It’s 2019, and businesses around the world are tackling a new year of marketing challenges. This year’s challenges can be chalked up to two ever-present factors: changing consumer preferences and rapidly evolving technology.
Marketing strategies that worked yesterday may not work as well today. To stay competitive, companies must be on the lookout for new ways to improve their marketing strategies in 2019. Marketers must be ready to adopt innovative new automation, personalization, and outreach practices – while optimizing old ones.
We have compiled the top 10 marketing trends for 2019 to help guide your business towards a successful year in marketing. Use these trends and expert tips to inform your 2019 marketing strategy and fulfill your digital marketing resolutions.
1. CMOs will spearhead “Marteching” culture change
“Martech,” or marketing technology, has become a popular term among digital marketing thought leaders. In 2019, CMOs (chief marketing officers) will be responsible for transforming this concept into company culture.
There are two main ways that CMOs will spearhead a “Marteching” culture change in 2019:
a.) CMOs will get people and technology to work together
“We view technology as an enabler of our strategy and an important part of advancing our marketing capabilities,” says Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate.
According to Gartner’s 2018 Marketing Technology Survey, 74 percent of marketers have Martech management responsibilities. Still, not all marketers feel positive about incoming technologies – and helping them develop a working relationship with those technologies isn’t always easy.
“Understanding how the different teams use technology, how the people and the technology work together to drive demand, and how to create the right culture around the tools presents the ‘real leadership challenges,’” says Cornelius Willis, CMO at Clari.
“Technology is easy,” he adds. “Getting people and the culture to work with the technology are the hard parts.”
To promote a tech-friendly culture, CMOs must take the time to guide marketers towards compliance. “By spending extra time with [team] members who are resistant to change, I show them both the respect they deserve and the evidence that I’m committed to investing in their professional development,” shares David Sill, Senior Vice President of Sales at DiscoverOrg.
CMOs who explain the benefits of new software and coach team members through the technology will experience a smoother adoption of new Martech initiatives in 2019.
b.) CMOs will work more closely with CIOs
A “Martech” culture change doesn’t start and end with the marketing team. The push for CMOs to become more tech-savvy will foster a closer relationship between the CMO and the CIO (chief information officer) in 2019.
This year, CMOs will work more closely with the organization’s top technology leader to identify tech initiatives that have the potential to grow and accelerate marketing goals.
“The IT leaders are experienced, professional buyers of tech vs. marketers who are often acquirers based on immediate needs,” says CMO Vaughan. “They are typically more disciplined about business case evaluation and tech due diligence that we in marketing can learn and benefit from. We also work with the IT team on security and compliance checks with each Martech due diligence and purchase we initiate.”
With clear communication and a growing partnership, CIOs will better understand the needs of the marketing department. CMOs will become more aware of what technologies are available to help them fulfill those needs, while also accruing technology-buying expertise.
Put it into practice
- Do your research. According to a 2019 survey of 800 brand and agency marketers worldwide, “the lack of understanding of available technologies is the biggest impediment to greater investment in marketing tech.” To make sure that your team does not hit this barrier, CMO Vaughan offers the following advice: “Commit to spending time understanding the possibilities and have pros on your staff who are committed to identifying, evaluating and adopting tech that best advances your ability to deliver on your goals.”
- Make it easy. Getting your team onboard with new Martech initiatives doesn’t have to be hard. Invest in user-friendly and easy-to-learn software solutions to reduce onboarding friction within your organization.
2. Marketers will embrace new forms of automation
Martech budgets are expanding. With that expansion comes the adoption of exciting new marketing technologies – namely in automation.
There are several areas where marketers can benefit from automation. These include the following:
- Data collection
- Content delivery
- Customer engagement
- Lead generation
- Lead segmentation
- Lead nurturing
- Direct sales
In 2019, businesses will see new platforms and tools emerge to take care of these needs. One example is chatbots.
Source: MediumChatbots are automation platforms that deliver services in a conversational format. They can be used to personalize brand messages, distribute newsletters, segment leads, and encourage brand loyalty. They can also be used to gather user information: According to the American Marketing Association, chatbots are the future of market research.
More and more businesses will add chatbots and other new forms of automation to their marketing strategy in 2019.
Put it into practice
- Identify new opportunities for automation. Automation offers an easy way for marketers to boost revenue and productivity. What could automation empower your team to do, that you aren’t doing already?
3. …While staying true to what works
A market full of new software, technological advances, and tall promises has made 2019’s CMOs and CIOs savvy (albeit, at times exhausted) shoppers.
As Marketing Expert, Alex Jones writes: “[The] dynamic growth of tools has led to an influx of new technical opportunities for marketers, as well as new buzzwords that have yet to truly prove their worth.
Integrate CMO Vaughan offers a look into how his team decides what technological initiatives to take on: “We have tried to be very disciplined about not buying tech for tech sake, which is not always easy to do today with so many options. We start with the strategy, what we are trying to accomplish and build a roadmap, including ROI and an adoption plan and model for each technology we evaluate.”
Put it into practice
- Consider: Is the technology reliable? When shopping for new automation solutions, keep in mind the cost-risk factor. Avoid technologies that are in their infancy, such as systems that use NLP (natural language processing) to mimic human behavior. Unfortunately, these technologies have an average precision rate of 60-70%, meaning that they still have a ways to go before they are sufficiently stable for marketing use cases.
4. Brand and customer channel preferences will align
Brand and customer channel preferences haven’t always matched up – especially in the digital age. While companies have enjoyed the reliability and trackability of email marketing campaigns, the 2010s marked a shift in customer preferences to social media channels.
Although today’s marketers have adapted to the social landscape, social media marketing still poses a huge problem for companies: It’s indirect and subject to changes. In 2018, many companies found themselves trying to combat declining organic reach and algorithms that increasingly box out businesses.
Today, customers increasingly prefer private channels of communication, with an estimated 84% of social sharing happening on dark social channels. As of July 2018, the top 9 messaging apps garnered roughly 5.8 billion monthly users worldwide, surpassing social media in popularity.
SDespite their popularity, many businesses have steered clear of messaging apps due to limited data tracking and automation capacities on these platforms. In 2019, new messaging automation platforms will empower brands to expand their marketing initiatives to private messaging channels and larger audiences. Brand preferences will grow to match customer preferences as more companies dive into (and become comfortable with) dark social.
Put it into practice
Here are some of the ways that you can use messaging automation in 2019:
- Market directly to consumers. Avoid the hurdles of algorithms by automating direct marketing initiatives (just like you would with email marketing) on messaging apps.
- Reach consumers on their favorite channels. Build a loyal brand following on the apps where your customers spend the most time. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram are 3 apps that are promising for messaging automation in 2019.
- Gather data and learn user preferences. Customer bases are constantly in flux. Use chatbots to add dark social user info to your CRM database. Send polls over messaging apps to learn about current user preferences.
- Create buzz around your brand. Build buzz within your community by holding contests, making brand announcements, and providing exclusive content on messaging apps.
- Make sales. Messaging apps like Telegram and Facebook Messenger allow customers to make purchases directly in-app. Enable your customers to shop without ever leaving the messaging platform.
5. Mobile will get faster (and more attractive to marketers)
In 2019, marketers will need to prepare for faster mobile speeds and increased mobile engagement.
According to Adobe Digital Insights, “5G mobile speeds — expected to be broadly available in 2019 — will translate into an additional $12 billion in mobile commerce revenue for retailers in just three years.”
Chief product officer at ad exchange OpenX, Todd Parsons, says that 5G will force marketers to rethink their content strategy and engage users in exciting new ways. This includes creating AR apps and distributing content via platforms that are optimized for mobile consumption.
As mobile usage goes up, marketers will also need to rethink the mobile journey.
Brian Solis, Digital Analyst and author of X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, says the following about mobile marketing in 2019: “Mobile marketing becomes less of marketing as we know it and more focused on CX and customer journeys. Instead of upgrading touchpoints, marketing reimagines existing funnels for mobile mindsets, behaviors, and expectations…not just devices.”
Put it into practice
- Consider the mobile journey. Explore innovative means of guiding your users through the mobile experience in 2019. Use scripted chatbots to prompt “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style engagement while keeping the user on a predetermined path.
- Go off-app. Don’t limit your mobile marketing strategy to your company’s mobile app. Messaging apps have a 6-times higher retention rate than the typical app and are launched nearly nine times per day, as opposed to the standard app which is launched only twice.
- Provide value. Mobile marketing initiatives need to provide value to the end user to be successful. Consider what useful news, service, or updates would benefit your mobile customers.
6. Content will get shorter; distribution more creative
The rise in mobile use has changed a lot in marketing. For one thing, it has contributed shrinking user attention spans. (According to Adobe Digital Insights, smartphone session visits have shortened by 10 percent in three years, despite the increase in mobile activity.)
The switch to mobile devices has also changed how users consume content. Apps like Snapchat and Instagram have capitalized on (and simultaneously influenced) consumers’ desire for shorter and expiring content.
“Consumers are hungry for more and more content, and brands should learn that if they aren’t willing to feed them – someone else will,” says Russ Perry, founder of graphic design service, Design Pickle.
In 2019, marketers need to figure out a way to keep up with the staggering amount of content that users are demanding. And, they need to pinpoint new, more direct content distribution strategies.
“Even the best content is useless if no one sees it,” writes Forbes contributor John Hall. “As both offline and online worlds become more crowded, content distribution will remain a vital component of every good content marketing strategy.”
Put it into practice
- Get creative with content distribution. As younger shoppers age up, marketers need to experiment with new and more creative types of content distribution. Instagram story GIFs, 10-second videos, stickers on messaging apps, and interactive newsletters on messaging apps are just some of the ways that you can creatively distribute branded content to your audience.
- …Without sacrificing quality. Growing consumer interest in content is not a pass for marketers to pump out low-quality material. Use high-quality content to build customer loyalty.
- Embrace short-form content. Shrinking user attention spans and rising mobile engagement means that 2019 is the year to get into short-form content. Send users short-form content on messaging apps to align your distribution strategies with the content consumption habits of today’s users.
7. One-to-one marketing will bring deeper personalization
Consumers demand personalization. Businesses know this, which is why every year companies push to see what’s next for this marketing trend.
According to Anudit Vikram, SVP of audience solutions at Dun & Bradstreet, marketing is still at “a very basic level of personalization.” Vikram predicts that “strategies will become more mature in 2019 as companies begin connecting data and content to deliver on the notion of one-to-one marketing.”
Mukund Ramachandran, CMO of personalization platform Dynamic Yield says the following about marketing in 2019: “Next year, get ready for real-life applications, such as personalized recommendations and order options as you swap your loyalty card at your favorite coffee shop. [Get ready for] promotions or offers served to you based on your online browsing activity and payment card transactions upon entering the bank to apply for a savings account.
“We really are only at the beginning of an era of mass personalization,” says Mukund Ramachandran, CMO of personalization platform Dynamic Yield
Put it into practice
- Use new forms of data collection to maximize personalization. Millennials and Gen Z are less likely to mind sharing their data with companies as long as they get a valuable experience in return. Have customers log in with social media or opt-in to a chatbot to frictionlessly gather the information necessary for extensive personalization.
- Deliver messages in a more intimate way. Use chatbots on messaging apps to quickly engage in large-scale one-on-one marketing. By contacting customers in a conversational way and on a platform that is usually reserved for friends and family, customers will feel like they are having a more intimate, one-on-one interaction with your company.
8. Data regulations will boost data hygiene and customer trust
As much as customers appreciate personalization, they are wary of how companies use their data.
“Privacy, of course, will play a big role in an organization’s personalization strategy,” says Stacy Martinet, VP of marketing strategy and communications at Adobe. “New laws such as GDPR—plus California’s privacy law, which comes into effect in January 2020—means marketers must be focused on ensuring ethical data collection practices and earning consumers’ trust.”
As marketers focus on improving data hygiene processes, better lead targeting and higher quality interactions will follow. In 2019, Martinet recommends that companies “look for products and services that protect the data that is entrusted to them and are designed with privacy in mind.”
Jason Heller, partner and global head of digital marketing operations at McKinsey, tells CMO that in 2019, many organizations will have a “consent management” function. This involves “having an ethical view of how the organization manages customers’ data, protects that data, and establishes governance around how that data is utilized.”
By proactively improving privacy, security, and data management in 2019, companies will reap healthier business outcomes.
Put it into practice
- Invest in GDPR-compliant marketing solutions. The European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) serves as a model for data regulations that are taking root around the world. Invest in GDPR-compliant marketing automation systems to ensure that you are treating your customers’ data in a way that will foster trust.
9. Stylish and well-placed ads will yield purchases
Ads are a vital part of the marketing landscape, and they probably always will be. However, not all consumers are happy with that.
As Forbes contributor, John Hall writes: “We knew years ago that people were running away from traditional ads. A Nielsen study from 2015 showed that the top four most-trusted sources of advertising were: people you know, branded sites, editorial sites, and reviews. Ads arenear the bottom of that list, and that fact hasn’t really changed.”
Today’s internet users are getting better at running away from ads. In 2018, 30% of internet users in the US reportedly used ad blocking software. In 2019, this number will continue its upward trend.
Ad Blocking User Penetration Rate in the US from 2014 to 2018
SAds need to be more relevant and valuable to the consumer to succeed in 2019. According to MarTech Today, “An August VidMod survey found that younger consumers are less interested in influencers and more receptive to advertising that is not only personalized, but that reflects elements of their own sense of style.”
To get around relentless ad blockers, advertisements also need to be more expertly placed. Mobile ad blockers are slowly becoming a more significant threat; however, ad blocking remains mostly a desktop issue. In 2019, invest in more mobile ads to reach a greater percentage of your audience.
Put it into practice
- Place ads in social media apps. As sponsored content blends more and more naturally into social media feeds, advertisements in social media apps remain a safe bet for 2019.
- Integrate ads with messaging apps. Ads in messaging apps are a great way to reach both mobile and desktop users. In Facebook Messenger, ads can be placed in the messenger inbox, in messenger stories, and in the form of sponsored messages.
- Send branded content via messaging apps. Use messaging apps to deliver relevant sponsored content and get up to 6 times the CPM (cost-per-mile) of traditional advertising means.
10. KPIs will flex as new data sources are introduced
As customer touchpoints continue to multiply, accurately measuring marketing performance continues to be a pain point for many organizations in 2019.
As Jim Nail, Principal Analyst at Forrester writes: “Marketers are held to an ever-higher standard of accountability to ROI and business impact. But many marketers struggle to meet these expectations, hampered by long-established habits and lack of knowledge about new data and analytics-enabled measurement approaches.”
Marketers in 2019 should be ready for another year of adjusting KPIs (key performance indicators) as new data and marketing systems are introduced. As digital changes the path to ROI, how each business tackles this challenge in 2019 will depend on their unique goals and touchpoints.
Put it into practice
- Adopt tech solutions built with ROI in mind. Adopt tech solutions with a built-in and exportable data measurement system. The completer a system’s metrics, the easier it will be for marketers to track KPIs.
No matter what your marketing plan is for 2019, it’s important to think outside the box. Respect your customers and stick to your company’s values and vision as you move your marketing initiatives forward.
By keeping these 2019 marketing trends in mind, you will have a clear view of the ways in which the marketing industry is progressing. And, you will have an idea of how your company can progress with it.
For more information on how messaging apps and chatbots can contribute to your marketing strategy, visit our blog post, 5 Effective Ways Publishers Can Make Money with Chatbots.
Do you want to learn how to reach your audience directly on messaging apps? Download our guide: How to Streamline Content Delivery with Messaging Bots