Like many businesses, we take some time as the year draws to close to reflect on the past 12 months.
What were the major themes, what were our achievements, what can we learn...but also, what did we see coming?
At the end of 2016 we dimmed the lights, swirled our tea leaves and polished our crystal ball. As we looked back on what we predicted for 2017
we started to see who is our Nostradamus, and which of us is more like Sybil Trelawney (shout out to the Harry Potter fans).
A few have ‘the sight’ in our office.
These are their stories.
Psychic award #1 - Brendon, with his prediction that smart homes will take over
“The next year will see a rise in tailored home design… Simple products like Google Home and Amazon Echo are becoming more and more accessible to the general population.”
Home automation systems are well and truly on the way to world domination, and not just in the O’Sullivan household (although many reading will know that Brendon’s home is a step ahead of the rest).
Not only have home assistants become more commonplace over the last 12 months, but we’ve seen a rise in companies that specialise in tailored smart home design.
Home assistants are particularly revolutionising the way people living with disability can access services - for example ordering groceries using voice activation - a fantastic development for people with impaired vision or mobility.
Psychic award #2 - Leanne, with her call for more digital bravery
“We will see people investing more time and money into their digital marketing, rather than taking a light approach.”
If it’s one thing we can say for sure, it’s that we are seeing more and more people who have previously been ambivalent towards digital marketing take the plunge. We have seen companies who have previously dabbled with a few platforms really invest (time and money) to create consistent, engaging content to build their audience and generate leads.
Digital marketing is an area that is constantly offering more - more space, more people, more diversity. Slowly and surely businesses are taking the plunge and investing in their online future, whether it be with a website, a social strategy or fully integrated business systems.
Psychic award #3 - Paul, with his prediction that big data will drive the customer journey
“Our constant connectivity means that mountains of data about our preferences, movements and habits are being collected at any time."
We're starting to see the use of chat-bots in customer support. Applications like this, providing more personalised and efficient customer service, will grow over the next 12 months.
Companies are spending huge amounts of money on data collection, as it is becoming invaluable towards understanding customers and their behaviour, their likes and dislikes, their interests.
Big Data is also being used to analyse huge amounts of information and provide relevant and compelling feedback about the success of an advertising campaign, potential target audiences, significant trends and sharing important information.
Psychic award #4 - Sarah and her prediction of the year of the storyteller
“We'll see less and less emphasis placed on where you're sharing your message, and more focus on how every piece of content you share tells your story.”
Given that this was Sarah's prediction, we'll reference Taylor Swift as evidence of her fortune-telling skills. 2017 saw Tay Tay release Reputation. The album was teased with three simple instagram posts that - with one post per day - revealed themselves to be a snake. The snake - a reference to the damage to Taylor's reputatation caused by a fued with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (we know, stay with us) - featured heavily through the first music video.
This is an artist (or marketing team) that understand the power of narritive and storytelling in making a sale. They effectively used the snake as a device to build new narrative for the pop star. Taylor aside, there have been a dearth of articles released over the past 12 months championing the role of the storyteller in marketing.
So, what's next?
For the most part, our 2017 predictions still hold true
You still need a strong Digital Strategy
You need to understand and optimise your entire Digital Ecosystem
The basics don't change.
Thanks for a wonderful 2017. We look forward to bigger and better things in the new year.