If you thought 2017 was a year of change, hold onto your hat for 2018. What business trends will transform your marketing agency this year, and what impact will they have on the way you do business?

We identified 6 big marketing trends to watch. These trends present plenty of opportunities that can enhance your client relationships, and your bottom line.

  1. Customer experience grows in importance.

The customer experience—that is, the experience customers have with your business throughout every stage of discovering, interacting with and buying from you—will be critical to success in 2018. Forrester Research projects that the quality of customer experience will decline by 30% this year, as consumers and B2B buyers alike develop  higher standards.

Get ahead: The concept of unified customer experience is still a new one to many small businesses. You’ll want to think about educating your clients. Talk to them about how your agency can help enhance their customer experience.

  1. Content marketing matures.

Marketers in a survey by Ascend2 say content marketing is the second most effective marketing tactic they plan to use this year (behind social media). In 2018, however, quality will matter more than quantity when it comes to creating content.

Add Value: To deliver content tailored to their customers’ needs and buying journey, your clients will seek more  specialized content targeted to very specific buyer personas. Helping them identify, understand, and communicate with those specific personas will cement your value.

Group of people using mobile devices and social media

  1. Social media shifts.

Facebook is testing changes that would separate branded content from personal newsfeeds, making it more difficult for your clients to appear in their prospects’ Facebook feeds organically. At the same time, clients are becoming more sophisticated about social media marketing. They know likes and clicks aren’t enough anymore.

Stay Competitive: To demonstrate ROI for your clients, invest in solutions that include robust analytics. The days of “not measuring brand” are over. With detailed analytics, you can show proof your efforts are getting real results.

  1. Artificial intelligence goes mainstream.

AI is already changing marketing. AI software solutions now exist for sorting through marketing data, automating customer relationship management, and personalizing marketing messages. In 2018, AI will become more widespread and affordable for marketing agencies of all sizes.

Get ahead: Take time to consider where AI can be of most benefit to your agency. Which AI-based marketing automation solutions will have the biggest impact for you?

  1. Mobile video heats up.

Video has been sizzling for a while, but in 2018, desktop and laptop video consumption will decline, while mobile video viewing will grow by 25 percent, says Recode. Cisco projects that a whopping 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic this year will be video.

Stay Competitive: The elements of successful mobile video vary from traditional video viewing, opening up the chance to create new versions of videos for your clients.

Young employees at a creative agency

And the biggest trend?

  1. Employees Are Essential…Now More Than Ever

Perhaps the biggest trend that will affect your marketing agency in 2018: Employee recruiting, retention, and training will be more important than ever.

More than half (53%) of marketing and advertising execs in a recent survey say it’s challenging or very challenging to find skilled employees, and a  study by McKinley reports that demand for digital marketers exceeds supply.

Stay Competitive: This talent shortage means you will need to work harder to hang on to your best employees. Start by making sure your wages are competitive for your region; visit Glassdoor to find average salaries for marketing jobs in your area. Offering benefits, such as health insurance and a 401(k) plan, will also help you attract skilled professionals to your agency.

Letting employees work remotely is a big workplace trend, and we expect it will continue to grow. Gallup reports that more than 40 percent of Americans do at least part of their jobs from home. Enabling remote work can help you add qualified people to your team and keep the ones you have. To juggle projects and deadlines and maintain the back-and-forth that sparks great creative work, be sure you have robust project management software. Clients & Profits is one solution designed specifically for marketing businesses.

Fueling Your Success in 2018

Keeping up with all of these trends and retaining top talent takes money. To ensure you can access the capital you need in 2018, you might consider applying for a line of credit now. For your business credit needs, no matter what the new year brings, check out Fundbox.

Fundbox help you quickly access business credit, so you can stay competitive. That’s a big plus if, like many marketing agencies, you have major goals you want to achieve this year, and clients who are sometimes slow to pay. Learn more about how Fundbox works here.

Rieva is a small-business contributor for Fundbox and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting, and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.