A few major com­pa­nies like Apple or Ama­zon car­ry enough weight to be trend­set­ters. For the rest of us left in their wake, though, the impor­tance of rec­og­niz­ing trends and adapt­ing to them is a crit­i­cal ele­ment to sur­viv­ing the dig­i­tal mar­ket­place. Not only is it lucra­tive to stay up to date, fol­low­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing trends is also often the path of least resis­tance when it comes to find­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your tar­get mar­ket.

With that in mind, here are ten impor­tant dig­i­tal trends that should be on every online marketer’s radar enter­ing 2020.

1. Immersive Experiences

Whether you’re attend­ing a mod­ern art exhib­it, sit­ting down at a themed restau­rant, or vis­it­ing a Renais­sance fair, every­one loves an immer­sive expe­ri­ence. The online equiv­a­lent of the immer­sive expe­ri­ence is vir­tu­al real­i­ty, and the already-pop­u­lar mar­ket­ing trend is like­ly to reach new heights as com­pa­nies con­tin­ue to inte­grate it into their mar­ket­ing strate­gies in 2020.

In addi­tion — and in a cer­tain sense, more impor­tant­ly — VR’s cousin, aug­ment­ed real­i­ty (AR), is also grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty at break­neck speed. Com­pa­nies are uti­liz­ing AR to sim­u­late how fur­ni­ture will fit in a room, what a con­struc­tion project will look like when fin­ished, and even how cloth­ing and make­up will appear on a person’s body.

2. Interactive Experiences

Along with immer­sive expe­ri­ences, 2020 looks set to build on the inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ence as well. While VR and AR are obvi­ous exam­ples of inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ences, oth­er inter­ac­tive mar­ket­ing trends include:

  1. 360-degree videos
  2. Quizzes
  3. Polls, sur­veys, and assess­ments
  4. Emails
  5. Mobile apps

Along with clear­ly human inter­ac­tions, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence promis­es to take many of these inter­ac­tive pos­si­bil­i­ties to all-new lev­els as well as it con­tin­ues to devel­op.

3. Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichan­nel mar­ket­ing has been a buzz word for a while now, but only a few com­pa­nies have been able to tru­ly pull it off. The mod­ern Wal­mart expe­ri­ence is a great exam­ple. Some­one might be on social media when they find a link to a review of a prod­uct on a blog. From there they would click over to walmart.com where they could read more details and place their order. At that point, they would head over to their local store where they can use the Wal­mart app to sign in and pick up their order with­out ever step­ping foot in the store.

The entire process is seam­less­ly woven togeth­er (when done cor­rect­ly) into one “omnichan­nel” expe­ri­ence. As user expe­ri­ence con­tin­ues to remain the gold stan­dard for most mar­ket­ing efforts, pro­vid­ing an excel­lent­ly incor­po­rat­ed omnichan­nel mar­ket­ing expe­ri­ence remains a high-lev­el pri­or­i­ty for many com­pa­nies going into 2020.

4. Customer Service

Of course, the impor­tance of user expe­ri­ence (UX) com­bined with the chal­lenge of a good omnichan­nel mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy has made cus­tomer ser­vice more crit­i­cal than ever before. Cre­at­ing a cus­tomer ser­vice expe­ri­ence that is able to address the count­less mar­ket­ing chan­nels often being uti­lized can be dif­fi­cult.

How­ev­er, the impor­tance of pro­vid­ing a good fol­low up effort is becom­ing a major UX fac­tor as cus­tomers look for long-term sat­is­fac­tion in their inter­ac­tions with com­pa­nies. Good cus­tomer ser­vice can be a make-it-or-break-it sce­nario that can decide whether or not a one-time cus­tomer will become a repeat cus­tomer. The impor­tance of pro­vid­ing good cus­tomer ser­vice as part of an over­all omnichan­nel mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy will like­ly remain cen­ter-stage going into 2020.

5. Pinpointed Local Search Results

While the world wide web is where most busi­ness­es find their clien­tele these days, it doesn’t change the fact that many of these busi­ness­es cater to very local demo­graph­ics. 2020 should see the impor­tance of pin­point­ed local search results con­tin­ue to remain crit­i­cal for many small­er local busi­ness­es.

The impor­tance of pro­vid­ing accu­rate infor­ma­tion for a local­ly-based busi­ness both on their web­site and on their Google My Busi­ness List­ing looks to con­tin­ue to be an essen­tial mar­ket­ing trend going for­ward.

Pinpointed Local Search Results

6. Voice Search

Voice search has arrived, and in 2020 it will show that it’s here to stay. It’s esti­mat­ed that 50% of search­es made in 2020 will be done via voice com­mand. In addi­tion to that, 30% of the search­es will like­ly be made with­out a screen — thanks in large part to the pletho­ra of home and vir­tu­al assis­tants that have pro­lif­er­at­ed the mar­ket.

This shift to a more nat­ur­al form of ask­ing ques­tions will dra­mat­i­cal­ly impact the effec­tive­ness of long­tail key­word effec­tive­ness and has the poten­tial to sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact search engine opti­miza­tion (SEO) at its core.

7. Mobile Remains King

Back in 2016 a sur­vey by the Econ­o­mist Intel­li­gence Unit asked mar­keters to fore­cast the biggest mar­ket­ing trends for 2020. The results? An over­whelm­ing focus on mobile devices and mobile net­works. Now that we’ve arrived, it turns out that they were pret­ty accu­rate. 2020 looks to be more focused on mobile mar­ket­ing trends than ever. Voice search will be a major con­trib­u­tor to this, as will things like in-app mar­ket­ing, AI tech­nol­o­gy, social media, and chat bots.

Per­haps the biggest thing that is allow­ing the mobile device to con­tin­ue to reign supreme is the ongo­ing unrolling of the 5G net­work. Ver­i­zon Wire­less has set the bar, promis­ing that 5G will focus on eight “cur­ren­cies” that will set it apart from pre­vi­ous net­works. These are:

  1. Reli­a­bil­i­ty
  2. Through­put
  3. Ser­vice deploy­ment
  4. Mobil­i­ty
  5. Con­nect­ed devices
  6. Ener­gy effi­cien­cy
  7. Data vol­ume
  8. Laten­cy

All of these fac­tors will make 5G an “evo­lu­tion­ary step” in the words of PMX Agency’s chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer Charles Hu. The blis­ter­ing­ly bril­liant update in cel­lu­lar capa­bil­i­ties doesn’t just have the poten­tial to change the mobile mar­ket­ing game, though. It’s also set to take place in 2020.

8. The IoT

The rise of the Inter­net of Things (IoT) has con­tin­ued to attract atten­tion through the last decade, and it shows no signs of slow­ing down as the next one begins. While the IoT impacts near­ly all facets of life, mar­ket­ing is cer­tain­ly in the mix, as the ever-grow­ing inter­con­nect­ed net­work of dig­i­tal gad­gets “pro­vides end­less oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands to lis­ten and respond to the needs of their cus­tomers — with the right mes­sage, at the right time, on the right device.”

Drones, for exam­ple, are equip­ping (or have the poten­tial to equip) mar­keters with an IoT device that is capa­ble of:

  1. Col­lect­ing data
  2. Cre­at­ing con­tent
  3. Adver­tis­ing
  4. Engag­ing with cus­tomers

As the IoT con­tin­ues to blow up in 2020, dig­i­tal mar­keters should have a fer­tile new mar­ket­ing field to inte­grate into their mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

9. Personalized Content

One of the most fas­ci­nat­ing side effects of the use of tech­nol­o­gy and big data in mod­ern mar­ket­ing deci­sions is the fact that it’s led many mar­keters full cir­cle to focus on per­son­al­iz­ing con­tent. Rather than sim­ply aggre­gat­ing the num­bers and com­ing up with a mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy that will sat­is­fy the most cus­tomers, 2020 mar­ket­ing looks primed to focus once again on the indi­vid­ual.

The con­cept of start­ing con­ver­sa­tions and engag­ing with each cus­tomer on their terms is in vogue, and thanks to the volu­mi­nous amount of per­son­al­ized data that com­pa­nies can now track, it’s become more pos­si­ble than ever. Stud­ies have already shown that 91% of con­sumers are more like­ly to shop with a brand that pro­vides them with rel­e­vant, per­son­al­ized con­tent. With so much spe­cif­ic cus­tomer infor­ma­tion on hand, 2020 promis­es to be an era of per­son­al­ized con­tent the likes of which have nev­er been seen before.

10. Social Media

Social media has been a pop­u­lar mar­ket­ing option for years now. How­ev­er, its use has slow­ly shift­ed away from its ini­tial focus on reach­ing large amounts of new cus­tomers. More recent­ly, social media mar­ket­ing has begun to focus on cul­ti­vat­ing cus­tomer loy­al­ty, pro­vid­ing cus­tomer ser­vice and inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ences in the process.

In 2020, social media looks primed to con­tin­ue its cen­tral role in many com­pa­nies’ mar­ket­ing strate­gies, although it may be with a bit of a new twist. While 2019 was dom­i­nat­ed by the likes of Face­book and Twit­ter, some are pre­dict­ing that the social media mar­ket may splin­ter and niche social plat­forms will become more com­mon going for­ward. If that is the case, it may pro­duce an even more per­son­al­ized focus for each com­pa­ny that takes advan­tage of social media in its 2020 mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy.

The 2020 Marketing Evolution

As you set about con­duct­ing your mar­ket research for the next year, remem­ber that 2020 promis­es to per­pet­u­ate the mar­ket­ing evo­lu­tion that has been going on for years now. In fact, along with the items dis­cussed here, there are many, many oth­er trends on the radar at this point. Things like influ­encers and shop­pable posts, for exam­ple, didn’t even get men­tioned here.

What­ev­er your spe­cif­ic mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy is going for­ward, any dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing man­ag­er worth their salt is going to want to keep their team trained on the trends at all times. Whether it’s voice search, per­son­al­ized con­tent, or a full-blown VR-expe­ri­ence, there’s no doubt that 2020 is going to see the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing land­scape sig­nif­i­cant­ly change, yet again, and any com­pa­ny that’s will­ing to move with those changes is going to main­tain a seri­ous edge over the com­pe­ti­tion.

SOURCE: Right Mix Mar­ket­ing