Six Predictions for the Marketing and Public Relations Industries for 2018

It’s that time of year, when we offer our predictions for the following year. 2017 has seen a great deal of change in the marketing world and agencies have had to grapple with ways to employ new technologies into their business.

As always, the only thing certain is that the rate of change will only continue to grow. We expect 2018 to be no exception. Innovations like chatbots, augmented reality and blockchain will fundamentally change the way brands interact with consumers. Influencer marketing will continue to grow, but more niche brands will seek out micro-influencers. And the end of net neutrality will mean many smaller, vertical news sites might find themselves in the slow lane, lessening their value to marketers.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) overlays information, graphics and images over reality through a smart phone, tablet, glasses, or similar devices. Google Glass was one of the first devices to use this technology. At the same time, Yelp! introduced Monocle, placing reviews over real restaurants viewed live through a smart phone camera. Recently IKEA introduced Place that allows smart phone users to visualize furniture in their home. We believe more and more brands will offer these sort of immersive experiences to consumers.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing will continue to grow as more and more brands try to reach out to millennials who respond more to celebrities they trust than to typical top-down brand messages. Brands in niche industries will search out micro-influencers, those with a small but dedicated following in their industry. We also believe there will be more calls for transparency and accountability for brands and influencers alike.

End of Net Neutrality

Access to smaller niche websites relegated to the “slow lane” could be limited. These sites could be of less value to marketers, advertisers and public relations agencies since the sites wouldn’t reach their target audiences as easily as they can now. Similarly, many of the tools we use on a daily basis, from Cision to Google Drive, could find themselves in the slow lane as well. We should add that ISPs like Comcast have said nothing like this will happen, however under the present rules, it is possible for access to websites to be provided in tiers.

Chatbots

Chatbots are automated scripts created to interact with consumers on messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger. Chatbots offer consumers an easy way to interact with brands. You can ask an airline if your flight is on time or a delivery company if your package will arrive today or tomorrow. Your bank can tell you that a transaction was completed.

More Live Streaming

Tools like Facebook Live have exploded in the past few years. In 2018 we expect brands to use live streaming for everything from special announcements, celebrity events to on the fly to take advantage of external events.

Blockchain

Blockchain, the technology that underlies Bitcoin, is a distributed system for peer-to-peer transactions, eliminating the middle man (e.g., banks, credit card companies, PayPal) and protecting records from hackers. Currently the advantages are mainly in advertising, especially digital advertisement, where blockchain reduces the costs associated with intermediaries and provides better transparency for advertisers. But we think blockchain has the potential to do to marketing now what the Internet did in 1997.

What do you think 2018 will bring the worlds of marketing and social media? Let us know in the comments, below.