Content marketing has always been a forward-looking and experimental industry. It needs to be. Technology is continually evolving, and content marketing needs to follow suit in order to stay engaging for consumers. As marketers, we’re always searching for the next big thing that could potentially transform how we connect with our audiences—whether that’s AI, virtual reality, voice technology, or any of the other ‘future marketing trends’ you’ve no doubt heard about lately.

Yet, rather than write yet another generic post about marketing trends to expect in the new year, this post will focus on how these trends are prompting a growing need for teams to organize their content more productively. If content creation needs to adapt, then the ways in which we organize that content should too.

Yes, we know organization is hardly a word that gets people jumping for joy. But that’s exactly why companies often overlook the everyday frustrations that result from working with unorganized content, and fail to recognize the benefits to productivity when teams manage their content effectively. If the following industry developments are anything to go by, the need to get organized will only grow as we head into the new year.

A new wave of brand activism

Modern consumers, particularly millennials, expect brands to have a ‘human’ factor that is authentic. Brands, like people, should engage with current trends and world affairs in order to stay relevant and, most importantly, incite conversation with their audiences. Unsurprisingly then, there has been a recent shift towards social activism among brands, which relies on creating timely, in-the-moment content when a trend arises.

Yet, making sure the content you are marketing is topically relevant can be tricky, so it’s really important that your team has the tools in place to find and share digital content quickly and easily. Having one centralized space to manage this content helps provide much needed clarity over the direction of a campaign, so everyone knows what digital assets can be published, and when.

Here come the chatbots

Alex De Simone, CEO of messaging software company Avochato, sums up the current state of content marketing perfectly:

Content marketing is becoming more conversational, blurring the lines between content marketing and sales. Customers show high interest in having one-on-one exchanges with companies over social media and text message, but companies find it hard to have quality conversations at scale.—Alex De Simone (Source: Forbes)

With that in mind, it’s really no surprise that some of the world’s top brands are using chatbots as a way to directly engage with each of their consumers in a ‘human’ way. As a concept, it is big data, artificial intelligence, and brand identity in one neat little digital marketing package that has all the ingredients to be the next big thing in 2018. While the trend is still in its infancy, some of the world’s top brands are already using the tool in their marketing strategies with great success.

As AI becomes more sophisticated and accessible to companies big and small, it will surely only become more effective for brands to communicate instantly on a one-to-one level with their customers. While chatbots typically provide automated conversations with consumers via text, many brands are taking the concept to a new level by integrating images, videos and GIFs into their chatbot service to make the experience that much more authentic for users.

national_geographic_einstein_intro_600px_web.jpgSource: Top Bots

It’s pretty exciting to see how chatbots will develop in the near future and the ways in which brands will continue to experiment with the technology. But creating a genuine human experience with a robot is as challenging as it sounds. Customers want immediate responses, regardless of their question, and they definitely don’t want to feel like they’re talking to a robot.

So, organizations need to ensure that the various images, videos and gifs to support that illusion are readily available for use in an instant, all the while trying to express a consistent brand identity. It wouldn’t be surprising then that more and more brands will integrate with digital asset management platforms to create this unique digital experience. Then particular keywords of customer responses can prompt the DAM to automatically share relevant media files in an instant, helping to engage with consumers in new and meaningful ways.

Rise of remote working

As you’ve surely noticed, working remotely has been steadily rising in recent years. Here at Bynder, we even closed our six global offices for a whole week to encourage flexible working. While the greater flexibility has numerous benefits for both employer and employee, companies must adapt and have digital tools in place to make sure the productivity and communication within teams are not hindered by remote working.

remote week blog

If a company’s employees are spread across the world, it’s all too easy for miscommunication to take place over project tasks; inefficient collaboration between colleagues, and no clear direction over content strategy. Now more than ever, teams need to be on the same page to collaborate consistently. If you’re not working in the same office, then you need to replicate that environment in the digital space—a central hub like Bynder for the whole team to find, create and share content in real-time. Without that, you’re risking a lot of wasted productivity and creating unnecessary bureaucracy that could be easily avoided.

Staying ahead of the curve

While the robots aren’t taking over just yet, 2018 will surely be an excitingly experimental year for the marketing industry. AI, big data, and the rise of content personalization will bring about radical changes in the way brands engage with their audiences. Churning out wordy blog posts as your go-to content marketing strategy doesn’t cut it anymore; content needs to be diverse, adaptable, and organized in a way that allows instant access to it—for both the user and the content creators.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can get your team organized and ready to take on the marketing challenges of 2018, check out our resources page, where you can download white papers, e-books and reports on the latest marketing, branding and technology insights.