Ahhh, tis the season! The season of predictions and pundits sharing their thoughts about what the coming year will look like in their field.

This year, as we enter a period of profound disruption thanks to some pretty serious technological evolution – hello AI – it will no doubt be an interesting year for marketers. As we have more data at our disposal and more tools to analyze and help us apply it, I’m sure one of the key questions we’ll all ask ourselves more times than we want to this year is: “Where’s the line between being insightful and being creepy?”

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be taking a look at some of the predictions that industry leaders have made to see how they align with those of some of our marketing gurus, including Barbara Bernard, Mike Mack, and Marc Hausman.

This week, we’re sharing Katrina Niemisto’s 2018 predictions. Katrina is a marketing content specialist at Marketo and focuses on four key trends she sees coming down the pike in 2018.  However, in her post on Marketo’s site she also included a fantastic slide deck with lots more details and additional possibilities.

Her top four predictions focus on delivering value, ensuring collaboration, targeting and technology.

  1. Value Over Volume

For Niemisto, 2018 is the year that marketers, regardless of their field, need to stop measuring success by the number of emails they can blast out in a day. Customer expectations have evolved and whether it’s in B2G, B2B, or B2C marketing, we should be looking to deliver value to our targets, rather than bombarding them with messages and offers that don’t meet the mark.

  1. The CMO-CFO Alliance

As anyone who’s watched Game of Thrones can tell you, interesting times make for interesting alliances. As we find ourselves in the midst of a massive disruption, there’s a valuable new partnership developing between marketing and finance. While 20 years ago marketing was the bane of finance’s existence, spending money at will on tradeshows, tchotkes, and other non-trackable activities, in the data-driven era, it’s time to collaborate. With a focus on accountability, Niemisto says that “CMOs and CFOs align to create a finance-first mindset, [where] efficiency and ROI are at the top of everyone’s mind.”

  1. Technology

Marketing technology is one of the most contentious areas for 2018 in my opinion. While I’m seeing a lot of backlash against some aspects of martech, there’s no doubt that we’re one of the Ground Zero applications for AI. Niemisto contends that “Artificial intelligence built for marketers, account-based marketing, and machine learning are three technologies to keep your eye on in 2018.” While I don’t see us going backwards to storyboards and spiral-bound brochures, I think there’ll be a strong push towards asking hard questions about martech. This makes Niemisto’s advice to “find what works for your team and remember to keep testing, measuring, and questioning,” an essential takeaway.

  1. Content and Channels

In the area of content marketing and social channels, Niemisto anticipates that 2018 will be the year that personalization across channels will become standard in order to align with customer expectations. While “being in the right place at the right time is paramount to winning deals and keeping customers,” this is where the familiar exhortation to not be creepy comes in.  Finding that line between a consistent personalized message and seeming a little too familiar is a hard task.

Interested to read more of Niemisto’s 2018 predictions? You can access her original post here, or click on the slideshare below.

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