22 January 2018

8 digital marketing trends for 2018

What does 2018 hold for digital marketers? We ask a raft of marketers, martech experts and industry commentators.


The age of customer centricity is here, and as experience increasingly becomes the biggest driver of digital transformation and marketing strategy, 2018 will be about moving the customer relationship to an even deeper and more dynamic level of personalised engagement.


With this in mind and given the end of 2017 is fast approaching, CMO reached out to a host of marketing leaders, vendors and industry commentators to find out what 2018 holds for digital marketing.


Based on those discussions, we’ve put together our top 8 predictions for the New Year, a list that highlights the importance of technology, building consumer trust and authenticity, and tapping ever-more data insight for engagement.


1.Brands start realising mobile’s role in next-gen CX

There’s no doubt mobile has become core to the digital marketing ecosystem – as a communications channel, support and service mechanism, purchasing tool and more. But according to Forrester’s 2018 mobile predictions, marketers need to put even more emphasis on understanding how next-generation consumers are interacting with brands via these devices in the New Year.

2. Re-establishing consumer trust is vital

Trust between brands and consumers in 2017 was at an all-time low according to Forrester, and not one brand significantly improved its CX index score on the analyst firm’s list from 2016 to 2017. Examining the trust-crisis and speculating how companies will respond next year, marketers will need to win back consumer trust by owning brand value and offering a more personalised, distinct and authentic experience.

3.Expect great things from artificial intelligence and machine learning

According to Salesforce research, artificial intelligence (AI) use by marketers will grow more than 50 per cent in the next two years. Gartner predicts 20 per cent of all business content will be authored by machines in 2018. Meanwhile, Forrester sees AI as a marketing enabler in 2018, helping further streamline marketing processes and giving rise to the new ‘marketing monitor’ – whose primary responsibility will be vetting technology and automation output to ensure quality customer and brand experiences.

4.Loyalty programs and leveraging data get even more important

Experts agree the best loyalty programs are not about discounts, advocacy or loyalty, but about gathering data about consumers in order to personalise and upsell. And in 2018, that quest to utilise loyalty-based customer intelligence for action will be an imperative.

5.Prepare to face the realities of Blockchain hype

Which leads to CMO’s fifth prediction for 2018: Blockchain, both in terms of hype as well as reality.

6.Virtual reality, augmented reality hit the trough of disillusionment

Virtual reality is another much-hyped technology, and the application of mixed reality as a whole gained a few headlines in 2017. In 2018, Lee-Young predicts the focus on VR and AR will be on penetration and application, with the big VR players, such as HTC Vive, Oculus and Playstation, finally bringing down prices and releasing new wireless and standalone headsets.

7. Amazon will disrupt retail

Another major disruptor on the retail front in 2018 is Amazon’s arrival finally in Australia. Experts agree the digital juggernaut’s local launch places increasing pressure on local retailers to transform digitally or be left behind, with fragile, smaller businesses at particular risk of disruption.

8. The divide between adtech and martech narrows

According to Raab Associates founder, David Raab, the safest prediction to make is always that current trends will continue in 2018. “That would mean more new marketing technology, more technical focus among marketers to use it, more convergence of martech and adtech, and more integrated, personalised experiences as a result,” he says.


By Azadeh Williams


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