The best minds in advertising know it's not enough to stay on trend. With the constant release of new information, technology and marketing techniques, the best move or campaign for your company can change in an instant.
As important as it is to be aware of what works well today, it's just as vital to anticipate change. To help, eight industry experts from Ad Age Collective share their predictions for the next few years.
1. Brands will prefer individual consumers over preeminent 'influencers' as their marketers.
Influencer marketing is complex and high-beta in terms of value delivery. Today, many advertisers are drawn to professional content creators with the greatest reach, rather than brand ambassadors. However, these influencers often don't have a big impact on the vertical a brand is pursuing and may have a lower net engagement than content creators who have a natural cadence with a niche audience. Specialist influencers who have built a connection with an audience often provide greater efficiency for advertisers that are basing value on engagement. Critical mass is where the challenge lies – we need the ability to work with hundreds or thousands of small but powerful influencers in a turn-key fashion. This model has potential, but without scale, it simply won't work for large advertisers. — Samantha Skey, SheKnows Media
2. There will be tension between marketing to niche audiences and the general market.
I predict the views of marketing to niche audiences versus the general market will become a major cause for contradiction among our industry. We understand the viewpoint that people who are among the minority may want to feel that they're part of the mass market, but how do you do that without overstepping cultural nuances? And when would it ever be appropriate to do so? — Robyn Streisand, The Mixx
3. Media and creative will come back together.
I believe we will see media and creative come back together — but in a whole new way. We are in the midst of the transition of the old advertising industry into the new business of commercial persuasion. Data and digitally driven messaging, along with rapid creative iteration, loom in our collective future. Fasten your seatbelts! — David Verklin, VFL Investment and Advisory LLC
4. Our work will favor creativity over hard skills.
In the next one to two years, the industry will be dramatically impacted by the further elimination of people-based roles that intelligent technology can do faster and more efficiently. As this happens, new roles will rise, and the work we do will change and favor creativity over hard skills or expertise. — Lana McGilvray, Blast Public Relations and Marketing
5. Technology won't be enough to deliver a personalized customer experience.
Personalization is a super hot trend in our industry. Executives are trying to deliver a one-to-one experience to their customers and to use data in a smarter way. However, in the next one to two years, they will also start to realize that this cannot be accomplished with technology alone. True personalization can only be built on a culture of data, iteration and design thinking. — Brooks Bell, Brooks Bell
6. Voice technology and augmented reality will ramp up impact.
Voice technology and augmented reality will start to drive sales and make an impact on revenue. Both technologies have shown real promise over the last few years, but now there's enough market penetration to start making an impact. — Sujan Patel, Ramp Ventures
7. Media buying will become automated.
Media buying will become heavily automated through AI and advanced platform algorithms. Brands will be able to trust these systems for all bid management, placements and split testing — and will no longer need media-buying agencies that are solely "platform managers." The agencies that don't adapt and deliver results-driven creative and strong lifetime value strategies will quickly go out of business. — Eric Schechter, GiddyUp
8. Brands will move away from agencies of record.
I think one major change I'm anticipating is that brands could move away from agencies of record. The entire marketing cycle moves so much quicker now, and brands need the ability to be more fluid and agile when it comes to supporting their marketing needs. — Tina Wells, Buzz Marketing Group