Wondering what 2018 will mean for marketing?

As the year begins, there are a few standout trends and ideas at the ready to make a major impact on the way we strategize.

In this article, I’ll cover seven of the major creative strategies to incorporate in 2018.

7 Creative Marketing Ideas And Strategies For 2018

  1. Marketing Ideas – Use Chatbots for Customer Communication

As AI’s presence continues to expand, it will play a bigger role in ever the way we market.

Case in point: chatbots.

Technically speaking, Chatbots are a type of software designed to automate tasks, most specifically customer communication.

In lieu of customer calls and emails, Chatbots interact with customers through a chat interface.

As we enter 2018, you’ll more than likely see a surge in the use of these bots, as they prove to be one of the most effective ways for businesses to interact with customers.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.3%

Marketing Ideas - Use Messaging Apps for Customer Service

Marketing Ideas – Use Messaging Apps for Customer Service

And according to Hubspot, 48% of consumers would rather connect with a company via live chat than any other mean of contact.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg:

  • 35% of consumers want to see more companies using chatbots
  • 55% of consumers are interested in interacting with a business using messaging apps to solve a problem.
  • 95% of consumers believe ‘customer service’ is going to be the major beneficiary of chatbots
  • 47% of consumers would buy items from a chatbot
  • By 2020, over 80% of businesses are expected to have some sort of chatbot automation implemented

I think it’s safe to say that Chatbots are here to stay. So if you haven’t already, it may be time to take a look at building your own Chatbot.

  1. Marketing Ideas – Integrate Voice Search

The way users search is changing. To make sure they still find you, your brand needs to make some changes as well.

For many, that means taking a serious look at voice search and how to incorporate it into your strategy.

As of now, 20% of mobile searches on Google are made via voice, and 40% of adults now use voice search once a day.

The trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon, which means that marketers need to more vigilant than ever in their efforts to optimize for voice search.

One way to do that is to take advantage of the opportunities presented by voice services like Amazon Alexa.

Companies are increasingly using the service to build skills.

Marketing Ideas - Build a Skill in Alexa

Marketing Ideas – Build a Skill in Alexa

Skills are basically apps, but made specifically to work with smart speakers and Alexa-enabled devices.

For example, both Uber and Lyft offer Skills so you can order you ride hands-free. Other brands like All Recipes use a Skill to offer easy answers to voice questions like “what can I make with chicken and cheese?”

But B2B’s have plenty to offer in the way of Skills as well. For starters, take a look at Digiday’s Skill for industry information. In 90 seconds, it will brief you on all the latest industry news, podcast style.

  1. Marketing Ideas – Expand Your Content Marketing Roles

Content marketing isn’t going anywhere.

But the way we use it is changing.

It’s no longer all about writing blogs and updating social channels. Now, users are increasingly consuming content in videos and graphics.

In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, the average company uses 8 tactics to reach customers:

  1. Social media
  2. Blogs
  3. Email marketing
  4. In-person events
  5. Ebooks/white papers
  6. Video
  7. Infographics
  8. Webinars
Marketing Ideas

Marketing Ideas

It’s no longer about just reaching your audience. It’s about delivering content to them in the way that they prefer, which is increasingly shifting towards multimedia approaches.

Which means your content specialists need to be skilled in a variety of areas, including writing, analytics reporting, video production, graphic design, distribution, and promotion.

  1. Marketing Ideas – Incorporate Live Video

Video has been on the rise for some time now. And in 2018, it’s all about live video.

Approximately two-thirds of marketers say that they will increase the number of live events they host in 2018.

Tactics like webinars are a great way to target both a new and existing client base and share valuable information.

And the introduction of live streaming through social channels has made a major impact on the market as well.

As of 2016, it was a $30 billion+ industry. By 2021, it’s projected to more than double to become a $70 billion+ industry.

Not only that, but Cisco states that Live internet video will account for 13 percent of the total video traffic in 2018.

Live streaming is so popular due in part to its ability to keep people up-to-date and involved with what’s going on and helps connect them in a more active way with companies.

Brands see major benefits from live streaming as well. Not only is it more cost-effective than traditional, pre-produced video, but it provides a more immediate way to engage with your audience.

Try Facebook Live for starters. It’s currently the most popular live streaming channel, and people spend 3x more time watching live-streamed content than they do watching pre-produced videos.

Marketing Ideas - Use Facebook Live for live streaming

Marketing Ideas – Use Facebook Live for live streaming

  1. Marketing Ideas – Use Greater Personalization to Tailor Your User’s Experience

Another benefit of the AI evolution is the ability to offer your customers are a more personalized experience.

And according to recent Epsilon research, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience.

It’s long been a best practice to include first names and adjust timing to a user’s location in your messaging, but these days the ability to personalize means much more than that.

It’s about understanding individual behaviors and tailoring your messaging accordingly.

MarketingProfs explains a 3-step method to tailoring your messages:

  1. Decide which behaviors warrant a message – to do this, you’ll need to outline the actions you’d like your customers to take to meet your goals. These are the ones to focus on.
  2. Prioritize the behaviors – decide which ones are most important to the process, and space your messaging out accordingly
  3. Understand your customer’s lifecycle – this is where your analytics come in; you’ll need all data you have in hand – from how many messages they’ve opened to how many times they’ve visited your website – to deliver a personal experience

To accomplish this, companies will need to focus on incorporating the right data with the right technology.

  1. Marketing Ideas – Use Short Videos for Facebook Advertising

We already know video’s big. But it runs across the board – from organic posts and especially to advertising.

Here’s what we know:

This tells us a few things: Facebook users like videos (right on the platform – not video links), and they’ll decide the value of your video fast.

Ads that can keep in short (3-10 seconds) will see the best returns.

  1. Marketing Ideas – Experiment With Interactive Ads and 360 Video

Another emerging ad trend is interactive ads.

Due to the rise of mobile usage, brands are able to bring more immersive experiences to their audience through AR (augmented reality) and virtual reality (VR).

It means a greater way for brands to engage users with their ads, outside of a click.

Some brands, like Burger King and its Angriest Whopper Game, have used them to engage customers through a gaming interface.

Other brands like the New York Times use interactive ads to show off their strengths and create easy actions. A NYT’s ad on Instagram featured its famous crosswords puzzle with an easy download button.

Marketing Ideas - Experiment With Interactive Ads

Marketing Ideas – Experiment With Interactive Ads

This also extends to 360 video. 360 videos are immersive videos recorded in all directions, so the viewer gets a full 360-view.

Google reports the following:

  • 360 video motivates viewers to watch more and interact
  • 360 video drives viewers to share, subscribe, and view other videos

Brands in industries like travel, sports, and entertainment will have an obvious advantage in storytelling when it comes to 360 videos.

But with some creativity, almost any niche can find a way to bring their story to life with 360 video. Take customers on a product tour, show a snippet tutorial, or show off the faces behind the brand.

Get Started With These Marketing Ideas in 2018

Only time will tell what the next year has in store for the marketing world.

But incorporating the above ideas and trends will help you prepare you for what’s in store, and give your brand a leg up as the year unfolds.