The beginning of the year is when we often make resolutions and set goals for ourselves. We asked experts on marketing and communication about the greatest challenges awaiting them in 2018.
Marketing strategist and corporate anthropologist:
The major challenge for me in 2018 is going to be to tell the truth from lies. A lot has been said about fake news in the context of social media and media as such. This only seemingly has nothing to do with communication marketers. Our sector still lacks knowledge and good scientific research, which is proved by the popularity of the book “How brands grow” by Professor Byron Sharp, which nails a few popular marketing lies. To those who hunt half-truths and fake news I also recommend books by Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, who did the same as Prof. Sharp, but in the field of leadership. I hope 2018 will bring more of such reliable and fundamental research, allowing me (and us) better tell the truth from lies in professional life.
Senior Corporate Relations Manager, Grupa Żywiec:
To me the greatest professional challenge is probably to accommodate the current goals of building the company’s image as one with the highest reputation in the industry on the one hand, and getting ready for yet another revolution awaiting the economy and the society in the next few years on the other. If in the past few years the social media have changed so dramatically the way people and brands communicate, and the way we do business today, what can we expect of the fast development of other digital technologies? How is fast automation or AI development going to influence our work as communication experts? At my work flexibility and the ability to implement changes quickly have always been very important, but the pace that we leave and work at today is incredible. The challenge is to choose the actions and strategies which are going to work.
Business Communication Coordinator, Grupa ATLAS:
The greatest challenge for me professionally in 2018 will be to meet the expectations of clients/decision makers in the changing media reality. To combine modern communication channels, such as the social media, video, blogs, discussion panels, with the traditional ones, such as magazines or the still popular offer catalogue. To adjust them to the right target group and provide messages with personal character. It is becoming more and more meaningful to immaculately adjust the content and form to audience’s individual interests. This is our only chance for success.
PR & Communication Manager, Elephate:
Everlasting work on fixing the “R” in Public Relations. Today, when everybody is an “expert”, the barrier to enter the sector is none, fake news rules, and reliable information has become deficient, this is of huge importance. As content creator and a person responsible for taking care of a coherent communication at the company I work for, I am primarily focused on creating good practices for my profession.
Leaving the comfort zone. This is the first time I work for a global company and I finally have an opportunity to use the knowledge gained not only in Poland, but also on foreign markets, to achieve my goals.
Constant learning as a professional and staying open-minded. Because the way communication is changing is forcing me to refine my skills and to look at communication from new perspectives.
E-marketing Consultant, arturjablonski.com:
I am right in the middle of planning everything I would like to happen in 2018, so it’s hard for me to answer this question, but I’ll try! My activity is focused on three areas: working with customers (let’s call it agency work), open and dedicated training, and online courses.
The first challenge is to accommodate all this! Thankfully, I have a team I can count on, however, the right planning still takes a lot of effort to make sure projects go at the right pace. Looking at the things which are dependant on me, I can see two major challenges:
- online course second round – the first, which I organized towards the end of November, was a huge success. The course was bought by more than 300 people, which gave over PLN 120 000 in revenue. This makes me nervous before the next edition, which I’m planning to take place in mid 2018. The effect of freshness is over, and I’m looking forward to fight for new people’s interest with this new edition.
- new open training – I am currently running courses in advertising on Facebook. The past 11 editions have attracted more than 200 people. This year, in addition to the course, I want to introduce new open courses on a different subject. What is it going to be? It’s a secret, for the time being! 🙂
Content Manager & Editor, Prowly:
- After two years of providing English content on Prowly, we changed the layout of the Prowly Magazine introducing its Polish version. Now my week is going to be twice as intense – I have to get the website moving and fill it up with attractive and useful content, which then needs to be effectively promoted.
- I’ve managed to introduce to our English blog readers such experts on PR, marketing and content as: Stephen Waddington of Ketchum, Iliyana Starevaof HubSpot, Gini Ditriech of Spin Sucks, Anna Lebedeva of SEMrush, David Meerman Scott, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, Lee Odden and Amy Higgins of TopRank Marketing [the most helpful and open to cooperation two people in the world of content], Pam Didner, Carla Johnson, Shane Snowe of Contently, Disney Pixar’s Matthew Luhne, and many, many more. I met Shane and Mathew during the Filmteractive Festival, but with most of the rest of them I was only able to talk via email, chat, on the phone or Skype. That’s fine for an online relationship, but I do feel this is not enough. This year I want to meet some of them to know them better. I believe a good relationship takes more than online contacts. Who knows, maybe it’s going to be an interesting series?
- last year we launched the Prowly Academy and published several e-books and whitepapers. In 2018 I would like to expand the range of formats offered as part of this project and to engage even more the influencers that we cooperate with.
All the projects mentioned above are setting yet another challenge for me: in 2018 I want to focus more on the content sales aspect: better information flow between the marketing and sales teams, sealing the funnel and adjusting content to concrete Buyer Personas and specific stages of the Buyer’s Journey.
It’s also important for me to further develop the Content Espresso education project that we have been running “after hours” together with Magdalena Urbaniak of Brand24, Ania Mościcka of Whites and Gosia Walendziewska of Sotrender. Here, along with other content marketing practices, we share the joy of creating content which works. I hope this year it’s going to find a permanent place in the calendar of all those who are interested in content marketing.
Managing Director, Prezart:
Salespeople and marketers are finally about to cease the internal battles and focus on building a leaktight sales funnel. Their motivation will be common KPIs and user experience systems, Salesforce on top. Storytelling of poor quality is going to go dry as the tongue of a nervous speaker, and the market is going to be taken over by influencers who guarantee conversion. Companies which have managed to build their own communities are going to leave other players behind, and this is the last moment to start catching up.
Communication Director, OBI:
2018 sets communication challenges for our activities both inside and outside the company. One of the internal challenges is to get through to the generation of so called Millennials. They expect cooperation based on partnership, or a flatter model of management, so the old structures based on hierarchy, which for years have shaped how we communicate, are no longer valid. We are facing the trend of “turquoise organizations” based on teamwork and providing every employed person with space for creativity and innovation. For this reason, internal communication has to focus more on the universal character of values, but also on their practical use, and has to follow the company’s functioning pace, or even better – to be ahead of it. Considering the above, my main challenges are going to be: the way of sharing expert knowledge and creating leaders. In the first case, experts are not always willing to simplify their message, explaining that it would become too shallow; meanwhile, the audience wants simple and clear messages, and we need to find a happy medium. When it comes to creating leaders, with a flat structure their group is much more dispersed (the leader does not necessarily equal the manager) so it’s harder to find them and provide them with the right tools and knowledge.
When it comes to external activities, a huge challenge for me is going to be communication with customers, which requires highly personalized attitude and being present in many different channels. An investment in a television spot used to reach 10, 20 or even 30 million viewers, now a blogger with 3 million followers can successfully compete with the largest media concerns. For companies which want to reach a broad audience, the ability to choose the right communication channels is crucial, so for organizations whose business model is based on a diversified and broad target group this is a real challenge.
Another challenge is going to be to tell real content from fake content, or one that is seemingly true. In the post-truth era much information is published without any reference to research or other sources, and a subjective statement of a Youtuber who is seen as an expert starts functioning as truth.
For most organizations there is one more challenge which hasn’t changed, mainly the social media. Because they are extremely popular, you need to be very careful not only in formulating your messages, but also in taking care of information protection. For many employees the social media are part of their private life as well as professional life, and one click is enough to turn a professional secret into public knowledge.
founder of AUDE, president of the Content Marketing Polska association, członek ICMF, author of the book „First customer”:
Early in 2018 it seems it is going to be a continuation of the activities and projects started last year.
In the area of working in an organization, smart employer branding is going to gain more importance, using the content marketing knowledge and methods combined with knowledge about the organization and its employees. EVPs have been on the lips of HR directors for a few years. This year it’s going to become even more meaningful.
I would like more organizations to start seeing content marketing not as a cost center, but a business model, which brings profit to the company through its audience/readers/viewers. Organizations need support in arranging this process. I will personally support them strategically and through coaching, as well as through organizing the conference powerofcontentmarketing.com, which continues to gather experts and people hungry for knowledge. There will be lots of inspiration, sharing experience, learning from one another.
As SCMP we’re also starting video education – I am looking forward to it and to see if we can meet our high expectations.
Monika Sońta (fot. Wojtek Biały)
The greatest challenge in 2018 is going to be to transfer the trends of the past few years into everyday management: agile HR, self-organizing teams, AI, new role of managers, radical cooperation in networked organizations.
My answer to these challenges are projects in the following areas:
- Constant discussion within organization – facilitation and mentoring development, workshops with the use of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method
The author of the method is coming to Poland in October, so I hope we’ll be able to have a serious discussion in the heart of Warsaw about playing in the workplace.
- Designing employees experience and talking about engagement in the context of a particular company – I am now working on the workshop called “WORK in PROGRESS” and I encourage to study the corporate climate based on micro-moments, or to promote communication leadership… but I’ve been talking about this since 2015, so this is nothing new (see here).
- Discussion about technological changes that create fear among people such as technological unemployment. A mini discussion panel with guests from companies such as Emplocity and Waywer has been scheduled to take place as part of postgraduate studies at Leon Kozminski University.
2017 was the year when I experienced the power of mentoring, taking up the role of both a mentee and a mentor in the programs LEAN in STEM, Vital Voices, Business Leaders Foundation. From one of the directors at a global company I heard: “The time of building awareness and inspiration has come to an end. Now we need to act.”.
I wish to AUDE everlasting inquisitiveness in discovering corporate worlds, and to Customers – courage in implementing brave ideas. Make your trends come true! ☺
Expert on e-marketing and online communication, Media Expert, Happy Content:
I welcomed the year 2018 across the ocean, and this is also where my business plans are heading for. In the beginning of 2017 I opened a travel agency organizing trips to Cuba, Hola Cuba, and I’m opening to the international market. While large travel agencies are launching Polish zones in hotels in Egypt, I am going to head for the opposite direction and offer to Polish people trips in an international company, along with a Polish language offer.
When it comes to marketing, nothing changes; I will continue running the Happy Content agency, making sure our customers are happy and strengthening our position among content marketing agencies.
Website Chief Editor, Marketing przy Kawie:
Along with the development of electronic media, higher transfer speed and increasing use of the mobile channel, the content consumption model is changing. The text lost its reign on the Internet a long time ago, although it’s still the most condensed form of telling things that are significant. You can think about the message as a mosaic of varied elements. This is what we have been doing at Marketing przy Kawie for long and what our readers are loving.
Just like in alchemy, where the microcosm reflects the order of larger structures, the rich internal structure of content must be accompanied by a well-developed distribution structure. All sorts of social media or a newsletter – these are obvious things. To us, the real challenge is to enter the video.
We can no longer presume the text is dominant online. We are aware that the element of greatest importance, especially for younger audience, is the video. The Internet is thus becoming a reservoir of engaging, emotional moving pictures. It’s no longer the Gutenberg galaxy, but a galaxy of personalities, as the popular saying goes.
The video is the most important media today – the most engaging, with its own poetics and internal structure. But you need to have an expressive idea for it. This is what we’re constantly working on. On the one hand, we want to keep the character of a reliable and inspiring medium, on the other – respect the the storytelling and emotional character of the video.
Notice that this way of sharing knowledge is strongly focused on the attractiveness of the form.
We value visual fireworks more than reliable and compressed content, but we know we also should light them up. Many authors of how-to channels try to teach through entertainment, but the challenge is to keep the balance. We don’t want our audience to end up watching a circus.
While modifying the presence model of our medium on the Internet, we also need to think about the monetization method. We have been working on it since the introduction of the new version of Marketing przy Kawie in mid 2017. The year 2018 is going to be a continuation of our work.
Paweł Tkaczyk (fot. Monika Serek)
strategist, public speaker, owner of MIDEA agency, paweltkaczyk.com:
2018 is going to be for me the year of… changes. They say you should start hunting before you’re starving, so even though everything is going great, I want to try something new. My third book, “Narratologia”, is now being translated into English, and it’s scheduled for publication on several foreign markets in 2018. I already have an idea for another book, which I would like at least to start writing this year – and for this reason I will have to take a break from being constantly on the run to training, workshops and conferences. In 2018 I’ll be also making more appearances abroad, I already have marked Germany and Canada in my calendar, I am negotiating with USA and Great Britain. It’s going to be a huge challenge to accommodate those trips while running the company here on the spot.