Warc has released Toolkit 2017 in line with Deloitte Digital, which features six key trends examining the challenges faced by marketers.

Warc, the global marketing intelligence service, has released Toolkit 2017, an annual examination of forthcoming challenges faced by marketers worldwide. Produced in association with Deloitte Digital, the report identifies six topics which marketers will be looking to in the coming year.

“We’ve reviewed the best of Warc’s content over the past year – the latest ideas, research and examples. The result is a comprehensive guide to current thinking and the implications for marketers going forward into 2017,” said David Tiltman, Head of Content at Warc.

The six key marketing trends identified are:

Tech: The marketing applications of artificial intelligence 

Data mining and analysis that is normally done manually may be done faster and better using AI. As such, AI is predicted to have a major impact on the marketing industry with key areas being insight generation, chatbots, personal assistants and optimisation of media buying. Whilst the technology is still emerging, one study found that 55% of global CMOs expect AI to have a greater impact on marketing and communications than social media.

Brand Experience: The emerging roles of virtual reality and augmented reality

As the advertising marketplace becomes more cluttered and young consumers opt out of receiving marketing messages, brand experiences such as VR and AR that cut through are increasingly valuable. After years of promise, VR is becoming a viable mainstream marketing tool which focuses on experience and emotional engagement.

Content: How video is transforming social

Social video is seeing massive growth as a content marketing format and is turning social platforms into broadcast media. Brands are finding success with approaches that prioritise quality over quantity, consider emotional and social motivations for content engagement, and focus on a three-second window of opportunity to grab consumers’ attention. More and more brands are also experimenting with live video for content that is exclusive, newsworthy or requires live audience involvement. But video measurement will be a major challenge in 2017.

Social: The rise of ‘dark social’ and messaging apps

The rise of chat or mobile-focused messenger apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or WeChat is fuelling the rise of dark social – conversations not trackable by marketers. This has two implications: brands may be missing out on insights into their brand or category and chat apps are moving social marketing towards conversations.

E-Commerce: The direct-to-consumer opportunity

Low cost start-ups have disrupted established business models with customer-centric online businesses. Innovative apps, subscription services, and engaging branded social platforms have encouraged impulse purchases and trials with seamless transactions and personalised experiences. The challenge for established brands is responding to these new models as they look to increase direct-to-consumer opportunities.

ROI: Effectiveness in the digital age

Major FMCG advertisers are beginning to focus more on mass reach using traditional media to drive sales growth versus close targeting via digital channels. In addition, fresh research has suggested that brands are overinvesting in short-term ‘activation’ media, undermining the impact of creativity and harming long-term effectiveness. Meanwhile, media platforms are racing to prove the effectiveness of their channel. With budgets under ongoing pressure, more studies of this sort can be expected in 2017.

The Toolkit 2017 executive summary by Warc in association with Deloitte Digital, is now available online. Further in-depth analysis and discussions on each of the six trends will be serialised on a weekly basis from 14 December via studies and a webinar.

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