“Go with the Flow” – Marketing Trends for 2018 that will generate value

Cape Town, 15 January 2018 ­– Yes, it’s that time of year again where media pundits and the digital marketing cognoscenti are asked to share their views on what worked in 2017 and what will trend in 2018. The former is based on that mythical PhD in Hindsight which we all have, so I’ll leave that part to the analysts who are far smarter than I am. Instead, I’ll whip out my crystal ball and try my hand at forecasting a few potential ways in which marketers will be likely to generate the most value for their clients in 2018.

At home in the web

As a digital agency, I’m happy to say that – as both marketers and consumers become more accustomed to transacting and conversing online – the World Wide Web is no longer the scary place it once was, and will continue to become an increasingly familiar home base for everyone.  This has been propelled by the explosion of technology that is precipitating the voracious uptake in the Internet of Things (IoT) – where everything is connected.

It’s all about the Flow

It’s that seamless interconnectivity that fascinates me, and which I believe will spearhead successful marketing communication in 2018 and beyond: in fact, I’ve even coined a name for it – “Flow Marketing”. By this I mean, truly integrated or cohesive marketing that enables a smooth flow of communication from the page, to (all the) screens, to air and back again, touching the consumer with the same message – yet in different ways – suitable to the medium. A fully reinforced symphony of communication, with all media channels in tune with one another – not a discordant cacophony where print, TV, radio, digital, mobile, out-of-home et al, are all being played in a different key and distorting rather than reinforcing the message.

Mobile and The IoT

Dare I say it…. Mobile leads the charge (as it does every year). It drives everything – booking a flight, ordering food, listening to music, watching a video. Mobile has usurped every other device. Video On Demand (VOD) has snowballed in recent years, especially on mobile and the snacking trend (SVOD) will continue growing in 2018. Local mobile TV channel, Jika TV, for example, launched in August 2017 and gained over 550 000 subscribers in four months, with 20 Channels of mobi-content appealing to all age groups and across the edutainment infotainment spectrum.

With mobile and the IoT on the rise, we will also see a proliferation of Tap to Pay apps.  As ever, the instant gratification syndrome will play a part in how quickly we can get our hands on the material/products we want.  The immediacy of paying without the hassle of remembering and then inputting passwords or One Time Pins, will attract consumers like a moth to a flame.

Interpreting data: adding value

The value of well-collated and intelligently interpreted data, will play a key role in the marketing mix in 2018.  Not for purposes of the ghostly banner chase, but rather for defining and refining the market and creating tailored audiences where direct conversations are enjoyed by all parties to the exchange, and valuable information is shared, to mutual benefit.  BIG data will be used to define NICHE markets, and we will see the rise and rise of personalised marketing: NOT creepy emails from a pseudo-friendly stranger who seems to know your name, but communication in which data learnings are used to construct subtle and insightful messaging – good for the sender and useful to the recipient.

The most ‘valuable’ trend in 2018, will be in building ‘value’ in the information we share and the engagements we generate while building lasting relationships that are valued.