To gain an edge over your competitors, you must always find ways to stay one step ahead of them. Now that 2019 has come to an end, and we are well into the new year, it’s the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate your marketing strategy.
The best marketers follow the trends. But the early adopters to those trends typically get the lion’s share of the profits.
So don’t be the last person to jump on the bandwagon.
Continue doing the things that are already working for you, like seo, email marketing, social media marketing, and mobile-first optimization. But you still need to keep your finger on the pulse.
Based on my research, I’ve identified the top 10 marketing trends that you need to watch out for in 2020. Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to leverage new technology and marketing strategies.
1. Voice Search
According to a recent study by Comscore, 41% of people use voice search at least once per day. Based on those projections, more than 50% of all Internet searches will be voice search in 2020. Hard to believe that one but if it is anywhere close to true you have to get on it.
What’s the reason for this surge? Smart speaker ownership.
About 72.5 million smart speakers were sold worldwide in 2019. This compares to the 52 million sold in 2018 and 36.8 million sold in 2017.
It’s estimated that 291 million smart speakers will ship globally in 2025. Roughly 101 million will be sold in 2020.
With more people buying smart speakers, voice search must be a priority for marketers across all industries.
Another reason why voice search is on the rise is because the technology is drastically improving. It’s not the same voice recognition that we saw two or three years ago. Back then, you were lucky if a device understood half of what you were saying.
But today, voice assistance is more accurate than ever before.
Just look at the drastic improvements made by the most popular voice assistants on the market today. As of August 2019, Google Assistant has a whopping 93% accuracy rate.
In 2020 these numbers will continue to rise. Pairing that with the popularity of smart speaker ownership means that voice search needs to be taken seriously.
2. Business Intelligence Solutions
If you’re anything like me, you probably check Google Analytics at least a couple of times per day. Maybe you have a little bit more self control and only use it on a weekly basis.
Google Analytics is a great tool, and it’s something that you can continue using to gain valuable information about your website. But in 2020, it won’t be enough to keep an edge over your competitors.
Marketing is continuously evolving. There are new channels being introduced and lots of different ways to monetize your website.
The customer journey has changed as well. Transactions aren’t as black and white as they used to be. Now you’ve got to focus on things like upsells, cross-sells, repeat customers, and shopping cart abandonment.
Traffic and customers are coming from various marketing channels, which is causing them to behave differently. As a result, more businesses are looking for ways to optimize the lifetime value of their customers with business intelligence solutions.
According to Google Trends, business intelligence has been steadily rising over the past five years.
The topic reached its peak popularity in November 2019. But based on this graph, I expect that to be surpassed at multiple times throughout 2020.
Specific solutions, like Power BI by Microsoft, have a 1,700% increase in search popularity over that same period of time.
More marketers are going to take advantage of these resources in 2020. To get your feet wet with BI, you can start with Google Data Studio for free.
There was a time when it was possible to beat your competitors by just outsmarting them and doing things better than everyone else. But over the past couple of years, the playing field has started to level out. Technology is available for all businesses to use.
We already talked about how business intelligence solutions will continue to dominate 2020. But marketing automation is something else that you need to take advantage of.
The main reason why you must use automation is because everyone else is doing it.
With automated marketing technology, you can reach your customers and prospects in real-time based on their behavior and actions. Click funnels, segmented drip campaigns, and live chat bots are some common forms of marketing automation, but there are other ways to take this to new levels.
Studies suggest that the marketing automation software industry will grow at an 8.55% rate in 2020.
Last year, the number of vendors providing marketing automation software grew by 27%. This is a clear indication of the demand for this industry.
Currently, 75% of marketers are using at least one type of marketing automation tool. That percentage will climb higher and higher in the coming years.
4. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is nothing new. Companies have been leveraging their relationships with influencers over the past few years because of the effectiveness and cost benefits.
Small, medium, and large corporations are turning to micro and macro influencers to promote their brands, products, and services “organically” on various marketing channels.
If you’re not using influencer marketing, you need to start. Why?
In 2020 this trend will continue to thrive and create disruption in all industries. Take a look at influencer marketing spending worldwide over the last five years.
It’s estimated that brands will spend up to $10 billion on influencer campaigns in the coming year. That’s roughly double what we saw just two years ago.
An individual’s personal brand has never been more powerful. That’s why Kylie Jenner was able to build a billion dollar company without spending money on ads.
Consumers have grown to trust influencers and engage with their content. Marketers have recognized this and will continue to increase their influencer budgets in 2020.
5. Customer Experience
2020 is the year of the customer. We all know the age old saying, “the customer is always right.” But technology has changed the way that customers interact with brands.
It’s no longer about just pleasing the consumers from a customer service perspective; it’s about meeting their needs at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Having a great product or service isn’t enough anymore. Factors like convenience, availability, and meeting the preferences of your customers go a long way.
You must accept multiple payment options, have a friendly return policy, keep your technology up to date, and provide speedy shipping options.
Here’s a look at what consumers value the most when it comes to CX.
As you can see from the chart, factors like efficiency, convenience, and friendly service are leading the way.
73% of consumers say that CX plays an essential role in their buying decisions, but only 49% of people say that businesses are providing them with a good experience.
71% of people said that employees have a significant impact on their experience. This makes sense, considering that 60% of consumers will stop interacting with brands if they don’t receive friendly service.
Customer service is nothing new. In fact, it’s basic business 101. But the way the customer experience will be prioritized to meet new demands in 2020 is something that you need to keep an eye on.
6. Visual Content
Content creation has been trending upward for years. Written content isn’t going anywhere since it’s crucial for SEO and driving traffic to your website.
But according to Forbes, 91% of people say they prefer visual content over text-based content.
Visual content is a great way to build brand awareness, generate leads, and drive engagement. By 2021, it’s estimated that 82% of all Internet content will be video.
Here are some quick facts about visual content that you need to know in 2020.
I understand the importance of visual content, which is why I always try to include some graphics in my blog posts.
Companies have recognized this trend and adapted accordingly. They are spending more money on video marketing and custom visuals to reach their audiences on as many distribution channels as possible.
Failure to create visual content in 2020 will cause you to fall behind your competitors.
Personalization is directly tied to CX. Customers only want to see information that’s relevant to them. If everyone who visits your website is seeing the exact same thing, then you’re doing something wrong. This is especially true for those of you who are in retail.
A 55-year-old male customer living in Los Angeles isn’t shopping for the same products as a 21-year-old female living in New York City.
According to Instapage, personalized homepage content influenced 85% of customers to buy. 92% of consumers were influenced by shopping cart recommendations.
Companies that don’t personalize content for their customers will struggle in the future. 74% of customers get frustrated when content isn’t personalized.
51% of customers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions in 2020.
To improve your personalization tactics, you need to encourage customers to create profiles, implement a loyalty program, and leverage artificial intelligence. This brings us to our next trend of the year.
8. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
I know—AI and machine learning have been hot topics for years now. These buzzwords have penetrated nearly every industry, and businesses have been preparing to adapt.
But in 2020, businesses will do more than just prepare for AI. They will start implementing it in as many different ways as possible.
AI insights are directly tied to personalizing the customer experience. Machine learning technology can segment your customers and automatically optimize the experience based on their behavior and purchase history.
Take a look at the predicted growth of AI, based on revenue from enterprise software across the world.
84% of businesses are adapting to AI because they feel it will give them a competitive advantage. 75% of companies say that this technology will help them move into new markets.
The crazy part is that we’ve still just barely scratched the surface in terms of what AI is actually capable of accomplishing from a marketing perspective. I think 2020 will help shape new developments in the world of AI and machine learning for seo experts, writers and marketers in general.
9. Live Video
We know that visual content and video marketing is king. But live video has become increasingly popular over the years.
Live streaming via social has really paved the way for this trend. Basically, anyone with a social media profile can “go live” for their followers at a moment’s notice. Even LinkedIn has launched a live broadcast feature for the professional market.
Here’s a look at the current and projected growth of live video in the next five years.
By 2025, it’s estimated that the live streaming industry will reach $125 billion.
35% of marketers are currently using live video. But with influencer marketing continuing to rise (as we previously discussed), I expect this number to increase by the end of 2020.
10. Data-Driven Campaigns
Technology has been a significant theme with the trends on our list so far. Marketers will use the information collected from BI solutions and AI software to make data-driven decisions.
Not only will these decisions improve the customer experience, but they can also help companies with business-related opportunities.
Deciding whether or not to launch a new product or target a new customer group can be answered with data.
In fact, data analysis is the most sought after skill for new marketing hires in 2020.
Data-driven insights are being used by companies of all shapes and sizes. Red Bull, a global giant in the beverage industry, was recently able to leverage data analysis to learn more about which customers consume energy drinks.
This case study explains how their target market and customer behaviors were changing. Based on the data, Red Bull was able to reach customers on new marketing channels and deliver more value to retailers selling their products.
2020 will be a big year for marketers. There are more tools and technology available at our fingertips than ever before.
Companies that are able to recognize and adapt to these trends will have the most success in the coming year.
You can’t afford to ignore the marketing trends that I’ve identified above. I didn’t pull these out of thin air or just make random assumptions. Every single point on the list is based on data and extensive research.
Now that you’ve recognized these trends, it’s time to adapt and integrate them into your marketing strategy. To gain a competitive edge in 2020, contact our team here at McDougall Interactive, and we’ll make sure you have an advantage.
We would also love to now what some of your top marketing tactics for 2020 are? LinkedI ads, writing a book or going against the grain with micro targeted print media? The door is wide open if you are willing to test and prove the ROI of each tactic you try.