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Okay, make sure your earbuds are working, because I’ve dusted off my crystal ball and uncovered a handful of marketing insights for 2018.

No groundbreaking marketing insights here, but it’s fabulous brain fodder to kick off the new year. One thing’s for sure, we’ll all gleefully endure another 12 months of completely disruptive innovation and market shifts thanks to the ever-quickening pace of technological evolution.

What a joy!

Let’s dive in

 

Increased Socio-Cultural Gamification

Our social media apps (digital personas) are already layered with immersive micro-features and micro-moments ripe for creating deeper impact in the physical world. Each new platform that drips forth from the Silicon Valleys of the world is a unique game in a virtual arcade providing users with the ability to compete, cooperate, explore, and express.

In 2018, we’re likely to see the envelope being shotgunned a bit further thanks to the rise of Social Gamification. So, instead of a farming app mining Bitcoins while you’re busy harvesting crops (fun and interactive), digital engagement will be monetized in more direct ways.

  • As we chat, like, share, publish content, game, etc., we impact the world and earn value.
  • Value can be spent in endless ways, only limited by brand imagination and integration.

I remember in 2012 when the buzz was about digital “social scores” negatively impacting college admissions. In 2018 we’ll begin seeing social gamification blend even more into our lives, from transforming small micro-actions into charitable donations like CrowdRise (fundraising through social media), to earning something like healthcare points, or even detoxifying the biosphere.

For all you WoW nerds out there (World of Warcraft), imagine if every HK equaled a recycled bottle, or every achievement point caused a water-bot to clean a little section of the ocean. How cool would that be (Oh wait…)?

 

2) An Influencer Marketing Surge

Right at the close of the year on Dec 28th, 2017, both Entrepreneur and Forbes ran big articles on how Influencer Marketing is the next best thing since sliced 3D-printed bread.

The Road Ahead for Influencer Marketing: 2018 and Beyond

Summary: The approach’s rapidly gone from experimental to essential for legions of brands. According to their research 67% of marketers thought influencer marketing helped them reach more targeted audiences. Brands are experimenting with cross-channel and reaching influencers outside their own industries, driving budgets up and making the analytics-side even more valuable.

8 Expert Predictions For Influencer Marketing Technology Trends In 2018

Summary: From eliminating data syndication on behalf of talent agencies, to increased automation, Live streaming-based advertising, and social accounts transforming into full-blown media platforms…whew! These founders don’t doubt 2018 will be the year influencer marketing gets its act together and takes the strategy to a whole new level.

Of these marketing insights, this is the one that feels the most concrete. Do you agree?

 

3) The Entrance of Non-visual Engagement

What I mean is, well, so I just asked my Alexa,

Alexa, what is Virtus Ventures?

Got nothing, she couldn’t help me with that.

Alexa, who is Virtus Ventures?

Still nothing. But, what if Alexa was like,

Virtus Ventures is a business consulting agency for innovative startups and entrepreneurs founded in…by Matt Shields…

And so on. The internet of things (IoT) will continue to spread and expand. Savvy SME marketers should be on the lookout for non-visual engagement opportunities via interactive smart devices – everything from Alexa and Siri-like bots to smart speakers and your car stereo.

Speaking of which…

 

4) The Voice Web Continues Amplifying

At this moment B2P voice-to-audio communication via devices like Alexa or Siri (virtual assistant bots) is limited, but growing at an exponential rate sort of behind the scenes. The voice web, it’s like the internet but you speak instead of type or tap anything.

According to Fortune, Amazon Echo and Google Home collectively sold an estimated 15-20’ish million units. And we all know they’re collecting oceans of user data.

Sure, if you run a pizza joint in town you could make it easy for local people to order a pie, but what else could you do? How else could your business leverage the voice web?

No one’s insinuating we’re going to transfer all the data we have on servers to new ones for a voice web, but the infrastructure’s being built to make it a new viable source of interaction and communication. 2018 will likely see big leaps in this direction.

 

5) The Content Bar Keeps Rising

If we look at the 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report from the Content Marketing Institute,

  • 60% of B2B marketers reported their content marketing strategies are more effective.
  • The #1 contributing factor (85%) was higher quality content that’s more efficient.

Chances are you and your company either already have a dedicated content marketing team, or plan to. In 2018, well, be prepared to need your own media wing – video producers, editors of all kinds (copy, audio, video, etc.) designers, distribution, promotion, paid and inbound advertising…

To be frank, 2018 is likely to be the year the bar is officially raised in the content marketing industry at large… yet again. Even the most unsavvy entrepreneur with a fabulous idea will know their blogs, information products, newsletters, etc., needs production quality to compete. It’s a good thing.

 

Marketing Insights Wrap Up

On a more personal note, 2018 also happens to be the year I really break out as an independent startup investor. Time to start putting my money where my marketing insights lead me! I’m committed. So committed I’ve organized a team, and we’re going to choose 10 startups throughout the year to invest $25,000 into and much more. Submit your pitch and who knows, I might be helping to Fund Your Startup! Cheers, and here’s to our best year yet.

 

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