COHN Voices: 2017 Marketing Predictions

January 10, 2017

Leveraging Marketing Strategy in 2017

Marketing trends appear (and fade) quickly. Remember when Foursquare/Vine/Ello/Peach was going to completely change everything?

Every so often, though, the flavor of the week sticks around. And sometimes, that flavor turns out to be something huge like Instagram… or Retargeting… or Automation—a gigantic marketing opportunity that outlives those fizzling, faux fads that die on the vine.

So as we look ahead to 2017 and beyond, which marketing trends are here to stay? Which will be alive in 2018, 2019, 2020?

Which marketing trends will actually matter for our clients this year?

I asked our clairvoyant, prophetic team at COHN to send some marketing predictions for 2017 and beyond. I think you’ll find their responses to be enlightening and thought-provoking.

Lisa Wieting, VP Strategy & Integration

It’s not necessarily “new,” but native advertising is here to stay. Advertising is getting trickier, and consumers are getting wiser. While I don’t think we are in a “death to traditional” advertising position in 2017, I do think that with the constant stream of information, content, platforms, etc., marketers have to be smarter about how they are integrating their message into the content that their customers are consuming in a way that doesn’t scream “advertising.” Native advertising allows marketers to do just that, and this means we will need to add more writing resources to our repertoire. People who can weave messages, pinpoint and define value, narrate, relate to consumers, and hold attention versus just grabbing attention. Marketers are going to have to take a deeper dive into their customer’s journey than ever before. What are they thinking, feeling and doing throughout every step of the buying process and then being creative in how solutions weave into that journey.

Anna Duggan, Senior PR Director

Sadly, we’re living in a post-truth world, and the Fake News threat should absolutely guide communications plans in 2017. You just never know what brand could be a target. Remember the New Balance crisis from late 2016? Nobody is safe from Fake News and the corresponding digital amplification. It spirals quickly. This is a good time to revisit your crisis communication plan and poke holes in it with a post-truth lens. Managing this new reality begins with vigilant monitoring of your brand on social channels and news feeds. There are tons of tools (some are even free) that can help businesses of all sizes in this regard. Of course, like any other crisis plan, acquiring the facts and sticking to them is paramount. Stay away from the fringes, and never get involved with a troll. Good luck out there.

Jesse Pixler, Creative Director

I think Virtual Reality (VR) will emerge and expand in 2017, though for now it might be for bigger brands as it’s pretty expensive and could have potential computing and broadband limitations. That said, it could be legitimately helpful from a B2B standpoint in the retail real estate industry. For example, VR could give an investor or retailer a “virtual” perspective on a retail real estate property. They could walk the actual property before it’s even built. I can also imagine many holiday or event applications. Another technology that we might see more of is the facial recognition and rendering technology that Snapchat uses. I’m a big fan of that technology, and I’m inspired when I think about how we could use that technology in our digital campaigns.

Chris Thomas, Creative Director

I think we will see some issues from a video standpoint as it pertains to drone footage. We all love drones and they give us amazing and inexpensive cinematic experiences, but if the operator doesn’t have their UAF license we could be at risk of having the footage pulled and videos taken down. And it’s not an easy task to get that license. We’ll need to be diligent for our clients in that regard, to ensure they are covered.

The topic du jour is chatbots, but it’s still emerging and in its infancy. There are lessons to be learned from Microsoft’s “Tay” that learned to love Hitler instead of speaking soulfully to its target audience. But with every failure there is learning, such as making it PG-13 to avoid Tay’s mistakes. As we look for more human, touchy-feely interaction with our devices, these bots will become ever more present. Certain clients will and should ask for this tech – but again, we as their brand stewards need to ensure we do no harm with the latest bright shiny object.

Ali Lego, Chief Operating Officer

Instagram is on a roll and is the hottest social platform for 2017. Its Instagram stories, new rendering technology, Instagram Live, and new algorithms that give priority to brands who “get” Instagram are very exciting in our world. There’s a lot to like about the direction Instagram is going with regard to businesses and brands, and we’re having more and more clients get enthusiastic about their social strategy including Instagram.


What We Watched – January 6th, 2017