Happy New Year. We’ve been looking into our collective crystal balls to bring you our predictions for what is going to be hot in marketing over the next year.

mARKETINGTRENDS

Having spoken to many of our clients and candidates over the past few months, what has become abundantly clear is that within the Midlands, data and digital transformation are the key fundamental drivers within the marketing functions for the vast number of organisations. However, there are also some emerging trends; the things we predict will have an impact on marketing departments and organisations across the Midlands.

New Roles
2017 will see the emergence of marketing technologists and data scientists as more regular additions to marketing departments. Data continues to be essential and it is now appreciated how pivotal it is to the success of any business. At the same time, the technological explosion of recent years means that having someone proficient in incorporating technology into all marketing activity is invaluable.

IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is our buzz word for 2017. The explosion in the connectivity of devices means that there is greater scope for marketers to collect valuable data (passing it to data scientists). The opportunities to leverage this technology and get closer to the consumer or service user are still not fully appreciated. What is certain, is that the IoT gives the marketer a unique insight into and access and has many of us very excited.

Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Chatbots are perhaps the most significant advances in technology. They have already improved real-time 24/7 engagement with customers and this trend is set to continue. The real advances in mainstream AI allows for meaningful interactions with brands/businesses based on data. Chatbots can also proactively guide customer actions and build up greater understanding in patterns of behaviours, whilst also providing for a positive customer experience.

Automation and right time marketing
Real-time marketing has been about for years, and the trends we are seeing for this year can only ensure that this continues. However, there is also a move away to interactions that are perhaps more meaningful and data driven, i.e. right-time marketing. At the same time, as the number of platforms and ways to interact with the customer base increases, marketers are having to become more reliant on automation software. Fortunately, there has been a significant increase in the number of credible pieces of automation software which many organisations will start adopting.

Personalisation
Whilst this is not a new concept, it has its origins in the much more regularly referenced “customisation”. Today’s consumers are bombarded with excessive amounts of content. Yet much of this is still not personalised. Businesses will be working on making sure any touch points are as individually focussed as possible, as well as making certain the transactional elements are streamlined.

Video
The importance of video in terms of getting content out into different forms has been discussed many times. However, the developments in this medium mean that more businesses will be having to embrace it.

With live streaming being touted as the next thing, those with successful video strategies will be developing into this area, whilst those who have been reticent to embrace video in the past will be starting to dip their toes.

Social media
And lastly, whilst many will be surprised to see social media on the list, the truth is that this medium is developing. The disposable nature of content means that marketers will need to start thinking more closely about the expiration of the content. At the same time, messaging needs to be more nuanced, away from branding and marketing focussed, and more towards a sales led approach. Finally, we will see businesses look to capitalise on the personalisation of social media.
Predicting what will happen over the next 12 months is extremely difficult. We only have to look at what happened last year to see that we live in uncertain times. Yet marketers are switched on to the changing environment and keen to embrace the opportunities this brings.

Above all, the marketing professional is becoming more influential and significant in driving revenue. This is not just at the top of an organisation, but increasingly at all levels. Now more than ever, having the right people in your department is essential for business success.