No New Year is complete without a bit of crystal ball gazing, where we try our hand at predicting the trends that will shape how we work in the year ahead. The PR and marketing industries have undergone enormous changes in recent years.
New technologies dramatically altered the way we distribute, consume and share information, while giving brands a wealth of new channels through which to reach their audiences. And with the pace of change set to continue into 2017 and beyond, it’s more important than ever to stay ahead of the game and be ready for whatever challenges and opportunities lie ahead. With that in mind, these are our picks for the marketing and PR trends to look out for – and get involved with - in the next 12 months:
- Hyper-personalisation: Gone are the days when a few big media brands monopolised news consumption. Now consumers are getting their information from a huge variety of sources, with an unprecedented ability to filter and tailor the news they receive. It’s certainly made life more complicated for brands, with ‘mainstream media’ exposure no longer a guarantee of success. To overcome the issue, savvy marketers are increasingly looking to target niche audience groups, with messages tailored to their real-time wants and needs – a trend known as ‘hyper-personalisation’ – and it’s set to go crazy in 2017. Made possible due to the reams of data we now have at our disposal, hyper-personalisation enables marketers to engage more effectively with consumers on the issues they care about - delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time.
- Demonstrating ROI: Effective measurement has always been a challenge for PR and marketing; particularly being able to show which activities have had the most impact on the bottom line. Now, with more marketing processes happening digitally, therefore providing more data to track, marketers are increasingly able to break down the effectiveness of their activities, giving a value to each interaction along the customer journey. While up to now this kind of tracking has been the preserve of those with big budgets, we’ll start to see it trickling out more widely in 2017 - putting greater pressure on agencies and freelancers to show the true value they deliver.
- Brand journalism: Content marketing has been growing in value for a number years now, as brands aim to cut through the noise, tell their brand story and control the messages they’re putting out in the public domain. No surprise that this is set to continue into 2017, but we’ll see even more creative and sophisticated ways of doing it; with brands investing in becoming bona fide publishers to rival traditional media outlets. New content formats such as live video will continue to grow, but we’ll also see a revival in more traditional approaches, such as print and email, as brands attempt to differentiate themselves from the competition.
- Influencer marketing: A study by eMarketer found that 84% of marketers are planning to launch at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months, as brands aim to capitalise on the growing power of bloggers, social media celebrities and online thought leaders. Linked to the waning power of traditional media outlets and television advertising, influencer marketing enables brands to connect to their audiences via associations with people they ‘follow’, trust and respect. Not only does it provide valuable third-party endorsement, it also enables brands to avoid ad blockers, ensuring their promotional plug is included within the content itself.
- Agile teams: The rise of the ‘gig economy’ was one of the big trends of 2016, with independent professionals now making up six per cent of the UK’s workforce - a 36 per cent rise since 2008. These flexible workers are the perfect fit for marketing and PR, enabling brands and agencies to respond quickly to the changing landscape, by taking on specialist talent as and when they need it. With more talented professionals set to go it alone in 2017, businesses will become increasingly reliant on freelancers for the skills they need, with in-house teams taking on a more project management role in the future. We also anticipate a rise in freelance teams, whereby groups of freelancers work together to manage bigger accounts and projects.
There you have it – our crystal ball has spoken! We’re certainly living in exciting times, and can’t wait to see which of our predictions come true, as well as watching out for any curve-balls that fly our way. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the big trends for 2017, so let us know in the comments section below!
And remember, whatever PR and marketing challenges you face in 2017, The Work Crowd can connect you with quality, specialist freelance support, quickly and flexibly. Just register here to get started!
 Exploring the UK Freelance Workforce in 2015 by IPSE - https://www.ipse.co.uk/sites/default/files/documents/research/Exploring-uk-freelance-workforce-2015-summary-v1.pdf