One of the reasons I love being a marketer is that the only thing constant about it is change. A bit trite or overused, right? But, I am truly excited about the speed and impact that emerging technologies will have on marketing in the upcoming year.
As a marketer who lives and breathes in the content intelligence space, I believe that marketing is at an intersection of multiple crossroads (maybe it’s a multi-level highway?) — B2B and B2C marketing converging more than ever before; analytics and creativity crossing paths; and strategy and analytics feeding off each other in new ways.
There are five trends on the horizon poised to impact our marketing world when I look to 2019:
1. Anti-personalization. As marketers, we have spent days, weeks, months, years trying to create content that is more relevant to our customers. You put something in a shopping cart — I will remarket that to you until you remember to buy it.
You downloaded a whitepaper, I will send you an email with a link to it for “future reference” and another piece of content I think you might like. With the level of personalization that marketers can tap in to, there is suddenly a backlash from those who prefer a bit more anonymity: incognito browser windows, customizing Ad Choices, and the like.
So what’s a marketer to do? Figure out what really matters to your customer. Don’t beat them over the head by letting them know you’re paying attention (and maybe being a bit stalker-ish).
Instead, understand what is really important to them as they go through their buyer journey. Focus on creating more meaningful content that can support them. Do this as a substitute for beating them over the head with personalization, and you will increase your customer relevance.
2. Video. Video Video. Is it a trend if it’s already here? In this case, I would argue (in fact scream) YES! Why? Because while everyone (not only marketers, everyone — from my friend’s 7-year-old son to my uncle who has a few decade on him) knows that video is ubiquitous. The tools to create, distribute and make it more relevant are what’s changing the future of video.
If you’re not reaching out to prospects with customized videos, why not? If you haven’t enabled your marketing teams with with a stabilizer (like a Steadicam Volt or Osmo) and a good mic to capture real time video and customer interactions at trade shows, why not? I could go on. The amazing part of where video technology is today is that we can create, customize and distribute it in ways that makes the content incredibly relevant to our audiences.
3. New content channels. We have access to new channels we are just now figuring out how to tap into. Gone are the days where I could share a marketing plan with four lines on it: TV, Print, Radio, and Outdoor.
Smart speakers, assistants and voice search are fundamentally changing how we find information. However, these aren’t channels that you can “market” through in a traditional sense. (I’m not kidding. What does a creative brief look like for Alexa?) So the challenge is to figure out how to be more relevant so that your brand, company and services are a part of the content that new content channels serve up. And this is especially true for local brands and services where we are seeing the earliest traction in smart search.
4. Authentic reviews. We may all feel a little “Yelped” to death. What I mean by that is that you really can’t purchase anything — product or services, for business use or personal use — without a request for feedback, rating, NPS scores, or CSAT. Who hasn’t been in a mad dash to request a Lyft only to be stymied by first needing to review your last ride? But is that data accurate? Are customers really giving accurate reviews or are they clicking through as fast as they can to get back to the task at hand.
As a result, there are two very different areas developing to create more customer confidence in reviews and build trust. First are sites such as Quora — question-and-answer sites that are moderated by the community but are an alternative to product reviews on Amazon.
On the other end, there is the world of dark social, which is not quite as ominous as it sounds. With dark social, customers know that their data isn’t being mined or tracked, so you can find really unbiased views of your brand or products. Instead of worrying about not being able to have data on your customers to impact your content, think of it as the most honest feedback you can get. Use it to impact your content strategy.
5. Big data accessibility. Notice that I didn’t say Big Data. The difference to me is that the tools that we have as individual marketers are changing how we access insights from the land of Big Data. Google’s Data Studio is the easiest example.
In short order, it is possible to integrate web analytics, ad data and audience statistics into a beautiful dashboard. (Or better yet, have you created a Zap in Zapier? While Zapier isn’t about accessing views of your data, it is an amazing example of how easy it is to pass data across applications.)
And, look at the Data Visualization category in G2Crowd or Capterra. Enough said. Big data is no longer difficult or scary to access. Rather, the walls are coming down even further, allowing you to use the insights from it to power your content.
Which trends will you adopt in the new year to impact your 2019 content strategy? You don’t have to do it all to be successful but think about the impact of adding one new tool to your marketing toolbox.
Looking for other ways to get 2019 off to a good start? Talk to Vennli about what content intelligence can do for your team.