Five years ago, I penned an article entitled “The New Marketing Trend You Must Pay Attention To,” in which I suggested that despite all the talk of new social media platforms and technologies, the one real trend you need to pay attention to is the speed at which marketers must operate, not what technologies and trends we choose to utilize.
Fast forward to 2019 and little has changed in this matter. I’ll get to that in a moment but in the meantime, here’s a list of what most marketers are talking about when looking forward to 2019.
1. Digital Transformation Programs
Businesses around the globe are trying to adapt both processes and technologies to acquire and analyze real-time data from social and digital channels to try and pivot (or expand?) to take advantage of opportunities and stay ahead of competitors.
Digital transformation programs is and will be required to continuously disrupt the market for competitive advantages. After conquering online retailing, Amazon has entered the grocery business utilizing technology to provide fully digital check out processes.
2. Creating Improved Digital Experiences
CMOs – regardless of the product or service being managed – are starting to understand that the customer-brand experience is increasingly happening outside the salesperson-customer engagement.
Utilizing technology and social platforms to enable experiences beyond the basic business transaction is critical. Brick ‘n mortal retailers, for example, are adding virtual reality tools in-store for more immersive experiences with the products.
3. Progressive Web Apps
To leverage the growing importance of mobile devices and experiences in the buyer journey, marketers and developers are adopting progressive web apps (PWAs), which bridge responsive web design and native apps. The multi-device experience is even more important today.
UK retailer George.com utilized PWAs to give its audience “the ability to receive push notifications, add the mobile website to home screens, search for it on the open web and access pages even when network quality is poor.”
4. Google’s Marketing Platform
It’s not about new social platforms this year (although we can’t ignore the growth and promise of Instagram), Google’s changes to its search platform and tools has marketers working overtime to get caught up.
Google Marketing Platform saw AdWords renamed to Ads and the DoubleClick ad platform and analysis tools like Google Analytics, Data Studio, and AB testing through data studio more tightly integrated. Marketers are empowered to create more highly targeted advertising in channels and on devices used at specific points of the buying life cycle.
Machine-learning is available at the touch of a button within the new YouTube and Video Marketing, Smart Campaigns, Smart Shopping Campaigns, Local Campaigns, and Hotel Campaigns – all new products available within the platform.
5. Social Networks – A Changing of the Guard
Russian-hacking and data protection issues aside, Facebook, the king of social networks, has become static or losing ground in most demographics. Instagram is on the rise, but Snapchat has seen the most dynamic increases, especially among the powerful 25 – 34-year-old demo.
The changing of the guard, shown in the usage stats, means marketers must be looking at how their campaigns can be best served in these new channels.
In B2B news, LinkedIn must be taken more seriously. A Q2 2018 trading report highlights the increasing dominance of the business-focused social media platform’s revenue jumping 37%. LinkedIn sessions have also grown 41%, boasting 562 million users around the globe.
6. Email Marketing Renaissance
Email marketing is dead! Long live email marketing! We hear this every year but if 2018’s experiences and trends are anything to go by, 2019 will see a greater focus on the merging of content marketing strategies with email marketing that’s delivered to the audience at specific touch points along the customer journey.
Of equal focus will be the coding of emails responsive to the various mobile devices that users are now accessing their emails through, including mobile phones and wearable devices.
7. Further Segmentation in Influence Marketing
Once again, this past year new influencer identification and scoring platforms have come and gone and I don’t suppose that will change in 2019. However, marketers are keenly focused on the evolution of the further segmentation of influencers, not by score but reach.
Mega Influencers, Macro Influencers, and Micro Influencers are all being tracked, with different publications promoting the benefits of each.
In our opinion, most are still following the wrong path when identifying users by size of audience as opposed to effect on the purchase lifecycle, but it’s still encouraging to see the market moving the in right direction.
While these trends are someone distinct, there’s a common thread that weaves throughout all: The need for speed, which brings me back to my original point. In the past 5 years we’ve seen the rise and decline of various technologies and some older platforms coming back in vogue. Yet, the one constant is that – more than ever, maybe – business must have their ear to the ground.
8. The Need for Speed
We must be able to identify audiences and prospects engaged in various touch-points along the customer journey and have the ability – throughout in-person or digital channels – to ensure the right engagement strategy is enacted and tracked. The need for speed.
As we move into 2019, our recommendation is to consider the lessons learned from other marketers this year, which have formed the trends to watch in 2019, but to ensure that your company’s team, policies, technologies, and monitoring processes are set up to be as nimble as possible.
Engaging in new best practices is one thing, learning from them and taking advantage of them is another.