Agencies often use the latest marketing technology to work more efficiently, but if they're not careful, today's innovations may make companies obsolete as they allow small businesses to move their marketing efforts in-house.
To help industry leaders keep their agencies relevant, nine experts in Ad Age Collective share top trends to watch.
1. The definition of TV will continue to evolve.
While advertisers want to define TV as simply linear or just connected TV/OTT, the truth is that TV is now an ultra-fragmented, powerful combination of both. Advertisers are therefore going to have to rethink how they leverage this new TV paradigm in order to harness its power, increase reach/scale and target with precision. — Cathy Oh, Samsung Ads
2. Robotic process automation will become mainstream.
Evolution from chatbots to other use cases of robotic process automation and advanced uses of artificial intelligence will become more mainstream. As the fragmentation of channels and management of these customer touchpoints grow manifold, marketers will need to find ways that can function with higher productivity, perform at faster speeds, and are scalable and effective for the overall business. — Raashee Gupta Erry, Essence
3. Paywalls will proliferate and raise new questions.
Paywalls will continue to flourish as news outlets look for ways to produce revenue. This creates several questions and societal issues such as: How do we ensure a free society with access to news with such paid services? How will media access not become something for the elite? What "fake" news outlets will spring from the potential lack of supply of free content? — Rebecca Bamberger, BAM Communications
4. Conversational AI will become a bigger factor.
AI will have a better understanding of what our queries imply and be able to have more meaningful conversations with us. People overvalue "voice search" but don't really pay attention to conversational AI. A few years down the line is a good bet because we're not quite there yet, but the technology is rapidly improving. — Eric Siu, Single Grain
5. Agencies will need to compete with the increase of SAAS tools.
One major change facing the advertising industry is the increase of SAAS tools that make it easier to bring advertising in-house instead of using agencies. Agencies need to up their game in terms of strategy, innovation and execution to make sure they keep their seat at the table. — Megan Bedera, Amplify Relations
6. Technology will cater to the consumer's limited attention.
Consumers are lacking time and patience to digest content and "get things done" in a world of many (digital) distractions. In fact, most industries need to understand overall best practices to capture the limited attention of the consumer, whether it be through more efficient and user-friendly technology or "skimmable," easy-to-find, and relevant content and offers. — Vinita Kochhar, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
7. 'In-house' social media and marketing will continue to shape brand communications.
The continued megatrend of "in-housing" social media and marketing services will continue to shape how brands communicate with the world and how agencies service brands. While there are aspects that can certainly make more sense to staff internally from an efficiency and ownership standpoint (e.g. community management"), in-house content and creative teams have shown mixed results for brands. — DJ Saul, ISL
8. A diverse range of talent will become more crucial.
The recruitment and development of a diverse range of talent are critical to our industry. Our teams need to represent the range of diversity of the customers whom we serve, and we need to attract ever-changing skill sets with strengths in both the science and art of marketing. — Rich Honiball, Navy Exchange Service Command
9. There will be a rise of personalization and fall of generalization.
Everything from ads, websites and email nurtures is going to be more and more personalized so that they are having a one-to-one conversation with the prospect/customer. Technology and AI are powering this change. — Andy Mackensen, SnackNation
10. There will be more tech innovation that benefits the customer.
Commercial insurance understanding and processing speeds will increase, and it will only be a good thing for the customer. Insurers need to anticipate and lead the change and yet, we see plenty of competition that appears to be hedging their bets as far as the future and where the simplification of insurance purchasing are going. — Gary Grose, Argo Group