5 Digital Trends to Look for in 2019
Here are our five favorite digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2019 to help companies stay competitive, in constant digital transformation and identify shifting trends. Now more than ever, consumers are aware of their marketing options, and as they shift their attention to services, products, and brands that meet their immediate needs, setting yourself apart from the competition becomes crucial to earning their business.
From a Basic Email to a Personalized Experience
We live in a world where marketing automation is almost expected. Customers are exposed to a multitude of experiences where their lives become easier — like buying products through a speaker — and marketing communication is no exception. They expect to have better experiences delivered and to have their needs met almost instantly, whether it’s by creating a personalized piece of content, an email, or a specific set of marketing options.
A tangible example of marketing automation is when a company takes an otherwise basic email to the next level by creating personalized journeys to meet each client’s needs. SalesForce, Marketo, Oracle, ActiveCampaign, and HubSpot are just a few of the marketing automation options available today. These platforms allow you to gather data about your clients so you can provide them with a best-in-class experience that will put you ahead of the competition.
Marketing automation also connects multiple touchpoints and marketing channels including social media, email marketing, and content marketing. The goal of marketing automation is to nurture prospects for the long term, which means focusing on creating experiences that go beyond direct sales.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Personalized Marketing
Artificial intelligence (AI) entered the mainstream in 2018 as chatbots and virtual assistants made their presence felt in a wide range of industries. AI technology harnesses machine learning to function — that is, machines essentially teach themselves to solve problems and think. You’ve probably already experienced AI technology if you’ve used Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant, or Alexa, all of which can set reminders and answer questions based on voice recognition.
However, have you considered all the work that is happening behind the scenes to make all of those assistants and chatbots work? At the heart of AI is user data and behavior. One of the advantages of AI is the ability to better understand behaviors and patterns by going through consumer data. The more data and action points they receive, the more accurate these machine-learning artifacts become when delivering personalized experiences.
Text-only searches are slowly giving way to visual and voice searches. This may come as no surprise, but a report by Slyce revealed that 74 percent of shoppers found text-only searches to be insufficient when searching for products. Voice and image searches are on the rise, too. New research released by Bizrate suggests that consumers are still in the early stages of familiarizing themselves with visual search. Bizrate surveyed U.S. internet users from December 2018 and found that 48 percent of respondents had not yet used visual search but were somewhat or very interested in it. Another recent survey showed that nearly three in 10 U.S. internet users had used voice assistants in devices over the past year, which is an indication that adjusting to digital strategies to incorporate these opportunities in the future will be crucial.
In the immediate future, businesses should consider how their websites are set up for these new ways of searching. Properly structuring the data and learning as much as possible from users will better inform them when personalizing experiences. When it comes to chatbots, creating basic experiences that provide useful information will also help them stay ahead of the game.
Integrated Campaigns Perform Better
According to eMarketer, the top two priorities that businesses are considering when building campaigns are improving audience segmentation to support precise communications and enabling customer journey mapping across touchpoints, which both provide great insight into what needs to be done to better understand customers while building brand equity. In short, understanding customers will help when developing meaningful campaigns that deliver against business objectives.
Creating customer-centric campaigns will perform better in the short and long term for any business. Understanding the role of each channel to maximize results will be vital, especially in this digital age where almost everything can be measured to optimize the return on investment.
The battle to capture consumers’ attention today is increasingly fought in micro-moments. A concept introduced by Google in 2015, micro-moments refer to when people turn to a digital device to learn, do, watch, buy, or discover something. Consider these key moments when developing any campaign: I want to know moments, I want to go, I want to do, I want to buy. Leverage platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about an audience and develop experiences that match their needs. Understanding how each marketing channel works toward an objective will help to maximize any budget.
Thinking social, that is, beyond just posting organic content occasionally, will be key to staying relevant to a target audience. There is a major difference between being on social and being a social brand. A social brand understands the impact every piece of content will have on their audience. They begin by understanding how they can help their target audience fix their problem. Then, they use tools to do social listening to align their messaging with the expectations of their potential client. The trend of 2019 is going to be using social media listening for lead generation and social selling, given that people share their frustrations, ideas, and recommendations online.
Within social, thinking beyond static posts will be extremely important to break through all the noise. Keep in mind that 80 percent of what we consume online will soon be video content, therefore, staying fresh and making engaging content is paramount. Exploring new formats will give the opportunity to stay fresh, but don’t compromise the main story or idea over the format.
Organic reach will continue to be a challenge as marketers increase their ad spend on social ads. Stay ahead of the game by building a solid paid social strategy to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message.
Holistic Branding Is Trending
When was the last time your business did a brand immersion to better understand the target market and analyze where your brand identity can use some TLC? Branding goes beyond just a logo. It’s an approach to understanding the business objectives and how they align with the needs of the market you are serving. Companies are using customer insights more and more to strengthen marketing efforts that can have a significant impact on the business.
Branding should take into consideration key micro-moments and provide a cue to create a connection to the business or brand. This branding trend offers a new view to every single asset that is used to connect with potential customers. It also provides the proper guidelines to leverage every digital and social property to benefit the targeted customers.
As we look forward to 2019, incorporating these five digital marketing trends will help that marketing strategy come together and keep you relevant as you build lasting impressions throughout the year.