New Trends for Marketing in 2018

Neon 2018

We’re nearing the start of another year, which means you’re probably checking off final holiday preparations and creating your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re a marketer, you’re also likely to be adding the final touches to your strategic plan for 2018.

Before you finalize your marketing strategy, it’s important to take a breath and see what’s new out there. Knowing what new tools or trends are beginning to make an impact can help ensure you’re spending your time and money on channels that will perform well in the next few years. To that end, we’ve asked some of our team here to give us a peek into what’s coming down the pike in Marketing Land. Each person gave one idea related to his or her job title, and together, they can inform any 2018 marketing plan.

Predictions for Marketing in 2018

Hope Graby profile photo.Hope Graby, Client Manager

TREND: Video Content

In 2018, people will continue to trend toward the easiest way to consume and digest information. For many brands, videos are that way. Videos that not only inform, but also educate, will be the smartest strategy to make a brand impression stick. As our attention spans continue to get shorter and our penchant for digital platforms increase, video is a sound investment for companies looking to make a connection with their target audiences.

While well-produced, highly creative videos are making a big impression, the consumer is also okay with more authentically-produced content, as long as it’s relevant. Bottom line – look at your marketing plan and find a way to incorporate video that is capable of engaging and creating a memory point for your target audience.

LLisa Lysle profile photo.isa Lysle, Media Buyer

TREND: Reader Profiles

In 2018, more and more publishers are offering advertisers dedicated content on their sites as a way to provide more value for both advertisers and readers.

Many publishers are getting better at using tracking to build profiles for their readers, rather than offering basic demographic information. They’re tracking what articles people are reading, what links they click in the e-newsletter, and what webinars they’re attending. They’re using this information to build reader profiles based on individual user behavior.

With this level of tracking, publishers can narrow down (and deliver) the content a reader is interested in viewing, which creates a better reading experience. This information can also be supplied to advertisers as a way to improve the ad experience. Advertisers who know the target audience can deliver content that target audience would find valuable, positioning themselves as thought leaders in front of qualified leads. This trend points to moving away from focusing on purchasing web space to make a hard sell.

Kathleen Smith profile photo.Kathleen Smith, Digital Marketing Specialist

TREND: Influencer Marketing

My 2018 prediction is that there will be an increased investment in Influencer Marketing. We’ve already seen more limits being placed on ads. At the same time, social media and internet use is becoming increasingly intertwined in peoples’ daily lives, which gives social influencers a greater say in audiences’ regular activities. Advertisers will want to follow that ability to influence people’s decisions. This means ads will no longer be hard sell ads, but they will look more like entertainment from those you know, trust, or like.

More and more people are treating their mobile phones like remote controls for their entire lives. With influencer marketing, you can grab them where they are without disrupting their experience, and package your message in a channel that people already opt into.

John Hedrick profile photo.John Hedrick, Lead Developer

TREND: Deep Learning

I think over the next several years we will see deep learning (machine learning or artificial intelligence) applied to all aspects of marketing (and our lives!). There is a huge push in my field and among my peers to apply deep learning to basically everything we touch. All the big tech players – especially Google, Apple, and Amazon – are investing heavily in deep learning. It is showing up in unexpected ways in everything from image processing to self-driving cars.

For years we have been collecting mountains of data about user activity, patterns, purchase data, engagement, and much more. Now we finally have automated machine methods to start sifting through and making sense of that data without complete human oversight.

Machines will explore, categorize, and quantify everything we do. In the marketing world, this probably means that messages and results will not only be highly localized, but even personalized to exact behaviors and patterns.

Doug Hershey profile photo.Doug Hershey, Creative Director

TREND: Bright, Bold, and Unlimited.

2018 Design and Creative trends will run the gamut.

Color: Brighter and even bolder colors and color combinations will dominate the year to come. Setting the tone is Pantone’s pick for 2018 Color of the Year: Ultra Violet.

Illustration: Incorporating the use of different illustrative approaches will continue to be on the rise. It remains a great way to stand out from image-heavy content. The use of illustration super-imposed on photography is another illustrative standout.

Imagery: The use of monochromatic and duotone images (versus traditional photos) will still dominate. It offers an unlimited number of gradient and color palette combinations to establish a bold, visual platform and grab attention.

Typography: Bold, sans-serif block fonts have monopolized the last few years. Watch for the use of more serif fonts coming to the forefront. But, the perfect pairing of a serif and sans-serif font is considered great fundamental design, more-so than the next trend.

Joy Beachy profile photo.Joy Beachy, Digital Marketing Manager

TREND: Advertising Platforms

A trend I’m keeping a casual eye on is the growing number of players in the advertising platform business. We are very familiar with the power of AdWords and Facebook – and we enjoy helping clients navigate new ad formats and bid structures therein – but I am interested in watching what Amazon, Wal-Mart, or Kroger will do in the next year to add value to advertisers. The advantage to these new platforms is that they can use the digital data they gather on purchasers to turn around and sell good, recent information to advertisers.

While Amazon and Wal-Mart are doing business in the millions, and Facebook and Google rest securely in the billions, it’s worth watching what happens in 2018. Specifically, I will be watching what adding new platforms do to ad costs, and whether CPC and CPM will still be a standard bid value. I’ll also be looking to new platforms to provide better remarketing solutions. Retailers like Wal-Mart can use in-store purchase information to potentially stop sending ads for products customers have already purchased. This is an advantage I’m hoping other remarketing services (like Google and Facebook) will try to replicate.

Remaining the Same in 2018

A lot changes from year to year – or month to month – in marketing. However, regardless of the trends of the year, one thing remains the same. It is critical to have an strategic, integrated, well-designed plan to get you started on the right foot in the new year. Targeting one campaign or one facet won’t be enough. For this reason, when we talk about what’s new we look at each of the disciplines and how different trends can affect overall campaigns. We would like to do the same for you and your business. Give us a call, and we’ll get your marketing headed in the right direction.