Guest view: Think marketing will be the same in 2019? Think again

The marketing industry is ever-evolving, and new trends are emerging daily. Many businesses and organizations find it confusing and exhausting to keep up, let alone stay ahead of the trends. As we enter 2019, remember these key trends that could impact your business’ bottom line.

The consumer will rule

In 2019, businesses will need to be prepared for traditional marketing strategies to become even more consumer-centric. Now more than ever, consumers will drive brands. Smart businesses will make it their New Year’s resolution to further identify their customers through customer personas and tailor content and specific messages to address these consumers’ wants, needs and preferences.

Consumers will demand authentic connections

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, in the U.S. only 48 percent of survey respondents said they trust businesses, which is down from 58 percent in 2017. In 2019, consumers’ demand for authentic connections with the brands they use will continue to increase. Smart brands will use public relations and marketing experts to develop authentic experiences and ambassadors for their brands targeted to both internal and external audiences. We may also see these same experts being used as powerful guideposts in protecting a brand’s key messages. 

Mobile will become a priority

Consumers will not only require brands to be easily found on mobile devices, but also expect their mobile experience with your brand to be streamlined based on consumer intent. Mobile users want more instant access; brands that make their experience quick and easy will prevail. Prioritizing calls to action specifically for the mobile consumer will be critical. Gone are the days where mobile was a nice “add on” to a brand. Mobile is now the priority.

Voice technology will change how we search

The popularity for consumers to use mobile devices for voice searches will reshape how brands develop their content. Instead of crafting copy based on keyword search (or how a consumer might search for your product by typing), smart brands will begin to develop content based on semantic search (or how a consumer would verbally ask a search engine for information). This is a growing trend and if you look closely at your personal life, you’ll even see younger consumers are being prepped by this technology to be the voice-search users of the future.

Artificial intelligence will enhance customer service

AI offers brands the opportunity to automate things like customer service. This can be a game changer for brands that face the obstacle of limited staffing. Using knowledge bases, more brands will move toward automating customer service requests. Smart brands will look for practical ways to optimize business practices using AI while not losing personal connections with their customers. This could mean using AI for initial customer requests and then sending requests for additional support to a live customer service representative.

Data collection will face challenges

In a time when data breaches and privacy are hot topics of concern, social media channels will continue to be under pressure to be more transparent about their data collection practices. For example, it was once simple for digital marketers to collect data on their target audience through Facebook. However, when Facebook users discovered digital marketers could gain access to personal information, such as average household income, e-commerce searches and other specific information, they felt their privacy was invaded. Consequently, Facebook made it more difficult for digital marketers to get this information. Digital marketers still have census data to rely on, but this information is broader. More changes to how social platforms collect and use data may be on the horizon, so it’s important for brands to keep an eye on this topic through 2019. 

In today’s world, a brand’s marketing needs to be agile and focused in order to compete. Days of “because we’ve always done it that way” are over in order to resonate with the next generation of consumers.

Julie Cross is founder and president of GRIT Marketing Group, a marketing, design and communications agency with offices in York and Lancaster. She can be reached at jcross@creategrit.com or (717) 885-0014.

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