“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne
From a marketing perspective, focusing on the future is always a good thing. With that said, in the 1950s, a large segment of the population was convinced a consumer in 2019 would operate a flying car or teleport to work, order meals by pushing a button, and reward the family with a much-needed annual vacation to a far-off destination, like Mars.
Let’s move forward 70 years or so and look at the trends in the digital marketing world of today. Despite the rise of AI and automation, the majority of the defining moments in life still revolve around human interactions. That’s the key connection among these digital marketing trends and the future of digital marketing in the next year and beyond.
1. Use Video to Boost Conversions and Brand Visibility
When crafting a digital marketing strategy, implementing video is an absolute must. Nearly 3 out of 4 consumers say they’ve shared a brand’s video content. Depending on what you’re selling, a majority of users confirm that watching a video of a product, prior to purchasing, significantly increases their confidence in the buying decision. Zappos found sales increased anywhere from 6% to 30% after adding videos to product pages.
Video marketing goes beyond YouTube and should engage customers on all relevant social media platforms. When creating a digital marketing strategy around video marketing:
- Keep it brief, as most consumers will make the choice to either stick with or click away from your video in 8-10 seconds.
- Make it entertaining. No one wants to watch a boring video, but you must balance professionalism versus humor. Knowing your target market is key.
- Create stories. Delivering video content that tugs at the heart, inspires, or simply gets people to laugh can organically drive sales.
- Most people are visual learners. Create video content that not only seeks to delight, but also educates. YouTube is a natural medium, but any social platform has the potential to work.
- Video sitemaps and detailed, keyword-focused descriptions of your videos are important. They allow Google’s algorithm to understand what your videos entail and then position them appropriately.
- Optimize for mobile. The majority of video content is watched on a smartphone and often at work, necessitating closed captions for all video content.
2. Create High-Quality Content Consistently
Content marketing is a fundamental piece of any marketing strategy. However, it must deliver on two fronts. It must be well-constructed and relevant and it must be engaging.
The industry trend in digital marketing isn’t content marketing alone. The future of digital marketing is a focus on content creation that high-quality, but also can be shared across multiple platforms and will engage readers using a unique take on a familiar message. Several hotel groups, for instance, use virtual tours of their property to entice viewers but then link back to quality evergreen content that provides insights into all the property’s features.
3. Follow Influencer Trends (Think Micro)
Influencer marketing is powerful. A paid celebrity endorsement can drive serious brand visibility. Most businesses can’t afford to have a star on their promotion plans. Brands who do are often left exposed to a lack of trust from their audiences. Consider creating a team of micro-influencers when crafting your 2019 marketing strategy.
- Engagement (versus visibility) is often higher among micro-influencers than it is with celebrity-level influencers. Studies show that dollar-for-dollar, micro-influencers are more cost-effective.
- Micro-influencers tend to garner more trust than celebs, as their deeper, more organic commitment to their craft drives trust. Celebrity endorsers can seem “just in it for the money.”
- Micro-influencers can be harder to find than traditional, high-profile individuals. Many brands start by using hashtag campaigns, limit searches to local influencers only, or automate their search using an online tool that connects brands to micro-influencers.
- Enable your employees to act as micro-influencers by creating brand advocate opportunities/positions at your business.
- Starbucks has done an admirable job of maximizing brand awareness via brand advocates due to its omnichannel consistency.
4. Incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Though we stated earlier that trends in digital marketing still largely revolves around the fundamentals of human-to-human communication, marketers simply cannot ignore the power of AI in 2019. It’s more commonplace than it was just a couple of years ago.
AI is used around the globe to analyze search patterns, mine through billions of consumer behavioral data points, scour social media posts and blogs for important information, and even automate customer service. Here are several ways you may want to leverage AI:
- Identify which problems you think AI can help you solve. AI technology must add something to your existing suite of services or products or it will be seen as superfluous. If data mining is taking too much time or is an inefficient process, for example, use AI.
- Understand the link between mobile and AI. In 2017, LG Appliances enabled all of their home appliance products with Wi-Fi connectivity. This is a direct indication that they see the smartphone as the central control unit for virtually everything we interact with on a daily basis.
- Create preemptive marketing by using AI to predict what the customer will naturally want next. According to recent research, Netflix saved $1 billion in 2016 alone using this tactic, and your brand can send targeted messages or conduct ad buys more strategically by doing so.
- Enhance customer conversion management activities by using AI to forecast the ideal time to meet with a prospect, send written or email correspondence, or even eliminate a prospect from your book of business altogether.
5. Make Way for Voice Search
Think about the first time you used voice-to-text to send a message. It was pretty revolutionary. As 2019’s marketing plan unfolds and the future of digital marketing plays out, it is crucial to include voice search as a key component of your SEO strategy. Research indicates that in just two years, about 50% of all searches will be conducted via voice. When integrating voice search into your marketing scheme, keep the following points in mind:
- Google and other search engines tend to favor local results. That’ll be true with voice searches, too.
- Most voice searches via Google result in only high ranking sites being displayed, which increases the pressure on individual brands to maintain a relevant, high-quality presence to drive a top position for a particular SERP.
- Voice searches are typically shorter, more pointed interactions, which are currently relegated to finding information that could once be gathered from a phone book. Knowing this is important as you’ll have less time to make a big impression. Also, keep in mind voice search will likely mature into something quite different in the near future.
2020 is right around the corner, and today’s leading trends in digital marketing, when mastered, will help lead your brand into the future with a clear vision for success. From AI to video marketing, micro-influencers or traditional high-quality content, 2019 will represent a year that demands an ideal balance between consistent execution of traditional marketing activities and an eye toward the future of brand building.