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Guest Column: What’s in store for marketers in 2018?: Prasad Shejale, Logicserve Digital

13-January-2018
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Guest Column: What’s in store for marketers in 2018?: Prasad Shejale, Logicserve Digital

On the eve of New Year, I was ruminating over the year that passed by and was getting ready to write a note for my fellow team members. This is always the time of the year when we talk about what happened and what will be the key trends in the upcoming year. I am sure enough, and more, is being talked about the trends like the following:

1. Augmented reality gains momentum
2. Voice and Image search become dominant
3. Influencer Marketing with Authenticity will be must-have for brands
4. Major Initiatives to curtail Ad frauds
5. Amazon to become a strong force in Digital Media
6. GDPR and/or Data Privacy is a must have across the globe
7. Ad tech and Mar Tech getting combined to get a "One View" of consumer

But I would like to take a bit of a different take on the way Digital Marketing as an ecosystem is changing. There is one most often talked-about dominant theme in our industry i.e. “Change”. It's a cliché to say “Change is the Only Constant” but when the change happens at a logarithmic scale then either one perishes or flourishes depending on the readiness. One needs to transform oneself rapidly by anticipating the changes and evolve completely during the process. I have somewhat similar feelings. Our industry is changing rapidly and I am sure many of you will resonate with my thoughts if you compare even the tools and tech that we used to a year back. There is almost an invasion of machine learning and a huge focus on “Automation” by tech providers like Google and Facebook. Just imagine if a digital marketer had taken a year-long slumber on 1-Jan-17 and got up on 1-Jan-18, he will have to unlearn a lot and learn many more new things.

Let's try to decipher how consumers, advertisers, industry, and outsiders are changing the Digital Industry.

Consumer:
My 75 years old mother behaves similarly to my 18 years old daughter when it comes to how she consumes content or gets opinionated about the issues that she feels are important. Thus, in an increasingly “fast” connected world, demographics are passé and a consumer is what she does or doesn't do across multiple devices, channels and touchpoints. The attention-deficient consumer demands super attention when it comes to getting served. She expects to have very personalised messaging from the brands and at the same time is very skeptical about sharing personal information. Governments are enacting laws like GDPR in Europe to protect personal data. Even the Indian Information Technology Act was recently amended to protect personal data. The consumer behavior will evolve and mutate faster than what we think.

Advertisers:
Advertisers are seeing similar changes in their own industries. For example, a Bank has competition not only from other banks but also from fintech startups who have been disrupting the product as well as distribution channels in those industries. Advertisers want to be where a consumer is; thus, digital media is very critical. Connecting the consumer journey not just across devices but online and offline will be a great puzzle that needs to be solved. An advertisers prime focus today should be to tackle the evolution of their industry while they get right partners (agencies) to tackle the change in the Digital Media Ecosystem. With transparency being addressed (and this is definitely an area that all need to work together), trust factor will be taken care of. This will also lead to hybrid models being experimented with."

Industry:
Survival of the fittest is an understatement these days. A fit person running faster towards a cliff will perish sooner. It’s truly the age of the “novitatis” (Latin word for Innovator). Those who figure the right way and, become agile and build fitness along the way will be there to dominate. “Data” will be talked about a lot and understanding of technology is not just desirable but a must-have now. The industry will get consolidated amongst 4 types of players: Technology Players (Google, Facebook, Adobe, etc.), Consulting firms who are mainly the left brain trying to acquire right brain companies & skills, System Integrators and Technology Enablers.

Competition:
Competition is not yet another creative or media agency. The competition will be from consulting firms. I personally feel that hunters will get hunted and me-too agencies will find it difficult to survive.

So, what next? Yes, Voice will be searched, and Augmented reality will gain momentum, AD Tech and Mar Tech will combine. But, the dominant theme will be ‘Consumer’ who will change rapidly. Those who can anticipate and evolve quickly will be there to fight the next big battle.

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