- What? The new year is about doing more and dreaming less.
- So What? Marketers should put what they’ve learned in the 2010s into practice.
- Now what? Spend the year implementing the hot topics in marketing.
- We’re closing the book on a decade marked by digital marketing trends, influencers and AI. This final year of the 2010s means less dreaming and more implementing.
The largest percent change (8% increase) in marketing knowledge investments in the prior 12 months was in developing new marketing knowledge and capabilities.
RISK : Not sharing the knowledge across teams
26% of creative professionals say that a lack of cross-departmental collaboration is the biggest barrier to executing digital initiatives.
OPPORTUNITY: Deeper customer insights
31% of consumers say that they would find great value in services that intuitively learn about their needs over time to customize product, service or content recommendations.
RISK: Failing to speak with customers directly
Only 42% of B2B content marketers say they have conversations with customers as part of their audience research. As explained in Liam Fahey’s The Insight Discipline, insight often comes from small data—which means interacting directly with consumers.
OPPORTUNITY: Working across departments
Professionals give their company’s cross-department collaboration efforts a 3.5 out of 5 rating, leaving plenty of room for improvement.
RISK: Conflicting goals and priorities
37% of professionals say conflicting goals and priorities are the biggest barrier to cross-departmental collaboration at their companies.
43% of U.S. consumers are more likely to shop with companies that always personalize experiences, and 31% say that they would find great value in services that intuitively learn about their needs over time to customize product, service or content recommendations.
RISK: Limited concern about data privacy and security
92% of U.S. consumers say it is extremely important for companies to protect their personal information, and 48% will try to buy only from companies they believe will protect their personal data, though they don’t fully trust all of the brands they conduct business with. Despite high customer concern about data privacy, marketers rank the topic as only 3.6 on a scale from 1 (not at all worried) to 7 (very worried).
OPPORTUNITY: Making a social stand
64% of consumers are belief-driven shoppers, a 13-point increase from the year prior. It’s not just millennials, either: A majority of all ages and all incomes are belief-driven buyers. 75.8% of CMOs who take a social stand say it shows their company cares about more than making profits.
RISK: Negative effects on the company’s ability to attract and retain customers and partners
78.6% of CMOs do not believe it’s appropriate for their brand to take a stance on politically charged issues. Although this is down from 82.6% six months prior, CMOs remain concerned that taking a stand will negatively affect their ability to attract business, make them stand out in the wrong way and be a waste of resources.
High-Tech Trends to Watch
Authentication technology: 67% of consumers are interested in fingerprint recognition to make payments. 59% of consumers abandon online purchases because they didn’t have their debit or credit card and 49% abandon their cart because they forgot their password.
Smart speakers: The number of smart speaker users in the U.S. is expected to grow to 76.5 million by 2020. The average smart speaker user has the same profile as most early tech adopters: affluent, older millennial males. However, smart speakers have started to gain traction among other demographic groups, particularly younger Gen X women with children.
Nanoinfluencers: Marketers are tapping nanoinfluencers—online personalities with as few as 1,000 followers—to reach desired consumers. Unlike celebrity influencers, these smaller-scale influencers are easier to work with and their lack of fame makes them more approachable and more genuine to their followers. Instagram users with 1,000 to 10,000 followers earn the highest “like” rate, and 82% of surveyed customers say they would be very likely to follow a recommendation from an influencer of this size.
Blockchain: If you still don’t know what blockchain is, it’s time to do your research. Blockchain may have major implications for marketers, as the technology is predicted to change data collection, digital display ads, consumer targeting and digital asset security.
Chatbots: Chatbots can deliver the speed consumers crave. The top three potential benefits of chatbots identified by consumers are 24-hour service (64%), instant responses (55%) and answers to simple questions (55%).
Snackable content: Think tweet-able graphics and bumper ads (typically six seconds in length). These easily digestible pieces of content are almost too short to ignore. Google tested more than 300 bumper campaigns in 2016 and found that 9 out of 10 drove a significant lift in ad recall.
We Asked Marketers: What’s In and What’s Out for 2019?
“Continued migration to digital marketing and budget shifts away from traditional sources. Increased buzz on predictive analytical modeling and focusing more on the future than on past historical data.”
—Bernie Jaworski, the Peter F. Drucker Chair in Management and the Liberal Arts
“Widespread use of virtual and augmented reality as a marketing tool. With commercial applications for these technologies coming online at a breakneck pace, these are no longer futurist concepts, they are the present. … Look for [small- and medium-sized businesses] to get in on the act in 2019 and determine creative ways to use this exciting technology to engage their customers and prospects.”
—Adam Grossman, CMO and EVP of Boston Red Sox & Fenway Sports Management
“I have the same item that I’ve been unsuccessfully wishing away for years, but it’s getting closer to reality all the time: the end of demographic targeting.”
—Peter Fader, professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
“Treating content like a test-and-learn budget. It should be a cornerstone of marketing and sales strategy. (Same with) fixed marketing plans and budgets. Agile is the new world order for marketers, not just for developers.”
—Erika Brookes, CMO of eCommerce marketing automation platform Springbot
“User interest is no longer king; marketers need to focus more on intent. While a company’s value and story will be the same, the language around any outreach must reflect the intent of the user. Whether that’s looking for growth, profit or something more qualitative, [language] needs to clearly align with your user’s intended outcome.”
—Hana Abaza, director of marketing at Shopify Plus