My top ten marketing trends for 2020. Do you agree?
1. Content creation –
I have made this number one on my list for 2020 because so many businesses are professionalising the creation of their marketing “content”. With larger companies already on this route, smaller businesses should follow during the coming year.
Larger businesses are hiring armies of in-house specialists to work as content specialists, and I am sure that the strong demand for digital content skills will continue into 2020. The work requires ideas, facts and clear business writing. Video will be part of this story along with blog posting and podcasts.
With everyone publishing so much information, I see two issues. First, audiences are becoming overloaded and may switch off completely. Second, there is a temptation for companies to follow a similar pattern of content to their competitors. That means that the companies who think harder and work more on their creative approach will be the ones whose content stands out. The challenge for many will be to work creatively and still gain approval from their more risk-averse leadership teams.
2. Website design –
Website design goes hand in hand with content. The chief trend in website design is to move from “responsive” (mobile friendly) to “mobile first” in order to maintain search engine ranking. This is the chief factor dictating the current redesign of corporate websites. Websites that are “mobile first” have the text and images arranged in longer columns for scrolling. The challenge I see here is that the size of a smartphone screen is not entirely consistent with the explosive growth we are seeing in content – there is only so much you can see on a small screen! And even smaller screens are coming! We must remember those who are reading their email on a wristwatch! I feel that clarity of message, conciseness and eye-catching graphics will be top priority for digital marketing design in 2020.
3. Sustainability –
We have never been so aware of the environment and the issues around carbon, waste and the natural world under threat. I predict that by the end of 2020 every responsible company will want to present a policy on sustainability.
I believe that in 2020 it will be essential for businesses to show that they are good citizens, worthy of our custom and doing their part to mitigate the climate emergency. Not trying to look after the environment will be viewed as bad practice – as bad as tax evasion and exploiting vulnerable workers.
4. Sales leads –
The strongest asset a professional marketer can have on their CV in 2020 is a proven track record of creating viable sales leads in their business sector. Expect strong competition and higher salaries for these individuals in the coming year.
5. Email marketing –
Email marketing has been the mainstay of leads generation for many businesses during 2019, but will this change? As with other digital content, the issue is that there is too much of it. I would like to see those who send out marketing emails every day starting to reduce this to fewer, more important messages.
On the recipient’s side, we are getting better at protecting ourselves from the deluge of uncontrolled email. Corporate email servers can identify scam messages and filter out the “rubbish” from employees’ inboxes. Remember that recipients may need to request the server to put emails from a new supplier in their in-box – this means that some email remains invisible in the junk file, and effectively adds a new “opt-in” to the acceptance of a marketing message.
6. Privacy Legislation –
GDPR set the rules for email marketing during the last three years. However, more privacy legislation governing cookies, SMS and telemarketing is probably around the corner for Europe, and I judge that UK businesses should still respect this after the UK leaves the EU.
European legislators are particularly concerned about the inappropriate collection of data through cookies. When you view a web page, it triggers a response from the server which sets a cookie on your browser. After this, each subsequent visit to the same website will trigger more cookies and build an overall picture of your browsing activity which is far more detailed than most people realise. Cookies for tracking and profiling consumers must be consensual to comply with law. The regulators are particularly concerned about real time bidding for online display ads where personal data may be shared with advertisers, etc.
Meanwhile we’re seeing a strong trend towards data driven marketing and more powerful analytics. This will be an interesting area to watch in 2020. Privacy complaints are probably set to grow as data analysis becomes more powerful and data scientists discover exactly where the privacy boundaries are going to be.
7. Social Media –
Arguments about personal privacy are bound to continue. Facebook was fined $5 billion for its privacy errors last year. People will be watching for more breaches of trust and more opportunities for large penalties.
Meanwhile as each social platform becomes crowded or loses its shine, smart consumers will abandon older platforms and move on to newer ones that promise something novel and better.
8. Business Media –
In my own work, I am particularly interested in the new business models appearing in B2B and technology media. In the technology sectors, publishers are moving closer to IT and component distribution with American businesses leading the way. Indeed publishers’ reader lists are incredibly valuable and publishers have been morphing into marketing businesses for some time. I feel a line has been crossed where many publishers are now primarily marketing or events businesses, where disseminating news and opinion has become a means to the end not the end in itself. Other publications remain as valued news vehicles and maybe always will be.
9. PR –
PR has changed a little – and I detect more interest in PR for the new decade starting in 2020. The chief change is the arrival of new publications, professional bloggers and influencers.
PR remains a great way to reach out to new audiences. PR content can be placed in third party media, including blog sites and social channels – all these are established routes to the market for most businesses.
10. Personal service –
With the digital world so busy, a handwritten note or a posted brochure can be a great way to attract attention!