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We’re rounding out 2017 with a series that looks ahead to our next 12 months and features insights from our top partners. Today’s expert: Google Agency Business Development Lead Janelle Ramirez*.

* Please note that all answers are the personal opinions of the interviewee, not of their employer.

 

What is the most exciting thing that happened to your company in 2017?

It’s never a dull moment at Google. For me, I’ve loved all the advancements in the Google Assistant technology, from giving me my morning news and telling me my schedule for the day to watching my 3-year-old daughter ask what noise an alligator makes and requesting that it sing her the alphabet. With more information on demand without needing to lift a finger, I’m more productive, more informed, and able to multi-task! Side note: I am trying to teach my daughter to be polite to the assistant and say “please” and “thank you.”

What do brands need to have mastered in 2017 to be ready to compete in 2018?

Brands need to have basic measurement and data solutions in place now so that they can start to move beyond single-interaction measurement solutions like tROAS and towards a lifetime value measurement framework. Users are more connected than ever with so many choices and will continue to be, so brands need to shift with them and focus on the user experience and not single interactions.

What do you see as the major trends in your industry in 2018?

Continuing to lean on machine learning and automation so that we can all spend more time doing what we love and doing what machines can never do: create and grow closer relationships with those around us. More face-to-face strategic interactions and less mindless clicking and typing!

What should brands focus on this coming year to stay ahead of the competition?

Break down internal business silos so that all teams are working in partnership and becoming true omni-channel marketing powerhouses. Focus on providing the best customer experience and work together whether your goal is branding, performance, etc. Innovation will continue to also be key; differentiating oneself from the competition involves risks and getting uncomfortable at times.

If you could invest $50 million in the most promising upcoming technology in your industry, what would you invest in?

Faster, better, consistent access to to the internet so Google can continue to connect people around the world. While it may seem like the whole world is connected to the internet all the time, internet access is worldwide is still only a little over 50%.

If you could invest $50 million in the most promising upcoming technology in marketing, what would you invest in?

A single solution source for collecting, organizing, and analyzing all data to use for creative development, targeting, engagement, measurement and attribution that is privacy-safe and compatible with all vendors, tools, and technologies.

What big change in your product or service will be a game-changer in 2018?

More than ever, YouTube will be a bigger platform for performance advertising where brands can leverage Google Search and Maps data to reach customers and complete the circle from Search to Video.

What’s a reach-for-the-stars innovation you’d like to see in the next five years?

I can’t wait for the self-driving car to go on sale for consumers like myself so I can safely go where I need to go while navigating the awful Bay Area traffic!