Marketing and advertising in the digital era can be a complex task. Note that I said ‘can’, I don’t for one minute subscribe to the notion that marketers are so overwhelmed with new technology and emerging ways of doing business – in a world that’s fast becoming ‘digital first’ – that they can’t do their jobs.

That’s simply not the case. IMHO, the path forward remains pretty much what it’s always been: spend the majority of your time doing what you know works, invest some time and money on emerging channels and technologies your competitors are using, and when you have time ‘play’ with the new-new thing.

An oversimplification, perhaps, but my point is it’s not rocket surgery. It’s just good business.

Anyway, it’s a new year and the most exciting time of year in the marketing and digital sector. Everyone returns to work fresh faced, facing a clean slate, and ready to take on a new year with renewed fervor. It’s also the time of year we whip out the crystal ball to prognosticate on trends we expect to see in 2017.

Don’t expect the tech overload to slow down
Marketers now have circa 4,500 technologies at their disposal, and whilst many of these technologies overlap, there are always new categories and sub categories of technology emerging. So whilst many may wish otherwise, the fact is there’ll be even more vendors and agencies pushing their wares in 2017, fighting for your time, trying to convince you their tech is the answer to all your woes.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: keeping pace with technology is the biggest challenge marketers’ face today, and being tech savvy is the new competitive advantage. The issue with managing tech overload is how to filter the relevant tech for your needs, so a simple way to evaluate new tech is to consider if it solves an existing problem or gives you a competitive advantage.

Make the customer your #1 priority
Today’s marketer doesn’t just need to be tech savvy; they also need to understand how to be customer centric – how to genuinely put the customer at the forefront of their business and then start making smart decisions informed by analytics that guide actions that deliver the very best customer experience, whilst (ideally) achieving the highest ROI possible from all your marketing efforts.

Making the customer your #1 priority can take many shapes. It could mean a focus on leveraging your first party data better, adopting mass personalization technologies and marketing practices to achieve better cut through, or even focusing on responsive design to ensure a more consistent customer experience.

Taking a wider view of attribution
As cross-device centric digital marketing gains sway there needs to be a move away from last touch attribution as the be all, end all approach to attribution. Last touch works well when you’re looking at marketing from a silo, but it’s shortsighted (and simply wrong) when viewed from a multi-channel-multi-touch perspective where consumers are interacting with brands in increasingly more complex ways.

Expect more spin and BS than ever before!
As challenging as it can be to filter tech on relevancy, it’s even harder to filter the wheat from the chafe in the media sector. The recent global faux debate inspired by Coca Cola’s Global CMO suggesting that TV is a more effective channel than digital, offering a better ROI, is a great example of spin in action. This is clearly an agency driven agenda that’s being circulated and regurgitated to prop up an outdated industry that’s no longer as relevant or dominant as it once was.

Likewise, expect to hear more Twitter acquisition rumors, more stories about Yahoo’s tenuous future, more fluff about why programmatic is going to change the life of everyone on the planet. That’s a given.

Our role at Digerati is to help marketers filter what’s relevant from what’s not. To provide actionable insight from the coal face and from the smartest marketers and technologists in market. Time will tell if our prognostications come true, but what we do know today is that 2017 will be just like 2016, but not.

Christopher Edwards
Editor in Chief
Digerati Magazine