5 Top Marketing Trends for 2019

In 2018, according to The Marketing Sentiment Survey carried out by MediaCom Ireland, The Irish Times and the Marketing Institute of Ireland, the top five advertising channels that marketers planned to invest more in were all Digital. While figures for last year have yet to be released, marketing communications group Core forecast a 20% increase in online advertising spend by companies in Ireland with television, radio and print sectors all expected to experience a drop in revenue.

The importance of online advertising as a medium cannot be understated but it is worth acknowledging that while online media spend is expected to continue to rise (American advertising trade publication Adweek found that 61% of B2B marketers plan to increase their spending on programmatic advertising in 2019), it is the human element dominating the top marketing trends.

A recent study conducted in the UK by The Brand Gym found that 88% of marketing directors believe smaller insurgents pose a serious threat to big brands, proving that you don’t need a “big brand” marketing budget to make an impact. Small brands that are authentic, relevant and digitally native are successfully finding themselves niche places in huge markets while large companies such as Carlsberg are capitalising on brand recognition – together with a compelling marketing strategy that captures the imagination – to win market share.

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The Evolution of the Marketing Funnel

The evolution of the marketing funnel is set to become even more pronounced in 2019 with the funnel becoming more of an ongoing cycle which prioritises constant engagement. This can be achieved through an effective omnichannel strategy; ensuring your brand has a presence across multiple online and offline channels and creates an integrated customer experience across all these channels which nurtures and retains customers. HubSpot identify seven brands with great B2C omnichannel experiences here. Its value however, is not limited to B2C. Digitally first B2B customers increasingly expect a more personalised B2C-like e-commerce experience with social channels now a “critical path” to engaging modern B2B buyers.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) Marketing

Emarsys describes Artificial Intelligence (AI) marketing as

“a method of leveraging customer data and AI concepts like machine learning to anticipate your customer’s next move and improve the customer journey.”

With its roots in tactics like product recommendations and predictive lead scoring, AI marketing is fast becoming the differentiator between high performers and under performers with about half (51%) of marketing leaders already using AI. From dynamic advertising to chatbots to marketing automation, the potential applications of AI to marketing your business are numerous and the results proven with 72% of current high performers reporting current use.

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Local & Micro Influencer Marketing

More and more businesses are turning to local and micro-influencers to put together long-term campaigns and promotions on social media platforms. They have more niche audiences than celebrity influencers and, chosen correctly can be great advocates for brands big and small. Use hashtags or search through your followers to find influencers who are already interested in your product but do your research before reaching out and make sure they are right for your brand. Instagram continues to be a leader in this area, particularly for brands targeting those aged 25-34 who make up 30% of global Instagram users.

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Voice Search Optimisation

Where search terms had become shorter and often dictated by Google’s Autocomplete function (check out WIRED’s Autocomplete Celebrity Interviews for some great examples!), with the advent of voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, search queries are becoming more and more conversational. Think “Alexa – what will the weather be like in Dublin tomorrow?” rather than the usual “weather dublin” search query. Some predictions have estimated that as much as 50% of all searches will be conducted via voice by 2020 so now is the time to start optimising your website for voice search. For example; build questions and phrases into your website and include an FAQ section.

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Reactive Marketing

A well thought out digital marketing strategy is key to ensuring consistent visibility for your brand BUT it is worth recognising that a well-timed Reactive Marketing campaign can be a great equalizer, an opportunity for brands of any size to grab their own piece of the limelight. Check out this LinkedIn Article by Brand Business Leader at L’Oreal Tom Stone. Detailing the the 12 months of 2018 with a Reactive Marketing Review from TV to local news stories to extreme weather conditions – brands big and small took advantage of what was capturing the imagination and achieved extraordinary results by taking a more fluid approach to planning.

By Lesley Cobbe, Marketing Executive, Irish Times Training
Digital Marketing and Web Development by Seditio