Today’s digital marketers are increasingly challenged to discern what’s important and what’s not in a world of flux. As 2018 kicks off, what are some of the key digital trends beyond big data, AI, and machine learning? With this in mind, we asked Asia’s industry leaders for their thoughts on the trends and developments they are most excited for in 2018.
1. The Rise of Peer Influence
“It will be interesting to see how brands share content through the community, and how social networks prioritise such content in our feeds.” Upali Dasgupta, Senior Regional Marketing Manager, Hootsuite.
Peer influence continues to be the most trusted source of information. Influencer marketing rose to prominence in 2016 and 17 but its success hasn’t always been free of claims of inauthenticity. While the tribe of paid influencers will likely keep growing, it will be interesting to see how brands share content through this community and how social networks prioritise that content in our feeds.
2. Getting Employee Advocacy Right
“2018 is the year employee advocacy will become a strategic imperative for senior leadership teams. Acknowledging that employees are individually and uniquely powerful on social media – as influencers in their own right – will be deemed a strategic asset.” Andrea T Edwards, The Digital Conversationalist/ Asian Content Marketing Association
The collective power and potential impact of active and intelligently engaged employees is now understood, as research indicates the most trusted resource within any business are its people.
However, historically, businesses have only focused on elevating its most senior people, in a controlled and measured way. That time is over, and the fundamental shift is, we all have a voice today. However, to make an impact and be heard in the digital world, individual credibility is paramount.
Senior leadership teams who get employee advocacy wrong, expect employees to become mouthpieces for the brand, which hurts both brand reputation and employee standing within their personal communities. Equally, digitally-savvy employees won’t buy into this – the ones you want on board – because they understand and value the power of their personal brand.
Leaders who get employee advocacy right will inspire employees to own their voice, support them to succeed and celebrate those who stand out above the crowd.
Championing employees across every level of the organization, and supporting them fully for the long-term, will be a game changer in 2018. When brands understand this opportunity, they will bask in the glow of powerful employee brands, enjoying higher employee engagement, customer loyalty, and new business wins.
3. Self-Serve Advertising Tools of Retail Sites Will Become a Lot More Popular
“What I’m actually excited about is the self-serve advertising tools of retail websites like Amazon getting a lot more popular. This is going to be both a good and bad thing.” Avtar Ram Singh, Head of Strategy, FALCON Agency
The good is that we’re going to see another platform that’s going to take up marketing spend other than Google and Facebook, and it’s going to be placed bang in the middle of not an awareness channel or a search intent channel, but product search channel with intent to buy – it’s literally the most lucrative space to be advertising in for a brand that can sell products via e-commerce.
The bad is that this kind of advertising is going to be incredibly transactional, and might end up in a space where marketers tend to start sacrificing on the quality of creative in order to get a more “sales-y” ad out. I hope this doesn’t diminish the role creative plays, because the quality of creative is going to be more important than ever now.
4. Data Driven Creativity
“Data-driven content strategies will be pivotal in boosting effectiveness and driving desired actions from target audiences, at scale.” Stephen Dale, General Manager APAC, Digimind
Digital content continues to be a crucial touchpoint for brands to connect with customers in this digital age. With an increasing amount of content produced every year by both brands and individuals, marketers need to understand how to create and deliver the right content to the right people at the right time to ensure personalized, relevant, and engaging experiences are being delivered.
Data-driven content strategies will thus be pivotal in boosting effectiveness and driving desired actions from target audiences, at scale. Companies need to continue analyzing data from multiple channels to support content strategies, by better understanding their target audience’s behaviours and preferences, as well as reduce ad spend waste and subjectivity.
Bonus: Find out how you can track and optimize marketing activities in real time, using these essential KPIs and metrics on social media.