2019 is officially upon us. The Christmas and holiday commercials are over and predictions about the new year have commenced.
With the flood of this new info, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed while browsing your LinkedIn newsfeed. It’s a never-ending list of updates, upgrades, evolutions of tools and technology, and digital marketing trends.
So my goal with this post is to give you the TL;DR version of all of those predictions. Recently I spoke alongside other industry experts where we discussed what trends we feel will make an impact in 2019. Keep reading to learn how you can shape your marketing strategies in the coming year.
1. Marketing teams will create and distribute more video content
Video will continue to dominate, that shouldn’t be a big surprise. Its ubiquitousness on the web is driven by sites like YouTube and Vimeo, which might make this point an unlikely prediction for 2019.
But many businesses still haven’t devoted serious resources to the creation and distribution of video content, and this represents a significant opportunity in 2019. According to Wordstream, marketers who utilize video grow revenue 49% faster than their camera-shy competitors.
New video-focused platforms and features like Instagram stories and Facebook live video are expected to continue to grow in popularity. Businesses will want to take advantage of the opportunities this growth presents. You might also want to consider repackaging existing marketing assets to make them easier to digest.
It’s likely we’ll also continue to see video usage grown on LinkedIn too. But keep in mind, just because it works for your favorite SaaS company doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your brand.
Businesses that do have the right topic, tone, and audience, however, will drive customers using video with ever-greater efficacy.
2. Integration of different marketing channels will become more common
Traditional marketing channels will retain their importance as essential drivers of new customers. But the integration of previously disparate channels has been a notable occurrence throughout last year, and it’s expected to pick up pace even more in 2019.
Different types of communication channels, such as SMS, mobile, and live chat, should be built into the customer journey to enable streamlined, effective communication.
Look for things like the ability to phone a sales rep right after receiving an email, or transition to in-person live chat while browsing a webpage. Also, expect to see an uptick in the ability to follow-up through automated Facebook chat messages.
3. Personalization will remain a top priority
Collectively, we generate about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. Organizations are awash with data. More than ever before, customers are expecting that they put it to good use.
Personalization is no longer an optional benefit. Current and potential customers now expect tailored experiences at both the beginning and end of the sales cycle.
What’s more, SMBs are figuring out how to collate and interpret the huge amount of data they have access to, with lots of third-party tools.
In 2019, we expect the customer experience will be weighted more heavily when making a decision than other factors.
Ultimately, companies will start to ask:
“How can I engage with prospects and leads in ways other than email and provide a truly personal experience?”
The gatekeepers of these communication channels are also becoming increasingly averse to content they deem irrelevant to their users. Phone carriers, for example, are very aggressively filtering mass messages. The antidote? One-to-one, personalized content.
4. Marketing tech will better cater to mobile
Mobile is pretty much where everything is headed. But current automation and marketing tools haven’t kept up with this shift as a lot of solutions still don’t cater to mobile.
Because of this, the use of tech has often meant a deterioration of personal communication on mobile. While automation tools have provided an array of improvements for desktop, there’s still a lot of friction. In 2019, we expect that software providers will start to remedy this problem.
Most people just aren’t paying enough attention to mobile.
“90% of Facebook ad traffic for our campaigns goes to mobile. This is one percentage number you won’t want to ignore this year.”Ryan Chapman, CEO of Fix Your Funnel
5. The human element will take center stage
The fact that many companies are hiding behind effective but impersonal communication tools has created a strong desire among consumers for personal connection.
Empathy isn’t a word that’s often heard in the marketing sphere. But companies that can hone in on their customers’ nuanced needs and wants are prepped for success in 2019. Businesses will seek to build mechanisms directly into their internal processes to achieve a human connection consistently and reliably and with scope for tracking and improvement.
As was touched on in our predictions for 2018 on the PandaDoc blog, this doesn’t mean abandoning automation. Rather, it’s about combining the best of both technology and the human element.
You should ask,
“How do I have a conversation rather than pitch a one-way message?”
And this is one powerful way that smaller businesses with a limited budget can compete with large companies that have powerful technology.
6. Value will be woven into marketing communication
When customers aren’t given value, any sort of communication becomes less important to them. Relevant, useful advice — whether in the form of content, tools, or entertainment like gamification — will become more interwoven into marketing as companies seek to stand out from their competitors.
Email marketing is an interesting example. Algorithms like those underlying ones in Gmail are increasingly filtering and ranking email results based on the value they provide. Complex machine learning, often working on a user-by-user basis, is driving these changes.
Because of this, the imperative for marketers to provide value is becoming more pressing. Throughout 2019, we expect marketing content to become much more focused on providing relevant information and advice rather than exclusively on pitching products and services.
7. Businesses will develop more diverse technology stacks
All-in-one’s simply don’t do everything well. Because of this, businesses are starting to develop more complex technology stacks, made up of numerous solutions that do specific jobs exceptionally well.
Integration, which has become much more widespread due to tools like Zapier, has made this possible. Instead of one-size-fits-all solutions, hubs, which are designed to manage multiple solutions, are going to be more effective and useful to marketers.
Tailored tech stacks will enable businesses to bring their USPs (unique selling proposition) to the market more effectively, as the tech stack will resemble the company’s unique offerings. It’s also likely that companies will hire sales reps with experience across a range of technology solutions.
8. Automation (especially AI) will streamline internal processes
This is a small but important prediction for 2019 marketing trends. Automation has traditionally been focused on a handful of areas like project management and behavioral marketing.
Technological innovations that are expected to come into their own in 2019, however, are likely to change this, particularly where AI is concerned. Certain internal processes with repetitive tasks, such as those related to analytics, accounting, proposal creation etc. will likely be streamlined significantly.
9. It will be easier for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to compete against larger businesses
The digital space has opened up many marketing opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. The Facebook ads platform, for instance, gives unprecedented access to marketing data, while Instagram makes it possible for small players to seek celebrity endorsements.
With access to a global audience and the ability to utilize analytics tools to refine their message and positioning, SMBs can leverage an array of marketing channels. They can also cost-effectively leverage rich media like video without having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars. What’s more, comparatively inexpensive technology with powerful features, previously out of reach, is now available to SMBs.
Tell us, what is your biggest marketing prediction for 2019? Share with us in the comments below!