As we draw a line under the trials, tribulations and successes of 2017, it’s time to look to the future. The marketing and PR industries never stand still for long, which means it’s vital to stay on top of the latest trends, technologies and industry threats, to ensure you’re ready to take them on.
So, in that vein, we’ve dug out our PR and marketing crystal ball once again, to bring you our predictions of the five top marketing and PR trends for 2018:
Fighting fake news
Trust in the media reached an all-time low this year, with the proliferation of ‘fake news’ leading consumers to question everything they read and hear – even from mainstream media. This loss of trust presents a significant challenge for traditional news outlets, who are struggling to stand out amongst a sea of noise and demonstrate the quality and value they offer. As a result, we’re seeing more of the best media outlets and journalists increasingly focus on deeper, more thoroughly researched features and news – and this is likely to increase further in 2018. For PRs, this means more than ever ensuring you have the figures, case studies and experts to back up your stories, giving your clients a greater chance of landing in the top titles – and gaining the trust of your audiences.
Convergence between PR and marketing
The rise of social media, branded content, SEO and influencer marketing mean that PR professionals are now involved in activities that go way beyond reputation management and media relations. This convergence is set to accelerate in 2018 and beyond, with The Global Communications Report 2017 finding that almost half of PR professionals and more than 60% of marketing executives believe that the two disciplines will become even more closely aligned in the next five years. Meanwhile, 87 per cent of PR executives believe the term Public Relations won’t accurately describe the work they’ll be doing in 2023 – so, this could be the year to bolster your integrated marketing skills.
Next generation video
Video is by no means a new invention, but its influence and impact is poised to explode in 2018, as new ways of broadcasting come to the fore. A study by Cisco calculated that by 2021, 82 percent of all consumer web traffic will be video-focused, driven by a boon in live streaming, courtesy of services like Instagram Stories, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Not only is video an extremely engaging medium, but embedding video on your site, or broadcasting your own live content will also do wonders for your SEO. Plus, with the quality of smartphones nowadays, it’s never been easier to get involved.
Marketing will be one of the professions most affected by the long-anticipated General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which come into force in May. With strict stipulations on the data organisations can store and for what purpose, the new rules give consumers important new rights over their own information, and greater protection of their privacy online. And while it’s hard to deny that the changes are long-overdue, the impact on marketers will be significant, rendering as much as 75% of UK marketing data obsolete. But looking on the bright side, it also provides an opportunity for brands to clean out those databases, review their processes and implement more targeted, personalised and engaging campaigns.
Millennials are the most sustainability, ethically and socially-conscious generation yet, and they have high expectations of the brands and businesses that they associate with. Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey revealed that 76% of millennials regard business as a force for positive, social impact, yet many also believe that multinationals are falling short. And as more of this hugely valuable audience group – and the wider public – start to shop with their conscience, brands are cottoning on to the benefits that ‘marketing with a purpose’ can bring to their revenues - and the world around us. Take Unilever, whose Sustainable Living brands delivered more than 60% of its revenue in 2016, as well as brands such as Tesco, and McVities, which are planning to expand their purpose-driven approach this year. It is a welcome trend, but the key is ensuring any purpose and political driven messages are authentic and founded in making a real difference. Savvy consumers will quickly see through anything that isn’t the real deal.
So, plenty of food for thought as you plan and scope out your campaigns for the next 12 months. We can’t wait to see how many of our predictions come true, and what else the world of marketing and PR has in store!
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