8 trends every marketer should know in 2017

New Year, new resolutions!  Albeit challenging times, the media world is charging ahead in leveraging on the power of data connectivity.  At Dentsu Aegis Network, we have our sights set on global horizons and our feet rooted on practical execution when it comes to media and marketing communications innovation.  These trends we spotted are not a question of if, but when they come in play.  Our advice to marketers is to not sit and watch, but go out and be the first to grab opportunity by its horn and write the future together with us.  Here are our top 8 trends:

C-commerce – Evolution of commerce.  From brick and mortar to ‘e’ to ‘m’ to ‘s’… why not ‘c’?  Communication itself is commerce.  Why not convert audience at point of engagement rather than driving them somewhere else?  The out-of-home activation for Tesco Korea, a few years ago, proved that you can merge communication with commerce at the same spot.  It was an activation ahead of its time.

Contextual audience insights – Everyone is offering audience insights for better intelligence, but who do you trust?  There might be a universal human truth that all brands hold sacred but the advent of digital data uncovers micro-truths about different behaviors depending on the moments.  In a nutshell, Moment = Time x Location x Need.  Marketers’ strategy will now be heavily driven by the insights team – with expanded view to micro-moments – leaving no stone unturned.  What insights to deploy highly depends on the context of the behavior.

Democratisation of the brand – people who will buy your brand are those with money and a need for your product.  But what you mean to them is another thing.  Google’s Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT for everyone that checks both criteria?  You will always mean something to people who believe in your brand, but sometimes for others, they just want to buy because they have a genuine functional need for it.  And sometimes, not even for what you intended it to be.  So how do you customise your stories and proposition to the right person at the right time, but stay true to your purpose?

Data-clarification – The great big chicken and egg story of the century.  If you hadn’t created anything, you won’t have a data trail to tell you a pattern.  But when data tells you a pattern – is it really telling you an insight?  Or is it just simply telling you what you’ve created?  If you have skewed the campaign to target 18-24 years old and they respond better, is that an insight or obvious?  Some data uncover great insights and some uncover great vanity.  We need to take extra care in understanding what has influenced the data set to be able to separate insights from the obvious.  Performance is not the same as potential.

Middle-income Millennials, Gen Zs, Empty Nesters and Blue Collar Workers – The highest growth of population in the coming years are the Middle-Income Millennials who also have the highest disposable income in the country (and highest rate of bankruptcy).  Followed by the Gen Zs who are completely opposite when it comes to persona and mindset and the aging Empty Nesters who are now wired in technology, no income but has disposable retirement wealth.  Not to mention, the Blue Collar Workers who recently turned expectations upside down everywhere in the world – from US Presidential election to Brexit voting.  Blue Collar Workers are not digital natives yet they are mobile first. Brands need to recalibrate themselves and question if they truly understand the motivations of these emerging groups and find new ways to engage with each of them meaningfully.

Multiscreen-optimising – TV is no longer the TV we know.  Omni-TV means screens are ever present around us.  Fast videos will be the definitive go-to content type that will be repurposed into different channels and formats to replace boring online advertising.  These snackable videos will be strategically distributed to cover all types of screen – not just TV, laptops, and mobile devices.  Context appropriateness will decide the length, format as well as screen type.  OOH digital screens are poised to reinvent traditional buying methodology.  Multiscreen-targeting will also influence the creative business creating a new genre called FMCP, i.e. fast-moving creative production.

Fusion for one – There continues the argument of data collection of consumers.  Is it ethical or not?  Disciplined brands and companies who have been harnessing their customer database and keeping it updated will now see a new usage via data fusion.  A smart move is to have an extension of their CRM program to improve media efficiency and avoid messaging fatigue to their own customer.  Partnering with the right parties to enrich their own data will also be an intelligent way to harness hidden consumer insights.  The idea is to create never-before customer experience and not repetitive targeting that borderlines creepy.

True versus fake news – Print media on the decline?  In its traditional form, yes but strong journalism brand will never go out of fashion as we recently witness in the US Election, which pretty much questioned the integrity of the news content being shown on Facebook.  Fake content sites are burgeoning because audience are naturally drawn to sensational news with a click bait and these sites are blurring the lines between truth and impression.  Print should see a revival if print media owners are ready to break out from their paper prison and understand that their brand spirit actually resides on its journalistic style and content and not on the physical material.

Despite the challenges ahead, let’s welcome the New Year with fervor and keep these trends in mind.  They are not what’s to come; they are here and every bit possible with the right experience, expertise and a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit!  Happy planning for 2017 and pardon the ‘click-bait-ish’ headline, it was intentional.


The author of the article is Sue-Anne Lim, chief of group insights and strategy, Dentsu Aegis Network Malaysia