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2018 Predictions

As another tumultuous year comes to an end, we’re looking to the future of marketing, taking our cues from trendsetters and analysts around the country. As culture and commerce collide, and the private and public sectors continue to blend, we expect to see more purpose-driven business models emerge. Read on for the top five trends we’re anticipating in the new year – and beyond.

Compassion: Full Force Ahead

One of the most inspiring trends we’re observing is a continued corporate focus on inclusion, collaboration, and compassion. Today’s entrepreneurs have a social conscience, and empathy is most decidedly “in.” Modern calls to action invite individuals to initiate change, and more and more products and services are likely to offer an aspirational bent that inspires more than just a purchasing decision.

AI? Maybe, But Not Exactly How You Might Think

We’re living in thrilling times – and many are anticipating the rise of Artificial Intelligence as businesses expand ever more into the digital realm. Experts, however, are predicting a less-dramatic shift—a movement towards another kind of AI: Augmented Intelligence, wherein humans harness the power of machines, working together to create “data-driven storytelling,” informing the experiences users have with content and better defining both brand leadership and market credibility.

Feel it Out: Emotional Engagement at the Forefront

In 2018, marketing will mean much more than simply advertising a quality product with seamless consistency. Today, Total Experience Management (TEM) has stepped up to the plate as the dominant ideology behind modern marketing. It’s all about creating two-way interactions with customers – not just transactions. According to the TEM principles, it’s crucial that marketers transform their brand’s story into a cohesive experience customers can relate to – and even experience for themselves. The point is, you want an emotional hook, however that might look for your brand. Emotional connections are the crux of 2018’s dominant marketing trends, and marketers are encouraged to embrace business narratives embedded with emotional appeal.

Everyone’s a Customer – and the Customer’s Always Right

As marketers shift from a product-based approach to one that focuses more on the holistic experience, it’s critical that today’s brands invite customers to learn, engage, and make independent decisions for themselves. It pays to see everyone as a potential customer – not just your target audience. Embedding techniques like creative storytelling into Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube content can highlight your brand’s positive experiences, plus function as a support pipeline for young talent. Finally, focusing on the customer’s creative experience will certainly boost interest in the next generation of potential shareholders.

Smarts Aren’t Enough: Learn to Read the Customer

In the age of empathy, marketers can’t afford a heartless message. Modern brands must take a compassionate, inclusive approach to their marketing techniques—and they must hone their emotional intelligence, too. Marketers need embrace the psychological elements of branding, appealing to such sentiments as the customer’s desire to belong, to enjoy success, or to feel safe, for example. Implemented with care and precision, emotionally intelligent marketing can make the difference between a lifelong customer and a one-time browser.

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