We exist to make business better, and we use digital, cloud based systems to do it.
Because of this, our ideal team member is blessed with not only wide range of generalist ‘digital’ knowledge, but also has very specific and deep experience that we can draw on for certain projects and pieces of work.
So, when we ask them what’s next in ‘our world’ , we get a range of weird and wonderful responses.
2017 for Big Blue Digital was a year of undoing, prioritising and relearning what makes us so good at what we do (check out our 2017 in review
to see what we got up to). In the big wide world outside our office, it was a year where we realised the power of a hashtag, Twitter regained relevancy and everyone wanted to become a bitcoin billionaire.
But what will come in 2018?
“Alexa is listening”
Machine Learning meets everyday life
In 2018 we’ll see the next phase of Artificial Intelligence. Governments and companies are continuing to realise that these technologies present huge opportunities. Over the next 12 months, we’ll see AI become more commonplace, less Jetsons. In particular, adoption of this technology will become real for the medical industry, because of the requirement for efficiencies around managing general population health.
From algorithms to products, and integration to data validation, AI will be used to filter, gather and disseminate huge amounts of data, making the decision making process more efficient and businesses more agile.
Meanwhile, AI personal assistants will become smarter exponentially as they learn our daily routines, habits and hobbies. Alexa is listening.
A new kind of reality
Augmented reality is will grow exponentially, especially now that Google and Apple have cemented themselves in the home and are looking to augmented reality to support new forms of entertainment. Be on the lookout for the next generation of digital picture frames in the home (Samsung released their first this year) and appliances that intelligently let owners on what’s happening in the home.
Companies who currently occupy the more ‘traditional’ spaces, such print media, retail stores and car brands, will start to adopt Augmented Reality as a new way to engage with their audience and create ‘wow’ factor.
Trust and transparency in transactions
Thanks to the growing interest in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, you will begin to hear more and more about what the Blockchain peer-to-peer concept means.
Blockchain allows you to record transaction data, creating a public ledger for digital assets.
Early entrepreneurial adopters will grow businesses based on decentralising industry valuation schemes and using virtual currency to complete real-world transactions. The benefits of blockchain - greater transparency, faster transactions and reduced costs - will be the selling points that take it from bleeding edge to everyday in the minds of the general population.
Brendon O’Sullivan, Founder.
Connect with Brendon on LinkedIn
“Quality comes at a cost”
The best things in life aren’t free
We’ve been spoilt over the past decade. The rise of social media saw the cost of reaching new customers drop to virtually nothing. New, more accessible and cost effective platforms (like Squarespace) have popped up meaning businesses don’t always need to engage with specialists to get certain pieces of work done.
Over the next twelve months, we’ll see a return to people investing in services to get stuff done right. We’ve gone through a period where a lot of things have been DIYd. And that’s still very possible. But more and more businesses will remember, quality comes at a cost.
A great example of this is Facebook Business advertising. Anyone can jump on a Facebook account and use it to push content to an audience for free. But, thanks to Facebook’s algorithm, this will only reach about 10% of your audience. But, if you want to really realise the potential of Facebook, paid advertising is the way to go.
Voice activated shopping assistants
As convenience becomes the key driver of decision making in the marketplace, voice activated e-commerce devices will start to find their way into all of our homes.
We have seen Walmart in the US team up with Google in the development of the the Google Home Mini, a voice activated speaker that allows hands free shopping using simple voice commands. Domino's has seen success through its voice ordering technology using mobile devices while Amazon’s home device Alexa links to the Amazon store, allowing a seamless experience. Consider having a shop assistant with you in your home. This is the next era of online shopping.
Paul Ridoutt, General Manager
Connect with Paul on LinkedIn
“Get really comfortable in front of a camera”
LinkedIn will get new life
In 2017, Donald Trump helped to keep Twitter relevant. This year video inside LinkedIn is going to bring this platform back from the dead.
Live streaming and video in general is proving to be the most engaging content for audiences, who are looking for a deeper experience to help them connect with a brand.
The same theory isn’t going to save Snapchat however, which has been hit massively by the ease of discovery, connection and cross-linking content provided by Instagram's stories feature.
This means that business owners and marketers alike need to get really comfortable in front of a camera, not just in long captions.
Automation goes the the next level
2018 will see more and more businesses look to automate a large chunk of their online marketing, as well as customer services and other customer facing processes. This is a key way to ensure frequent engagement with customers in an efficient way.
This means more automated online actions - from messenger bots, to customer journeys based on actions, to the more standard onboarding and actioned triggered email campaigns.
Marketing Automation platforms will continue to evolve to cover more and more business functions, with an emphasis on integration between systems.
Leanne O’Sullivan, Co Founder
Connect with Leanne on LinkedIn
"The new world of ecommerce"
eCommerce platforms, the pressure is on
Retailers have, by now, realised online shopping is definitely the way to go. With online shopping (finally) seen as the new normal, competition between eCommerce platforms will increase. It’s likely that these platforms will also begin to specialise more and more in certain verticals - like FMCG, fashion, homewares etc.
The companies that provide the technology to drive online stores will have to increase the effort they put into providing functions like 360 degree photography and video of products that the shopper can explore, and customising shopping by your body’s specific measurements. Retailers will be driving these changes, challenging their eCommerce providers to constantly evolve to preempt the needs of customers.
High tech in vogue
With ecommerce and digital marketing enabling niche and online only stores to reach a large customer base, the relationship between technology and fashion will be greater than ever before.
2018 will see a boost in these niche boutiques, for example sites selling preloved luxury products. In line with sustainable fashion trends and minimalistic living, you will see more consignment shops, dedicated to selling top quality, authenticated items to excited new owners. These sites will work on a membership basis, to ensure accountability of members who also act as the store’s suppliers.
There will also be a rise in specialist sustainable fashion sites beyond preloved items, with brands realising the potential of advances in textile manufacturing using materials such as kelp and even pineapple.
And while we’re on fashion, I can also confidently predict the ‘perm’ and the ‘scrunchie’ will make comebacks in 2018!
Ceridwyn Usback, Client Service Manager
Connect with Ceridwyn on LinkedIn
“Marketers will need more data than ever”
Brands will step up in the ways that they get targeted and personalise content. From Netflix to Instagram, we expect to only be presented information that is relevant to us. As customers, from the outside we’ll see brands get back to one-on-one email, personalised notes and a human touch.
Inside the businesses though, marketers will be working smarter, relying more and more on clever automations and machine learning to drive highly personalised customer journeys. Marketers will need more data than ever to tailor their approach.
Take the education sector, who for years have been discussing online Personalised Learning Environments (PLEs) to help direct learning in a way that is beneficial to each individuals learning needs. They can use technologies to detect how a student is interacting with particular information and use this knowledge to create a tailored learning experience. This encourages more engagement from the students and can ultimately lead to better results. Imagine a course completely tailored to your gaps in knowledge. This is where we need to be.
A new marketing funnel
For years, marketing experts have worked using the traditional marketing funnel. This is a linear process. Someone becomes aware of your brand, they engage with you in some way, they convert to a customer...and then the whole process starts again.
In today’s marketplace, a potential customer might become engaged with your product at many different stages, in a random order, because everyone uses media platforms in a unique way. Smart marketers will work more with the customer lifecycle, and less with a linear path to conversion.
This likely has more of an impact on the people in these roles than the work itself. We’ll see even more convergence between marketing, social, customer service, culture and communications roles within organisations. Removing organisational silos is key.
Sarah Stanford, Manager of Operations & Marketing
Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn