Foresight 20/20: These Are the Marketing Trends That Will Dominate the New Year
The year 2020—while it sounds straight out of a sci-fi serial, soon it will be present day.
Tomorrow is the start of the new year, and although the future isn’t quite as we may have imagined decades ago (seriously, when are we going to get flying cars?), it is bringing exciting new technologies to the world of digital marketing. Futuristic-sounding terms like “omnichannel marketing” and “neuromarketing” are popping up in industry conversations. TikTok is quickly over taking other big-name platforms as the new social darling. And Alexa is the name on everyone’s lips.
Emerging trends in marketing demand our attention because they tell us where the industry is heading. Even if TikTok fizzles out just as quickly as it rose to prominence or if everyone suddenly decides to ditch their smart speakers, today’s trends can give us valuable insights into how consumers want to engage with brands. They tell us how to create effective marketing for the next generation to come.
The future is now, and these are the trends that will usher in the new decade.
Smart Speaker Advertising
Don’t we all wish we could hire our own personal assistant to handle some of the menial day-to-day tasks? While getting a personal assistant isn’t possible for most of us, smart speakers are the next best thing. Designed to facilitate tasks like shopping and info-gathering, smart speakers are more popular than ever, with more than 66 million Americans now owning one.
Naturally, savvy brands are looking for ways to use this technology to market their products in a way that is both effective and unobtrusive to the consumer. The appeal of a smart speaker is, of course, convenience, so finding ways to integrate brand messaging into a valuable, helpful service is key.
One way that companies are doing this is by creating a “branded skill.” Branded skills make it possible for voice assistants to interact with your content directly. They basically allow users to have back-and-forth conversations via voice to find information that’s relevant to them.
For example, Johnnie Walker, a brand that should be familiar to any whiskey lover, recently collaborated with Amazon to release an Alexa skill that helps people be their own bartender. The “skill” (similar to an app) shares cocktail recipes, tells stories from the brand’s history, guides customers through personalized tastings, and recommends different blends based on preference. This voice-powered form of content marketing allows Johnnie Walker to build their brand authority through a one-on-one experience that would not be possible to do at such a large scale without technology.
Now that’s a reason to celebrate. Cheers!
While it’s easy to dismiss as just a silly video meme-sharing app, TikTok is becoming a serious contender in the social media marketing sphere.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve seen thought leaders from every industry, even so-called “serious” professions like law and finance, jump on the TikTok bandwagon. While it’s not yet equipped with the tools needed to drive leads (the platform only recently started beta testing ads and hyperlink capabilities), brands are effectively using TikTok to build brand awareness and interact on a more personal level with their audience.
And that’s vital when other big-name social networks are making it more and more difficult for brands to organically reach their audience. Engagement on Instagram is down (likely due to the platform’s decision to publicly hide likes), and marketers report a decline in audience reach.
2020 demands a different approach.
Marketers must stop trying to appeal to the algorithm at the cost of authentic interactions, and platforms like TikTok allow them to do just that with fun, value-driven content that focuses less on generating leads and more on creating connections.
Originally created as a way to securely record bitcoin transactions, blockchain technology has implications that reach far beyond the financial sector.
As the name suggests, blockchain is a permanent record of secure, time-stamped data “blocks” that are linked to one another. It does not require third-party verification because it relies on the community of blockchain users to confirm a transaction. While still in early stages, blockchain technology may be used to record any type of transactional data, financial or otherwise.
Bear with me because while it may all sound pretty technical, the possibilities for the marketing world are huge. We’ll likely see companies using blockchain to not only secure consumer data but also track media buys, record marketing campaign data, and custom tailor messaging to customers using blockchain-enabled targeting.
As more and more companies adopting blockchain technology, you can be sure that they’ll want you to know about it. With consumers becoming more concerned than ever about how their data is being used and stored, privacy marketing (basically marketing that emphasizes a commitment to consumer privacy and data protection) will allow companies to build trust and accountability with more secure privacy practices.
Guiding consumers seamlessly from the moment of discovery all the way to the final purchase, social media is getting smarter about how it enables shopping online. Instagram and Pinterest are leading the charge with shoppable posts and pins that streamline the buying experience and allow users to make purchases directly from the app.
People are turning to social media to inspire them. They’re interested in finding new products that will fit into their lifestyle, and social media allows them to do that by delivering personalized content directly to their home feed then allowing them to interact directly with the brands they love.
In the age of instant gratification, social commerce effectively shortens the sales funnel and makes it quicker and easier to move consumers along their buying journey.
With the rise of YouTube and YouTube personalities, video content has exploded in popularity over the last decade, and we’ll continue to see this trend dominating marketing conversations in the coming year.
As influencer marketing and sponsored content are normalized, consumers are becoming more willing to share branded content. In fact, 70% of consumers say that they have shared a branded video with a friend or over social media, and 76% say that they would share a branded video if it was entertaining. Basically, as long as the video provides value to the viewer, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.
Plus, video marketing is extremely effective, even in the C-Suite. According to Forbes, 65% of executives have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video, and over half share work-related videos with colleagues over social media at least once per week.
The Future is Now
Future-proofing your marketing efforts is about more than updating your website or redesigning your logo.
It’s about staying on top of marketing trends in order to better understand consumer behavior. So much has changed in the last decade with the rise of social media, the introduction of personal voice assistants and smart speakers, and the decline of traditional advertising that we need to consider how these changes have affected consumer’s buying habits.
These trends aren’t just about TikTok and Alexa and blockchain. They’re about how consumers are shifting the ways they engage online. Understanding these changing habits is key to your marketing success not just in 2020 but for another decade to come.