In the spirit of sharing thoughts on the year ahead, this article on the ever fresh CMO.com site caught my eye. 

Of the ten trends they highlight, the first caused me a frisson of excitement. The idea that now technologies are in place to do much of the marketing heavy lifting, we might see a resurgence in creativity.  So while the march of AI and autonomous technology will continue unabated, the consequence will be more time to get creative.

On the subject of creativity, campaigns that surprise and delight will be a feature of 2018 apparently. Marketing must entertain so says the unattributed CMO.com author. I take issue with this slightly because they refer only to 'advertising' in this context.  I feel all campaigns must do this. We all have to earn the right for the consumer's attention. And that means building increasingly immersive experiences with a continued focus on personalisation. 

I'm encouraged to see that while entertainment is key, so too will purpose. Brands need to become more confident about taking a stand of social issues - a trend that is certainly growing across our client base worldwide. 

So while the future looks bright for the human element, technology is unsurprisingly a key theme for 2018. The rise in voice activated home systems for one presents both challenge and opportunity for the marketing profession. Add to that the ongoing e-commerce revolution and continued changes in shopping habits plus the evolution of smart phone technology which could see devices embedded about your person, and you are presented with a fast changing world. 

The opportunity is for both brands and agencies to embrace this speed of change and to present cut through ideas that take full advantage of what's on offer. And this points to something that's been missed out of this list -- the trend for marketing innovation. While you might argue all the '10 trends' listed  might be innovative - for me, the culture of innovation in marketing will be the common thread and a defining trend of 2018. 

And with the distinctions between marketing disciplines continuing to blur, the fabric of the industry will change in 2018. As the writer explains, we'll see more consolidation; we'll see a new type of agency; and we'll see more partnerships. All this will be put in place by agencies seeking to keep up with the pace of change and with the increasing demands of data driven brands. 

It's going to be an exciting year.