You have read them before – probably in December and January while you were half-full of holiday food and less-than-half-focused on marketing trends. Still, you plugged through, skimming articles about 2019 marketing predictions like they were going out of style.
Unfortunately, some of them may have – gone out of style, that is. Why? Well, predictions can be a beautiful thing, especially when industry-leading experts make them. However, when it comes to forecasts versus data-backed analysis, some of the best information comes after supposed trends have had a chance to marinate and the experts can take a look at how things are shaping up so far.
We are through the first three months of 2019 – long enough to compile some data and take a good look at some of the real trends that have emerged from the field of predictions. What trends still stand out as 2019 leaders as we are now well into spring?
Data Is Big
That may be an understatement; data is not just big – data is king, and in 2019 it is set to continue its dominance. Not only are companies using customer data to determine which marketing strategies to use this year, but they are also using data to determine which were effective after they have been deployed. Both are essential aspects of marketing that help you ensure your marketing dollars are going toward strategies that will bring you results.
Consider the fact that the data you collect provides valuable insight into the five W’s:
- Who is buying your product or service (and who is not)?
- What your audience is looking for, and what sorts of marketing strategies ultimately lead buyers to make a purchase.
- When marketing strategies tend to have the most power.
- Where your customers are located, and where your marketing strategies are focused, whether on social media, print, email, etc.
- Why your audience should ultimately choose your product (usually as a solution to their problems).
… and one H
- How your audience has responded to various marketing strategies, compared to how you want your audience to respond.
All of this, and much more, data is now readily available through the channels in which you have chosen to monitor it, and there are a lot. In fact, one of the much-hyped key terms in marketing used to be “big data”. The aim is to collect as much data as possible because knowing as much as possible about your audience before, during, and after a campaign is the goal, right?
Unfortunately, having a lot of data does not do you much good if it is irrelevant or misleading, or if you are unable to interpret your data to make informed decisions about where to spend your marketing dollars.
This is one reason why terms like “big data” are falling by the wayside in 2019.
It is worth noting the difference between big data, and stating that “data is big”. Data remains one of the most important aspects of marketing today, for all the reasons mentioned above. However, marketers now realise that “big data”, or high volumes of data for the sake of having high amounts of data, is not as useful as targeted data collected with the intent of learning critical factors about the audience to shape marketing decisions.
Focusing on data that answers one of the five W’s (and an H) above will ensure your chosen metrics are helping you make quality marketing decisions.
Use Data Effectively
So, what about those quality marketing decisions? They are easier said than done, but with the help of the data you have gathered, you will have more information than ever about the audience you are trying to capture. Data-driven marketing has been shown (by data, no less) to be a key component of 2019 marketing strategies. In fact, nearly half of marketers say data has significantly affected the way they approach decision-making. Let us take a look at a few strategies that have shown promise in the year so far.
Focus on user engagement across multiple channels. Users do not experience the web in just one way, and they should not experience your marketing efforts in only one way, either. Your message will be at its most effective when spread across multiple channels. Online, this can mean reaching out via video ads on YouTube, maintaining a presence on social media, and promoting your product on Amazon.
However, omnichannel marketing often implies an offline presence, as well. An offline presence may look different from business to business but widening your product’s reach by targeting offline aspects can include radio ads, television spots, local signage – really, the options are endless, and utterly dependent on your data.
Still, data remains crucial. After all, what is the use of purchasing billboard space if your primary audience typically does not respond well to them? Combining strategies across channels, while ensuring focus on the best-performing, is one of the critical ways marketers are using data in 2019.
Identity Resolution Makes Omnichannel Marketing Happen
Of course, before you can focus on marketing to your audience across multiple channels, you have to locate them there, first. New advances in identity resolution can help you identify your primary audience members across all the channels they use. The ability to find potential clients that interact with your efforts on one form of social media and show them your ads across all the types of social media they use via identity resolution makes omnichannel marketing truly begin to happen.
This effort provides a double bonus: if you learn which other channels your users are likely to use, you have another key data point to address when choosing where to focus your marketing efforts.
Omnichannel marketing, enhanced by identity resolution, are two targeted, yet interconnected ways marketers are using their marketing dollars in 2019. However, both tie into what is perhaps the biggest takeaway from what we have seen so far this year: marketing campaigns tend to do better when they are not seen as generic.
In fact, 86% of consumers say that some form of personalisation has an impact on what they are buying. Think of companies like Amazon, who can provide suggested products based on your past searches right there on the homepage. While that level of personalisation can be challenging to achieve, you can still use your data to impact the type of contact you have with your audience.
The more your audience engages with your content across channels, the more social media companies, like Facebook, and search engines, like Google, will suggest similar content in the user’s feed. This means that you will have to provide content your audience wants to click on, and you will have to do it on more than one channel they use frequently.
Luckily for you, you have all that data you have collected and can focus your content on reaching the people you have identified in the ways that have been the most effective for your product. For example, have you found that the primary purchasers of your product are professionals aged between 25 and 34 that are also interested in travelling? Focus your message on LinkedIn, using images that evoke your product’s connection with your audience’s sensibilities.
Focusing your data analysis on quality data that can drive your decision-making is the first step to staying in tune with 2019 trends. After that, use the quality data you have gathered in a way that personalises the user’s experience across multiple channels to stay ahead of the competition.
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