With 2019 just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your marketing strategy for the year ahead. As new technologies and trends changing the business landscape, 2019 looks set to be a year of real change for marketers.
But what should your business be looking out for in the new year to enhance your own marketing strategies? Here are just four marketing trends that your brand needs to get on board with for 2019.
We are increasingly seeing more and more search queries performed through voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa, and with good reason. It’s quick, convenient, and saves the searcher trawling through reams of text to find their solution.
Recognising this trend are dozens of big-name brands, who use voice search throughout their marketing strategies.
Take the fast food chain Burger King for example, whose “What is the Whopper burger?” ad hijacked viewers’ Google Assistants to provide a definition of the brand’s iconic burger. While it was eventually blocked by Google, the ad was a fine example of how brands can exploit voice search for their marketing.
Voice search has been massive in 2018, and with voice assistants becoming increasingly common in households around the world, they are ripe with opportunity for savvy brands to market to the masses.
Takeaway tip: optimise your website for voice search. Increase your page speed and create snippet-friendly FAQ sections to answer the most commonly-asked questions from your customers. A little work now prepares you for a trend that shows no sign of slowing in 2019.
First introduced by Vine back in 2012, ephemeral content has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
Snapchat made the concept of short, temporary videos its own, but Instagram perfected it. And with YouTube’s recent addition of seven-day stories for creators, ephemeral content is only gaining traction.
Ephemeral content forces brands to get creative with their marketing. The successful ephemeral story is one that speaks volumes in mere seconds, breaking down the essence of their brand and communicating it creatively.
It’s hard to nail, but once you get it right, it makes for a story that hits a chord with your customers and drives sales and engagement.
Takeaway tip: if you haven’t introduced stories into your marketing strategy yet, 2019 is the year to do so. And if you have, it’s the year to take it further. Create stories that play on customer FOMO and build a sense of urgency to compel them to swipe up or click through to your business.
Raw, candid, and unscripted, live video is the marketing trend that only the bravest of brands dare to embrace. But embrace it they must, because its popularity is only set to soar in 2019.
Like ephemeral content, a range of social platforms have introduced live streaming options for their users. The most recent of these is Instagram’s IGTV, through which users can upload videos up to an hour long.
Live video’s popularity lies in its intimate, off-the-cuff nature. Rather than a scripted, often predictable narrative, viewers take the journey with the brand. It’s exciting and dynamic, and as brands become ever more creative with its application, it will surely continue well into 2019.
Takeaway tip: Events, product launches, and behind-the-scenes peeks all make for perfect live content that customers love. And don’t be put off by its unrehearsed nature. Create a rough script before hand as a fallback, but don’t feel like you have to stick to it.
Influencer marketing is less a trend and more a defining marketing strategy in itself, experiencing its own internal trends and evolutions. Partnering with popular social stars to promote a brand, product, or service is a powerful marketing tactic at a brand’s disposal.
But where businesses previously sought the likes of Kim Kardashian and Zoella for their marketing collaborations, savvy brands today have visions of smaller targets: micro-influencers.
These are social stars with far smaller followings than their macro counterparts, commanding a following around 10-100K strong. Despite this apparently small following, micro-influencers deliver something highly valuable for brands: engagement.
With such a close, intimate following, micro-influencers are able to connect on a more personal level with their fans. As a result, their followers pay more attention to their content, which includes their branded posts.
And part of micro-influencers’ allure lies in their accessibility: every business, large or small, can take advantage of these niche social stars. They’re affordable but effective, and brands for virtually every industry have a number of influencers in their niche to choose from.
And as the world of business also becomes more accessible, the micro-influencer trend will only become more important in 2019. The rise of easy ecommerce store builders makes it easy for people to start a business. And with an increasing number of online businesses for sale, it’s even possible to simply buy your way into entrepreneurship.
Startups and SMEs will benefit hugely from micro-influencers in 2019. They’re an inexpensive but fruitful marketing solution that form the bedrock of a growing online (and offline) business.
Takeaway tip: identify micro-influencers within your business niche using a content research tool. Reach out to them to start a collaboration that drives engagement for your brand. Aim for more than just products: real engagement with a brand lasts forever, so create a relationship with your business rather than just your products.
BRANDS AS EXPERTS
In an age of fake news and alternative facts, consumers increasingly demand authority and truth in their content. And with the rise of alternative news sources such as Breitbart or the Canary, customers seek sources who can deliver genuine, fact-based thought.
And what better authority than a brand that owns its niche? From essential industries such as healthcare to leisure and entertainment brands, businesses can position themselves as authorities within their field.
Many brands’ success is down to this position of expertise. By showing their customers that they know their industry and its deeper machinations, their product or service is naturally informed by this.
More and more, we are seeing brands look to scientific research and studies to educate their customers.
Take the beauty brand L’Oréal for instance. Alongside its products, how-to guides for skincare and detailed ingredients lists help promote the brand as a beauty publisher. These intelligent and comprehensive resources lift L’Oréal out of the commercial and position it as an expert — a powerful thing in 2019.
Takeaway tip: by virtue of owning a business in an industry niche, you are (or have the capacity to be) an authority. Create detailed resources that educate your customers about your industry. In doing so, you become more than simply a business — you become an authority.
2018 has been a whirlwind year for brands and marketers everywhere. We’re in a very different place to where we were a year ago, and 2019 looks set to promise just as much, if not more, change. Pay close attention to developments in the fields above, and keep your business ahead of the game in 2019.