There are only two constants in life: taxes and death. Wait.

Maybe there are three?

The fact that digital Advertising evolves at such a rapid, yet consistent pace over time probably means that it too commands as high a place as being taxed or throwing in the towel on life! How you can engage your customers in their second life (their digital life) seems to change on a daily basis. If you don’t believe it, head over to just about any Marketing publication and read a coupleof their recent articles.

Before we look forward, let’s reflect on the year that has been.

Marketing Trends in 2017

In 2017, digital marketers enjoyed discovering new ways of doing old things. For example, it’s now possible to engage with your customers in ways that make traditional loyalty programs a moot point. Forget the loyalty card at your local coffee shop, now you can get cold, hard cash back right into your wallet every time you buy something with The Cash Back App. Who doesn’t love that kind of reward?

Programmatic marketing also advanced rapidly in 2017, however this tactic isn’t really anything ‘new’. Since the early 2000’s when Google Adwords first launched, it’s been possible to throw up even a poorly designed website banner on other people’s blogs or websites, in the hope that your loosely targeted potential customers will click the banner and head to your website. (Let’s not even get started on how many things go wrong between the click and your online shopping cart of enquiry form)! Programmatic marketing platforms now allow you to achieve such advertising at a lower cost, but the results are still roughly the same – average and unengaging at best.

In 2018, customers want more. Well, they want more every year, but this year they REALLY want MUCH MORE.

Customer behaviour in the digital space has significantly shifted in the last 12-24 months, and with the increased advent of virtual reality and second-life communities, it’s no wonder.

Here are some predictions for 2018 (and potentially beyond) that will impact the way we all promote our brands in the digital space.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Next year, we’re going to see much growth in the implementation of predictive analytics platforms that are driven by very smart machine learning algorithms, giving even more powerful insight into customer behaviour. By serving ubiquitously personalised content and opportunities for engagement, brands will be in a strong place to not just convert customers into a one-off online sale, but to do what previously has been hard in the digital space – to create a long-term, meaningful and mutually enriching brand-customer relationship (BCR).

An increase in the use of voice commerce and in-home digital assistants like Google Home will continue to shift the way we all engage with the Internet of Things (IoT) and with each other.

Finally, a massive uplift in the use of Customer Data Management (CDMs) and Programmatic Marketing Platforms (PMPs) will change the landscape of data collection, management and how it is used to manipulate a customer into a sales relationship with a brand.

Social Community Influencers (including big data and influencer outreach tactics)

A few years ago, only big brands had the budgets to engage celebrities and social media influencers to endorse their products or services. This is no longer the case, and even mum and pop brands are signing up social advocates to boost their sales. There now exist a range of social community influencer and social media influencer agencies in Australia and beyond. The results have been mixed though – here’s why.

However, many that I’ve reviewed in depth are ultra-lazy and are simply scraping data from other websites (some online travel agencies do this too and it’s a dodgy practice). This gives the false impression they have a massive and diverse product offering, when they don’t. Most of these types of providers are just charging you subscription fees to access a list (which you could easily source yourself). They play no part in helping you craft a brilliant campaign that’s worth your time and investment.

Of the agencies that do offer campaign building, delivery and reporting services, these all appear to fail your brand by not creating campaigns that customers actually want to engage with and sometimes they miss the mark in aligning the correct audience. In other cases, they don’t provide you any additional remarketing as part of their package. Their excuse? Who knows, but some agencies just aren’t very good at advertising and even less agencies make great commercial partners. Given that most brands only allocate 5-15% of their gross revenue each year to marketing and advertising, you can’t afford to take random pot shots with social influencers.

Enter YomConnect.

By focusing on collecting customers insights at the point of advertising (where insights are most useful to understand your potential customer-base), this agency works with major international, national and even local area (smaller) brands. Specialists in building campaigns and aligning the perfect audience from their 143 million-rich cumulative media network in Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, the Caribbean, Canada and Germany, their team include free use of their engagement software in every influencer campaign, ensuring your brand’s data is safeguarded against competitors, your potential customers are loved appropriately, and brand engagement is at its highest. For the last three years, the agency has achieved a whopping 3-6 times higher engagement rate than others in the marketplace. That’s something brands will celebrate in 2018 and beyond, for sure.

Does it work? Sure does, and some of the largest brands in the world are already on board. It all starts with an obligation-free phone call with someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Pansexual Marketing

Pansexual marketing refers to a tactical campaign or strategy that aims to promote a product or service to a customer base who ‘sees past’ gender and gender stereotypes. Advertisers may remember many campaigns in the last four or five decades that would be considered sexist at worst, or controversial at best. As times and customers changed, brands became more conservative and advertising to specific genders, or using specific gender ideals in advertising, softened up. Well, almost. Just this week international jewellery brand Pandora made the decision to remove its ‘sexist’ advert asking if women would prefer an iron, apron or bracelet under the Christmas tree. You can read more about that here.

The importance of pansexual marketing – or not force-feeding gender stereotypes onto customers – should not be understated. Millennials are by far the least conservative generation to date in terms of gender roles, with an increase of recognition for gender-fluid and transsexual persons and a breakdown of gender-aggressive stereotypes being evident as merely two of many examples in a simple Google search of contemporary gender topics.

While there will always be exceptions (e.g. feminine products), brands will be most successful in future campaigns when they lighten off on gender constructs and, instead, bring forward brand stories that appeal to any gender. Even then, those exceptions should still tread carefully, lest they burn their customer base.

Finally, if you’d like to consider some additional ideas for 2018, look into how your brand can handle micro-moments with prospective customers to build a stronger relationship. Remember, even though all these ideas are important and relevant, rich media (especially video content remains the God of all Gods in digital marketing, so do be sure to include that in your strategy for next year!

Want help measurably growing your brand? Who doesn’t! Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Cheers!

Daniel Jess – Digital Product Director

YomConnect & YomStudios