2018, it was a big year.
The inexorable rise of the machines showed no signs of being any less inexorable, with artificial intelligence really hitting the mainstream conversation. Brands such as Huawei began to integrate it into their hardware, whilst entertainment providers such as Netflix began using AI to improve their personalised recommendations to users.
From an inbound marketing perspective, we had HubSpot throwing the funnel onto the marketing scrapheap and unveiling the flywheel. Whilst the growing importance of content and video marketing continued at a pace, as we discovered that nearly half of buyers view three to five pieces of content before contacting a sales rep.
Social media, of course, became ever-more integral to advertising budgets, with social media spends predicted to rise by nearly a third in 2018.
Oh, and not forgetting GDPR, which may have been a hair-pulling bureaucratic nightmare for some, but was a strong move in protecting the personal data of those within the EU. (More on this later…)
But with 2018 done and dusted and us turning our attention away from the disappointing Christmas gifts we got from granny, we ask: what are our marketing predictions for 2019?
So, Woven, what are our marketing predictions for 2019?
1. It will be all about the experience
They say content is king, but in 2019 it’s experience that’ll take the throne, as marketers explore new ways to combine media to get their message across. So, that TV ad you’re listening to? It will start emitting sounds over frequencies that your puny human ears can’t hear… but your phone can.
Which means your social media feeds, online ads and YouTube video suggestions may soon be in-sync with your television choices, providing you targeted ads that you’re more likely to engage with.
As technology becomes more and more advanced, it’s only going to get easier for marketers to create joined-up brand experiences for consumers that stretch across multiple platforms.
2. Video will become cornerstone content
Not exactly a bold prediction, but it’s one that’s hard to ignore, following video’s explosion in 2018 (get your video marketing stats here). Video has proven to be the most important format for 2018 and will only cement its pole-position place in 2019.
And, as marketers such as Gary Vaynerchuk have proven, you don’t need to create super-polished, highly scripted videos. In fact, quickfire content that keeps people’s attention, and that can be shot on a previous-generation smartphone, is as popular – or more so – than time-consuming, long-form, highly produced video.
If you feel daunted at the prospect of creating video content, our advice is to buy a tripod, microphone, phone clamp and gimbal (check out Manfrotto, Rode and SmoothQ websites for good-quality yet affordable gear) and get shooting! And, of course, if you need a hand knowing what to shoot and when to shoot it to get the most out of your video marketing strategy, then get in touch.
3. We’ll all be grateful for GDPR
It might have caused a whole host of administrative headaches when it went live in May, but GDPR presents marketers with both a wake-up call and an opportunity.
The obvious GDPR ‘stick’ is one of punitive fines for transgressing the rules. But there’s a carrot, too, in that GDPR will remind marketers of the need to be creative to earn people’s attention, custom and loyalty. Those who grasp the nettle, producing innovative and well-produced content to inform and engage their audiences rather than relying on cheap automatic opt-in tricks, will reap the rewards.
4. Social listening will take the lead
Social listening allows us to monitor what people are saying about brands (or any chosen keyword) on the web and social media. This has primarily been used to help manage reputations and aid customer service.
However, 2019 will see social listening increasingly used as a lead-generating tool, as companies work out that social listening can target people looking for the exact services they offer.
Seeing the need for this, software platforms such as Awario are introducing features that help promote and manage lead generation, turning social listening from a purely reactive tool to a proactive sales platform.
5. A healthy flex life
With the growth of co-working offices and the rise of the freelancer gig economy, 2019 will see a big shift in working cultures and practices, in which the 9-to-5 routine will seem increasingly old hat.
The rise of shared workspace companies such as WeWork is testament to the growing desire for change. WeWork is the world’s second-largest startup and has 256,000 members, most of them freelancers and entrepreneurs. But with businesses like Citibank, HSBC and Samsung moving part of their operations to WeWork, it’s clear that the demand for flexible co-working spaces doesn’t just appeal to creative and startup cultures.
Places like WeWork not only offer greater flexibility in where and when people work, they also promote a community-focused, collaborative approach. WeWork – and similar companies such as Platform – offer social events such as games nights, fitness lessons and wine-tasting sessions. These events not only make work feel more like play (which, in turn, helps employee well-being and productivity), they promote networking and a healthy cross-pollination of ideas.
The growth of co-working spaces and the flexibility they promote will further shift employee expectations in 2019, and businesses will have to embrace the flexible approach to attract the best industry talent.
So, there we have it – a quick delve into our marketing crystal ball and all has been revealed! We’ll let you know how right (or wrong) we were in December.