you don’t need to be looking over your shoulder that someone has shared an article on ‘Why a mix of VR and AI is a must for your 2018 marketing strategy
Co-Founder, Content Marketing Institute
2018 will be a confusing year for marketers. There will be so many new bright and shiny technology and data-driven toys to play with, as privacy concerns from new regulations such as GDPR and CASL begin to have teeth. From a content marketing perspective, every new tech vendor will proclaim “artificial intelligence” as the new, new thing - and there will be much temptation to get into it.
The key trend that I’m seeing that will actually help content marketers move the needle will be a move to direct access to subscribed audiences - and the data they provide - as a means of building value for the practice of marketing. Content Marketing will be seen, in large part, as the answer to GDPR and building marketing databases. Improving our ability to increasingly build an audience that we can reach when we need to will be the multiplier to the confusing paid, owned, and earned landscape that will make up much of next year.
For years management has been in search of better integration between marketing and sales. While we’ve made strides, the gap is still large for many businesses.
The gap will narrow in 2018 through the advent of social video for sales reps. Tools now exist that enable sales reps to record short, personalized videos. Marketing’s role is:
- To sell the idea to sales to get them excited about how personalized video can help them make more sales and
- To create a library of videos across the spectrum of the buying journey that sales reps can easily access and send along with a personal note.
Soon enough sales’ use of personalized video will be mainstream. Sales and marketing teams who embrace it in 2018 will have an advantage over the laggards in the coming years.
Founder, Heinz Marketing
2018 will see a further acceleration of marketing’s embrace of revenue responsibility. Key to making that transition will be addressing and changing the culture both of marketing and within the rest of the organization’s perception and treatment of marketing – historically as a cost center, but moving forward as a profit center driving measurable, repeatable sales and revenue impact.
Founder, Express Writers
I think one of the most important aspects of online marketing in 2018 will be for more brands to focus on community building through and with content creation. As content shock hits us with millions of pieces of content being created daily, it is no longer enough to just post, create, and schedule. Marketers must show up for, and consistently engage live with, their tribe to build a strong community. Showing up through blogging, consistent and personalized email content, live-streaming, and podcasting are a few of the methods to do this. Bring your tribe into a Facebook group, Twitter chat, or closed area for an even more powerful connection.
Communities are powerful, and worth their weight in gold. Anyone with any budget can develop one, over time, through consistently showing up with great content marketing. No excuse is good enough to not focus on planning on building a community in the coming year.
Founder, Stephan Spencer Inc.
I predict that content marketers will refocus on writing a lot more Q&A content in order to get more “position #0” listings in the Google search results. These are known as featured snippets or instant answers, and this is the future of SEO (well, AI is really the future of SEO, but that’s a whole other story!). Google is trying to provide one definitive answer to every search query so that its voice search can read off an answer to every voice query. We as consumers are going to be talking with our technology a lot more in 2018. That’s why I’ve doubled down personally in the area of “featured snippets” SEO. For a more comprehensive explanation of the opportunity, read my Search Engine Land article.
This is probably more of a hope vs. a prediction. With the ever-expanding proliferation of content channels and tech, it's imperative for companies to equip themselves with people that are both willing and technically able to take on this work. A lot of this stuff is new, but hiring doesn't seem to be keeping pace and we see change management roadblocks daily here at Divvy. Maybe that will change with a big, pending corporate tax reduction? My advice, my prediction, is that companies will and should do one (preferably all) of the following:
- Hire tech-savvy talent to introduce new technical capabilities
- Pay to train existing staff to expand technical capabilities
- Fire those who are unwilling or resistant to change
That last one may sound harsh, but the world is too competitive to hold on to technical laggards. Earlier this year at the Adobe Summit, I listened to the CMO of Motorola talk about some of the internal ups and downs of their digital transformation process. In the past two years, they've let a lot of people go and brought on all kinds of new faces by holding public hackathons, which have in large part replaced participation in job fairs. When asked about those who were let go, the CMO said candidly, we gave everyone the opportunity to participate in the hackathons (including existing employees). Those who didn't care to participate were the first to get let go.
Analyst & Co-Founder, Kaleido Insights
Two letters: AI
Artificial intelligence is going to be a game-changer for content marketing in 2018. It will provide marketers with better ideas of what types content to create, for whom, and in many cases will even create content for them. From websites to news to chatbots, content will become increasingly more automated and in many cases, smarter. I'm collaborating on research on this topic now (not automated!), so I'll have even more to say on the topic early next year.
Founder, The Agile Marketer
It seems presumptuous to make predictions about 2018 when 2017 was such an unpredictable year. But maybe this is our new status quo. Maybe we all have to start dealing with an environment where one week our quarterly plan is chugging along just fine, and the next week Amazon buys our closest competitor and we're pulling our hair out trying to figure out what to do.
It seems likely that the world will continue to be volatile and the future will remain uncertain, but at least now that we know that, we can set ourselves up to be agile and adaptable enough to roll with it.
So I suppose that all shakes out to a prediction that 2018 will see a further consolidation at the extremes. Marketing teams who have their process dialed in and can respond rapidly to disruption will see bigger and bigger gains, while those struggling to just do the bare minimum will fall further and further behind.
Co-Founder, Try Interact
In 2018 we will see a revolt against automation. People are sick and tired of chatbots, automated messages and "intelligent" marketing bothering us more and more. Marketing is going to become more personal, and there will be an increased focus on how to drive real, meaningful conversations rather than trying to remove the human element from marketing.
Additionally, social networks like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter will crack down on automated messages and click-bait content designed to trick people into taking action. There will be an increased focus on manual, authentic marketing in social media where people get to choose their own interests rather than being coerced into clicking.
We've seen marketing get overtaken by automation and 2018 will be the year that stops working as people wise-up to impersonal messaging.
Head of Sales, Content Marketing Institute
I predict that we will see 10-15% fewer vendors on Scott Brinker’s ever-evolving Marketing Landscape Supergraphic, BUT, I expect the same percentage increase in total marketing technology spend. As marketers’ need for solutions increase, so will their budgets, but technology companies will continue to play musical chairs and find strategic partners to offer more full-circle, multi-faceted options for their customers.
Founder, Nancy Harhut & Associates
In 2018, we’ll see the triumph of Cognitive Fluency. Marketers will finally understand that people prefer information that is easy to think about and easy to understand … That people judge such information to be more truthful and accurate ... And that they feel more confident making a decision about it.
As a result, content will become shorter and easier to get through. Long wind-ups will disappear from blog posts and ebooks. Distracting visuals will vanish from videos and infographics. Marketers will discover how to quickly come to the point, so people can get the information they need and get on with their day.
Behavioral scientists have already proven the effects of Cognitive Fluency on the human brain. 2018 is the year marketers will capitalize on it.
Founder, Aha Media Group
I know a lot of experts are going to say the following is going to happen in 2018: voice, AR, VR and so on. But I’m still finding that content professionals are still having a tough time with the basics—documenting content strategies, applying governance and managing workflow. As content needs become more intense and varied, content marketers are struggling to keep up. The next shiny object has been shown to distract teams, delay important projects and frustrate customers. So what should happen in 2018? Content marketers should feel empowered to stick to the basics while using about 10-20% of their time and resources on cool, new stuff. Voice, AR, and VR should be a focus, but not of all of your time. You’re tackling more basic challenges in a lot of organizations and this is the year to get organized and get out ahead so you can be ready for the next big wave in content.
Founder, William Widmer
My biggest prediction about marketing in 2018?
It's not going to change that much.
Honestly, marketing hasn't changed much since the dawn of the internet. Sure, platforms have risen and fallen, and messages have changed. But at the core, it's still about three things:
In an increasingly distracting world, getting people's attention is still a huge need for any brand. But that doesn't mean click-bait titles or ads in all caps - it just means you need to understand how to make your message and brand stand out. That has to do with copywriting, color psychology, and maybe a little shock value.
As for value - that could mean a great price or sweet deal, but it could also mean simply giving away your knowledge, helping solve a problem, or being transparent about your business's intentions.
The best value comes from solving people's deep-rooted desires. That's what marketing is really all about - figure out the #1 desire your product or service caters to, then sell it based on that. A great book on this is Ogilvy on Advertising.
But if you really want a prediction for 2018... I'd say that video is going to be more important. A great video can garner massive user engagement, which can help tremendously with your SEO now that Google is putting more emphasis on user signals.
Chief Experience Officer, Type A Communications
In 2018, I believe marketers will begin to understand that the key to creating a true customer-focused brand starts with employees. Companies will turn greater attention inside to activate employees as the people who make the brand promise come to life through the experiences they deliver. Marketers will be the ones who work across the company – starting with HR and the people we bring on board – through the products companies develop and the technologies used to spearhead connecting with audiences. This will be the year that marketers understand that to be a true customer-experience brand, it’s time to make the experience something for which every employee is responsible.
Campaign and Content Strategist, Pedowitz Group
2018 will see content evolving to really embrace putting 'the right content in front of the right people at the right time'. Linear buying journeys, which assist marketing teams in assessing content gaps and lining up personas to content possibilities, will act as a starting point towards true customer centricity. Your customer is not linear in how they search for answers to their solutions. To truly be proactive, organizations will need to develop content that is easily assessable for their audience, regardless of which 'stage' the customer is in. This requires a more nuanced approach to understanding your customer; what they need to know before they need to know it, the various formats that content can be and is ingested by your audience and a natural, easy ability to move to the next answer to their questions.
Founder, Brain Swell Media
2018 will be the year of "Self Service Sales" and the marketing team will need to support this effort in bigger ways. SAP reported that most buyers would rather go to the dentist than talk to a salesperson. Thus, the birth of "Self Service Sales". Buyers desire to get 90% of the information about your product or service before they engage with your sales apparatus in a meaningful way. Landing pages where you "bait" buyers and "drip" to them are dying because everyone has at least two email addresses they use for this purpose. An actionable email address is more highly coveted than Bitcoin. Develop and deploy highly engaging "Self Service Sales" environments with case study videos, testimonials, problem-solving demos, live chat, ROI calculators and more will drive sales faster than dripping a prospect content to an email address they only check once a month.
President, Little Bird Marketing
The Humanity of Robots
The year 2017 saw a big uptick in marketers understanding and embracing automated tools, bots, scripts and workflows for content marketing. I believe 2018 will be the year where those who adopted earlier will reap big rewards and those who are still lagging in this area will be left scratching their heads about why their content is bombing.
Gone is the idea of robots completing our work faster, but with impersonal results. Artificial intelligence will be mainstream in 2018.
The real winners in 2018 will be the marketers who figure out how to integrate artificial intelligence and THEIR OWN data to personalize messages. It's not just that I want a more personalized message as a consumer, but as a marketer, I want a more humanizing experience when I'm creating the content. I believe new tools will improve which help us source content ideas, write better headlines and make testing for optimization much easier. I hope that by the end of the year, smart people in charge of the tools I use will have built these features into the tools I already use, thereby also humanizing my experience on the job as a content marketer.
Founder & CEO, Pole Position Marketing
AI-driven content will be huge... and turn into a huge failure. Many businesses will flock to the promise of getting "quality" content for less than the human created kind. Most of this content will be little more than a slightly better version of the cheap content that is being produced today. This will cause a backlash against these content producers which will create a resurgence in the desire of human-created content with true value.
Director of Content, Reflektion
Two trends in content marketing that I'll be following in 2018: the return of print and the rise of artificial intelligence. The former is a type of slow content that fatigued digital readers are increasingly appreciating, and the latter can turn even evergreen digital content into individualized experiences.
Founder, Ratz Pack Media
In 2016 everyone expected AR and VR to revolutionize how people use social media and the internet as a whole in 2017. At this point, it is clear that we are still at least a few years away from a revolution like that, but we are seeing some baby steps within platforms like Snapchat.
I believe that 2018 takes us a step forward as far as creativity within platforms. At this point, every major platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and even LinkedIn) allow users to upload video, and give additional reach to videos over other content.
Just this week Snapchat released moving stickers, which means that Instagram is not too far behind rolling out the same type of feature.
In 2018 we will see more steps in the direction of AR + Video content, giving creators the ability to be stand out more in a world where lots of content is being made daily.
In order to stand out in the future, your content will need to be higher quality and way more engaging.
VP Marketing/Operations, Codeless
You've probably heard we're headed towards content shock, a state where the amount of content created far exceeds the amount of content we consume.
After all, we only have 24 hours in a day. And given we may only spend a couple hours a week reading, there's an even more finite number of hours to read.
And it's not just marketing sites either.
The Washington Post publishes an average of 1,200 stories, graphics, and videos per day. That’s more than one story every two minutes.
The New York Times publishes roughly 230 pieces of content a day, up from 170 a day in 2010.
And the always loved Buzzfeed cranks out 222 posts and videos a day. This is a staggering 4x more content than in 2012 at a mere 31 pieces a day they did in 2012.
Look, no one has a crystal ball to predict the future. But when you examine some facts and do content for over 30 of the top marketing, sales, and other B2B startups, you start to get a feel for what the future may hold.
And as crazy as that sounds, the future may be more content.
Founder, Chuck Hester Enterprizes
Video as a content marketing tool will continue to find an audience, particularly on LinkedIn where it's been used for several months now. Connecting through visuals on a B2B platform will make brands stand out.
Content Marketing Consultant, WebPageFX
Here Are Five Trends I Predict Will Take Center Stage In 2018:
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be a turning point for augmented reality. AR will become a major player in local marketing. This type of AR game will be the new social media.
- Online Influencers will be more heavily used to achieve higher rankings, reach a new audience, promote branded content and create content for company websites. In 2018, marketers will narrow in on what influencer tactics actually produces results, which will give us the ability to put an accurate price on influencers based on niche and reach.
- Video will continue to be a major focus in 2018. Not only for social and entertainment but also on sales pages since it impacts organic search.
- Content: We’ll see a big portion of the sales process get translated into engaging website content. This will also lead to the need for greater personalization on a website for a seamless user experience.
- Google snippets: There will be a big push to rank in Google’s rich snippets. Voice search is coming (possibly in 2019-2020 it will be advanced enough to be useful) and rich snippets are a necessary preliminary step in that direction.
Founder & CEO, MediaValet
“Relevance” has long become an elusive target in marketing circles, a standard that everyone has been striving to achieve. Yet, marketers have found ways to circumvent relevance by using automation to create enough volume and efficiency to achieve their bottom line numbers. Well, in 2018, not being relevant will no longer be an option. Partially because GDPR and other legislations are kicking in, sending outbound marketing for a spin, partially because petabytes of generic irrelevant content are being created every month, and partially because of audience oversaturation with faceless automated interactions. The real challenge for marketers is not just being “relevant” to a single person, it’s finding a way to be relevant to thousands of potential customers at the same time. As opposed to sales, marketers have to address thousand unique customer challenges without having a thousand individual calls and conversations. So, marketers will have to raise the bar once again – leaning into attracting inbound audience with even better content and offers – unique, visual, and helpful. Blending AI with real human interaction, automating challenge identification, and leveraging human connection to offer solutions. While it’s going to be a challenging year, companies that focus on truly understanding their customers’ needs and being relevant, will come out far ahead of the competition.
Director of Content, Stamats Business Media
In 2018, content marketers will use the tools to predict what topics are about to take off even more. Today, many still respond after something took off, but in 2018 sophisticated listening, anticipation and then execution will mature.
Founder, Liston Witherill Consulting
People are fed up. "Personalization" isn't so personal, we're followed relentlessly around the web, and a day doesn't pass without another unwelcome solicitation in our inbox. It's all a reminder that people are just "customers" to "acquire." We've lost humanity in business.
In 2018 you'll see a return to the physical, and a return to relationships. Marketing can be laser targeted now, so there's less excuse to waste half of your marketing budget. And the people we market to want crave real connection.
Snail mail, one-off videos, and a flight from volume marketing will make the biggest impact. It's the exact opposite of what most companies are doing, and it's exactly what people actually want.
Marketing Manager, Ahrefs
It is a well-known fact that email outreach plays a significant part in an overall content marketing strategy. It is a bridge allowing to build strong business relationships. I think that the question of email template personalization will be more crucial in the upcoming year. It is still going to be pretty hard to make your targets review and reply your pitch. However, simplicity and humane attitude are always welcome. I bet it is much appreciated to hear that someone knows your personal preferences instead of formal cold things about marketing.
Founder, Hire Influence
Influencer marketing will continue its upward trend in 2018, obtaining an increased share of a brand's annual budget by at least 20%. Veteran agencies will be leveraged as partners to implement creative strategies focused more on collaboration and experience with social talent, rather than companies using self-serve databases and simplified approaches.
"Informational content" remains a driving force in SEO, however "video content" specifically has taken over the role as king on social, with production-worthy livestreams running a close second. Supply and demand for creators of such will push the price of sponsored videos on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to new heights.
Snapchat will face a steady decline in popularity alongside the rapid adoption of Instagram Stories. Facebook will continue to trump other networks on the marketing front, due to performance transparency, extensive ROI tracking capabilities and ability to reach mass audiences in every age demographic.
Bringing more value to UGC will take center stage. These assets don't come cheap, and brands want to see more than just 48 hours of exposure on a network feed. Leveraging this creative to produce "Shoppable Content" or "Retargeting" ads will help to satisfy the challenge of rapid content dissipation - and finally produce hard evidence for the management teams that still question the effectiveness of content-driven campaigns as a whole.
Content Marketing Strategist, Convince & Convert
2018 is going to be an interesting year for content marketing. While I'd love to say that the next big, universally adopted trend is going to be augmented reality or a flashy new automation platform, I see a lot of marketers going back to basics. Now that companies and departments have been investing in content for quite some time now, people are really going to be digging in, auditing and analyzing everything they've created to see what content has really done for them. Unfortunately, some people are not going to like what they see. Those that do like what they see are going to be the ones who invested properly, which means they have a strategy, they know who their audiences are, and—most importantly—they're creating quality content that's relevant to their audiences. I think the approach of really putting the work under a magnifying glass is going to be a little painful for everyone, but it's so necessary for creating long-term success. Even those seeing successes are still going to benefit from really digging into what they've done and what they have, since they'll be able to find more opportunities to stand out and grow even further.
Global Head of Content, Emarsys
Demand among consumers for more personalized brand interactions has been building. They not only want, but expect personalized content, product recommendations, and incentives. And they want it delivered via their preferred channels at the optimal times - for them, not the segment or persona you’ve assigned to them. And their shopping options increase in 2018 and beyond, they won’t hesitate to ditch brands that can’t deliver.
Marketers that succeed in 2018 and beyond will begin interacting with consumers on their terms. To do this, marketers have to be tuned-in to multiple channels, collecting and unifying all customer data, and automating personalization – at scale. The solution is not in marketers becoming more like data scientists or adding more point solutions to their tech stacks. The longterm solution lies in AI-driven marketing.
In 2018, the marketers that set themselves up for long-term success will embrace AI-driven marketing, shifting the burden of personalization from themselves to their machines, allowing them to tap into their mountains of data to deliver personalized interactions to their customers - at scale. Those that ignore the shift in customer expectations will continue to be bogged down by data, rather than empowered by it.
Using stories to build connections between brands and audiences is where marketing as a whole is going. Yes, it is true that technology is fundamentally changing the pace at which people communicate and consume content. However, in order to win in the modern multi-screen, multitasking world we need more than just content. We need to approach our brand storytelling with honesty and empathy because genuine connections and trust are built through original, compelling stories. In 2018 and beyond, successful marketing and sustainable growth will be grounded in the ability to create great brand stories at scale.
CEO & Co-Founder, Squared Digital
My hope is to have 2018 be the year of the Renaissance Marketer. The idea behind this movement is to become deeper in your skillset while expanding your abilities into other areas you might not be comfortable. Take a free online course to learn Premiere Pro. Grab your camera, take it out of Auto, and go capture some photos for your corporate blog. Start a storyboard for your next video story you want to develop. Whatever you do, keep learning and keep challenging yourself.
Founder, Hard Core Closer
In 2018 you will see less people signing up for social media classes. At this point, social media has been around for over a decade and most people are pretty accustomed to it. What you will see more of is people signing up to learn how to run ads on social media sites. With organic reach going down and providers encouraging you to pay to play, you'll see more people interested in advertising than organic social media marketing.
Founder, Connex Digital Marketing
2018 will bring an increase in the ability to target perspective audiences with improved tracking integrations. Companies are already using big data to update pricing in real time, however I predict that we will see more tools around the pitch offering in real time, from advertising to landing pages the technology will be further connected so when a keyword starts trending your advertising and landing page content will automatically be updated to reflect this.
Combine that with better audience metrics and the increasing ability to target users based on behavior, interests and personographic data we will be able to have personalized offers, and campaigns running in real time. Not just ads, not just email/outreaches, but instead full integration between analytics, search metrics, audiences, ads and landing pages to allow dynamic pitches, offers, and content. This, of course, will take months to trickle down (much like retargeting advertising) and people will not be comfortable with it once they realize different page content is being offered to them versus their office co-workers and or family members.
A fringe prediction would be that we could connect users browsing history across devices so when we display an ad on mobile and the user purchases on desktop we'll be able to attribute the purchase to the ad on mobile.
Agency Advisor, Sakas & Company
In 2018, more clients will hire agencies that can provide revenue attribution. There's long been a disconnect between agencies and clients on attribution—clients want to know what's really driving revenues, and most agencies aren't delivering answers... or even talking about attribution.
As an agency coach, I run a mastermind group for CMOs at brand-side companies ranging from the millions to billions in annual revenue. Savvy CMOs want and need revenue attribution to help them meet business pressure from their CEO and CFO. It's a lot easier to get signoff on $1 million for a new marketing and sales initiative if the CMO can demonstrate success.
Want to capture a slice of that spend in 2018 and beyond? Make sure your agency is giving sophisticated clients what they want and need... or they'll call one of your competitors instead.
Co-Founder, Ninja Outreach
In 2018, I see more top blogs dialing down on content publishing volume to focus on creating higher-quality, comprehensive, and more targeted posts. Additionally, I believe we'll be seeing more multimedia such as videos, infographics, and plugins to accompany these posts. Articles will also have more design work put into them as opposed to static, text-only pages.
Most of these posts will be done internally or by request to handpicked columnists that top publishers have already worked with before. I've seen some blogs like the Content Marketing Institute, Moz, Duct Tape Marketing, and others have started to do this - closing their doors indefinitely to unsolicited guest post submissions and, for others, becoming increasingly more fastidious with their requirements.
These developments, I think, will make it harder for newer bloggers doing cold outreach to get published on most of these top sites if they can't build a relationship with the editorial gatekeepers. And this is why I believe influencer marketing will play a bigger role in guest posting campaigns in the future.
Writer, Photographer, Marketer & Jedi, Buddy Scalera Inc.
In 2018, we're going to see content marketers focusing on social influencers in deep vertical categories in all industries. Top brand teams will continue to work with the top influencers in their category. We'll see smaller brands working with second- and third-tier influencers as a way of syndicating their content. Social influencers will be consulted in pilot programs and concept testing. Brands will sign exclusives with influencers as content consultants.
Community Manager, Business.com
More ephemeral content and less timeless content.
Brands like Snapchat and Instagram have successfully created an urgency to consume content in the structure of short-form videos. 15-second authentic video clips resonate better with the intended viewer than a perfectly themed Instagram page or refined blog post that could last forever.
I predict that we will see much more content marketing in this fashion, unedited and raw. Less coveted will become the evergreen content that viewers can always revisit. Google will still value timeless content, but it will adapt to evaluate transient pieces in a faster manner to get in front of viewers while it remains available.
I predict we will see a bunch of companies offering various AI services but 2018 will be a year of great trial and error in this area. Much like many of the new innovations in the past, we will start off with less than desirable results and pricing that is not conducive to the marketing masses. We will also see many companies offering AI functionality that is not truly AI so we will all need to be wary and do our homework. With this being said, this is the natural evolution of all new technologies so we need to go thru it but I do believe 2018 will be a massive learning year for AI.
On the flip side of technological innovation, I also predict a slight up-tick in older school marketing tactics such as direct mail and promotional mail tie-ins in order for companies (mainly B2B companies) to stand out from the crowd and do something different (which is the key in this day and age).