Capitol Communicator is running a series of 2018 predictions and, below, are predictions from Grafik.

Lance Wain—CEO, Grafik

I believe 2018 will start to bring more clarity to what the Internet of Things, or the Internet of Experiences, is all about. The introduction of Alexa a few years ago really made an impact for the masses, much more so than the lack-luster acceptance of Siri. This past year it was estimated that Alexa owns roughly 70% of the voice controlled speaker market. And as we head into 2018, you can just see almost all IoT vendors integrating with Alexa–phones, cars, appliances, and more. With ambient intelligence starting to become more prominent with sensors and wearable technologies, I think the market will fully embrace the connected society we’re becoming.

Lauren Howell—Director of Digital Strategy, Grafik

In 2018, our industry’s love affair with content marketing will finally shift from a focus on quantity to quality. HubSpot, the original brainchild behind inbound marketing, analyzed over 3,000 of its blog posts this year–and found that the top 20% of its posts drove 93% of its leads. When they cut content creation volume by 50%, engagement with their most-valuable posts climbed even higher. As more sophisticated attribution models go mainstream and search engines begin to exhibit an advanced understanding of user intent and context, strategists have become less concerned with overall traffic volume and conversions, and more concerned with creating and predicting what exact content and channels will provide the most value to buyers during a purchase process. This sea change will also be driven by a larger shift in consumer behavior toward immediate, personalized information requests. In 2018, brands will quickly strive to move from testing to rolling out full-fledged direct messaging strategies for platforms like Facebook Messenger, which already has 1.3 billion monthly users. Scaling these direct messaging strategies will be heavily reliant on each brand’s ability to automate “conversations” and customer service through technology like chat bots and AI.

Mikah Sellers—Chief Digital Officer, Grafik 
Consumers are more digitally savvy and engaged than ever before. Research from eMarketer and Statista’s Digital Market Outlook reveal 227 million smartphone and 172 million tablet users in the United States today. On average, Americans spend north of 200 minutes per day accessing the internet on a smartphone, and today 81 percent use a smartphone or tablet device while watching television or streaming digital video. Recent studies on advertising saturation and digital device usage indicate the average consumer receives between 4,000 and 10,000 brand messages per day, depending on their volume of media consumption, and that they switch between screens up to 21 times per hour. Clearly, consumer attention is divided across different screens and multitasking—making the fight for consumer attention tougher than ever for brands today. Given that in the digital age brands are ‘always on,’ marketers need to leverage marketing technology to engage digital-savvy consumers—specifically marketing clouds. These enable the creation of strong brand relationships with consumers through personalization and the delivery of the best possible customer experiences. Identifying, selecting, and implementing the right marketing cloud is a complex undertaking—and there are more choices today than ever before.
I believe that Digital transformation (DX) will dominate the agenda for C-suite executives and boardrooms in 2018. While there are a number of areas of focus for DX I believe that marketing cloud adoption within large enterprises will be at the top of the agenda. Why? While chief marketing officers today face a number of challenges, engaging consumers in an always-on, hyper competitive economy is perhaps the most challenging. In fact, Forrester’s “Predictions 2018: The CMO Bar Rises with More Pressure For Growth—Customer Obsession Disrupts Any Remaining CMO Complacency,” paints a do-or-die picture for CMOs lagging behind when it comes to the application of martech to drive better consumer experiences. The report states that “2018 will force many companies to take decisive action; while the economy is still growing and employment is healthy, the fate of companies has never been more uncertain.”  Additionally, the Forrester report claimed “a full 30 percent of companies will fail to meet rising user expectations for customer experience, and another 20 percent will not properly adapt to the changing digital market. As a result, those firms will be acquired, or begin to perish.” If you’re sitting in the C-suite or Boardroom at any company that is falling behind, the implementation of the right martech stack should be top of mind.

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