Top 11 marketing trends to expect in 2020

2020 is fast approaching, and digital marketers have to stay ahead of the curve in anticipation of the start to a new decade.

Technology is always developing with new algorithms and solutions. And in digital marketing, it is no different.

Stay on top of what's trending in 2020 with the top 11 marketing trends expected for the new year.

1. CX and omnichannel marketing

Customer Experience and omnichannel marketing have been the buzz words of 2019 and for good reason. They both focus on providing a tailored encounter to meet and exceed a customer's expectations of a brand.

Omnichannel marketing refers to providing a seamless and unified experience for your customers by using all accessible channels. Depending on how the customer interacts with the brand, each channel adds to a personalized experience.

CX refers to how the customer interacts with a brand, from the first touchpoint to the last. CX could be the customer's experience in-store, online, or even just seeing an advertisement or social media post.

Digital marketers are only going to dig deeper with CX and omnichannel marketing in 2020. You can expect even more seamless, automated, and customer-focused communications and experiences.

2. AI and personalization

Now, this technology and it's implementation isn't exactly new, but the whole point of AI and machine learning is that as it learns, it gets more intuitive.

Some may argue that AI can be creepy, especially IoT and home assistants--listening in on conversations, recording voice commands, and tracking online activity. When a home assistant automatically provides disturbingly accurate suggestions at the exact time you need it, it can be unnerving. Notably, when it predicts your wants and needs. But it's also brilliant marketing for micro-moments.

AI chatbots have been a revelation in terms of customer care and online support. Having a message flow triggered by keywords can be sufficient but also limited with more timely and specific queries. AI chatbots already have a bank of business knowledge and, according to its algorithm, will be able to sift through it and match the information to the queries posed to it.

You may have seen a few on websites or OTT messaging services, but this year they will become a staple both online and offline -- you'll probably see them in almost every smart device you come across, according to Gartner. For example, perhaps you'll see AI in the waiting room of a hospital or doctor's office for fast and effective customer service.

3. Interactive content

More than just videos or blog posts, interactive content includes social media stories, live video, drone video walkthroughs, 360-degree photos, and shoppable posts.

Shoppable posts

Photos and videos can be tagged with links to purchase the items in the post. This allows brands to provide potential customers with easy access to products directly through a platform with a seamless experience. Instagram is an excellent example of successful shoppable posts. You can even access an Instagram store, including all tagged items of an account.

Stories

Social media in the new window shopping and has a significant impact on how consumers perceive products. 69% of people find Stories on Facebook and Instagram a great way to discover and become familiar with new products or services. And 62% of people become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in social media Stories.

4. Smart bidding

Google Ads introduced automation and smart bidding to optimize bids. The use of machine learning provides the opportunity to maximize conversion that is unique to a particular campaign level and over multiple campaigns. There is also the ability to input smart business goals which are used to focus the campaigns, and set bids to change when sales begin or end automatically. Google continues to update algorithms and release solutions, so you can expect to see more developments in this area.

5. Immersive technologies

Virtual and augmented reality came out a while ago, but brands are finally embracing the many possibilities that VR and AR can produce. It is predicted, however, that AR will outpace VR in terms of market share due to its convenience. AR experiences are easily accessible via a smartphone or tablet app compared to a VR headset.

With that in mind, many brands have begun tailoring AR experiences specific to their products and services. For example, IKEA allows customers to add furniture to space via Augmented Reality, such as deciding which color armchair suits the room's color palette best.

6. Zero position

SERP is essential in capturing and nurturing leads. Reaching the zero position means your brand will be the first organic search option available with a content-rich snippet providing value to the searcher. And, in turn, the most likely the first link to be clicked and trusted, perhaps the only one.

7. OTT and SMS business messaging

Whether you utilize chatbots or automated messaging, OTT and SMS business messaging is on the rise. It is easy, accessible, cost-effective, direct, and unique to the user. It used to be challenging to find tailored and quick communication, it used to be one or the other. Now, with predetermined keywords and trigger responses, you can get a reply instantly specific to an inquiry.

Plus, customers tend to trust businesses more when they have the opportunity to message them. 65% of shoppers prefer spending with companies they can message.

8. In the moment

Micro-moments are times when "we turn to a device – often a smartphone – to take action on whatever we need or want right now." That means we trust our devices to feed us the answer the second we need it. Google separates micro-moments into four categories:

  • I want to know
  • I want to go
  • I want to do
  • I want to buy

In the moment we want the information, we are more likely to go with the options presented to us. Therefore, Google encourages marketers to ensure brands "be there, be useful, be quick."

9. Voice assistants

The world was introduced to Siri in 2010, and since then, marketing has dramatically changed. Voice assistants have become the norm with the sophisticated development of microphones, SEO, and AI.

That's right, asking Siri, Alexa, Google, or Cortana to look something up for you effects how search engines present options. Search engine algorithms now take into account full sentences and questions, when before it was predominantly focused on keywords, not sentence structure. Optimizing for voice requests as well as keywords in SEO is essential.

With the adoption of AI, voice assistants can also provide tailored options relevant to past interactions and micro-moments.

10. Geo-fencing

Globalization is expected across the board, especially in terms of advertising and marketing. But marketing is taking more a personalized approach nowadays. You may see more location-based marketing coming into the new year. A part of tailoring CX and personalizing content comes targetting demographics and understanding what consumers in different areas and cultural differences may need to be addressed.

11. Content

Content is king. It has been for a long time, and in digital marketing, that still rings true. It's as important as ever to provide engaging, quality content that boosts SEO. As mentioned above, voice assistants have pushed content to answer real-time answers and even pose to ask questions that could provide more value and discussion. In 2020, there will be a strong emphasis on tailored content that is valuable to the consumer.

BONUS: Quantum computing

Google announced in 2019 that they were close to creating the first-ever quantum computer. It may be in 2020 that we have a functioning quantum computer. Of course, quantum computing would bring with it many scientific, medical, and technological advances first and foremost, but how would it affect marketing?

  • Mobile data coverage could be improved - 5G is already being championed globally, but with this development, mobile marketing would boom!
  • AI advancement - human-like characteristics and creative understanding would allow home assistants and the IoT to be able to provide more value than ever before.
  • Attention economy - advertisements would become increasingly tailored and relevant to users, and individuals would be incentivized for contributing relevant data for ads to reach a wider audience at a cost-effective rate.

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