2018 Is Around The Corner: 10 Trends That CMOs Need To Watch For This Fall

This article is by Matt Britton, CEO of SUZY, and author of YouthNation and originally published on Forbes.com.

Let’s face it: Summer is over (basically), and if you’re like me, you are ready to rid your Instagram feed of Ibiza sunsets and get back to business. Here are 10 industry-shaping headlines that CMOs should be paying close attention to this fall as they prepare to bring their brands into 2018.

Alexa’s holiday domination. Alexa dominated Amazon’s Prime Day earlier this summer, which I believe will be a precursor to an avalanche of Amazon Echo sales this holiday season. At only $50 (and discounted to $35 on Prime Day), Amazon’s entry-level Alexa product, Echo Dot, is the perfect stocking stuffer for a tech-obsessed culture clamoring for a shiny new toy.

Must-See TV Is No Longer TV. As the demise of the traditional TV model comes more into focus, tomorrow’s winners will be the ones that can consistently procure and create original content that becomes binge-watch bait for the new generation of cord cutters. Netflix, Amazon, Apple, XBox and now Facebook, with its new product “Watch,” will all compete in the battle for eyeballs.

 

NFL’s Ratings Resurgence. Much ado was made about the NFL’s ratings dip in 2016. I don’t buy it, and I attribute last year’s slip to the election and not a sudden change of heart for America’s new pastime. The NFL is an obsession fueled by gaming, fantasy sports and cultural game-day traditions at the fabric of this country.

Snapchat’s continued descent. Snapchat’s latest earnings suffered, and the company’s shares are falling below its IPO price. To some, this comes as no surprise: There is not much to stop this one-time tech darling from continuing to drop in popularity and value for the rest of the year. Brands have not gravitated to the platform in a meaningful way, and users see little value in using it beyond one-to-one messaging. Frankly, it is a tough use case to monetize.

The Great 8. The latest edition of the iPhone is set to debut in September, and it’s safe to say this will be Apple’s most successful launch ever. Samsung’s explosive product issues aside, Apple’s push to broaden its ecosystem – through original content, Apple Pay, Apple Watch, AirPlay, Siri, iTunes, and more – gives the tech giant a big advantage. I’m also keeping tabs on the potential move of the home button, which will make room for an end-to-end screen, and how Apple will advance in the world of augmented reality.

The Stock Market’s “Trump Thump.” The stock market has shot up like a rocket to all-time highs since Trump’s inauguration in January and many, including myself, believe that it is due for a major correction. When you remove the tech behemoths of Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google, there is little to be excited about with many of America’s blue-chip companies. Many sectors – including retail, apparel and automotive – face roadblocks that are destined to rear their ugly head.

Cryptocurrency’s coming of age. The wild swings of Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, have many running for the hills. But in this unpredictable geopolitical climate, I predict that many progressive investors will back these emerging and speculative currency platforms as a safe haven. With signs of government cooperation around the world, I believe that cryptocurrency is here to stay, and that it will see meaningful price growth for the rest of the year.

Amazon Basics and “the brand’s” last stand. As Alexa continues to make her way into U.S. households at rapid scale, the notion of brand equity in low-involvement categories could very quickly erode. If you try to buy batteries on an Amazon Echo device today, your only options are Amazon Basics batteries. This is Amazon essentially making a statement that billions of dollars of investment in brand equity toward household brands like Duracell and Energizer ultimately don’t matter to consumers. Is Amazon right? Is this the beginning of the end of brand loyalty? As consumers become more educated and price sensitive, the answer may be yes for some categories.

Uber moves out of neutral. Many jumped on the “End of Uber” bandwagon after former CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted this summer (for good reason), but I believe that the power of this magical platform transcends any one individual. I believe Uber will right its ship this fall with the non-controversial hire of Former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and re-establish its dominance in Silicon Valley and major cities around the world en route to a 2018 IPO (which Dara has already said will be in the works). Don’t believe the hype – Uber is here to stay.

Instagram says “slow your role” to influencers. The now-infamous Fyre Festival disaster shined a less-than-flattering light on the emerging industry of influencer marketing. The FTC then sent letters to more than 90 celebrities who failed to disclose their paid Insta-endorsements to consumers, essentially claiming that consumers are being increasingly misled. Most recently, reports have surfaced that Instagram will be requiring influencers to indicate sponsorship on posts via a new product feature. My prediction? Said sponsored posts will be throttled in the newsfeed by Instagram, and very few people will see them unless there is paid advertising behind it. This will make influencer marketing a paid media activation – much like buying a billboard, but far less exciting. Truth be told, Insta-models may need to start looking for other lines of work.

Matt Britton