Looking back at 2017, we experienced a number of digital marketing and technology firsts which could very well shape future innovations. These digital marketing and technology trends, so to speak, could have great implications for many years to come. We’ve identified a few that are most likely going to impact the market in the next 5 to 10 years.

Technology and Digital Marketing Firsts

Here is a list of the most notable firsts along with some predictions of what they mean for our future.

  1. More Online Holiday Sales Than In-Store Purchases

Some of the biggest retailers closed more than 5,000 stores in 2017 amid lower sales and more competition from eCommerce. On the plus side, the increase in online holiday shopping is a bonus for online companies and also for retailers that have adopted digital marketing.

For the most part, people spend more money online than in stores over the Christmas period. In America alone, the numbers were staggering with 51% online versus 42% in-store.

Future Prediction: Technology innovations, such as augmented reality and hyper-personalisation, will provide the opportunity for progressive retailers to further differentiate themselves both online and in-store.

  1. Digital Advertising Outperforms Television Ad Spend

The first banner appeared back in 1994 and who would have imagined the impact it would have today. Not to mention predict that it would beat TV ad spend in less than 25 years. To give you a more detailed overview; digital ad spending reached $209 billion worldwide (41%) compared to TV with $178 billion (35%) in 2017.

Future Prediction: The gap will only continue to grow as many big TV advertisers have yet to invest heavily in digital and mobile ads. Before long, if you’re not online, you’re not going anywhere.

  1. Global Marketing Spend Exceeds $1 Trillion

Global ad spend totaled $552 billion last year, and combined with other marketing services, total spend exceeded $1 trillion globally for the first time. Even though growth has slowed in China and Brazil, India is experiencing incredible growth.

Future Prediction: Geopolitical and economic factors are likely to create regional fluctuations but the total marketing spend will see an annual growth of about 4.5%.

  1. CMOs Outspend CIOs on Technology 

Several years ago, Gartner predicted that CMOs would spend more on technology than CIOs. The emergence of data-driven marketing and increased emphasis on customer experience have shifted attention and resources to marketing. CMOs form a vital role and have a seat at the executive table along with more responsibilities and greater accountability.

Future Prediction: Marketing might not get relegated to the second tier but power could make the shift back toward the CIOs in terms of enterprise technology decisions.

  1. More IoT Devices Than People

The term, IoT, was officially coined in 1999 but did you know that an Internet-connected toaster was introduced at the Interop conference as early as 1990? It was introduced at a P&G presentation about linking RFID tags in the supply chain to the Internet. The concept attracted all kinds of attention and went mainstream with increased mobile adoption and sensor availability. There were 8.4 billion connected things in 2017 which is 31% more than 2016.  In fact, there are 1 billion more connected devices than people in the world today.

Future Prediction: Adding to the exceptionally strong growth, IoT will evolve even further and be a key contributor to the customer experience. Due to bigger data volumes, IoT platforms will shift analysis to the cutting edge of technology.

(Personal note: I’ve contributed towards the ‘More IoT Devices Than People’ prediction coming true in only the last few weeks, adding wireless security cameras, remote doorbell/camera, and as a Christmas present jumped into the world of Google Home, Chromecast etc – who would have thought!)

  1. Robots Get Citizenship

‘The Terminator’ conundrum has always been a popular topic of conversation and predictions may not be that far off. Some evidence certainly supports that theory but probably unlikely at this point. However, the concept reached new heights in 2017 with Saudi Arabia granting a humanoid robot, Sophia, citizenship. The citizenship grant was followed by an announcement that the Kingdom would commit $500 billion to build a new city powered by robotics and renewables.

A Hong Kong company, Hanson Robotics, is the mastermind behind Sophia. They hinted that she would like to start a family and claimed that robots could one day be more ethical than humans. Looking at some of the current shocking and terrifying global events, they might not be too far off.

Future Prediction: Robotics and artificial intelligence will continue to improve and disrupt major segments of the economy. Reports suggest that automation will be responsible for the loss of 500 million jobs worldwide by 2030. Some argue that it would also generate jobs but if a robot takes an accountant’s job, what will they do? Service the robot or make it a hydrogen smoothie?

  1. Digital Replacing FM Radios

Norway became the first country to switch off FM radio and here is why. Digital radio allows for better sound quality, greater number of channels, more features and costs 8X less than FM radio.

Future Prediction: More countries will switch to digital radio and OTA-OTT (Over The Air – Over The Top) integration. As a result, it will lead to fewer local programming and more non-music programming.

As with everything technology-based, robots can even dominate digital marketing. Whichever way we look at it, technology is advancing and we need to get with the program or get left behind. Companies also need to take responsibility and initiate staff training and education on relevant technologies. We should embrace technology and not fight it. At the same time though, don’t let it control our lives, business or personal.

Get in touch with WSI eMarketing today to discuss your digital marketing strategy and increase your conversion rate in 2018. We can assist in things digital including Marketing Automation, Mobile Marketing, PPC, SEO, Social Media Management and more.

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