With 2018 underway, the Sachs Media Group team recognizes the value of reflecting on last year’s challenges, successes, and (most importantly) lessons about where the world of marketing is headed. Taking what we learned from the year just ended, our communications pros offer some insightful marketing predictions:
In the digital space, we are going to see a significant rise in the use of video and animations. At a time when users are constantly bombarded with digital content, these types of moving images have the ability to grab the viewer’s attention much more effectively than do static images. Compatibility of these graphics with handheld devices will be crucial as more and more people leave behind their laptops and desktops and turn to mobile phones and tablets for convenient access of news and entertainment.
For both print and digital deliverables, we are going to see an upswing in minimalistic designs. The use of white space paired with clean, simple graphics improves content legibility and will help designs stand out. We want our viewers to be engaged, not confused or distracted!
As if this isn’t happening enough already, digital advertising is only going to get “creepier.” Most adults have received a “stalker” ad as a result of businesses’ ability to track user behavior online. Facebook, for example, provides ad targeting through a granular approach by partnering with third-party data sources such as Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon. This allows marketers to serve ads to who they consider the most ideal viewers. Innovation in the processes and technology for online behavior tracking will only continue, leading advertisers to capitalize on these new developments and deliver a brand’s messaging straight to the newsfeed or sidebar of the target audience.
One of the biggest controversies of 2017 was the harassment of “fake news” and the creation of outlets that confidently deliver these bogus stories. Moving forward in 2018, the use of research and cited material within marketing deliverables will be critical to the engagement rate of those materials, as well as to a client’s success overall. When a client is able to deliver messaging that is heavily fact-based – whether by way of surveys, studies, or academic reports – the communications team is able to create impactful content that journalists and viewers can rely on. While marketing materials such as op-eds will still reflect a subjective angle based on the client’s mission, even these opinion pieces will need to include cited studies and statistics to gain plausibility. Fortunately, Sachs Media Group is ahead of the game with our Breakthrough Research division, which specializes in original data collection, cutting-edge analysis and data visualization, market analysis, message testing, and policy papers that provide actionable insights.
As Facebook continues to update its algorithm in favor of posts by friends and family over brands, marketers and publishers will have to begin testing out innovative ways to remain at the top of the news feed. They will need to focus on content that is not only sharable, but also sparks conversation and a deeper level of engagement among users. In addition, we may start to see a gradual shift from a primarily Facebook-focused marketing strategy to a more balanced strategy that includes a growing emphasis on other popular social media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram, which continue to improve their algorithms and targeting options.
It’s no secret that the world of strategic communications has changed drastically over the past few decades, yet we’re starting to come full circle – getting back to the basics and to what worked when the world of marketing and advertising was first established. Just as digital advertising has the ability to be personalized and can target a specific audience, a similar shift toward this type of pitching for earned media is clearly on the horizon. ‘Fluff’ and ‘generic’ are labels commonly tossed about when referring to the pitches of public relations professionals, often by reporters and with a negative connotation. This is the year we finally start listening to what journalists want and change things up. Simple statements, to-the-point tactics, and personal meetings with journalists or in-person delivery of press materials are methods that are – to the media’s delight – making their way back into the realm of marketing.