February 23, 2020 inMarketing

2020 Marketing industry outlook

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Welcome to the start of not just a new year, but a new decade. Before we get into the marketing trends for 2020, let’s look back at the way the industry evolved in the last decade. The change is almost dizzying:

  • Personalisation progressed in leaps and bounds, enabling tighter targeting
  • Machine learning and chatbots changed the way users and brands interact in the second half of the decade
  • Entertainment is more diversified and personalised than ever
  • Millennials showed us experience matters more than things

We also finished off 2019 with an incredible amount of noise around climate change and political upheaval. If you listen closely, you can hear a clear message in there that will inform marketing trends in 2020: trust, authenticity, and purpose are what matters to consumers. Because let’s not forget, consumers are people too. Balancing this demand for more ‘real’ interactions is an unprecedented access to data, especially in digital marketing.

Are trust and data mining at odds? Not if you know how to wield the power of data for good, and have the right tools to make purposeful decisions in your marketing campaigns.

Multi-channel digital campaigns

Ad-free streaming services (Spotify, Netflix, Disney+ and all the rest) are continuing to eat into the market share of traditional media vehicles like radio and TV. At the same time, Facebook started 2020 by allowing users to view, control and delete off-Facebook activity, putting marketers back several steps when it comes to serving high-volume ads to broad audiences.

Marketers relying on the same three-channel tactics (TV, radio, Facebook) they used in 2015 will soon find themselves left behind.

Multi-channel marketing campaigns that strategically spread tailored content across traditional, social, digital display, OOH and native platforms will have a better chance at capturing audience attention. Managing so many channels effectively is a challenge for resource-poor marketers, which is where marketing campaign management software like Mediatool becomes invaluable.

Automation and optimisation

Staying with the tech for our second marketing trend in 2020, agencies and in-house marketers need to embrace automation to optimise ROI on increasingly diverse campaigns.

  • Facebook Campaign Manager is always refining features to optimise spend for different campaign goals
  • Google recently announced a machine learning tool to automate bidding in line with campaign strategies
  • Chatbots reduce the need for human support agents and allow users to access helplines 24/7

The goal in 2020 and beyond is to reduce reliance on human decision making at the micro level, and focus marketers’ attention at the macro (campaign) level. This will result in better creative, more purposeful campaigns, and more efficient use of marketing budgets.

Purpose, trust, authenticity

Marketing in 2020 is all about the human receiving your message. Brands who can articulate their why rather than just what they sell will be given preferential treatment by consumers. 80% of consumers would be happy to pay more if a brand raised its prices to be more environmentally and socially responsible or pay higher wages.

That’s why one of the marketing trends we’re predicting for 2020 is a back-to-basics approach that champions authenticity. Authenticity builds trust, because it shows that brands exist with a purpose other than making money. Greenwashing is being called out almost immediately by consumers with access to data and the confidence to wield it, which is leading to brands with a genuine purpose leading their industries.

Personalisation with impact

Marketers in 2020 face a clear challenge: to provide relevant, personalised content to an audience segment of one. Machine learning is enabling a more strategic approach to cross-channel marketing that follows user behaviour.

The ultimate goal is to deliver useful content at key moments without interrupting the user experience. Marketers who get this balance right will have a productive 2020; those who get it wrong may be counted among the 77% of brands people wouldn’t miss if they disappeared.

Content is (still) king

When done right, content marketing is an affordable and highly effective tool to convert interest to engagement. It’s not news to anyone that well-produced content in the form of blogs, informative pages, video guides, imagery, infographics and e-books are a cornerstone of inbound marketing campaigns.

However there are a few things that will change how content is produced this decade:

  • Google Gallery Ads are already available in Beta to some advertisers and are expected to roll out early this year
  • Video content is not just desirable but essential to engage consumers
  • Google’s broad core algorithm update in January 2020 reinforced the approach of authority and relevance (i.e. quality over quantity for content)
  • Shoppable posts are among emerging forms of content that make a user’s life easier by streamlining the purchase journey

Native advertising on the rise

Native advertising assimilates ad content seamlessly into a page, so the user feels it belongs there and has not been paid for. Originally this meant paid search results and sponsored social posts. But now we are seeing new iterations of native advertising using third-party platforms to promote a brand or product with the look and feel of original editorial content.

It is subtle and effective, and as such is gaining prominence even among the world’s biggest brands. Provided the advertiser and platform are transparent about the sponsorship, consumers are seeming to engage with native advertising on a deeper level than regular advertising.

As consumers continually seek out relevant, entertaining content from trusted sources, native advertising is predicted to be a 2020 marketing trend that generates $85B globally for third-party platforms.

Voice search is not a new concept. Introduced nearly a decade ago when Apple rolled out Siri in 2011, today nearly 75% of people who own voice-activated speakers say the device is part of their daily routine. And in 2020 it’s predicted more than 50% of people will engage with voice search technology on their device. So what does this mean for marketing trends in 2020?

  • Content must be conversational, using natural language and direct answers to predictable voice searches
  • Voice searches for local businesses are increasing rapidly, meaning business information must be up-to-date in order to appear in results
  • Search rankings and domain authority play a significant role in how results are displayed

We also expect voice commerce technology - that is, platforms to help marketers and brands build audiences and reap revenue - will emerge as a marketing trend beyond 2020. Currently there are very few players in this space, such as Jetson.ai which allows brands to capitalise on voice search traffic.

How to prepare for the decade ahead

Before we get too far into 2020, take a moment to lift your head from the daily grind and look at your toolkit. Do you have the resources you need to approach 2020 with a deliberate strategy in place? Have you done your research on emerging trends in Martech?

Marketers who are ill-prepared for the rapid changes brought about by automation and data optimisation will soon find they are missing their audience. One of the most effective ways to prepare for the emerging marketing trends in 2020 and beyond is to ensure you have the right tools for the job.

That includes Mediatool, the all-in-one platform to plan, execute and track marketing and media campaigns. With access to all your marketing data and total control over budgets, placements and campaign activity, Mediatool frees up valuable time to focus on the tasks and tech that will help you get ahead.


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