2019 will be the break through year of what has been predicted for years but hasn’t yet materialized to any significant extent: big brands, advertising agencies, retailers, and leading media will disappear into insignificance, creating space for new things and better solutions besides new social- and value systems. The trend towards something new and the challenges in digital marketing will simply increase even more: it continues to be all about personalization, voice and the increasing dominance of Instagram; Amazon will go head to head with Google and Facebook in online advertising market share; and collaboration within agencies and agile brand management will keep on being important.
Without doubt, Amazon will dispute the positions of Google and Facebook regarding market shares in online advertising this year: with “Amazon Console” (formerly AMS), the platform already offers one of the most impactful supports in the "lower sales funnel" and it will be most interesting to see the expansion of the re- & targeting options on the “Amazon DSP” (formerly AAP). Based on shopping behavior data, buyer segments can already be targeted on and off the marketplace, and Amazon uses its re-targeting logic for its SEA product ‘Sponsored Products Ads’ and extends the campaigns to external websites.
AI becomes a living reality: Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are currently not only hotly discussed in marketing but already find their way into practice. That goes for digital as well as traditional companies. The target group analysis becomes more and more accurate through AI and creates added value for the entire media strategy through detailed insights. Obviously, AI is becoming reality in marketing and proves to be a useful tool this year.
Analytics tools bring more automation: In 2019, businesses will have to deduce more and more actions from data. For that purpose, most analytics tools started to allow automated responses. The manual handling of marketing campaigns will be replaced by more automatisms within the next few years. So, if you consider becoming an AdWords Manager in the future, just keep in mind that this job profile will be for sure one of the first to be replaced by algorithms.
The next year marks a turning point in the way companies run their brand: companies are moving away from static brand identities to a constantly evolving agile branding that can adapt to consumer preferences at any time, because consumers no longer buy brands they cannot relate to, do not trust, or whose values do not match theirs. Hence, successful CMOs and marketing teams need to look at their brands as transformable items that can constantly be adapted, depending on the expectations of the consumers.
Voice next to touch: Digital voice assistants, as well as smart speakers like Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot or Google Home, enjoy growing popularity. Experts predict that the number of voice users will double over the next three years. When Alexa, Cortana, Siri & Co. are working more and more accurately, voice control has great future potential and will change our consumer behavior. It does not matter if we launch an on-demand video on the couch, look for the next hardware store in the car or let the recipe for food be read in the kitchen, the marketing of the future must prepare for the voice search relationships with brands.
Personalization finally finds its way into SMEs - even in traditional B2B industry companies, because the expectations of users in the digital world are simply dominated by digital pioneers such as Google, Amazon and Co. Thanks to the integration of AI-based programs, personalization has been getting easier than ever before since it doesn’t require a complicated set of tools or technical know-how to create personalized websites and targeted user experiences. Ultimately, it is only necessary to realize that a significantly improved user experience through personalization helps companies to be more successful.
Prototyping for Communication: Scrum, Kanban, Design Thinking, Prototyping and Collaboration are working methods that have their origins in product design and software development. In recent years, they have found their way into the development of digital platforms, products and services. Now we are experiencing how they are beginning to change the way in which communication agencies work across the board. In the future, both communication strategies and communication campaigns and measures will be designed and planned more and more collaboratively - together with customers - iteratively crafted and designed in sprints.
Stories will shape the social media landscape in the year 2019: The advantage of the Instagram format lies in its simplicity. Since the contents delete themselves after 24 hours, users post their content much more spontaneously, less worried about the picture being perfect or not. One can assume that this trend will continue and that companies will focus more on that format. It remains to be seen whether this development will be limited to Instagram or whether the stories will prevail on Facebook or even WhatsApp.
TripAdvisor becomes a Social Network: The travel industry may look forward to repositioning TripAdvisor as a social network, as the booking site is getting redesigned for this year. Then, users can create their own profile page, post videos and photos, and follow their friends, brands, and influencers for an exchange of ideas and personalized travel tips.
People want to be taken seriously as individuals. People act and decide based on feelings. Therefore, they search for trusting connections with other people - especially in the digital age – and we, as marketers, need strong, identity-creating stories that connect people across all areas in a lively way.
B2B Marketing will become more measurable, more creative and more scalable in 2019:
LinkedIn is constantly expanding its advertising opportunities and Xing took the first serious steps in 2018 as an advertising platform. Online and offline processes are more strongly linked, such as automated mailings through digital print letter shops to companies visiting a B2B website.