Three wishes for the new year of digital marketing

Deeped Strandh
3 min readDec 30, 2018

(A slightly different version in Swedish was published in the marketing business site Resumé Insikt)

Predictions and outlooks of next year did hit us as every December. I myself have done it in different fashion last ten years. But this year has been somewhat different: tech lash, Cambridge Analytica, a Youtube Rewind backfiring and a leapfrogging China into our phones. So instead of trying to look into the magic looking glass, I think we need a wish list. Three important things that marketers would love as Christmas gifts.

Therefore — my wish list for the technology gods or the Social Media Santa.

More open APIs

Nowadays it’s quite depressing to log into the (expensive) social media analysis tools. The companies claim that you can listen to what people think about your brand and that the social listening tools still are important in a strategists toolbox. But the outcome is a rather skewed image. Even shown in more or less colorful charts. It’s not at all what we need or would love to get from those hard-earned dollars we give them.

Cause Twitter is not really “the people” if you say so …

Facebook has closed almost every interesting API after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. People aren’t making open updates and the comments aren’t able to track. Linkedin is totally closed up. Instagram has made it harder with their new version of API. We are more or less flying blind trying to be data-driven and smart around social and our brands.

Also, don’t forget the behavioral change around ”dark social” (wrote a piece on the need of both being able to get stats and to kill the term)

Please please please. Give us more open APIs. Anonymize the postings or comments but I am pretty sure that everyone benefits from having a better and broader picture of what a customer actually wants, knows and think about brands and life.

Sell ​​is not a purpose (it’s a goal)

Storytelling is great. Above all, I am convinced that storytelling makes the advertising world better. A story cannot be an one-liner, it cannot be fuzzy lines without meaning. Conversation is still king.

A good story simply requires a purpose from the brand, something more than just selling products. The trend of “purpose-driven marketing” is fantastic because it forces us: marketers as well as brands to take a stand for real.

But the stronger the trend, the higher percentage of brands just jumping on the train. “Greenwashing” has become “purpose washing”.

My wish for 2019 is no less purpose-driven marketing without genuine purpose. More brand-bravery, more taking the stand, not for sales but because it’s an important issue. Sales will come — and you won’t be seen as a fraud.

Make creativity great again

When did you last see a Subservient Chicken campaign? Or an ad you saved because it was so good? When did you last really get really touched by a TV commercial?

I miss being challenged, feeling awe because someone managed to get a crazy idea into production.

Data is important. Data is good. Although — we might have been a tad bit eager to let data drive us more than letting the data inspire and be the foundation of creativity? We lost a lot of playfulness. We have become anxious and afraid of testing things. ”No, we cannot see that it is in line with the data we have”.

My hope for 2019 is that we simply dare to be more playful and more exploring. Creativity is a medal we as marketers are carrying. Not something that is seen as a strategic problem. Let the data guide us but not lead us.

If the Santa of Marketing doesn’t grant us this wishes we as marketers, strategists and creators need to take matters in our own hands. Let’s try to find the balance: understand more, be better creating real insights and use data responsively. Live the brand purpose and be the driver of positive change.

Merry Christmas is all out there and a happy new year.

Photo by Mike Arney on Unsplash



Deeped Strandh

Social media strategist for more than a decade. Photographer on my spare time.