Marketing, particularly digital marketing, is a continually developing process which is impacted by rapidly evolving technology as well as consumer preferences, including a pushback against what is perceived as an increasingly intrusive marketing method. As we begin a new decade, here are a few critical digital trends to look out for in 2020.
While Artificial Intelligence and Data-driven marketing will continue to grow exponentially, there is also a movement towards a more ‘human’ marketing process, where the focus will be more on people rather than technology. In other words, automated interactions between brands and their customers are about to hit the ceiling. As customers are increasingly looking for brands that provide a human interface as opposed to chatbots or robots.
Digital marketing has already started moving from selling a product to selling an experience. This trend is likely to intensify in 2020, with audio-visual storytelling becoming increasingly critical. Customer experience today has gone beyond convenience, personalisation, seamless mobile experience, secure payment options and efficient and helpful service. Both Millennials and Gen-Z audiences are socially aware. They are eager to pay a premium for products and services offered by companies that reflect similar ideals to them. And now, we have the Gen Alpha – internet-savvy kids born post 2011!
You cannot ignore the exponential growth of smart speakers and voice search, which has led to a radically different method of branding. Your digital content will need to be increasingly optimised for voice search, which is used differently. By adapting your content to serve longer more conversational queries, voice is going to be one of the primary challenges of this year.
However, this cannot be at the expense of great visuals and intelligent design for use on incredibly popular image-focused platforms like Pinterest and Instagram; or for that matter, video platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok. Just like storytelling, digital content visuals will become increasingly critical.
The spurt in attempts to deliver personalisation has had an opposite effect, with customers getting increasingly uncomfortable with marketing messages from multiple channels. So, one of the primary digital marketing challenges will be to deliver personalised marketing messages which help build a relationship between the brand and the individual consumer, already overwhelmed with similar attempts. In other words, marketing personalisation can no longer be limited to automatically changing the name of the customer in your digital offerings like newsletters. Artificial intelligence and data collection from social media accounts can help ‘hyper-personalised’ your digital offering but remember that it can backfire if the customer believes you have intruded on her or his privacy. As it gets increasingly simpler for the consumer to opt-out of data collection methods, which means a new strategy will have to be designed for the outliers.
Another important trend to consider is something called Strategic Marketing Transformation, which essentially means brands will increasingly start thinking beyond what they are doing to why they are doing it, and initiate changes to fundamental business procedures and processes. The digital strategy too will have to shift accordingly to reflect this, even as it focuses on improving digital presence through online presence, data collection, building customer relationships and engagement, and publishing relevant quality content. In other words, digital marketing will increasingly encompass larger swathes of a company’s presence and outreach.
Also, expect to keep testing multiple platforms and targeting options, including social media, to find an optimum mix and the increasing revival of Pay-Per-Click campaigns on specialised platforms.
In a nutshell, expect 2020 to be the year of juggling between digital aggressiveness with the increasing trend towards consumer privacy. As the decade progresses, don’t be surprised that what we saw between 2010-2019 will have become redundant.