Each year, the vast landscape of marketing continues to change. Just when we the experts think we have it figured out, in walks in another (better) method of making valuable connection with your customers. Although many of these developments have been around for some time, it’s necessary to keep up with last year’s growing trends that will lead to this years success. So buckle up! We’re about to dish out the top 7 marketing trends of 2019!
Keep yourself in the loop each week, and click the button below!
1. Artificial Intelligence
No, we’re not referring to the 2001 Steven Spielberg film about robots that resemble humans and contain the capacity to have emotions. Even though some believe we’re not far off from that. Your Siris and Alexas are considered A.I., after all. It exists within many other platforms and online services that you might not be aware of. For example, Netflix has the ability to suggest new TV shows to you based on your viewing history, thanks to its' recommendation system.
What A.I. is bringing to the table for marketing is an easier way to monitor consumers behavior and patterns online in real time. From targeting future leads more rapidly, to performing data analysis more easily, A.I. is transforming the way companies personalize their consumer experiences. Which leads me to another example of artificial intelligence...
Have you ever gone to a website and seen a pop-up message from the corner of your screen? It says, “Hi! Is there anything I can help you with today?” You begin to speak with the individual, but something doesn’t seem totally, well, human. Close, but a little off. Chances are you are speaking with what is known as a Chatbot, or “conversational agent”, and it’s the way of the future. These friendly software applications mimic human speech and written words to sound like a real person. While some don’t necessarily like these robotic-esque machines, they are becoming more and more popular and even more advanced, with the ability to learn from conversation.
Companies are taking the capabilities of these conversational agents to the next level, getting creative with how they are used. Disney has used the chatbot systems to promote several of their movies, making it possible for you to chat with characters from the film. This example specifically attracts a younger audience, but creates an enriching and entertaining experience for fans. Real estate and medical companies are also beginning to reap the benefits of these fast-responding bots. From answering medical questions to helping you find new homes on the market, chatbots aren’t going away anytime soon.
3. Smart Speakers And Audio
Speaking of robots talking to you, the next trend that isn’t slowing down anytime soon are smart speakers. According to techcrunch.com, 47.3 million Americans own or have access to a smart speaker of some kind. Whether it be through their mobile device, laptops, or the very popular at home speakers that have taken over, asking for the nearest pizza places or the daily weather has never been easier. Not only does this make it easier to find information quickly, but consumers enjoy that it cuts down on screen time.
So why is this the time to hop on the smart bandwagon? Voice-based commerce sales in the United States climbed to $1.8 billion in 2017 and are projected to reach $40 billion by 2022, according to Search Engine Land. With the growing popularity, these smart speakers are more affordable than ever, opening the door to countless marketing opportunities. Consumers are searching for a deeper connection with tech. With these devices, marketers can more easily reach their target audiences and, therefor, personalize content and messaging. Timothy Nichols, ExactDrive, Inc.
4. Local Influencer Marketing
So far, we’ve discussed how technology and artificial intelligence are changing the marketing landscape. But fast response and tech advancement are not the only thing consumers are holding high on their expectations these days. With all the skepticism in the world, no one easily buys into the fluff of a simple ad anymore; they want credibility. First, it all began with celebrities endorsing products for companies, drawing in all of their fans and followers— even drawing in those who weren’t their fans. The point is, it got buyers attention. However, this began to stir even more controversy for some companies, leaving the consumers to question if the celebrity endorsers even used or liked the product, or did they just receive a hefty paycheck?
In walks in local influencer marketing. Now with the social media stage, fame has become achievable for the average person willing to put in some extra effort to climb their way to “influencer” status. These are “real” people that can relate to other real people, and companies are seeing a greater response from their audience. These sources of review are more trustworthy because they provide a more honest perspective in the eyes of the consumer.
5. Social Media Stories
We’ve stressed the importance of video in marketing today in several of our blogs. However, video is coming in many forms now, is being watched on every platform imaginable, in various different formats. One of those formats being vertical video. We began to see this vertical video with the rise of Snapchat stories, and these stories eventually made their way to mega social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Suddenly, not only we can see what Carol from high school is up to these days, we can get a 24 hour play-by-play of her life. While this has made the need for high school reunions almost unnecessary, it’s expanded the possibilities for marketers to reach their audience.
Now instead of the permanent posts made to your social feed, it's possible to post something that will only live on your “story” temporarily. It also cultivates more of a relationship with your audience through allowing them to feel like they are part of your activity. It has proven to be a successful way to stir conversation. So if you’ve begun to strategize for the new year, you might need to build a entire strategy around video specifically, keeping vertical-form videos in mind.
6. Visual Search
Have you ever had or taken a picture of a product on your phone, but don’t know the name or brand, or perhaps are just looking for something similar to it? Typed and voice searches just weren’t enough, so visual was introduced. Some that have already begun to thrive off of this visual search technology are companies such as Pinterest, Bing, and a little business called Google. Users can now snap a picture in real time and be guided to a place where they can purchase the same item, or find others like it. This advancement has specifically caused excitement for e-commerce retailers and is driving customers to their sites.
Pinterest has really taken off with this technology through its app. It even allows you to select specific area of a Pin that will then pull up similar images to that selected part. Recent research from L2 found that only 8 percent of retail brands have built visual search capability into their web inventory. It’s safe to say this method of search is only going to continue to grow and become more accurate.
Finally, let’s discuss one of the more controversial marketing tools that have taken the world by storm. Simply referred to as personalization. More and more social media users, and even those who have a smartphone some argue, see ads pop up on their feeds that give you this deja vu effect, as if you’ve seen them before. Well, you probably have. Or at least you searched it online. Through data, algorithms, and analytics collected through means of search engines, marketing campaigns, and even the buyer behavior of a loyalty customers to name a few. Some find this a bit creepy, which is why it’s stirred the question “Am I being spied on?”.
However, the big takeaway from personalization is that it conveys that your company is paying attention to you and your needs. In a way, it helps to erase the irrelevant content that doesn’t pertain to you, and makes browsing more efficient. It’s likely that there will still be a level of concern regarding privacy from the perspective of your consumers, which is why you have to be thoughtful about how far to go with personalization.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of change and new trends emerging in the marketing world. Each and every business is different, and can find that implementing some of these trends in to their 2019 strategy can prove beneficial or not.
Let us know what your goals are for the new year, and we can help guide you down the path that best fits your needs!
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).