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11 trends to watch in marketing and media

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Credit: Photos courtesy of the individual members.

Gone are the days where creative agencies simply sell ads to clients. The latest trends, backed with today's highly efficient technology, demand that agencies become a one-stop shop for all things production, marketing and communications.

Eleven experts from Ad Age Collective weigh in on the marketing and media trends that CMOs and marketing leaders need to watch for.

1. Conversational marketing will take over.

As more and more people move away from talking to people on the phone, bots and real-time conversations with businesses over SMS and messaging channels will become the main way we communicate with businesses. — Chris Brisson, Salesmsg

2. Content will be more human.

It's harder to question the authenticity of content when it is personality-driven. For example, casual video over perfectly edited video will resonate stronger with who we're trying to not only reach but spark a meaningful connection with. This will hold true both in B2B and B2C sectors. — Allen Gannett, Skyword

3. Martech consolidation will draw attention from investors.

I'm expecting to see a major uptick in martech consolidation as it continues to draw attention from investors in venture, private equity and public markets. Over the next few years, marketers will benefit by having a single dashboard in which to plan, activate and optimize. Companies focused on content marketing will have the most long-term impact because content is foundational to all marketing. — Tom Gerace, Skyword

4. We'll enter the 'feeling' business.

The experience industry is behind us, and managing a checklist won't work any more. Millennials taught us that it is an imperfect world, and if a brand makes us feel good, we stay with the brand. Every CEO must think about what touches the heart of the customer. We're becoming humans again. — Arjun Sen, ZenMango

5. HR tech will evolve to end-to-end platform solutions.

Like martech, fintech and e-commerce early maturation curves, HR tech is evolving from point solutions to end-to-end platform solutions that make candidate and recruiter experiences more seamless. Data-rich products and mobile-first user experiences, increasingly powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, will enable people and companies to connect in ways that reflect the changing world of work. — Amy Heidersbach, CareerBuilder

6. New data privacy rules will force agencies to take on new levels of financial risk.

Marketers are looking to shift millions of dollars in liability to the agencies that buy their media. As a result, agencies will have to invest in data privacy and security measures to mitigate liability issues and financial exposure. — Chad Robley, Mindgruve

7. There will be greater pressure to deliver with shorter timelines.

With regard to production, we are seeing shifts with significant impacts. Production is accustomed to clients desiring more bang for their buck, often without understanding what has to be sacrificed in order to obtain it. However, we are seeing greater pressure to deliver with shorter timelines and additional deliverables to be shot at the same time (e.g. video and photo). — Ryan Ingrasin, Edelman

8. Agency teams will become strategic ideators.

The untenable nature of business models for traditional holding companies, combined with the tenuous tenure of CMOs and demand for ROI, will continue to shift the industry away from selling ads to clients. Instead, agency teams will collaborate with clients on everything from marketing communications to product innovation and CX. The role of creative agencies will evolve to strategic ideators. — Tim Maleeny, Havas New York

9. People will be less susceptible to fraud and bots.

The days of falling victim to fraud and bots will be few and far between. Companies spend enough money on digital marketing to know that 50% of it is garbage. Whether it's bot farms faking impressions, ads showing up next to unsavory content, or influencers faking their own followings, we now have the tools to be able to tell what's real and what's fake. Cleaning up the ecosystem will be beneficial to everyone in the long term but will be messy and difficult in the short term. — Jerrid Grimm, Pressboard

10. Collaborative work will be at its best.

Expect the boom of independent freelancer's networks. Recent research commissioned by Accenture points out that by 2020 around 43% of the US workforce will be freelancers. — Marcello Magalhaes, Speakeasy - Knowledge Brokers

11. The customer journey will continue to be complex.


In the world of marketing, the single biggest change, that is a continuation of a trend we have been experiencing, is the increasingly complex customer journey and the challenge of understanding attribution across channels and on the customer journey. Those advertisers and agencies that invest in solving this will win; those that don't will find the cost of acquiring customers unattainable. — Michael Mothner, Wpromote

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Ad Age Collective is an invitation-only, fee-based membership organization of industry leaders with influential voices. The Ad Age editorial team is not involved in the curation or management of the Ad Age Collective and the content within. The opinion expressed by contributors are their own. Learn more.
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