1. Mashable’s prediction: Facebook and Google will continue to dominate. The rest of the industry will shrink.

Elvis’s Prediction: “Way Down”

We must agree with Mashable on this prediction. And as Elvis croons “way down, down, way, way on down,” so too goes market share for online digital advertising for all other players outside Google and Facebook. In Q1 of 2016 alone, 85 cents of every dollar was spent on these respective channels.

Although other channels are declining in popularity, it doesn’t mean you should totally ignore potential test spends with Bing or Yahoo!. But if your digital ad spend budget is primarily focused outside Google and Facebook, you’re going to be lost in the herd.

2. Mashable’s Prediction: Brands will buy all their own media. Agencies will have to reinvent themselves.

Elvis’s Prediction: “It’s Now or Never”

“Tomorrow will be too late, it’s now or never, my love don’t wait.” Fellow agency friends, DON’T WAIT to refine your strategy before losing clients. Many brands are moving programmatic solutions in house to maintain control over their own data and cut costs. But an agency should add value that is irreplaceable, or proverbially priceless.

We don’t work in a silo within our own agency or simply provide media buying as our bread and butter. We are an extension of our client’s marketing and IT teams. So while Mashable has a point about the need for agencies to define their own USP, smart brands are now using agency partners for far more than programmatic purposes.

3. Mashable’s Prediction: Marketers will no longer blindly trust third-party data.

Elvis’s Prediction: “Suspicious Minds”

“And we can’t build our dreams on suspicious minds.” Both Elvis and Mashable are dead-on with this prediction—good marketers know how to dive deep into the data that helps their organization make sound, strategic decisions based on numbers instead of gut feelings. The end result? A trustworthy, lasting relationship across an organization that helps marketing teams win a seat at the table.

Our Integrated Marketing and Insights team provides robust monthly analytics reports with specific data ranging from conversion rates to sessions by channel that equate to cold hard cash for our clients’ bottom lines. Find an agency that helps your team work smarter, not harder.

4. Mashable’s Prediction: Personalization will mean more than just using my first name.

Elvis’s Prediction: “The Wonder of You”

Elvis says it right: “And you’re always there to lend a hand in everything I do.” Successful brands build personalized experiences that anticipate consumer behavior. Brands should truly understand each user’s journey, making their digital experiences hyper-personalized through intelligent cross-selling, suggestive search features, and unique product filters that meet each customer’s needs.

Our Creative Team thrives on personalization. With our in-house UX and UI experts, we help our clients cater their digital ecosystems to each user…and yes, that even includes millennials. Choose an agency that has equal creative and UX/UI chops—one cannot survive without the other.

5. Mashable’s Prediction: The death of personas will bring journey mapping to life.

Elvis’s Prediction: “Always on My Mind”

While this isn’t an original Elvis song, marketers and agencies should be mindful of the “little things I should have said and done, I just never took the time.” Don’t be lazy—put in the work to know your customers from the beginning of the customer journey, through conversion, to advocacy.

Forrester reports that 63% of marketers are already using some kind of journey mapping, and this is expected to increase in 2017. While we disagree with Mashable’s assertion that personas are no longer acceptable, we do agree that this is only one facet of a customer’s journey, and not the whole puzzle. A quick hit list of things to consider in customer journey mapping are: measurable customer goals, distinct segmentation of your customer’s personas, specific data from customer touchpoints, and of course KPIs.

6. Mashable’s Prediction: Brands will call it quits on the native advertising game.

Elvis’s Prediction: “Promised Land”

We agree with Mashable on this one—content shares the title of “King” with Elvis. Unique content published by brands is table stakes, and user-generated content is now the “promised land.” AdWeek reports that 85% of consumers find UGC to be more influential than branded content. It’s far more personal, honest, and trustworthy—three adjectives that are not commonly used to describe traditional advertising.

And the best part about UGC is that you don’t have to be a Coca-Cola of the world to make it work. We helped our client Blue Lizard reach more than 310,000 for under $.02 a person by incentivizing UGC in their content marketing. During the Battle at Bristol, the world’s largest football game, our campaign with Blue Lizard generated more than 5 days of video content with more than 7,000 engagements. 

7. Mashable’s Prediction: Agencies will have to adapt to survive.

Elvis’s Prediction: “Jailhouse Rock”

“For Heaven’s sake, no one’s lookin’, now’s our chance to make a break.” 2017 is the year for agencies to make a break for it. We agree with Mashable that it will be crucial for agencies to reinvent their engagement strategies with clients. It’s time for agencies to ask themselves: how do we transcend the traditional service provider relationship and turn it into one that is a literal extension of a client’s team?

In 2016, we increased our client focus by specializing in 3 verticals: branded manufacturers and distributors, technology companies, and healthcare and institutions. We collaborated as a team to add 9 new clients, add 2 strategic partnerships, and develop our innovative chops. Our 17 years of experience have enabled us to develop original research and thought leadership. This level of expertise means a shorter runway to working with our clients because we already speak their language.

Ntara & Elvis’s prediction: avoid “Heartbreak Hotel” by partnering with us.

We’re always looking for clients who are a great fit with our portfolio. We’d love to discuss your digital initiatives for the year and see how we can help achieve your business goals.

And we promise to leave our pomade, sunglasses, and white polyester suits at home. Connect with us.

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