My issue with “top trend” lists for this year is that I never know how to take advantage of the trends mentioned. To help, I have laid out the top three trends to keep an eye on for 2018 and, most importantly, what you need to start doing right now to incorporate them into your marketing plan. Simply put, these are your recommended action items for taking advantage of the biggest movements sweeping the digital marketing landscape in 2018. Good luck!

The Three-Headed Monster Gets Bigger

To date, Google and Facebook own two-thirds of all marketing spend according to Luma Partners. In 2018, they are projected to own almost 100 percent of growth. These two might eventually slow down but that’s not happening in 2018. Nope, they’re getting faster. Any strategy around paid online advertising needs to start with understanding your campaign for both of these platforms. Amazon is the third head attached to this monster. Their advertising dollars are expected to hit US$5 billion in 2018 according to Luma Partners. Not to mention the fact that they are slowly putting a piece of hardware in everyone’s home through the Amazon Echo and Amazon powers most of the web with Amazon Web Services (AWS). How to take advantage of this in 2018: Get friendly with your Facebook Ad representative and Google representative to understand what new ad products their ruling out and any relevant case studies or best practices from other brands. For Amazon, keep an eye on all new Alexa apps that catch fire even if they just seem fun and gimmicky. Also Read: Exclusive: Singapore's blockchain startup Copernicus Gold raises US$3.5M from Russian investor It’s the fun ideas that can become billion dollar companies — looking at you Airbnb and Snapchat.

Customer-Based Marketing Is (Finally) Here

Yes, this concept of using user data to add value to a marketing campaign isn’t a new idea but the execution of it will become very real in 2018. With easy-to-use CRO tools and personalisation platforms like Right Message, Convert Flow and OptimizelyX, customer-based marketing will become as common as using email pop-ups on a website. The key is what companies have the clean data structure and creative conversion funnels to deliver personalized campaigns in a way that truly adds value to a user and pushes them down the funnel. How to take advantage of this in 2018: It starts with having clean customer data so you can use that data to add value to users on a one to one campaign. Investing in a data scientist or in a clean CRM could be the difference in making customer-based marketing a reality or not.

Community Marketing Is the New Content Marketing 

It’s no longer about how can you use SEO and Google to drive free traffic but how can you empower customers to become your loudest marketers. With social media influencers becoming a leading channel of new acquisition, brands that want to make a splash are the ones that can bring all these influencers together around a single brand mission. Leverage digital communities in the form of Facebook groups, Slack channels or subreddits to unite users around a common mission. The more authentic your brand the easier this will be for you to build a community. How to take advantage of this in 2018: Make sure you have cemented your brand values and company mission. Then you can align this with the right potential influencers to start building your community. Look at engaging influencer platforms to easily scale your communities reach. Also Read: This Valentine's Day, let's take a census of the online dating industry Finally, trends like artificial intelligence and internet of things will have their time but the execution of those things won’t happen in 2018. We’ll save that for 2019. —
Jim is the CEO of GrowthHit, a growth marketing agency specializing in paid acquisition on Facebook, CRO & customer based marketing.
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