Welcome to 2019! Today marks the first day back at my desk and like most of us, I like to slowly slip back into the working year by reflecting on my own marketing efforts of the past 12 months; what worked, what didn’t work and what will I do next. January for me always feels like a clean slate and an exciting time for the business. Anyone else feel like that?
Working in marketing, I’m only too aware of how changeable the digital marketing landscape is. It’s worse then the weather and 2018 certainly did not disappoint. Keeping my finger on the pulse is essential to ensure that I am aware of any new changes or trends that are coming down the line and that I can apply these learnings to my own business and to those of my clients.
2018 really was the year of content marketing and video creation. That trend is only set to grow in 2019 but what else is happening in the marketing world that we should be aware of? In no particular order, here are the top 10 marketing trends that I have observed for 2019:
(1) Content Marketing
Content marketing was my own buzzword last year and I will continue to talk about it as there is so much to say and businesses are still missing a trick…they are not thinking about who their audience is! It’s no good to start writing a piece that really interests you, rather you need to jump into the mind of your ideal customer and think about what they want to hear and then create a compelling piece that they will stop and say “yes I want to look at this”. We need to ALWAYS be creating relevant content that our audience feels obligated to read and pass on. Mediocre will not cut it anymore in such a competitive market. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to go out and re-invent the wheel, but we do need to put our own spin on the subject matter and ensure that whatever we’re saying our customers are at the core.
(2) Video Content
2018 was an exciting year for video content and 2019 will be no different – it’s really just getting started. Thanks to the technological advancements of mobile technology, business owners are being empowered to convert their written content into video content and even put themselves in front of the camera to tell their business story.
- 90% of customers say video helps them to make buying decisions and 64% of customers say that watching video makes them more likely to buy – Forbes
- Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year – Aberdeen.com
- Lastly, impctbnc.com say that “produced videos, demos and explainers are the most common videos produced; websites and social media are the most common
(3) Live Video
I know what you’re thinking…”she’s just talked about video” but live video is slightly different, it’s real time communication with your community of followers. It’s giving them a chance to get to know you better, the person behind the brand, an authenticity that they are searching for within the brand to make them want to buy. Stories tend to include:
- Behind the Scenes Footage
- Live Demonstrations
- General Chats
- Q&A Sessions
It might all sound a little OTT but people are soaking this up, particularly the younger generation. In fact, buffer.com are predicting that stories will replace the popularity of the news feed eventually.
Another phenomenon that will truly flourish in 2019 is Podcasting. Again think about your audience and where they spend much of their time; in the car, sitting at a desk, cooking dinner. If you’re like me and you make observations of the people around you, they tend to be listening to a Podcast these days rather than the radio or music. There are 1000’s of Podcasts out there already under a variety of subject areas but they are all unique to the creator and provide an additional channel for delivering your message.
(5) Voice Search
OK so this might sound a little scary, but have you noticed that more people around you are starting to talk into their phone to send a voice message via WhatsApp while on the go? I thought it was so strange some time ago but now I’m starting to catch onto it. Do I sound super old now? This was a constant observation of mine last year among friends and particularly when I was in New York. We are evolving again as a community and voice search is part of this evolution.
Put simply, voice search is the activity of a person speaking into their phone and making a search request to Google rather than typing it in. I will write a separate blog on this subject matter but it’s something listen out for – excuse the pun!
(6) The Omni-Channel Approach
Introducing the marketing buzzword of 2019, omni-channel marketing. Omnis is the Latin word for all or every. It is still difficult to determine a buyers exact journey online but it is evident that we are no longer relying on one sole channel. Consumers now have multiple touch points with a brand and the omni-channel approach ensures that their experience is consistent be it online or offline.
(7) Personalised Emails
Mass marketing emails are now dying a slow death particularly with the introduction of GDPR legislation. It is encouraged by myself and most fellow marketers that businesses adopt a more personalised approach to their email communication with the help of marketing automation tools to ensure customers a 1:1 experience and ultimately develop a better customer relationship.
- Marketo study shares that personalised, triggered emails based on behaviour are 3 times better than batch or blast emails.
(8) Influencer Marketing
I’ve spoken about influencer marketing and the considerations you need to make before selecting the person who is hired to promote your brand in a previous blog. Despite the heavy scrutiny, Influencer Marketing is here to stay in 2019. It is a costly exercise but can undoubtedly lead to significant ROI for brands who choose the right influencer.
(9) Artificial Intelligence
Like it or loath it, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay and is already being used on a regular basis to create a more personalised customer experience. You’ve probably been talking to a chat-bot during the Christmas season without realising it. A chat-bot is essentially a personal concierge who is on hand to answer any questions you have and guide you through your customer journey. All without human intervention!
- Experts are predicting that over 80% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots by 2020 – buffer.com
I actually had a wonderful experience with a chat-bot today when I was setting up ParkbyText for my car. The phone went through a series of questions with me that I had to answer and within two minutes my parking tag had successfully and safely been set up – hassle free!
(10) Social Media Advertising
Facebook has been in deep water this past year with organic rankings of business pages suffering the consequences. Expert opinion concurs with my own experience estimating that there will continue to be an increased company spend on Facebook advertising through 2019 to compensate for the loss in organic traffic. This strategy is working for many companies but again I emphasise that you must be very sure of your target audience.
An emerging trend seems to indicate that Facebook is still primarily used by the older generation with younger millennials migrating to other networks such as Instagram. Thankfully, Facebook owns Instagram and you can manage your Instagram activity from the same portal.
- Marketers increased social ad budgets by 32% in 2018 and produced more ads – buffer.com
Wow, that was a lot of information to get into one piece and I’ve really only scratched the surface. I’ll jump into greater detail over the next 12 months but for now, I hope that this information will help you in your marketing planning for 2019.
Let’s make it the best year yet!