As we look to 2016, Gordon Bethell, chairman of creative communications agency CreativeRace (formally Gratterpalm), reveals his industry predictions for the year ahead.
A practical approach to marketing – smarter, faster working
Brands are looking for value and this agenda will drive demand for greater levels of automation and process in the creative industry in 2016. Marketers will challenge areas where they believe they are paying for tasks that can be digitised, from reporting and email triggers, to content creation. Value for money will be a core differentiator for agencies.
Less focus on big data and more on big measurement
The huge number of options that brands have to communicate with customers will drive a greater focus on channels that can be clearly measured. The evangelicals that promised single customer views based on big data projects will go quiet. Data will still be important but brands are less likely to spend millions on restructuring all their data clusters – a better approach will be to invest in service and experience whilst cherry picking marginal CRM improvements along the way.
The need for speed – fast response rates to unfolding events
Volkswagen, TalkTalk and Tesco are all brands that have needed quick reactions to critical events in 2015. Regardless of whether these are of their own making, brands will need to be able to react quickly to market changes and they will favour channels of communication that can be rapidly altered. Digital screens will play a far greater role in communications – from menu boards to hoardings to point of sale to shelves, all connected by an infrastructure that easily allows updates and changes. Quick, easy and effective response capabilities will be on every brand’s wish list.
Target practise – niche loyalty schemes
The industry has been excited about the levels of brand engagement developed via social media over the past 12 months. However, scepticism will increase around corporate tactics that are being employed to engage digital natives and many will move away into new and relatively private forums. Brands will have to work hard to segment their content into much more niche groups and create multiple mini-loyalty schemes if they are to enjoy good returns on activity.
Integration, integration, integration
Brands have to embrace the challenge of creating multiple messages across numerous channels at relevant times – an exercise that will demand greater integration and a genuine cross working style across departments and agencies.
It’s all too easy to be dazzled by the latest digital advancements. The past year has been dominated by the buzz around wearable technology and The Internet of Things. Whilst these have their place, and are undoubtedly enabling innovation, new technologies need to be deployed for the right reasons.
The sheer choice of channels and the digitisation of working processes means that brands now need to be looking at a much more integrated cross channel and creative approach in 2016. Brands are seeking out agencies that are united and collaborative and who can take a broader view of what’s driving consumer behaviour and who can deliver creative but practical campaigns.
By Gordon Bethell
Chairman of creative communications agency