Trending hashtags are no longer trendy
Like every year, 2018 will see its share of the good, bad and the ugly when it comes to how digital is used. While the good is something to welcome, let me caution marketers against these top 6 digital boo-boos:
1.Delegating common-sense marketing to that apparent panacea, Artificial Intelligence.
AI is great but please do not give up on your own intelligence just yet. Seat-of-the-pants and ear-to-the-customer marketing smarts are still very pertinent.
2.Trending hashtags. It is 2018, and not 2011.
Give up on getting countless digital loudspeakers (aka “influencers” sometimes) to trumpet templated tweets and get your brand trending. Remember, trending hashtags are no longer the trendy thing to do.
3.Agencies making their digital core competence seem like the centre of the digital marketing universe, and gullible clients lapping up this story.
Getting digital right is about getting an orchestra of digital instruments to play in concert and make music. So do not fall for agencies that try and blindside you to this fact.
4.Investing in cooler and niftier bots to speed up responses to customers in the social stream.
Invest instead in increasing focus on consumer empathy, and you will have more delighted customers and less outrage about how your brand merely responds but does not truly listen.
5.Expecting digital transformation to magically change the face and fortunes of your business.
In most cases, digital transformation initiatives merely get you to a place that you ought to have been at earlier. The real task of using digital better for your business only begins once you have caught up.
6.Continuing to underinvest in digital, yet expecting it to work miracles.
Quality digital thinking, ideas, clutter-breaking production and always-on management of brands takes skill, talent and money. Water the digital plant right, and you will see it bloom for you in 2018.
Now onto a quick look at the key themes that will impact digital and marketers in 2018:
1.Audience “deafness” to brands will see a sharp increase.
This will be in direct proportion to the increasing levels of digital cacophony that will bombard consumers. Content overload will challenge brands to think and do smarter, and use digital better to break through the noise.
2.Ideas will continue to endear brands to customers and help them stay ahead of Ideas
that are channel agnostic and large enough to stretch a brand’s visibility and memorability will win over those are narrow and merely create a momentarily blip. If you think a hashtag is an idea, think again.
3.Audio marketing will find a voice in the marketer’s arsenal.
Brands will discover and embrace the power of podcasts and audio storytelling as the new flavour of marketing cool. However, before you rush in, remember to start with an idea, a singular, strong idea that smart audio marketing will build on. Audio marketing itself is not the idea.
4.Blockchain and cryptocurrency will be popular topics of marketer chatter and conference themes.
In spite of this, most folks will continue to be clueless about what these things are and what they should and should not do with them. Wait and watch is a better policy than rushing in blind.
5.Agencies will continue to be a threatened species. Consultancies will chomp into their lunch and dinner, and enjoy a seat at the big table with CXOs.
Smart clients will embrace the consultancy offering as a means to making sense of everything out there and making the right choices so their brands can use digital to win, and not just compete.
6.Behind-the-firewall digital marketing will grow.
This will help brands in delivering a higher quality of brand experience and in creating the next level of customer engagement, recognition and growth. These digital marketing initiatives will largely to invisible in public streams yet will incorporate the best amalgam of technology, data, consumer behaviour, popular platforms and ideas to make digital deliver real value and business impact.
Remember, digital is no longer the future. It is the here and now. And used right, it can help your brands create a wow.