Avaus – 11 Digital Marketing Trends for 2018

1. Marketing Clouds Continue to Expand and Merge with Adtech

Data management platforms are entering the mainstream and taking larger roles in Marketing clouds. They enable sophisticated identity management and seamless integration with Adtech platforms. This is the realisation of many marketers dream: campaigns can now easily be extended from owned channels and existing customers and identified prospects to any target in the world, by programmatic media buys. Convergence of Martech and Adtech will drive digital media buys in-house, and shift marketing spends on technology, data, media and content. It will also disrupt the media agency industry as we know it.


2. Mobile Takeover will be Completed

Mobile devices account for more than 60% of all digital minutes globally. In early 2018 mobile use accounts for more than 50% of searches, 91% of Facebook usage, 80% of Facebook advertising, 100% of ad spend growth. And 90% of mobile media time is spent in apps. What more can we say?


3. Interface Proliferation around the Corner

Voice, AR/VR interfaces are about to explode. We are already seeing bots everywhere, but voice is about to take off big time. Google is opening up its assistant to other manufacturers of loudspeakers. It probably won’t be long before everyone can use it as a framework for their own smart devices. Amazon, Facebook, Apple and many others will follow suit.


4. Marketing Technology is Moving Beyond Marketing Automation

According to Gartner, marketing technology has rapidly grown to claim a third of the marketing budget. Marketing, sales and commerce stacks now cover the entire customer journey from acquisition to fulfilment. According to Scott Brinker, marketing stacks need to be a) rationalised, b) grown and rejuvenated, and c) become even more customer-centric.

The customer interfacing platforms will be integrated into the larger digital enterprise backbone. The glue holding all this together is data, and open APIs.


5. Demand for Content Continues to Grow

Brands need to produce ever more content of their own to get their voice heard and stay digitally relevant in the fierce battle for attention. The viable solution is not just more content but to distribute content more efficiently than others. Algorithmic tweaks by Facebook and other social platforms are systematically diminishing organic reach. Marketers must compensate for this with smarter social distribution strategies, tools such as employer advocacy and savvy social media buys. B2B marketers should fully embrace account-based marketing tactics.

A good distribution strategy combines analytics with a healthy mix of innovation and experimentation. Content modularisation is a must for high levels of personalisation. Content concepts enabling scalability and reusability are in big demand. High performance, high reach content will be a part of the AI extravaganza, as algorithms monitor, support and engage in real conversations across social platforms, devices and user contexts. It is a never-ending race to capture the hearts and minds of customers.


6. Data Science and Analytics Claim Pole Position

Analytics has eclipsed digital bought advertising and site development, as the number one item in the marketing budget of 2018, according to Gartner. Open source tools allow an unforeseen flexibility, and is take analysts to many virgin territories. Advances in data tech, data quality management, advanced analytics and AI, combined with accountability pressures, have finally put the data scientist and the analyst in the position where they should have been from the start – at the very centre of marketing.


7. GDPR makes Privacy a Selling Point

The increase in high-profile data breaches has revealed the full extent of the impact of data-security on all aspects of business. After GDPR, many customers will begin to favour products that will and can protect their privacy. Smart marketers will begin using privacy protection and data security as a value proposition across industries.


8. Digital Competition Drive Customer Experience Development

A customer experience (CX) strategy and its execution are decisive for every enterprise aspiring to embark on a digital transformation journey. Digital businesses that deliver everything from transport and baby food to yoga lessons on-demand are setting the benchmarks for ease of use and high quality experiences for customers. Connected devices and customer friendly digital applications make all of this possible. CX mapping, customer journey data management, CX monitoring and optimisation are some of the tools for the new CX trade.


9. Demand for Marketing ROI Accountability will Increase

Only 15% of marketers will increase their budgets significantly in 2018 according to Gartner. Inflated expectations for returns from previous budgets increases have not been met. Marketers have now to build their budgets based on future accountable returns rather than past assumptions.

To understand how budget should be spent, what actions drives business outcomes, requires a good mix of marketing analytics and an solid understanding of what the CFO wants. As new digital channels proliferate, ROI calculations are getting increasingly complex, requiring new advanced attribution algorithms. Companies that still lack relevant performance-based KPIs and tools for measuring marketing effectiveness should embrace a sense of urgency. Demands for measurable returns will only increase.


10. Algorithms will Orchestrate the Customer Journey

Source: Smart Insights – Digital Marketing Megatrends


Machine learning uses algorithms that feed on large data sets and consequently create incrementally improving propensity models. Based on their likelihood to convert, propensity models score leads. AI applications carry out tasks previously executed by humans, such as responding to a behaviour, answering customer questions or writing new content. Advanced marketing automation is a combination of all three aspects of AI. AI is already heavily involved in customer journey management in digitally savvy companies. In marketing, AI is a tool for more precise delivery of the right experiences at a time when they resonate the most.


11. Marketing Transformation – Companies Must Reshape their Marketing Organizations

Marketing transformation is the forerunner of the digital transformation of the enterprise. Marketing is expanding its reach to include most of the customer engagement processes and platforms of the enterprise. Marketing leadership is about making this transformation happen – in an orderly and results-driven way. Consequently, most CMO’s are in the process of overhauling their marketing organisation or planning to do so shortly. CMO’s and agencies are at odds, as CMO’s want to bring strategic parts of marketing in-house while leaving the execution to agency partners. Relationships with agencies will be re-defined. Martech skills are in ever higher demand, as marketers manage an increasing part of their marketing activities by their rapidly growing marketing stacks. AI boosted analytics is impregnating execution on all levels and establishing a new core of marketing and sales intelligence within the company.




Scott Brinker, Chiefmartech: 3 New Year’s Resolutions for your Martech Stack in 2018

Smart Insights – Digital Marketing Megatrends

HBR – The Customer Experience Gap

The Entrepreneur – 18 Marketing Trends to Watch

The Content Marketing Institute – 8 Ways Intelligent Marketers Should use AI

Marketing Week – Sarah Vizard: Marketers need a better answer to the ROI question

Marketing Week – The trends that will change how you do your job in 2018

Brandwatch – Ask the Experts: Predictions on the Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2018

Forbes – 6 Marketing Trends to Help You Budget For 2018

Trendwatching – The Future of Customer Experience



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