2017 will be an interesting year as disruption won’t just be a commercial phenomenon but a geopolitical reality as well.  But that’s another discussion, so let’s get back to the world of marketing and advertising. Here are a few key things to consider this year if you’re in the advertising industry.

Adapt or die

For older agency models it’s a case of adapt to survive or simply fade away. In this new reality, life will be faster and harder. 2017 will see speed to market, without sacrificing brand and production values and quality of execution, matter greatly. And those companies that deliver it well, and let’s not forget transparently, will surely win.

More data, more personalisation

Data, data and big data. This year is for agencies to really get the data right. Not only will media agencies become more powerful as they get a better grip on data and how to use its growing mass more intelligently, they’ll have access to a plethora of ways to target consumers on their purchasing journey. This will inevitably give rise to more personalised, more innovative and more creative opportunities.

Needs-based vs emotional content

All the blank spaces on every screen, billboard and magazine need filling with stuff and it’s all content. So content ‘per se’ will stop being a useful moniker. Social channels are already being considered in the marketing mix, but still not always in the right way as they do need a bespoke approach. But is social really just a better/faster way of doing PR? It will, and has, become another channel that needs consideration on the media plan but it’s not the answer for everything. Work will split between ‘needs’ based information (eg infomercials, ‘how-to’ videos) and emotionally driven brand work (eg TV ads, experiential marketing) to create desire and appeal to more base human traits.

A flexible production approach

As companies grow up with Google Analytics, SEO and optimisation, businesses, particularly .com’s and e-businesses, will continue to grow creative, strategic and even production skills in-house. They haven’t got the time to teach agencies what they need. But they, and other clients, will also seek production arrangements for delivering their bigger campaigns, as they need manpower they either don’t have or don’t want on their books all year round. Be open to changing along with clients.

Start small, test, then go big

Seems an obvious plan, but clients will become simultaneously more cautious and braver. They’ll be happy to consider riskier concepts but will want to test them with smaller budgets and in more discreet media channels. We’ll see many more clients using programmatic to compare and contrast different media treatments at the pitch stage, then build data and results to show they work and then go larger.

So like many things, everything changes but the basics remain the same. Here’s to a challenging yet rewarding year. Roll on 2017!

David Hughes

David Hughes


David Hughes, managing director Hogarth Worldwide