In our on-demand, fast-paced society, innovation is driving progress faster than ever. Brands that adopt emerging technologies and integrate new advertising formats within their marketing strategy will thrive. Conversely, the ones focused only on the same traditional advertising models will lag behind and lose the competition for consumers’ attention.
Easier said than done. Succeeding as a digital marketer in 2019 and onwards means taking into account several different trends – from economic and technological developments to changes in society that determine shifts in the culture, and therefore in people’s way of thinking and acting. This is why, as marketers, we need to be in a constant state of learning, always ready to explore, try, innovate and risk, to make sure we stay on top of the game.
Speaking of which, here are the 10 most important trends and developments to watch out for in 2019 and beyond.
1. Omnichannel approach
This approach to marketing strives to provide the customer with an integrated and seamless shopping experience. All channels, from brick and mortar to mobile, are interrelated, so that the brand can engage with the customer holistically across all touch-points of the customer journey, regardless of the channel. In other words, the omnichannel marketing approach is centered around the customer and seeks to foster an effortless buying experience to ultimately build a stronger relationship between brands and consumers. According to a survey by Aspect Software, companies that adopt omnichannel customer experience strategies achieve 91% higher year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t. However, only a small percentage of marketers say they have managed to master this approach up to now. Why? In most cases, the main barrier is technology itself.
2. Integrated Platforms
Because of this technology gap, another key trend has been the rise of all-in-one tech solutions, which can handle marketing processes across several channels. One company that is leading by example is Adobe: they recently acquired Marketo and can now use their technology to engage both B2C and B2B customers across the entire customer journey, thanks to the integration of various marketing solutions (email, social, mobile,..). Another perfect example is Spaceboost, the multichannel platform that integrates the automation and optimization of PPC campaigns on Google, Amazon and Bing in a single tool. Therefore, the creation and management of a successful omnichannel experience will be made increasingly easier by the rise of integrated platforms, which are expected to shape the future of marketing automation processes.
3. Marketing automation
Marketing automation is not a distant future, it is already here, and it’s a popular topic of discussion among marketers on the lookout for new ways to improve and optimize performance. This term includes all software that automates marketing tasks and allows businesses to save time and resources, optimize their investments, and scale their businesses more quickly and effectively. From the tools centered around email and social media marketing management, to the software used to optimize Pay-Per-Click campaigns and lead generation practices, marketing automation tools are increasingly widespread. They are becoming essential for companies to stay on top of the game, optimize their resources, and focus on what matters the most – strategy, performance and, most importantly, their customers.
4. Full-funnel strategy
Improving and leveraging the marketing funnels by developing and nurturing long-term relationships with customers will be key to standing out in 2019 and beyond. The traditional funnel has been taking the shape of an ongoing cycle, where continuous engagement is prioritized over transactional relationships. Thanks to all advancements in data collection, artificial intelligence and machine learning, complex and personalized funnel strategies will be increasingly easy to implement, as it will be increasingly easy to track, understand and ultimately meet a customer’s needs and desires from their very first search up till the conversion point.
5. Conversion optimization
As the market becomes more and more saturated and competition to gain a piece of the market share becomes more aggressive than ever, the cost of advertising will keep growing. One way to stay ahead of the game is through conversion optimization. Together with a strong SEO and SEM strategy in place which can direct consistent traffic to a website, content and landing pages that convert should be a priority in every marketer’s checklist for 2019. A focus on the user experience, continuously A/B testing, and improving the likelihood of a visitor to take action on a webpage will represent key differentiators and eventually have a significant impact on revenue.
6. Next-level content marketing with focus on video
As blogging has become so popular (and played out by most companies), having content that ranks on the first search page has become a true challenge. Only brands that are putting a focus on delivering new information and insights in a compelling and engaging way are going to emerge and see their content shared and spread throughout the web. In relation to this, another important aspect to make the most of is the rise of video content, which is widely deemed to be the future of content marketing. Whether sharing live updates, webinars and know-how videos, or telling customer stories and showing a brand’s culture in a video format, the use of video in online marketing will be ubiquitous and will have an impact at each stage of the marketing funnel. Most social media channels have already acknowledged this trend and have consequently integrated native video within their platforms (last but not least LinkedIn). This form of content is more likely to be pushed on social media platforms than any other, which means it will soon be at the forefront of the digital media conversation.
7. Voice Search
The growing popularity of voice-activated devices is opening new territories for advertisers to explore. According to the analytics company Comscore, by 2020 half of all searches will be conducted through voice, which leaves a wide-open window of opportunity for companies to take advantage of this shift. Additionally, as most of voice searches are made in natural language, advertisers are provided with more context to understand the user’s needs than in the case of shorter and more concise text queries. As a consequence, brands will be able to tailor ads and landing pages more effectively by knowing the exact information a user is looking for. As it is still an emerging trend, the brands who facilitate voice integration within their SEM and SEO strategies by creating a new kind of conversational content will undoubtedly have competitive advantage in the years to come.
8. AI for programmatic advertising & chatbots
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is powering the transformation of the ad industry into the “ad tech” industry – it is now widely recognized that machines are essential for scaling, optimizing, and improving the efficiency of any ad campaign. According to Salesforce’s State of Marketing report, about half (51%) of marketing leaders are already making use of AI in some form, and more than a quarter is planning to use AI technology in 2019. Especially when it comes to planning and executing PPC campaigns, AI helps improve keyword tagging, segmentation and tracking, which in turn makes it easier to create relevant content for each specific audience and user throughout the whole customer journey. Furthermore, when it comes to the programmatic advertising landscape, as stated by AI company Adext, there are three main areas of AI applications: budget optimization decisions, ad creative, and customer insights. Lastly, another major application of AI is through chatbots. They are likely to become the norm on most business websites across a wide range of industries, as they represent an essential component of customer-brand interactions – going from answering queries to providing helpful directions and offering a personalized experience to each user.
9. Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics is the practice of using data, machine learning techniques, and statistical algorithms to extract information from historical data in order to identify patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. Put simply, it allows advertisers to target the right customer at the right time with the best offer – which links back to customer segmentation. Thus, the use of predictive analytics has become essential to get a unified picture of each potential customer and their buying habits, and consequently improving their experience with the company or brand. Beyond data-enabled cross-selling and upselling, predictive analytics is fostering the creation of a fully personalized customer experience based on solid data and figures. Similarly, in the case of B2B companies, predictive success often comes in the form of predictive scoring, identification models and automated segmentation, which all concur to qualify and prioritize leads.
10. Multi-touch attribution models
Multi-touch attribution models, which are meant to quantify the relative impact of each marketing action on revenue, are said to become a marketing imperative in 2019. These models allow marketers and advertisers to see the full conversion path of a buyer from beginning to end, including online and offline interactions, as well as via different devices such as mobile or laptop. By having this depth of insight into what is really impacting a buyer’s journey, it is possible to make better and more accurate decisions on how to allocate the marketing budget to maximize revenue. Marketing attribution systems will be increasingly adopted in 2019, as the massive amount of data produced by digital and offline marketing channels will keep growing and become more and more difficult to get a hold of. So, the intelligence provided by multi-touch attribution technology based on attribution data and marketing analytics will be essential to optimize spending and revenue outcomes.
Didn’t make it to the Top 10 but deserve a special mention: Social messaging apps
Another trend that will dominate in 2019 are social messaging apps, currently the most used smartphone function in the whole world. As seen on Adweek, in 2018 alone the four main messaging apps (Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat) held more than 4 billion combined users, overperforming the 3.4 billion users on the four biggest social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn). No surprise that messaging is expected to become one of the most important communication channels for customer-centric companies (and for savvy marketers, too). To add to these stats, 68% of consumers prefers this way of communicating with businesses over others. Chatbots (see previous point), for instance, are the proof of how personalized and real-time interactions have a massive impact on the customer experience. Communication through messaging apps should be prioritized as it offers direct, immediate and personal connection to clients.
Now, are you ready to embrace innovation and to pioneer the most important developments in the marketing landscape?
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