Bah, Humbug: Scrooge’s Top 5 Marketing Predictions for 2018

Are Those Annual Marketing Predictions Lists a Waste of Your Reading Time?

Marketing predictions too often are either nothing new or unrealistically optimistic.

Many marketing predictions lists seem like they came out of a psychic’s tent. Tell ’em what they want/expect to hear.

Clickbait. We all fall victim to it.

At this time of year, the easiest form of clickbait is predictions lists for the coming year.

As someone who has a reputation for being well ahead of most “experts” when it comes to digital marketing and customer experience trends, I can’t help but click on those lists of marketing predictions for 2018.

But, as happens every year, what I read is either:

  • Nothing new: just rehashing what we’ve already been talking about for months, or
  • Wishful thinking. Most companies still haven’t even got their databases to talk to each other, so how the heck are they suddenly going to transform their marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools?

So here is a list of marketing predictions for 2018 that I think are more realistic — but rarely acknowledged — for the coming year.

A Cynic’s (Realist’s?) Marketing Predictions for 2018

Let's not kid ourselves: most marketing prediction lists are either rehashing the known or wildly optimistic.

Don’t believe everybody else’s marketing predictions! (Image by Robert Doucette, via Wikimedia Commons)

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Many companies (especially startups) will convince gullible businesses to buy tools that are supposedly using  AI, when they aren’t actually (or they are doing it badly – i.e. using poor data sets and/or bad algorithms.) Companies will waste a lot of money, and many marketers who pushed these projects will be looking for new jobs.

2. Chatbots

Customer service chatbots will be widely deployed, frustrating huge numbers of consumers because the bots don’t actually understand most of what the customers try to tell them. People will try to find the “press zero a bunch of times” equivalent method for chatbots to get to a real person.

3. Customer Experience

United Airlines (and many other big companies) will continue to piss people off by treating them badly. However, all these companies will continue to trumpet how committed they are to great customer experience.

4. Competition

The Big 4 (Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple) will continue to tighten their vice grip on marketing and e-commerce. US legislators will be too wimpy (or too divided / distracted / bribed / blackmailed) to actually use anti-trust laws to do something about this growing concentration of power.

5. Cyber security

There will be more big data security breaches. Lots of ’em. People will wring their hands and talk about how important it is to do better, but little will actually happen to stop data breaches. Companies will still be reluctant to invest in the necessary tools and training to lower risks significantly. It will be easier to just cross their fingers and hope they won’t be hit.

Am I Wrong?

I hope I’m wrong on these predictions, but I’m pretty certain they will prove accurate.

What do you think? (Scroll way down to leave a comment.)

Happy New Year to all of you! I hope 2018 will be the year your optimistic marketing predictions come true!

Tema Frank

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