Chris Hayes EVP, Brand Strategy

With 2018 just around the corner, I’ve been looking at some of the trends that will drive marketing in the New Year.

Here are just a few things we’ll be seeing (or seeing more of) in the coming months:

Artificial Intelligence – While still in the relatively early stages of development, marketers are increasingly using AI-driven live chat tools to respond to and interact with their website visitors. As the technology is perfected, this trend will only continue to grow.

Voice-optimized Content – According to Entrepreneur, 20% of online searches in 2017 were conducted through voice search. That number is expected to reach 50% by 2020. Just as they’ve done for web and mobile search, marketers will increasingly optimize their content for voice searches.

Privacy Concerns – The number of high profile data breaches in the past year have raised consumer awareness of this issue. Marketers will double down on their efforts to protect customer privacy, and communicating this will be a key part of their brand’s value proposition.

Viral Content – This trend continues to play a key role in marketers’ playbooks. When done well, viral content can deliver brand awareness and big dollars at low cost. Not all content has the potential to go viral, though. The right combination of authentic, funny, witty and relatable is needed for success.

Brand Blogs – Companies will continue to take control of their content by creating their own blogs. Topics like company updates, engaging customer stories, featured guest posts and relevant business trends will allow marketers to cultivate their brands and connect with customers while having the interactions take place on their own website.

Given these trends, here are four things marketers should be doing to gain and keep an edge in 2018:

1. Embrace Technology – If you haven’t already incorporated these new capabilities into your marketing efforts, now is the time. Chances are good that your competition already has and you don’t want to be left behind.

2. Make Data Security a Priority – While no database is 100% safe today, protecting your customer information should be a part of your brand promise. Customers need to know you take cyber security seriously.

3. Don’t Forget Brand Voice – Marketers today interact with their customers across multiple platforms. Content may vary by channel, but the “voice” should consistently reflect your brand personality.

4. Keep In Touch – Customers’ habits and preferences constantly evolve. An ongoing research program can track changes so you can adjust your marketing and communication efforts to address your customers’ priorities.

It’s easy to get caught up in the newest technologies and trends, but it’s also important to remember that technology and trends won’t move the ROI needle if your brand isn’t strategically positioned for success.

If you’d like to make sure your brand is ready for great things in 2018, we’d love to help. Email me at or give me a call at 913.236.2415.

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