What will be the top trends in marketing for 2019? Host of The CMO Show Mark Jones switches chairs on the final episode for 2018. Tune in as we look back on the year that was and ask what the future holds.
There’s no doubt 2018 has been a turbulent year – Amazon’s ‘will they, won’t they’ launch in Australia, continued fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the recent news of WPP’s consolidation – so amid a sea of information, what are the takeaways for marketers heading into the new year?
Technology, integration and customer experience. That’s according to Mark Jones, chief storyteller + CEO at Filtered Media and host of The CMO Show. In this episode he sits down on the other side of the mic to reflect on the year that was and the top trends marketers can’t ignore in 2019.
Technology is constantly evolving, and marketers should look to voice commands and audio tech as a fast-growing area. “The interesting thing for marketers in 2019 will be how can you optimise your website with voice in mind?” Mark says. “How well can these engines crawl your content and… speak to your customers in a way that is consistent with your tone of voice and the way that you think about the world?”
Mark names eCommerce, AI generated advertisements, recommendation engines, and chatbots as hot spots of action in the coming months. For marketers, it’s all about using these emerging trends to enhance the customer experience. “How do you [optimise audio content] either as an expression through a robot or an expression through a human being,” says Mark.
“From a search perspective and from a either website or mobile end point, we really want to know how to get this right. That’s where there’s a lot of fun stuff to happen in that space.”
Podcasting is a platform that’s growing exponentially. Mark’s advice for brands looking to expand to the format? “Podcasting is going to become really focused on quality and getting much, much closer to our audience,” Mark says. “People are looking for a personal connection.”
As the most intimate form of marketing, podcast audiences need a strong connection to fully engage. “I want to learn something, I want to be slightly entertained. I want to know that you’re going to be around so I can subscribe to this thing and go on a journey with me,” says Mark.
The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question in 2019 will be: how will brands choose to use podcasting to tell their stories? “Who are the thought leaders in a business and how do we incorporate that into broader marketing strategies?” Mark asks. “Of course that’s what I’m interested in.”
Tune in to the last episode of The CMO Show for 2018 where podcast producer Charlotte Goodwin and content director Kate Elks turn the table on Mark Jones as they ask him about AI, disruption, recommendation engines, and the future of integrated marketing.
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Participants: Hosts: Charlotte Goodwin & Kate Elks
Guest: Mark Jones
Producer: Charlotte Goodwin & Kate Elks
Charlotte Goodwin: Welcome to The CMO Show. I’m not Mark Jones. I’m Charlotte Goodwin, producer of The CMO Show.
Kate Elks: And I’m Kate Elks, content director here at Filtered Media.
Charlotte Goodwin: Today to capstone the fabulous year that’s been 2018, we here on the podcast are flipping the script.
Kate Elks: Ah yeah, we’ve gotten our curious crew here at Filtered to submit a bunch of questions and today we are interviewing Mark.
Mark Jones: Yes you are. Hello.
Kate Elks: Yep we’re going to get your hot take on the year that was and the trends that are coming for all of us in 2019.
Mark Jones: I think it’s also questions without notice, right, guys?
Kate Elks: 100% questions without notice. You can’t see this audience but we have literally printed out a list of things, we’ve scribbled all over it, and we’ve got some highlighter, and we are, we are presenting this to Mark. Here are our questions, go.
Mark Jones: Nice. All right. So what’s up first?
Kate Elks: Okay, the first question is from me. I would like to know what’s your take on the WPP news? On agency consolidation?
Mark Jones: Wow. That’s a big one. So firstly, this is a lot of fun because normally I’m the guy asking all the questions. So it’s super fun to be on this side. Actually I’m on the same side as I always am. You can’t see that, doesn’t make for great radio. But look, let me just say firstly that in agency-land it’s been really interesting in 2018 because something that we’ve seen coming for a couple of years now has been, what I think of is, if you like, return to the old days of integrated agencies. We see this from our point of view where we do integrated PR and content and social media and digital marketing and advertising and creative and analytics and the data. In other words, bringing that whole piece together and that’s what we’ve been working on as an agency for a couple of years now.
Mark Jones: What was interesting about WPP, I can’t for them as a conglomerate, I don’t know anybody there personally and I’ve got no interest in it- but I did take note, one of the reports I read was from Campaign in the UK. It broke down what they saw as their strategy and I reckon probably every agency boss in the world who’s kind of following the macro trends in agency land is probably looking at this. I thought I’d make a quick a reference to it because it really spoke to me as what I think is going on.
Mark Jones: The first point was, they’re going to focus on communications which, notably, is in their words, bringing together advertising, content media, PR, public affairs and healthcare. In the advertising world, agencies think of communications as PR and content already. I feel like this is a formalised strategy for that.
Mark Jones: The second thing was experience. Experiences, how they think about customers and that’s brands and products and service experience for clients. That’s not a new one to us either because Adobe, one of our fabulous clients, talks a lot about experiences as a core if you like marketing strategy. Again, interesting to see that one reflected.
Mark Jones: Three, commerce, is about the Alibabas and Amazons of the world and how clients need to adapt their strategies to feel like commerce or e-commerce.
Mark Jones: And then the fourth one of course, possibly a bit too obvious, but technology and how chief marketing officers and CIOs, and I think also COOs are looking at how does marketing technology and I think ad technology come together.
Mark Jones: So that’s the headline strategy for – if you like – a big global competitive agency. But I think there’s some trends in there that relate to certainly what we’re doing, but also what I’ve seen. If you look at those four things, that’s what we’ve been focused on in 2018 I think as a whole marketing industry. That was a big answer to your question wasn’t it?
Kate Elks: That was a pretty massive answer. Thank you. Clearly we didn’t need to prep you too hard so you would come out with that.
Charlotte Goodwin: The next question come from Rian Newman, content manager here at Filtered, can increasingly sophisticated AI ever compare with truly great creative ideas?
Mark Jones: Yeah, it’s interesting that is not that I would see is an either/or. We’re seeing creative, creative has always been important. If you don’t have a creative idea that can build off an insight into the customer’s of your client, from an agency point of view, you’re really going to struggle. I don’t see creative going away, in fact I see creative becoming even more important, probably one of the big distinctives in an agency environment is the creative power you can bring to solving a problem.
Mark Jones: The negative is people think, oh AI is taking over and I think to some extent it’s going to be disruptive because we’re seeing a lot of the manual tasks continuing to evolve. Particularly in digital and programmatic, that will be an area where you a real acceleration and efficiencies come.
Mark Jones: I’m in the camp that says AI is an enabler, or empowers, or becomes baked into all of the tools. I don’t think actually AI will be such a big deal in a couple of years in the sense that it’s just how things work. It’s just part of the way these software tools work. It’s how the whole thing ties together. Right?
Mark Jones: It’s a bit like the internet. Honestly I think it’s going to be like that. It’s just, we talk about the internet but it’s not in a “Oh wow it’s the internet,” it’s just stuff that’s happening. I think it’ll just get normalised. If you follow the Gartner Hype Cycle it’ll just become a mature, baked in technology.
Mark Jones: Now the disruptive side of it of course will be how it changes the jobs that we’ve got. It’ll inform us with data. It’ll become far more interested in the data science aspect of stuff. So how well can we plug things in, what insights can we get from that and how AI can bring it all together. That’s a pretty fascinating area.
Charlotte Goodwin: Yeah, it’s interesting how people see technology and creative as these two very separate things, but they can work together really well.
Kate Elks: And on that, I’ve just been googling to try and find the actual reference. This year, there were a couple of marketing campaigns that were actually created by artificial intelligence. They were odd, as you would imagine, super, super weird. But as an experiment, fascinating to see, how robots will learn from us and how they’ll parody … parrot … parody, that’s ironic, parrot our ideas back to us. There is an interplay there that we could possibly take advantage of, but it’s pretty early days for ads made by robots.
Mark Jones: I was going to say that reminds me, this was the year that we first saw a Chinese news anchor, completely AI, right it was AI bot, right, do you remember that?
Kate Elks: Yes.
Mark Jones: 2018 was when we saw, if you like a role, a news anchor completely replaced by AI and if you like a bot style technology. If you go back a year prior, I think was it was 2017 that we saw AI starting to write news stories in sports. Because, it’s very formulaic. Particular baseball and sports like that. We’ve gone from copy, written content being reduced completely without human intervention, to actually now these bots that can be, well it still has to be programmed by humans to some extent, but it’s a pretty interesting trend if you think about it.
Kate Elks: where the human factor will be critical. One of our clients this year has been the world congress of accountants. The content for their global congress that they hold this year was actually absolutely fascinating. One of the key points they’re talking about disruption to their industry, is that artificial intelligence will really suck a lot of jobs out of law and accountancy. Where the growth area is for those industries and indeed for any industry is in the human advice giving.
Kate Elks: Your judgement as a human cannot be replicated, right? So, that idea that the newsreader can read the news for sure. But the nuanced judgement that goes into that will always have to be the human element that we bring.
Mark Jones: Yeah, the editorial decisions and a good example of that in real life, I mean, I read apple news, the app, apple news everyday. I don’t know if a lot of people realise this, but that’s actually curated. So there’s real humans and they’re looking at the signals, the data, what’s trending and so forth, and they’re using that to inform where they play stories. I think that’s been one of the things, it resonates with me, because you know as an old editor. I kinda get it.
Mark Jones: There’s judgement that goes into that. I’m sure they’re looking at the data and the types of stories that I read to inform that little bit as well. It’s an interesting interplay. I think we’re just experimenting, I think we’re sort of looking at how can we learn and develop by playing with this stuff, right? So to deliver a better user experience. I think that’s kind of to echo your point, where we’re going.
Kate Elks: Now I’m thinking that this year I also read an interview with a woman who works for Spotify, she makes playlists. That is her job. She makes them off the data that they gather, which is significant. But her job is to sift through that information and then turn it into curated playlists, which I find really interesting because that is exactly what the Amazon engine is supposed to do, is curate for you. But they’re seeing value in actually having 20% of that work being done by an actual person and that’s trendsetting, I guess, in that way, for Spotify. Maybe there’s a podcast idea there.
Mark Jones: I think so, but it’s also back to the future. That one, I mean that’s a music director at a radio station, that’s what they did. They did that by, you know listening to in the old days, what was the … were they sick of this song? What are the announcers like in their circle of friends? What was sort of the cool songs? What were they picking up in the clubs? All that kind of stuff fed into if you like a manual version of what Spotify’s doing. Isn’t that interesting?
Charlotte Goodwin: it’s pretty important to recognise that people power is still required.
Charlotte Goodwin: And it feeds into our next question from Jeffrey Coote, senior PR manager.
Charlotte Goodwin: According to Gartner, 25% of customer service will use chat bot tech by 2020. That’s up from 2% in 2017. Where do you see that fitting into marketers plans going forward?
Mark Jones: That’s a bit of a shout out to my friend Jeremy who’s over at Area 10 an agency that looks at this stuff. I was talking to him this year and he was saying how they use real human beings almost like a core centre model around follow the sun type thing and they work with clients to have their people on standby to answer questions in real time. You’ve seen this with insurance companies and others.
Mark Jones: I always ask the question, are you real or … ? And they’ll be like, “Yeah my name is Bob” or … “My name is whatever … Tonya.” I’m just thinking of random names. Then they’ll tell you what their names are and then I’m quite happy for that. Then other times you know it’s a robot and it’s in the Siri mindset, you don’t care.
Mark Jones: The application comes down to business strategy and the expectations of your customers and what you thinks going to work in your environment. It could also be a question of scale. So, I can’t afford to employ lots and lots of people to be on the chat machines, so maybe for smaller businesses without high search volumes.
Mark Jones: The interesting thing about that, it actually dovetails with voice. Of course, we’re in the voice era. We’re talking to our devices all the time, we’re talking to devices in our home, we’re talking to our cars. We’re basically talking out loud to ourselves a lot at the moment. I don’t know if that says anything about society. But anyway, we’re talking to these devices and so it’s becoming a very normal way of interacting with technology.
Mark Jones: The interesting thing for marketers in 2019 will be how do you approach that from a marketing strategy perspective? How can you optimise your website with voice in mind? How well can these engines crawl your content and be able to replicate and speak to your customers in a way that is consistent with your tone of voice and the way that you think about the world. But also in the SEO world, we think about how we optimise written content. Well how do you optimise audio content? So I think we’re going to see marketers really wanting to know how to do that.
Mark Jones: And again, how do you that and then either an expression through a robot or an expression through a human being? That whole thing I think we’ll see a lot of really focused attention because from a search perspective and from a either website or mobile end point, we really want to know how to get this right. That’s where there’s a lot of fun stuff to happen in that space I think.
Kate Elks: Probably a nice segue to a question we’ve got here from Judy Reyes who is our data and analytics expert at Filtered. She’s asked how will the podcast evolve in 2019 you’ve obviously just talked about optimising for audio but I know this is a really soft question for you because you are and always have been a podcast nut but what do you see coming for podcasts?
Mark Jones: I was going to say we probably got like another hour to bolt into this show …
Kate Elks: No you’ve got sixty seconds go.
Mark Jones: I think that podcasting is going to become I think really focused on quality and really getting much, much closer to our audience. So if you like at a strategy level, people are looking for a personal connection with these people, right? So marketing or if you like business oriented shows that are a little bit, I want to say plastic as a way of saying authentic but that’s sort of, we’re not just quite there. We’re not really real as it were, I’m going to say that those sorts of things are, it’s not really going to work so the way that you use podcast is, “I want to learn something, I want to be slightly entertained. And I want to know that you’re going to be around so I can subscribe to this thing and go on a journey with you. So brands need to get their heads around that. So that’s one thing.
Mark Jones: Then the second thing I think is that moving into the square format and by that I mean square video with overlaid text and audio. I’m interested to see how many podcasters start playing with that. You’ve seen it’s really popular as you know, on the social channels where, it’s usually an inspirational type thing. The reason why I think that’s … because we’re really, I hate the word snackable because we’re not eating this stuff, but these little bite size bits of content really fit … it’s that whole scrolling through the feed thing. I’ll give you 20 seconds, I’ll give you 30 seconds at the most and then I’ll keep going. It’s rightly or wrongly the way that we consume media.
Mark Jones: What I hope for podcasts in that context is that people will consume the stuff. It could go either one. Then you’ll go: “You know what, that person’s really really interesting. I want to find out more.” You treat that as if you like the breadcrumbs and you have a little bit of engagement. Then it’ll feed down into maybe a website and subscribing on you’re aggregator of choice and kind of getting into the media stuff. That’s going to be how we get that right. For independent podcasters who you’ve got as much time as you can give to it I think you’ll see lots of experimentation.
Mark Jones: The real question for us from Filtered Media’s perspective will be how brands choose to do that from a thought leadership perspective so who are the thought leaders in a business and how do we incorporate that into the broader marketing strategies? And of course that’s what I’m interested in.
Mark Jones: So yeah there’s a lot happening in that space and then actually just macro, last thing, macro on podcasting this year I’d say it’s actually been normalised. We talk about these things becoming mature, it was already matured. It’s now become normalised and say, yeah, actually, what are we doing on podcasting? It’s gone from the curiosity and “Should we?” To it’s like, “Oh yeah no we really have to do a thing there, right?” And that’s a subtle but very important shift in the way that marketers think about podcasts. To put it in another term, it’s more like, how? How will I do this?
Mark Jones: As you know I’ve been doing this for quite a long time now and I’m noticing that trend. Let’s do more podcasting stuff in 2019.
Charlotte Goodwin: I’m all for that.
Charlotte Goodwin: Yeah, yeah, just a little bit. So then to zoom out from podcasting we have a question from Ewan Miller, senior content producer here, what was the best marketing campaign that you saw this year?
Mark Jones: Okay, so this is fun. The one that comes to mind for me is probably one that our listeners have zero awareness of because it’s not even in this country. But, you may know that Filtered Media is a part of the PROI which an independent network of PR comms and content agencies across the world. We have some partners in India called Adfactors. Huge, big agency over in India. We were in a meeting recently in Taiwan and they presented this case study called When Jailbirds Sang. It was for a locks company, so they made door locks. You’re going to say that’s a pretty big challenge because it’s ostensibly a door lock and a handle, it’s pretty boring. So how do you engage people in that? One of the problems they found over in India was that people were really not conscious of security.
Mark Jones: Why I think this campaign was interesting was the insights they got and it sort of followed the understand the problem model, get some insights, come up with a creative solution, execution and measurement. Firstly the insights was that people were really lax about their home security. There’s lots of stats to prove that. But then when it got to the creative thing, and I think this was the brilliant part of it. They were looking for what would be a trigger to get people to pay attention to some sort of campaign that was ostensibly boring. Their idea was what would stop a criminal from breaking into your house? So they said why don’t we actually ask some criminals? I think that was brilliant.
Mark Jones: So they interviewed and did research with all these criminals, ex-cons, presumably reformed, I don’t know. About how to break into houses. And actually videoed some of them because they’ve done their time or whatever. Then also recorded them showing how to get into houses. Suddenly it goes from this theoretical campaign idea and selling a message to actual criminals and advice on how to secure your home. In this one video it shows a criminal being presented with this door lock and it’s a touchpad touch technology. He’s like, “You cannot get in through this. I’m seeing this for the first time. That looks incredible, there’s no way I’m getting past that lock.”
Mark Jones: It takes people on what I call the belief journey from “I didn’t know that this is something I should care about, I don’t believe that home safety is something I should worry until of course I’m broken into” to a really interesting what I call a belief moment where suddenly you’ve seen it first hand from somebody who is a threat to you. Then you present it with a solution. That was a really fantastic campaign. Of course these guys, they’ve got 80 stories in all sorts of newspapers and magazines and sites in India. Millions of impressions.
Mark Jones: The reason why this particular campaign was powerful, too, was that they measured at the back-end the difference. So, the number of people handing their keys to the maid in their homes when down by 8%. The number of duplicate keys copied locally when down 25%. The handover of keys to neighbours when down 13%. Keeping your keys near the windows and doors went down 15%. Then putting location specific posts on social media, which we all do. “Oh, I’m at the airport going to Fiji.” All that stuff went down by 4%.
Mark Jones: It wasn’t just like yeah look at the metrics and how amazing we are, but actually look at the real world impact that we had through this engagement. You won’t read that one in the media and the awards here locally, it was that one saw overseas. I just think it was brilliant because of all the ways that they tied it together.
Charlotte Goodwin: Not only was it a creative approach to analytics, but also you know it had an actual behaviour change.
Kate Elks: So look on a totally, totally different note, we have a curly question here from our social enterprise director, Louisa Sampson. She has asked, or she has said, that people recognise that to reach the right audience you’ve got to use the right channel. So integrated communications is growing. I think we’re all in agreement for that. That’s a thing, that’s a thing. So her question is, is the role of a specialist marketer or PR or social media expert soon to be a thing of the past?
Mark Jones: I would go back to my comment about WPP. The importance of integrated communications. I would say that the job titles would change, but the same roles will still exist. if you’re in PR and social, and to some extent the content side of it as well, really your core skill is finding the balance point between what’s the content that will work for my audience? Or what’s the story line in the messaging that will work for my audience? How well aligned is that with what I know the approach or the strategies of my client. I am an agent, I am representing them in the world. Really that core skill is something that is highly valued and increasingly valued in a very complex world.
Mark Jones: So I think that skill will remain, but I think what will become even more important is how well you can not just do the work, but consult. What’s the strategy level advice you can bring? While we always will have and will continue to have change in media, change in social, change in the way that influencers engage in the world and also changing behaviours among consumers. While all of those things continue to change, you’re still going to need these experts, these consultants, these professional communicators who can interpret that change and contextualise it for a client.
Mark Jones: I actually can see that continuing to grow because none of this is going away. None of it’s getting simpler. We know first hand that the education demands or interest in being educated among our clients on the comms and marketing sides is high. I think maybe we just got to present that whole thing in a really compelling way. You’ve got to meet both sides of it. You’ve got to keep your audience engaged, and you’ve got to understand what is it, is going to be the outcomes that my client’s looking for?
Kate Elks: The ongoing challenge of telling the story of brand storytelling.
Mark Jones: Right.
Kate Elks: It sounds like [crosstalk 00:28:11] you’re suggesting.
Mark Jones: Yeah I think so.
Kate Elks: Yeah, well look I think that has been something that’s shifted this year is the client willingness and interest in understanding the … I’ll say the entire ecosystem that just how does brand storytelling work? Why is it important? I think that education piece … it’s been a really lovely experience to have people be curious about how it all works and what’s it for. Which, is possibly the most millennial thing I’ve said this entire year. I’ve noticed that same thing from the client side and it’s fantastic I’m really excited about that for this coming year. Charlotte, what are you excited for in 2019?
Charlotte Goodwin: Falling on from that, I’m really excited to help our clients tell some stories brilliantly.
Kate Elks: I think that might be in our tagline.
Charlotte Goodwin: Yes, potentially?
Kate Elks: Is that in our tagline?
Charlotte Goodwin: No, no it is exciting. Working across all the different content types and crafting those stories to tell the brand’s story is really exciting, that’s what I’m looking forward to next year, it’s fun.
Kate Elks: Mark, we’ve saved the best question for last. And that is about brand storytelling. So I know that that has been a huge growth for us in the past few years, and we have also seen that growth for us reflected in brand awareness for the term, or awareness of the term itself. So can you as a last question just tell us a little bit about brand storytelling, where you think it’s come from in that last little while and where you think it’s going to go in the next twelve months?
Mark Jones: There’s been a growing awareness that with the way that media is changing, they have new and different opportunities to engage with customers in that story. Now of course there’s a dynamic and a tension between who cares your brand and it’s all about the customer. At some point we find that there is an intersection there where customers want to really get who you are and how you’re shaping the world. We talk a lot about purpose driven brands and so forth. That’s a good way of thinking about it because since the question is well why do you matter?
Mark Jones: I’m particularly excited about that because there is a sense of how can I control the destiny of my brand and you feel like from a brand strategy perspective that’s something we’ve always thought about, what’s your brand strategy, how will you be perceived? What can you actually realistically control and what’s outside of your control? Into that, I see this intermingling or integrated world of content, PR, social and advertising.
Mark Jones: That’s going to be a big focus for 2019. what does that mean practically speaking? If you’d take three parts, so you got first this strategy so what’s your brand and marketing strategy. Secondly you’ve got execution. Which you’d think about is content and PR and other digital marketing activities. Thirdly amplification, which we know is important. What’s really shifted and will continue to shift next is let’s just say from a budget point of view one x or one times of your budget is dedicated to strategy development and creative. AI and other things is baked into that. Two times that strategy cost so if it was $10,000 we’re now talking $20,000. Is dedicated to content production and execution. Then on the amplification side of things, you really need to be talking three to five times your original strategy costs so $30,000 to $50,000 in this simplistic model needs to be on actually amplifying content.
Mark Jones: So that plays right into media buying and digital marketing. If you like, why we’re seeing the advertising agencies but increasing also the comms and content and PR agencies that are much closer to the customer, doing that as well. I think that strategy from a brand storytelling perspective is what we’re focused on and what I see marketers really needing to get their heads around. Because they’re saying, “Yeah amplification, I get it,” but there’s lots of different ways to do that. What are the most effective ways and how can I measure that? And then how can I be creative in that amplification?
Mark Jones: So that’s if you like from a budget perspective but I think it gets back to this idea that brand storytelling is very much what a company, what a CMO is responsible for. If you like, think about yourself as a publisher, so I am a publisher or the director in a movie sense of my story, and taking ownership of that. Of course that’s where we come in. You know, educating, inspiring and teaching and consulting.
Mark Jones: That’s the fun stuff for 2019 that I’m super keen for.
Charlotte Goodwin: Wonderful. Well thank you so much Mark for letting us flip the script and ask you a couple of questions from the team it’s been awesome.
Kate Elks: And this is our last podcast for 2018 so to all of you listening, we you a very happy holiday, a very relaxing break. Which we will also be having, and we’re very excited to say see you. To virtually see you again in 2019.
Mark Jones: Yes, thanks very much we look forward to the next time on the flip side in 2019. Thank you once again and yeah, onwards, as I like to say.