1. 7 Bold Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2018.

First up, we have this list of bold predictions from Chad Pollitt on SocialMediaToday. Chad invokes the leading trends in technology – AI and blockchain – predicting that they will have a big impact on analytics and paid advertising, respectively, but the prediction that caught my eye was “Media Companies Will Start to Take Significant Market Share from Agencies Globally.” Referring specifically to the “content studios” at The New York Times and elsewhere he writes, “From paid media to virtual reality, content studios are really beginning to look like full-fledged agencies. The New York Times has even built its own influencer marketing network.”

Will “real” agencies be able to compete? We shall see!

2. 8 Predicted Digital Marketing Trends for 2018

If you are interested in the digital agency perspective on what’s to come, there’s this post from Annabel Clark over at Digital Agency Network. Annabel goes in a different direction from Chad, focusing on the coming impact of voice search, live chat, and “micro-moments,” but I think her emphasis on “Better measurement of omni-channel” is worthy of note. As our own Omer Minkara has written, companies realize that they need an omni-channel communication strategy if they want to get CX right. Being able to measure omni-channel activity is going to be key to that.

3. 18 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

If you like your predictions with a healthy dollop of pessimism, you might want to dig into Deep Patel‘s predictions from Entrepreneur. He too suggests that AI and its cousin (or child or parent, depending on your perspective), machine learning, will have an impact on messaging and advertising management, but also sees a lot of darkness ahead.

For example, he predicts Twitter dying a quiet death, Instagram eclipsing Facebook as a valuable marketing channel, the end of gated content, and mounting skepticism with regard to the promise of VR. At the same time he sees new life being breathed into live events, LinkedIn (at least from B2B marketers), and cold calling (in the form of “cold outreach”). Finally, he ends with the cheery but also ominous quip, “Unknown marketing surprises await in 2018…”

4. 2018 Marketing Predictions You Need to Keep an Eye on

Jonathan Gabay over at Smart Insights shares some of Deep’s pessimism, at least with regard to things like pop-ups, but he also foresees some curious developments.

On the one hand, he predicts the rise of “pansexual marketing,” with brands introducing “gender-neutral marketing campaigns” and moving away from “hackneyed stereotypical gender roles and characteristics.” On the other, he sees tech brands becoming “a channel for spiritual expression.” “With so much data overwhelming the senses,” he writes, “2018 will see marketers turning to technology to take spiritual breathers from the day-to-day grind of spreadsheets and impossible to reach targets.”

All I can say is, “Serenity now!”

5. Machine Learning and AI Marketing Trends to Watch for 2015

Given the prevalence of predictions involving AI and machine learning, I found this post by my pal Michael Brenner at Marketing Insider Group useful.

Michael sees AI and machine learning helping marketers with data analytics, image recognition, personalization, and even the management of customer conversations. He also sees, somewhat to my dismay, AI taking over more of the content creation process. While conceding that, “Machines may not be up to the challenge of crafting high quality content just yet,” he also writes, “With tools like generation analytics and predictive analytics, AI will be taking over a larger chunk of the creation process, and in some cases, will be generating content.”

Will AI-generated content end up outperforming, or even just running neck and neck, with “human” generated content? I’m excited (and also afraid) to find out!

This overview of prediction posts is hardly exhaustive, but it is representative of what’s out there, particular when it comes to the bets being made on AI and machine learning. I was a bit surprised to see blockchain technology mentioned so infrequently, but my guess is that’s more a function of its complexity than it’s lack of promise.

Have you seen any surprising or even startling predictions for marketing in 2018? Do tell!

Image Source (Public Domain): InfoWire.dk.