Running a successful marketing campaign is all about keeping up to date, and with the current rate of changing technology  keeping up to date is  not only more important than ever, it is also harder than ever to effectively do.  If you’re not completely on board with all the latest advances you can very quickly find yourself being left behind.

Now that the nights are getting longer and the year is wrapping up, that means it is time to start looking forward to 2018, and seeing which marketing trends are the ones to watch heading into the New Year.

All about AI

One of the biggest pieces of emergent technology that everyone is keeping an eye on is Artificial Intelligence (AI) which everyone seems to think will make a big splash in 2018. In “the state of digital marketing in 2018,” a recent survey by Smart Insights, respondents was asked to select the single marketing activity that will have the biggest impact for their business in 2018.

In the first year it was included, AI and machine learning was the third most popularly selected marketing activity, below only Content Marketing and Big Data.

Additionally a Salesforce’s “State of Marketing” report revealed that surveyed marketers anticipate their AI use will grow more than 50% over the next two years, helping them deliver more targeted campaigns, smarter personalization and higher ROI.

Whilst it is likely that the true impact of AI on marketing won’t be fully realised for the next few years, it remains the most exciting marketing trend to watch in 2018.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Over the past year or so, you have probably been hearing a lot about the potential of AR and VR. From virtual office spaces to 360 degree videos to high tech VR gaming experiences, VR/AR technologies have been making big splashes but haven’t taken over the world…yet.

According to statistics from Statista, the projected economic impact of VR/AR technologies will reach 15.6 billion USD by 2020, with a global augmented and virtual reality market size of 251 billion USD in 2021.

So, while you may not be considering incorporating VR/AR technologies into your marketing strategies just yet, as VR/AR becomes more widespread the marketing opportunities it offers will become impossible to ignore.

Focusing on the customer journey

Another interesting trend highlighted in “the state of digital marketing in 2018” is the growing importance of customer journeys in the eyes of marketers.

In the report, a staggering 98% of high performing marketers say they are extremely or very satisfied with their ability to create a shared, single view of their customers. Meanwhile, over two thirds (67%) of marketing leaders say creating a customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is critical to their success.

Going into next year, it’s important to note that marketing leaders currently allocate 34% of their budget to channels they didn’t know existed, and this amount is expected to rise to 40% by the end of 2018.