By InterCom President Gretchen Johnson
Peruse the forecasts for marketing and public relations in 2017, and you won’t find jaw-dropping predictions. You will see a refinement of trends from the past few years, however, that we think spells o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y for communication professionals.
Everything new is old again
Think back to the effect word-processing had on publishing when it was first introduced as a desktop solution in the 1980s (Xers and Boomers, of course.) For a while, everyone was a publisher and experimentation was the rule. But eventually the newness wore off, and we stopped producing just because we could. We remembered that our core objective was to deliver information relevant to our stakeholders, and tech was relegated to the tool status it deserved.
With the focus back on strategy, new technology today makes it both easier and more affordable to develop outstanding creative and to interact in a more meaningful way with audiences. Yes, we have more capability than ever to throw information at our stakeholders, but it is the communication pro who can tell you why one channel is better than another, how to engage that audience, and how to then drive measurable outcomes. Put another way, now that the clamoring over new capabilities has quieted, the voice of the communication professional can once again be heard.
2017 in short
The biggest prediction for the year ahead can be summarized simply as deepening relationships first made possible through apps and social media. Stakeholders have come to expect a nearly individualized buying experience, which crosses from the consumer world to the world of B2B and even into nonprofits.
The American Marketing Association puts it this way: “The customer experience will take center stage.” And the digital marketing consultants at Convince & Convert make it clear that content is the means to that end, saying, “content marketing will outshine traditional advertising.”
This means an increased opportunity for writers and content developers. Influencers will grow in importance too. Experts with opinions and advice can establish themselves — or their clients — as market leaders.
If these are the trends, the real question is how can communication professionals in Greater Kalamazoo make the most of them? How can we grow our businesses and help our clients and employers increase their profitability? (And increase revenues or increase their human service impact?)
Through InterCom, we can learn more and faster by sharing best practices with one another through networking and industry discussions.
We’ll continue to bake networking into every event and we’re ramping up our LinkedIn group — and opening it to nonmembers — to facilitate more dialogue.
We’ll put it into practice
We’re adding workshops and group discussions into our lunchtime programming. This starts January 13 with our “Presenting You” workshop, led by local expert Raquel Binder.
Real-world local examples reign
We still believe that we can learn best from the successes — and lessons learned — of local communication pros. Our programming for the remainder of 2016-2017 offers plenty of opportunities to meet local leaders and hear behind-the-scenes insights from their amazing careers.
Want more? Have ideas to share? Would you like to get more involved? Talk to us. Connect with me, or anyone of our board members. We’re excited about the year ahead and optimistic about all we can do together!