As we discussed last month, the world continues to change rapidly and many of these changes directly affect the world of business…and mostly in very positive ways. And marketing continues to be transformed in more ways now than in the past 20 years put together.

In January, we outlined the first 8 of those 15 trends and predictions for 2019. These included Amazon dominance, voice search, artificial intelligence & marketing automation, mobile messaging apps, video, self-driving cars & mobility, cybersecurity risks, and outsourcing of CMO/CFO functions. For those who may have missed the January edition with these first 8 trends, you can view them HERE.

In this issue, we’re going to cover the second set of 7 trends (for our total of 15). After you read them, I’d love to get your feedback as to whether these do justice for what is really going on within the marketplace, so please feel free to connect.

Yosi’s Crystal Ball -The Final 7 (of 15) Marketing & Digital Predictions for 2019:

1. Mobile still rules and continues to be the “Prime Viewing Screen”  Smartphones have clearly become the central communications hub for peoples’ daily lives. According to Comscore, mobile last year accounted for well over 60% of total time spent on digital media. The average Smartphone user checks their phone 221 times per day! And millennials (those currently between around ages 18-38) are rarely seen without their mobile devices. In fact, 87% of this digital generation admits to never being without their phone. On top of this, according to Forrester, mobile accounts for well over 35% of all e-commerce.

Brands have also started leveraging smartphones to better blend physical and digital experiences; for example, using in store geo-fencing to guide customers to products they want or allowing them to check item details and in store inventory in real time as they shop.

Hence, your mobile site and apps need to give visitors the same excellent experience they have on their computer. So do you have a solid mobile strategy (that properly integrates with your marketing and business plan) to capitalize on all of these mobile trends and requirements?

2. People are putting more trust in people they know and in reputable content, and less trust in “traditional” ads
According to a Nielsen study, the four most trusted sources of advertising were people you know, branded sites, editorial sites and reviews. Regular “ads” lagged far behind. That’s why more marketing spend is going toward content marketing, influencer marketing, referrals, and other methods that not only influence, but deliver actual and tangible value to customers.

Consider this…. While only 14% of consumers trust advertising, 90% of consumers trust peer reviews and recommendations! So do you have a plan in place to properly leverage content, influencers and brand advocates in 2019 at low cost?

3. Content is (still…sort of) king
and it’s cheaper too! In fact, content marketing is 62% cheaper per lead than traditional marketing. We’ll not only see a continued proliferation of relevant content on websites including articles, videos, and testimonials/reviews, but a major increase in branded content across many media platforms as well.

And “Native Advertising” – which is sponsored content that looks and feels like ordinary content, but is seamlessly weaved in – will continue to be a major content and ad spend growth area, and is predicted to drive more than 75% of all ad revenue by 2021. In addition, voice search will alter a lot of content strategies to highlight snippets that can be spoken and are more interactive.

2019 will also bring big investments in video content, live streaming events and Instagram. So will you somehow leverage solid written, video and voice oriented content in your 2018 marketing plans? Reach out if you need assistance…

4. Linked In is seeing new life as a potent sales lead generation/marketing tool, especially with B2B enterprises
Almost all of us have a profile on Linked In and we use it to link up and socialize with business colleagues and associates. But Linked In has added major new lead generation and selling power to its platforms.

For example, you can now very effectively micro target potential leads by geography, job title, seniority, closeness to your inner circle and much more. In addition, it’s becoming popular for people to post videos to their Linked In feed as a way to spice up their participation and social optimization. If you’re looking to drive powerful new sales lead generation avenues for your business, you should certainly look into these features for 2019. Call us if you need help…

5. Blockchain is now widely accepted as here to stay 
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies remain darlings of the tech-savvy and the investment world, but they are still perceived as vague, and not-quite-understood new entrants to the business world. According to Forbes, 2019 will likely bring the end of the heavy duty crypto “hype”, but the true winners will be companies that are able to bridge the crypto and fiat currency worlds, enabling digital links between the two….to increase productivity and lower business costs. This linkage is a necessity across industries, from storage, trading, asset management of digital assets to real world applications of technology for regular people.

6. Personalization and “One to One” Relationship Marketing are dominating the landscape 
Mass marketing is continuing to slowly decline in favor of more targeted approaches. A recent study by Marketo shows that personalized and “triggered” e-mails based on behavior perform 3x better than traditional blast e-mails.

First, try and map out your “customer journeys”, and then reimagine and digitize them. Then test and learn various experiments to optimize, and then segment customers into silos. Finally, use artificial intelligence to deliver an individual experience to each customer.

A key goal is to focus on developing programs that build long term engagement and loyalty, rather than just a quick sale. I always tell clients that leveraging e-mail and social media to cross sell related products and line extensions is always a big win as it’s so much cheaper to sell more products to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. And to the extent you can personalize these communications, the better…as mentioned above.

Since long term relationships are built on trust, it fosters not only long term loyalty, but brand advocates who spread the good word about you to their friends. Does your 2019 plan do this?

7. Influencers and brand advocates will continue to transform businesses when they are leveraged properly. 
In fact, 95% of marketers who use influencers believe that it is effective. As purchase decisions are more informed than ever in history, online influencers and niche bloggers can help brands reach targeted global audiences. Even B2B and small businesses can get in on this act as the cost can be zero or close to zero.

And brand advocates and current customer ambassadors who provide referrals to their friends can also often be a great way to obtain new customers at little or no cost. Consider this…While only 14% of consumers trust advertising, 90% of consumers trust peer reviews and recommendations!
Do you have a 2019 plan in place to properly leverage influencers and brand advocates at low or even no cost?