Predictions, Crystal Ball & Candle

Crystal Ball 2 by Trish2 – http://trish2.deviantart.com/

Predictions for the next lap around the sun abound this time of year. 2016 was a good year for us. We put together some great models for clients that were used in optimizing their media and a couple of ‘quick-as-you-can’ projects came in in Q4 that really capped off a great effort. We are looking forward to a good 2017 as well and as many marketing companies do this time of year, I thought we’d look at the crystal ball and examine some of the projections we’ve seen that we agree with, a few we don’t and then maybe even one or two of our own.

Starting with a few we’ve seen on others lists that we agree with, we’ll open with one from Millward-Brown; whom we respect and often have opportunity to leverage their data in our MarketSim® agent-based modeling platform.

2017 Predictions for Relevant Marketers

1. Brand experience takes center stage Michael Nicholas / Kantar TNS

In MB’s annual whitepaper version of their predictions, Nicholas says “marketers must concentrate on the experience they want to deliver to their customers; the essence of what they want their brand to be”. I like the thought and when it comes to incorporating the brand into your marketing analytics most tactics we’ve seen fall short of being able to consider the impact & value of the brand.
We agree that marketers need to now find a way to consider how the brand impacts the sales of their products. How this is accomplished, is a question for now, but impact of the brand will be a challenge I think marketers will take up more aggressively in 2017.

2. Galvanized by fear, the online advertising industry will more aggressively respond to ad blockers – Duncan Southgate / Kantar Millward Brown

Southgate makes it very clear in this one that “Media agencies need to improve targeting, using more frequency capping and retargeting judiciously to reduce irritation.” I’ve seen other reports that suggest that use of ad blocking may be leveling off, but the embarrassment for all marketers is that we brought it on ourselves. The tit-for-tat arms race in ad blocking / ad delivery technology is inane. Southgate goes on to say “so the safer long-term strategy will be to address the core concerns which have drawn people to ad blocking [in the first place]” – namely that “ads interrupt and annoy them; they are concerned that ads slow down their devices, and they don’t find ads relevant”. Plus, for many highly advertised sites, the quality of the ads is atrocious, moving consumers to want to block.

3. Live and Staged Video Will Dominate on All Platforms – Justin Kerby / Cave Social

The content wars are raging full tilt right now. Even medium-sized B2B companies are adding video to their arsenal. A good blog post and a Facebook page are just not enough anymore. Video on the website is important, but the post on a social platform as a teaser will drive more & better traffic. 2017 is the year I think we’ll see companies realize that the online presence is just too critical to ignore and step up investment in all content types with video leading the way for many. Kerby says in his prediction on Social Media Today that “With Facebook even giving top priority to live video posts. This encouraged users to post and jump the algorithm, getting in front of a larger viewership than would be expected with a traditional post.” I heartily agree.

4. Writing Takes Center Stage – Joe Pulizzi / Content Marketing Institute

Pulizzi is spot on here we think. Time-on-site and meaningful & sharable content drive awareness in online marketing. Pulizzi, in his August 2016 article on “The Biggest Content Marketing Trends in 2017” cites that “…that most of our communication is still text- and story-based. And frankly, most marketers are really bad at writing.” The answer will come from both better education (to marketers) on how to write compelling copy and an upsurge of professional copywriters – John Wanamaker would be proud (did you know he hired the first ever copywriter? Yep – quite the innovator there).

5. Imagery Transfer is the Issue as Digital Spend Tops Out – Steven Groves / ProRelevant

This my personal prediction for 2017. Digital has steadily increased year-over-year for the last decade or so to equal and sometimes surpass investments in traditional media. Some companies went all-in and bet the wad on digital-only strategies and for some, it worked. Overall though I think we’re at or at least nearing the saturation point for digital-only marketing strategies. In the battle over Atoms vs. Bits, bits are doing well, but when we need to connect with customers outside the computer and off-mobile, we’re going to need the well established capabilities of traditional media – print, billboard, radio & television will see a few more dollars going their way or at least the bleeding will stop. The challenge is how marketers will accomplish imagery transfer and bridge the impact of one to the other. It’s a nut I think they can crack, but the internal silos need to come down to become more effective.

What’s Really Happening – 3 Takeaways for Success

  1. Understand Reality – Planning is good, reality is that plans need to monitored and managed. ROI in marketing IS measurable – learn how now.
  2. Get relevant & strategic data – Do your own research or hire people who can do it for you. Based the plan in reality, not a pipedream.
  3. Use Consumers Behavior in Market Mix Planning – Media planning is not about how media performs, it’s about how consumers respond to your marketing.

That’s just 5 predictions for Relevant Marketers for 2017. Share some of your favorites below in the comments.

Have a very Merry Christmas in 2016 and let’s all get ready for an awesome 2017.