4 emerging areas of opportunity for marketers in 2018

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Zenith has published a special edition of its data & insights publication, Global Intelligence, focusing on eight key areas of focus for marketers over the coming year.

Called 2018 The Year Ahead, the report identifies key areas of emerging opportunity for marketers under 4 broad headings, namely trust, inclusivity, immediacy and seamless interaction.


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Trust: Fake news to news clean-up

In 2018, news organisations and other environments in which brands appear will struggle to rebuild consumers’ trust in them and demonstrate transparency to advertisers, the report notes.

The reality is the world is neither ready nor willing to say goodbye to truth. But the popular opinion now is somehow being easily swayed by emotionally charged rhetoric and fake news having no factual basis.

It requires deliberate action to drive social scrutiny and to encourage people to be more focused on evidence and rational thinking, notes the report.

“In 2018, we can expect more scrutiny and vigilance to expose organisations to reveal the truth and curb those hustlers from distributing fake news.”

In this environment, blockchain technology will begin to offer new tools for creating transparency and verification.

People will look to brands to harness this technology and to give them greater control, total transparency, and fair prices.

Inclusivity: Rethinking targeting

In a world where consumers are attracted by causes that enable them to make a difference rather than politics where they can’t, there are many ways brands can get competitive advantage by getting involved.

While explicit endorsement might not be suited for all brands, advertisers must recognise the implicit implications of their communications in terms of wider society to ensure that they stay with the times and avoid any sudden onslaught of social media pressure.

Brands will need to take a lead in publicly inclusive behaviour at a time when data-led targeting and activation approaches are leading to more ‘exclusive’ communications strategies.

The report also adds that marketers need to re-wire the way that they think about target audiences, recognising the needs of different segments at each stage of the journey.

In a world where brand-led advertising is getting easier to avoid, there is an opportunity to produce consumer-led content, reflecting what consumers want to engage with rather than just what brands want to say.


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Immediacy: Experience on demand

Immediacy will be a pressing concern for all with the ongoing march of AI, Zenith report adds.

“We predict more brands will be concentrating capability and investment in delivering more tailor-made experiences. The challenge is intimidating as in-the-moment experiences and exceptional service are now seen as basic requirements by many consumers,” it notes.

The rise of the experience economy has allowed whole industries to adapt to digital transformation.

To define the opportunity, brands have to move from simply selling a product to understanding what brand service they provide.

Increased consumer expectations and new competition from experience-based brands means that brands must not only deliver these better experiences in the present, but constantly consider how technology can improve their experience in the future, Zenith report notes, adding, “The dynamic experience supported by AI will allow for a more ‘in-the-moment’ adaptive shopping experience.”

Seamless interaction: Shop as you view

Seamless interaction will become critical in the shopping arena, with shoppable content featuring in live event formats and voice shopping gathering momentum, the report maintains, maintains Zenith, adding, “Shoppable content will continue to grow as seamless fulfilment processes become integrated into content. But there’s a new twist that will grow in importance in 2018: live-stream retail, in which consumers shop in real-time directly from live content. Live-stream retail is shopping-as-entertainment reborn for the smartphone generation.”

Video platforms are making it easier to add shopping to video, whether through YouTube’s shoppable ads, Instagram Stories’ shoppable video layer or Snapchat’s “swipe-up” as an e-commerce call to action.

Marketers should test different formats and platforms and think carefully about how to integrate e-commerce call to actions into the video content they create.