Autumn is a good time for many companies to take stock, review the current year and prepare for 2019. A close look at current and upcoming trends and a consideration of what your company should do “differently” is essential.

What are the key trends for the coming year, and how can you optimally prepare for them? We talked to the marketing experts at BehaviourExchange to identify the top 5 marketing trends for 2019.

Companies become publishers

Corporate media channels replace traditional advertising channels. Of course, messages do not always have to be packaged in slogans. Companies increasingly say what they have to say (or what the audience wants to hear) through their own channels and slowly turn into actual publishers. They continuously produce content – for the corporate blog, for social media and so on. As a result, they profile their own brand, create customer trust and increase their visibility in the network. The preparation and intention of the information disseminated no longer corresponds to classic advertising. The goal of content marketing activities is to satisfy customer needs or solve their everyday problems. Instead of pay-per-view, backlinks and keyword stuffing, companies have been trying to come across more as problem-solvers than as sellers in the last years.

Because of that, depth and quality of content will be more crucial than ever in the future. That’s why many companies are always offering higher-quality content, white papers, e-books, their own study results and high-quality articles in the blog – and it’s free! Why? In order to retain the target group in the long term and to strengthen their confidence in the company’s entrepreneurial competence and professionalism. Ultimately, high-quality content is a means to stand out from the broad competition, focused on rapid sales success. An effective method, but also complex and labor-intensive.

Personalization

To be honest, personalization is not a new trend per se. However, it is becoming more and more important. In order to achieve optimal customer contact and long-term customer loyalty in highly competitive markets – especially in retail and e-commerce – a personalized approach is essential. 74% of all marketers (source) believe that targeted personalization (in e-mails) can sustainably improve customer loyalty.

And customers who are not addressed individually – e.g. with news at the right time, suitable product recommendations, attractive offers – quickly lose interest and, in the worst case, will migrate to the competition. This is to be avoided.

If you are looking to improve your customer communications in 2019, now is a good time to identify weaknesses in your current strategy and work on solutions. Look at your conversion numbers in different marketing campaigns and identify improvement potential. Do not forget: Personalization requires knowledge. And knowledge is based on data and the knowledge gained from it. If you do not have a working contact database, the best strategy will not help you. A comprehensive marketing platform that stores and retrieves all existing customer data in one place can be a first step in the right direction. Find out how BehaviourExchange can help!

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is another phenomenon that has been occupying the industry for quite some time.

To break it down to a simple formula: AI makes possible what is NOT humanly possible. In concrete terms, this means that AI can evaluate large amounts of data and derive information and recommendations for action. With automated marketing campaigns, this information can be used in the best possible way, thus improving not only the conversion opportunities but also the sales figures in the long term.

In practice, AI technology analyzes customer behavior across multiple platforms. This leads to a better understanding of the customer on the part of the company. Brands know thanks to the new technology, exactly WHO, WHERE and WHEN is looking for WHICH products or services. This allows marketing campaigns to be used more efficiently – e.g. through appropriate product recommendations which ultimately results in lower customer acquisition costs.

Chatbots are another way to use AI to reduce long-term fixed costs. A chatbot also has the advantage that it is available around the clock and can provide the customer with answers 24/7.

Artificial Intelligence provides scalable marketing communications that you should consider as your database reaches a certain size.

Authenticity

As a consumer, we are confronted with advertising and marketing in the widest sense on every corner. On the way to work, we see, for example, advertising on the train platforms, on screens and video screens, on our mobile screen, in the daily newspaper we read, on the social networks we use, etc.

In short: advertising is everywhere. And we as consumers, especially in recent years, have developed certain skills to deal better with this excess of advertising. One big point is that we are increasingly looking for authenticity. We want brands that communicate openly, reveal their processes, present themselves authentically and act authentically. And how can businesses achieve authenticity?

First, through honest communication. You should comply with what you promise.

On the other hand, we live in a world where influencer marketing and review sites (for example, Yelp, Facebook Reviews, Amazon Ratings, etc.) are becoming increasingly important. People often trust other people more than a brand, or the promises of a brand. In concrete terms, this means that consumers perceive content to be way more credible/authentic if it was written by another customer/consumer than by the brand itself.

Consequently, this means that reviews and referrals are becoming increasingly important. What other people on the net say about your brand can not only have a lasting impact on your brand reputation but also your sales.

Therefore, your marketing and advertising efforts should always be authentic and you should strive for a good relationship with both industry-relevant influencers as well as encourage your customers to share (positive) experiences with your brand on the net. Special promotions and competitions can be a start here. In the end, customers who are enthusiastic about your product or service will share that enthusiasm with their friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or even strangers on the net via reviews and blog posts. You can hardly wish for better publicity.

Social Media

While the social media landscape is constantly changing, the social networks themselves have lost none of their attraction or omnipresence. On the contrary. We use different platforms for different purposes and spend more time than ever on Facebook, Instagram, and co.

For companies, it is important to use different strategies for different channels. You should not post the same content you share on Instagram on Twitter. Variety, as well as a channel-specific approach and content orientation, are essential for a successful social media strategy.

New formats – such as “stories” on Instagram or Facebook – convey a sense of importance and ‘nowness’. The stories can be seen only for a short time and can increase the consumer’s readiness to watch and absorb the message. After all, anything that is only available in small quantities, or only available for a short time, is likely to appeal to us more. Use Stories for entertaining background information about your product, new product ideas, and more engagement.

The new year will inevitably bring many changes with it. But that does not mean that most tactics that worked for your business in 2018 will not work next year. That’s not what this is about. Instead, the New Year can be a great way to explore your own strategies and practices and to consider where changes (even small ones) might be helpful.

The five trends presented above can be a clue to review these areas and to discover untapped potentials.

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