1. Formation of small, closed “niche” communities.
Instead of large online communities that grow too big, too fast, we anticipate a rise in brands forming smaller, tight-knit groups. We’ve consistently seen that the larger the community, the lower the engagement—mostly due to members feeling like their voices are being drowned out.
Smaller groups with participants bound by shared interests, such as products, perspectives, or physical location, create a more intimate environment for people to connect and share. Combined with actionable analytics, these smaller communities can be further engaged and “activated” to drive increased transactions, social value, and ROIs.
2. Greater dependency on marketing automation software.
Automation tools like social posting schedulers, email services, lead scoring, and chatbots are helping teams cover more ground. As marketing channels continue to evolve, so must your marketing and sales teams, and using automation to get ahead of the game is a trend that’s here to stay.
Be intentional, though. If you’re going to leverage automation tools, make sure you are proficient with your chosen softwares so you can maximize their effectiveness!
3. Utilization of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
As marketing data volumes grow exponentially, the costs of warehousing that data grows, too. Generating actionable insights from that data is imperative, or else your investment in your data will be wasted. Machine learning and AI are perfect at processing large quantities of data to drive meaningful insights, and we forecast that the top brands will look to leverage AI-powered tools to drive key decisions.
In particular, get ready to see an increase in real-time tools to help marketing and sales teams mere seconds after the data is generated. Both machine learning and AI can derive valuable insights and make connections between huge data sets—something the human brain just can’t compete with. The ability to process data in real-time is a game-changer since the longer data is left, and becomes stale, the less value that can be derived from it. Teams relying on data in the moment will be the first to reach their customers with personalized, relevant content.
4. Dominating experiential campaigns with people-based analytics.
Traditionally, our analytics platforms focused on session-based analytics and we find ourselves guilty of marketing to devices. By leveraging new technologies, there will be a shift towards an increased emphasis on people-based analytics.
We’ve tended to use things like web page views to generate aggregate statistics, since it’s been difficult to associate consumer activities across multiple channels like social, email, and website. But thanks to machine learning and AI (see above), gathering data through probabilistic approaches will become a lot easier and accessible for digital marketers.
The result? More accurate attribution modeling and customer journey insights, with fewer vanity metrics and KPIs.
5. Increasing shift for personalized experiences (with privacy!).
We’re ending with this one because it really is the linchpin for all the rest. Personalization has been steadily becoming more important for resonating with customers, but we’ll see its value really shine in 2019. In fact, the success of the first four trends we listed will hinge on how they can best be leveraged to create personalized experiences for the consumer. After all, what good is having individualized data if you’re not going to translate that into an individualized experience?
That said, privacy was under a spotlight in 2018, and we’ll see stricter privacy regulations put in place for the years to come. This is a move in the right direction in this digital age. There’s a fine line between personalization and privacy, and you must find that balance to win customer loyalty. A customer that feels both safe and understood? That’s your 2019 winning formula.