The world of marketing is constantly changing, especially in the modern era of social media, automated ad tech and audience analytics. Brands need to stay on top of these changes to successfully reach their audiences, especially as consumers become savvier and more sceptical of advertising.

From technology like virtual reality and artificial intelligence to overall strategies like influencer and account-based marketing, here’s how you can take advantage of the latest trends.

1. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is becoming increasingly commonplace as a marketing tool for brands big and small. The challenge is using VR in a way that makes sense for your overall brand messaging and target audience. VR marketing is still emerging, so it’s a great time to explore your options and get ahead of the curve.

2. Interactive Content

Many brands, especially in the B2B space, have relied on blog content or PDF content (white papers and guides) to generate leads as part of their content marketing strategy. This year, you can expect interactive web experiences to take the lead in engaging visitors – experiences that display thought leadership content in more compelling, animated and visual ways.

3. Pinterest

Though Pinterest is often seen as a niche social media platform, I predict it to be the next big thing. Using Pinterest Lens and its functionality to engage with customers and put your products, services and style in front of consumers will be a surefire way to capture additional marketing attention in 2018.

4. Artificial Intelligence

Early adopters of AI have already found it to increase user engagement. However, integrating AI with a site’s chat box or Facebook messenger will require perhaps even more creativity and understanding of the brand’s target market. AI still has to address customer needs and problems just as aptly as a human agent, and it helps if the AI experience delights customers in a fun and lighthearted manner.

5. User-Generated Content

In the next year, consumers will crave authenticity from brands. Our recent survey shows that 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they support, and 60% say user-generated content (UGC) is the most authentic form of content. By integrating trusted and engaging UGC throughout their multichannel marketing efforts, brands can win consumers’ hearts and wallets.

6. Voice Search

Voice search is one of the most rapidly adopted technologies in recent history and it’s changing the way consumers interact with the world around them. When you ask a question, you don’t get 10 links back; you get one direct answer. Marketers should ensure the main voice providers (Google, Apple, Microsoft) have the correct facts about their businesses so they can provide the correct answers.

7. Honesty

Brutal honesty is a current trend that has been gaining steam, and we should all expect it to continue in 2018. Marketers can take advantage by clearly stating what their products and services are good at and where they need improvement. These statements can be backed up by objective customer reviews. This honesty translates to brand integrity, leading to trust and sales.

8. Chatbots 

Chatbots are popping up everywhere, both in Facebook and other live chat solutions. As chat-based AI takes off, I expect to see more chatbots being utilized in everything – answering FAQs, placing orders and getting in touch with customer service. Marketers should be on the front lines embedding sales material and messaging as their company rolls them out to ensure they drive real value.