Top Marketing Trends of 2019

JANUARY 11, 2019| IN MARKETING| BY DANE SANDERS

We’ll it’s that time of year again when nearly everywhere you look, you’ll see the Top XX (insert whatever number you wish here) List of (insert whatever category you wish here). We’ve all seen these lists before – the top 10 fashion trends for such-n-such year, the top 20 food or restaurant trends for the upcoming year. And of course the top any-given-number of predictions for any-given-category always makes the rounds.

However, considering the current state of affairs we have right now in our country, I think there’s only one prediction for 2019 that’s fairly safe to make, and I’m going on record of making that prediction; here goes: The top prediction for 2019 is that it’s going to be nuts. We’ll touch base later this year to see how right or wrong I am.

In the interim, and albeit, maybe a slight bit less interesting, here are some of the top marketing trends that are expected in 2019!

1| Digital Marketing

Virtual and Augmented Reality will be two closely related cousins that you will hear and see more of (no pun intended) in 2019. 1. The World Is Quickly Turning to Virtual (VR) and Augmented Realities (AR). It was only a few short years ago that Pokémon Go created pandemonium with people aimlessly drifting around cities and towns, as well as crashing into each other and vehicles as they consumed this exciting new technology. Although seen by most as a gaming technology, brands as well as the medical community will be using this technology in greater measure to respectively enhance the experience of their customers and achieve greater understanding of medical procedures among patients.

IKEA is a prime example. In 2016, they began experimenting with VR gaming technology and announced the Virtual Reality Kitchen – IKEA VR Experience. This shopping app enabled customers to try various IKEA products prior to purchasing them. With this app, shoppers can see how a customized kitchen will look and feel with a simple click, and are able to easily move around the space while testing out myriad finish or cabinet solutions.

In 2019, it’s likely that we’ll see even more brands take these types of major steps using VR and AR to further enhance and add value to the customer experience.

2| Content Marketing

More people will make purchase decisions based on the trust of people they know, and as a result of consuming reputable content versus seeing ads. It’s been clear for several years now that people are turning away from traditional ads.

In fact, the top four sources of advertising that are trusted most are: people you know, branded sites, editorial sites, and reviews, according to a Nielsen study from 2015. Traditional ads are pretty close to the bottom of this list, and that hasn’t really changed. To that point, it is expected that 30 percent will be using ad blockers by the end of this year, which means that a company doing traditional ads will miss 30 percent of their target audience right out of the gate. It this to say that marketers shouldn’t do traditional ads at all? No not really.

There is still a place for traditional ads, and it will make sense to do them. The key though is that they have to be a lot more relevant, targeted and of value to the consumer. This is one of the reasons we see more companies spending more money on content marketing, and influencer marketing. Another strong tactic is referral partnerships, as well as other tactics that be able to deliver actual value to audiences.

3| Social Media Marketing

In this realm (3) things will be key: Social Listening, Timeliness & Micro-Influencers.

Social Listening: This is really the act of monitoring the web and various social media to find every mention of a brand or any keywords that have been chosen. Included in this wold be untagged brand mentions, industry keywords that suggest there’s an interest to buy a product, as well as mentions contained in blogs, discussion forums, and on news sites. The real goals of doing this are to enable better customer service, but also reputation management, as we all know how quickly and negative press even if inaccurate or unfounded can spread, and the consequences it can wreck on a brand. even though there are, of course, many others.

Using social listening for the two things above is expected to gain even more steam, the real trend this year will be using it for lead generation. Right now, only a small number of companies are doing this, but that number is increasing as marketers learn that they can find people (aka potential customers) that looking for the exact same services they offer.

Timeliness: We live in an on-demand, always on world. And in social media this could be more pronounced. So for marketers using social media, this means that real-time communication is vital, and comes in the form of 24/7 customer support, real-time social selling, chatbots, and constant monitoring for a potential social media crisis.

Obviously this is because social media never sleeps. Customers use products, talk about them online, and buy new one at any given moment. This has been going on for some time, and the technology has caught up. We have the tools to look for and find brand mentions in real time, tools that can schedule content to be posted at any specific time, and chatbots that offer help on the spot.

As we move through the year, we’ll see consumers who will expect their Twitter complaint to be addressed immediately (and for those companies that do not, it will be glaringly obvious). This concept of timeliness has huge revenue potential, imagine a very realistic scenario in which someone asks in social media “Does anyone know a good so-n-so?” and your company can answer immediately with an offer of your product. In the world we now live in, no one has the desire to wait. People want their problems fixed and their needs met, now.

Micro-Influencers: For the last few years, social media influencers have become a major trend. We now have Instagram stars, Twitter influencers and YouTube millionaires who have millions of followers. Every post, vlog, or tweet they generate is instantly viewed by more people than TV ad folks could ever hope for. The power of social media influencers is huge and the thing is it’s growing

But as you can imagine, as the number of these influencers has grown, so have the prices for their services. This is leading more businesses to consider alternatives like micro-influencer marketing.

Different from major influencers, micro-influencers exist in all marketing niches. They have less than 10,000 followers, but most of these followers are truly interested in what they have to say. And they these micro-influencers are very engaged, and are often considered experts in their niche.

Because these smaller player are not sought by big advertisers (yet), they are seen as being trustworthy and down-to-earth. The marketing potential with this group is very high and will be recognized in 2019.

4| B2B Marketing

Companies will further adopt an account-based marketing and sales approach.

For the past few years Account-based marketing (ABM) has been a hot topic in B2B marketing, and 2018 it gained even more steam. Research shows that 92% of firms recognize the value of ABM, so much so that it has been said to be a B2B marketing “must have.” For B2B companies that have extended and complex sales cycles, and that oftentimes involve several stakeholders and high-value transactions, ABM represents a more effective way to generatenew business than relying strictly on an “inbound” approach to lead generation.

To be sure, ABM does require close collaboration and tight alignment with sales, companies are seeing the need to move to account-centric models that span the gulf between marketing, sales, in order to drive client success. The company Engagio terms this as “account-based everything”and defines it as “a strategic go-to-market approach that orchestrates personalized marketing, sales, and success efforts to land and expand at named accounts.” Realizing that repeat business is a large portion of the revenue stream for many companies, expect that account-based marketing and sales strategies will be seen in greater measure this year.

5| B2C Marketing

Voice-Powered Search will continue to grow. With Siri, Alexa, OK-Google and others, voice-powered search was hot in 2018 and the trend will continue to rise this year. While ComScore estimates that half of all searches will be voice-based by 2020, TechCrunch reports that over 47 million adults currently have access to a smart speaker.

With consumers now understanding that the technology makes their lives easier, voice recognition technology is only expected to grow bigger and better. For the minute, voice search is mostly used for necessity. People use these tools the most if their hands are full or when driving. However, as the accuracy gets better and consumers become even more accustomed to having their needs met, expect to see brands competing as they struggle to figure out how to be “heard” in voice searches. To get a lead on this trend, you should think about the differences between a text search and voice search as it relates to the content on your site. Think about what your customers might say, rather than what the might type, when doing a search. A great way to start is by writing short blogs and descriptions of your product in a tone that is more conversational to create content that better connects with a voice search.

So there you have it, our top 5 marketing trends to expect in 2019. We hope for a successful year for you and your company, and would love the opportunity to speak with you and share our knowledge with you one-on-one to help make your year a successful one.