RP Singh

Chief Curator
Content Marketing Summit Asia

It's the end of another year and marketers are already thinking about their 2018 marketing strategies. 2017 has witnessed quite a number of trends in this rapidly evolving marketing ecosystem. Several brands have experimented with a variety of concepts such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, chat bots, virtual reality, machine learning among others with their respective share of success and failure. As brand marketers step into 2018, I feel these 3 trends, which will have a long- term impact, will be crucial to their success.

1. Data

No marketer will be able to ignore the power of data going forward. IDC already forecasted for big data industry to reach around a worth of $102 billion by 2019. Today, with the power of sophisticated tools, every small or big marketer can utilise the power of data. The knowledge of consumer's behaviour will be mainly coming from consumer data of interactions with the brand in both online and offline world. Data will allow marketers to create buyer personas to effectively communicate their messages across the buyer journey. The organisations who are investing in data will be the clear winners in years to come.

2. Personalisation

Enough has been said about personalisation since the dawn of digital age but with Big Data coming to support the segmentation and targeting of consumers, the importance of personalising your communication for each individual consumer is ever-increasing. Gone are the days of showing same communication to a new website visitor vs a returning visitor, for example. Your communication needs to be nimble and agile to respond to user behaviour in real time. Technology, today, allows you to adapt your messaging to the taste and preferences of consumers and brands investing their efforts into the same will be the beneficiaries in the near future.

3. Smart content

What do you do with a combination of data and personalisation? You deliver content to your consumers. Everything that goes to a consumer, apart from core product or service, is a great content marketing opportunity. Hubspot defines smart content as "content that is intelligently personalised to your customer's needs" and it is an outcome of a balanced, data-driven, personalised content marketing strategy. Technologies and platforms will come and go, a marketer has to eventually deliver content to its customers which can be done successfully only when you consider the following:

a. Buyer personas
Mass targeting in a digital age is a sheer waste of money. Even the governments today don't do that anymore who used to target masses of a country. You need to use data to create buyer personas and tailor your messaging strategy accordingly.

b. Mobile friendly ephemeral content
Everyone is talking about how millennials are hooked on to their devices throughout their day and night. Content which is not screen friendly is as good as nothing. Similarly, stop thinking about creating content for a long-term existence, especially when you are targeting the newer generations. Keep consumers returning for more with ephemeral content and this should be your key strategy going forward.

c. Focus on emerging talent
Not every marketer will be able to afford established celebrities for content curation and not every marketer will need to do so. Given the increasing requirement of curated content with micro celebrities, you will need to invest in the new talent for content production. A lot of markets will also be focusing on turning their customers into influencers as they won't be able to rely on one type of influencers to target different types of consumers.

Overall, I believe that marketers will need to be dynamic in their approach to marketing in 2018 to stay in line with their competition. Organisations reacting to these consumer changes will be left behind, only the ability to act real-time will take them over the line.

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