By Harriet Swatman (6 minute read). Image source: Shutterstock#1164722326

In this article we would like to draw your attention to what we perceive are eight emerging marketing trends for 2019 (and related insights for the use of technology).

These trends are drawn from our own experience of working with clients on strategic marketing campaigns, from consultation with other marketing specialists, and from reading about best practice in communications.

1. Creative Content

Today in marketing, curated content is key to all communications with customers and stakeholders and creative content is the most powerful content of all.

There are some companies, like Unilever, who stand out in terms of both innovative product delivery and innovation in marketing.

In the last few years, for example, Unilever has pushed for realistic and progressive content to market its brand- trying to push aside the stereotypes of ‘customer’ that may commonly be held- and understanding that customers have evolved a long way from the ads of the 1950s.

It has also tried to improve the integrity, transparency and measurement of influencer marketing, as well as clean up the supply chain in order to stop advertisers losing money to issues like ad fraud and opaque digital measurement. Unilever is doing all it can to push the envelope of marketing into the future.

2. Moving Beyond Customer Segmentation to Customer Knowledge

Marketing is moving past what was traditionally seen as customer segmentation into a much more detailed understanding of the customer. Within that understanding, psychographics are now more important than demographics and researching customers’ psychographics is now vital for all businesses, not just Facebook. Increased competition means businesses really have to know their audience inside out.

Damien Edmonds comments: “Businesses can no longer say ‘we’re not open to exploring our customers’ profiles because consumer preferences change quickly. Marketers now have the ability to understand consumer attitudes, opinions and lifestyles, taking them outside the geographic and demographic boxes in which they may have once been grouped.”

Sophy Edmonds adds “Previously communications were delivered through more mass mediums but now all messages are highly targeted to their niche. I see an overlap between what was previously seen as PR- or carefully crafted editorial and targeted message- and content marketing today.”

3. Coordinated Narrative and Word of Mouth for Authentic Brand Engagement

Damien continues: “75% of customers have made their minds up before they call to book a visit. Word of mouth plays a serious role these days and, for this reason, brands have to have a real congruence of message at every touchpoint.

Before they are even involved with brand customers have to know its narrative and like the service promise, only then can they know the brand and trust the brand- and that is what makes for an effective engagement strategy.”

Sophy Edmonds adds: “A brand has to be entirely authentic when it engages with its communities of customers and it has to be authentic across every channel of communication.

Strategic marketing uses many means to convey a brand’s authentic narrative- researching and aligning key messages across SEO, websites, database outreach, direct sales and editorial.”

4. Diversification with the Marketing Discipline: The Rise of Analytics

Since 2015, marketing has changed more than any other industry- and has segmented into sub-disciplines.

There are now numerous specialisms within the broader profession, including:

  • Brand marketer vs Brand strategist
  • Communications – PR, Stakeholder engagement, Issues management
  • Content marketing (and creator)
  • E-mail specialist
  • Event specialist
  • Graphic designer
  • Media planner vs Media Buyer
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media specialist
  • Web designer
  • Web analyst.

Paul Weekes, web designer and digital specialist working with Edmonds Marketing, comments: “Ruslan Kogan from the ecommerce company Kogan has said he now only hires analysts, not marketeers. His business is highly data driven but the rising importance of understanding the numbers within every field of marketing is a trend for marketeers to note.”

5. Respect for Professional Experience

In a time-poor world designers and content producers have noticed that they can provide value in less time by relying on their business experience as well as their creative flair.

James Bell, graphics designer working with Edmonds Marketing, comments: “Marketing and design have evolved but the fact that I have evolved alongside it means I can cross-reference my experience and give fast advice to clients. I know in advance which approaches work well and which don’t and I find people are increasingly drawn towards proven reputation and experience.”

6. Primacy of Good Design, not Simple Design

James continues: “In a world in which many consumers are producing their own designs without design training and using the technology on their phones to do basic design and marketing, I find people have a higher appreciation for the value and impact provided by design expertise.

Designers – especially those who can draw by hand – can think through the solutions to design-based problems (using a creative part of the brain) and apply what is effectively artistry, making the end product stand out.

Saying that people appreciate good design, however, does not necessarily mean they prefer designs to be simple. In fact, I have noticed a trend away from the minimal, especially in terms of logos, and the use of colours is changing and expanding all the time.”

7. Permanency versus Utilitarianism

Back in the early 2000s marketing and design professionals were told every marketing channel would move online but, in fact, offline marketing collateral has remained valuable.

James comments: “There is a sense that we are using online materials and processes to remain efficient but that we take more pleasure from materials that are bespoke, personal, beautiful or well-crafted.

By contrast, when we are working online consumers are demanding of the marketing process and its tools- every part of the process has to be quick, easy or free.”

8. Photography Can Be A Game Changer

Everyone has a computer and a phone with a digital camera. In fact, a lot of design can now use phone photography because the quality is so good. Most people have accessed stock photography to create their own materials but stock images can provide a rather bland backdrop which doesn’t help an organisation stand out against the competition.

James adds: “Within this context, original photography is very valuable and can really make a big difference to an organisation’s public look and feel.”

Please give us a call, if you would like to talk to us about any of the marketing trends we’ve mentioned and how they might apply to your business. We aim to research and thoroughly understand our clients’ customers’ needs so that we can create strategic and measurable marketing campaigns.

In our view it is imperative to understand our clients’ customers, so that we can work out which approaches (traditional or innovative) will work most effectively to help them grow the business.