You can't avoid these marketing-trends in 2018

Google the terms "Marketing trends 2018" or "Marketing trends 2020", and you'll find results that only also contain the words "Online", "Digital", or "Internet". This is it – the meta-trend. So, everything is digital – or? The majority of the world remains analogue – we should remember that. This especially applies to the retail sector.


  • (Almost) nothing works without digital anymore
  • Not all megatrends are relevant for every company – all business is local
  • Customer Experience & Retail Business: Think outside the online world
  • Accelerating product cycles require appropriate processes for optimal results in packaging and at POS

A passion for digital

Digital has been one of our main services for many years. We were a web design pioneer. So we have a key competitive advantage, and a great deal of digital experience. A factor that is often underestimated.

Current trends behind "Digital/Online/Internet" show increasingly clearly that communication fields are differentiating. They also show which trends will endure in the long term, and which are only due to current popularity.

Marketing megatrends in 2018

At the beginning of the year we analysed a bundle of search results, and one thing quickly became apparent. America sets the trend, even on In summary, the top 10 results are:

  • Augmented Reality
  • Social Media Marketing, including Social CRM and Social Customer Care
  • Content Marketing
  • AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Big Data marketing
  • Customer Experience
  • Building Personalisation
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Conversion Mate marketing (CRO) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The order can be debated, and even looking into the crystal ball of Google Trends provides only limited clues. As is well known, quantitative methods fail to identify motives behind search queries.

These are long-term trends

This graph shows the clear difference between ambition and reality. Augmented reality, i.e. reality extended by means of digital devices, has been searched for frequently since the end of 2009. But this extended reality has not yet been transferred into daily marketing practice on a large scale. However, this may change because Apple for the first time has integrated the basic technical equipment for augmented reality into a mobile device suitable for the mass market. Nevertheless, we recommend waiting and observing the progress.

Consulting as a key factor

The world of marketing and advertising is without a doubt becoming increasingly complex. This is shown by an evaluation of the 2018 trends. Even for companies’ large marketing, it has become practically impossible to maintain a full overview. External consulting by specialists is one way to avoid corporate communication shortfalls.  This pays off, especially for SMEs. Important:  Experience is particularly important – especially in consulting. A good consultant not only knows the trends, but can also evaluate them according to the company context and link them with their expertise. Our over 20 years of experience create a solid foundation for our customers in analysis and evaluation. Good advice and creative solutions are built on this. 

You can't avoid these trends in 2018

Two megatrends are undoubtedly already in daily use  – in social media marketing and content marketing. Both have long been in the spotlight, and are being successfully used by an increasing number of customers. This increases the need for all others to follow suit. But in our opinion, it’s just not enough to make some quick changes here and there.

Social media marketing and content marketing – strategy is a must

Content marketing is more than just publishing an article every two weeks; and social media is more than posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  These two areas not only interact closely, but should also be regarded as strategic marketing fields. In both areas, sub-trends such as social CRM, social customer care, vertical storytelling, and digital advertising stand out.

Mobile marketing is common sense

It is now noticeable that mobile marketing tends to be less searched for. Until the end of 2009, it was a megatrend. But this probably means that it is already part of daily practice, and represents a standard. Indeed, social media would now be inconceivable without mobile devices, and making websites responsive to small-screen mobile devices s has become a must.

Neuherz masters analogue, and is therefore exactly in line with the trend

In the retail sector, online shops may play a role, yet good packaging design and POS (point of sale) experience should not be underestimated. Customer experience, one of the most important trends in 2018, goes beyond the digital world. Retail is far from dead, and the real world remains irreplaceable here. Even major digital giants such as Apple and, more recently, Amazon are aware of the "analogue" customer relationship that shops deliver - and are building their own shops as a response. "Amazon Go" is a test for the grocery store of the future. Cash registers will be a thing of the past. Instead, a stress-free and therefore pleasant shopping experience should be guaranteed. POS and customer experience are changing, yet packaging remains a visual and tactile part of the shopping experience.

Packaging cycles are becoming faster

The trend towards individualisation also affects the product ranges of many manufacturers. As a result, the product portfolio grows and product life cycles change. This requires appropriate processes in print, graphic design, and packaging, so that costs don’t sky rocket and cooperation with customers doesn’t suffer. This is one of Neuherz's great strengths. Thanks to many years of successful cooperation with world brands, we are "bullet-proof". This experience and knowledge gives all our customers a decisive advantage.

Neuherz knows how to utilise trends

In areas such as web design, CEE, and packaging, Neuherz recognised very early where the market was heading - and responded accordingly. "Because here we are pioneers and “nerds” with passion,” observed the agency's CEO Martin Neuherz in a recent interview. Now when processes seem to be accelerating and new communication channels are apparently being added daily, it’s important to have a strategically thinking partner on your side.

Statement Martin Neuherz

"Neuherz & Partner has been around for 20 years. We are a family business. We combine tradition and innovation, without expensive filter factors. You can experience us as a down-to-earth agency, which sees itself as a workshop and performs at a high level. Yet beyond that we are also a trendsetter, think tank, and consultancy. All this at a good price-performance ratio. POS, packaging, and the digital world – here we see ourselves as experts."

Martin Neuherz is the CEO of Neuherz & Paertner

Statement Franjo Antunovic:

The trend is clearly towards "mobile first".

Responsive design is a technique for the optimisation of web presences on as many devices as possible. Smartphones have become the most popular digital devices for many users. Traditional desktop devices and even laptops are simultaneously fading from the spotlight. 

This forces providers' presence to become increasingly mobile. Popular apps such as Instagram and Facebook Messenger reserve many features exclusively for mobile devices. The trend is clearly towards "mobile first".

So it’s crucial to consider this requirement from the very beginning when developing new concepts, especially in the design area. While many designs are attractive, you can see that elements in mobile versions are often omitted, e.g. because they cannot be positioned well. Yet the future is not to restrict mobile versions in any way, but rather to include all relevant functions in them.

Responsive design is much more than just visual design. It also affects the underlying technical basis. Coding must be performed cleanly. So for mobile devices it’s therefore necessary to deliver and compress a clean code. The delivery of fewer project files helps to reduce the number of requests to servers. Images should be compressed to the maximum possible quality-to-file-size ratio to speed up delivery. If possible, visual elements should be delivered in storage-efficient formats. Now, for example, graphic effects can be quickly and efficiently recreated directly in a browser.

Franjo Antunovic is digital and design specialist at Neuherz & Partner

Statement Markus Nowak:

Continuity is a decisive success factor

Packaging has multiple precision rules that must be observed. This usually involves packaging that must work across many countries. So the customer, agency, and packaging producer work closely together. Experience and know-how play a decisive role. The customer is in direct charge of some coordinators, which enables close collaboration with the marketing department. This makes it easier for everyone, and errors can be minimised.

Neuherz relies on a high level of personnel continuity, so that processes also function when there is a change of customer's staff.

Markus Nowak is a design specialist at Neuherz

* Photos: © Alexander Gregorich