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09 Jan

Talking Traction in 2018

In an industry built on fluid change, it’s nearly impossible to track down trends. In most cases, by the time a trend is identified, it’s already tired (gradients, anyone?) or been adopted as a standard practice. At BigWheel, we try our best to look past what everyone else is doing, and focus on what our clients actually need. Looking cool is great, but making money is better. So as we say goodbye to the hot takes and hangups of 2017, here are our predictions for 2018.

With the ever-changing landscape in marketing, creativity and customer loyalty will reign in 2018. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Technology is rapidly changing at speeds most industries haven’t seen before. With a surge in artificial intelligence, VR, and new and faster CRM systems, most clients don’t have the resources to keep up with trends. So taking a tactical approach and making strategic, thought-provoking decisions is key. By doing this, client loyalty will thrive as a result of the thought going into their marketing budget.

2. It all starts with your brand. Creativity on how to use your brand is where a good agency comes into play. Every new and old outlet is vying for those coveted marketing dollars. So be creative and spend wisely. Your customers will appreciate you more.  Traditional outlets are not all dead. It depends on the customer.

3. Creativity and loyalty don’t just come from the client side; they’re also generated internally. As Millennials continue to grow up and Gen Z is hot on their heels, you have to embrace your younger team members in the creative decisions for your clients. They know what their age demographic is doing out in the real world. Not by reading about it, but by living it. Take their knowledge, harness and juice it, and get it back to the client.  By doing this, creativity and loyalty will reign with your team members as well.

So enjoy 2018. It should be fun.

Drone technology will continue to evolve and will become one of the most influential tools in direct marketing during the year to come. From the ability to quickly and efficiently capture interesting and compelling footage for use online and in commercials, to the ability to interact directly with consumers, marketers will continue to find new ways to use drones to create compelling moments with customers.

2018 will inspire a push-back against large-scale social media enterprises. For one thing, they've become too commercial. It’s now hard to tell what’s “real" and what’s marketing. And the pressure to publish, to be concerned about what all of your followers think about all of your posts, and to respond, is exhausting. As a result, there will be a rise in one-to-one, more meaningful communication with a much smaller circle of people that we really, physically know. I have a term for it—not the Internet, but the under-net. I believe people will seek actual “friends” rather than hundreds of virtual “friends” they may have never met, IRL.

Technology is becoming more about the user and their experience. Making connections and telling stories are proving to be the most effective long term methods. It is no different than ancient legends and mythology. Personal connections through characters and parables. The gods were mighty, but had human flaws and learned lessons. Relationships are created through commonality. Spend a week without a phone. It turns out that what people tend to miss most is the socialization. Maps are handy, email is work, you can look up things, but what you reflexively look at are social. They are about you.

Companies will feel even greater pressure to deliver quickly. Technology and change go hand-in-hand and consumers are placing a higher demand on new features. To compete, companies will borrow and customize other Agile methods such as Lean, Kanban, etc. to help them move quickly and accurately. While IT departments have long used these methodologies, the trend will also be that other departments like finance and marketing will adopt them as well.

We’ll also continue to see a move away from traditional project management tools such as GANNTT charts, spreadsheets, etc. as companies adopt software that allows their teams to work together more collaboratively. Simpler tools such as Trello will become more commonplace due to their encouragement of group cooperation rather than a command and control approach.

In 2018, we're going to see search engine optimization work dominated by tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights and other similar technical reports. Gone are the days of just writing up a quick META description and Title tag and being done with SEO. Not to say those aren't still extremely important, they're just not all encompassing. A modern, effective SEO strategy has to take into account things like browser caching, image optimization, minifying HTML/CSS/Javascript code, reducing server response time, and more.