7 marketing trends brands need to be ready for in 2018

Marketing professor Mark Ritson has taken a lighthearted look at what he believes will be the seven biggest marketing trends of 2018.

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and employing a chief content officer should be key focuses for all marketers in 2018.

This is the view of marketing professor Mark Ritson, who has written a lighthearted piece in Marketing Week explaining the seven trends he believes all marketers should be concentrating on over the next 12 months, based on the most-talked-about topics at marketing conferences he has attended in 2017.

He began by detailing how he thinks all marketers should be 'artificially intelligent' and 'virtually real' to stay ahead of the game, while they should also bring in a chief content officer. This 'CCO' should play a key role in 'storifying' the brand's strategy (Professor Ritson's fourth top trend for 2018). He joked that a CCO could even replace a chief financial officer, such is their importance.

Marketing to millennials should also be a key focus next year and all brands should ensure they have a millennial-friendly brand purpose to make sure their efforts in this area are as effective as possible, Professor Ritson continued. Such has been the focus on this demographic that he even joked that brands should consider shunning all others.

Finally, Professor Ritson believes that blockchain will need to be a huge focus for brands in 2018. He admitted that exactly how this will affect marketing strategy doesn't yet seem totally clear, teasing: "You can be assured that all you need to do is to drop the word 'blockchain' into your conversations and presentations."

Despite his tongue-in-cheek approach, these seven trends do indeed look set to be huge next year, so brands should be bearing them in mind in all seriousness.

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