What will the new year look like and deliver for businesses and marketers? Now’s the time to pause, look ahead and see what emerging trends and insights may suggest for 2017. What’s the headline? Change is upon us.

Many are expecting solid economic growth. The markets began quickly weighing in with their expectations. The Dow 21,000 and beyond has been forecast. CMO’s are expected to deliver high single-digit or double-digit growth. So, where will the growth be most prominent? And where will uncertainty be limiting? Several growth sectors to be watched include technology, construction, home products, telecommunications and manufacturing, with health care and financial services following reform agendas.

As both a demand driver and the result of other significant events e.g., the election behind us, likely tax reform, etc., advertising and marketing spending will increase. A recent forecast noted that “global ad spending will grow 4.5% next year, due to improving economies in the U.S., Asia and Europe, while digital advertising will grow by 14% annually through 2018.” We will continue to see online advertising spending increase, surpassing TV, with social video as content continuing to rapidly expand. (Sources: Deloitte Digital and ZenithOptimedia)

As digital advertising continues to grow, where/when will we see the balance between that and traditional media? Well, we’re getting closer. Depending on factors like a brand’s demo, their path to purchase and go-to-market strategies, we see the hockey stick curve that has been in place for several years is now showing more gradual growth.

Key to marketers is branding along the path to purchase. All the way to the sale, and service after the sale. As brands launch, become relevant, emerge distinctively, fend off competitors and gain strength for the longer haul, they are successfully addressing issues of authenticity, trust, enhancing the customer experience and tracking revenue results along the way.

With change, expect disruptive technologies. AI, artificial intelligence for marketing, including use of IBM’s Watson, will rapidly introduce new, more efficient ways to sell products and services. This means channel conflict. Fintech, insuretech, agtech, healthtech, internet of things—name the sector—change is rapidly on the way. This will mean go-to-market strategies will need strategic counsel.

What will always be essential will be the need to be strategic, to present each company and their brands’ reason for being. Telling the story well. Building compelling content. Winning at both national and local levels. Driving results. Being a quality partner serving as an extension of every client team. That’s what excites us at SA about this coming year. We’re ready to make it happen. What do you think?