At each of my last three keynote address­es, I was asked this sim­ple ques­tion: “What do you think is going to hap­pen with mar­ket­ing in 2019?” It’s still only sum­mer, but peo­ple are already try­ing to look ahead and see what’s around the curve. And I under­stand why: The world is chang­ing a mile a minute, and it’s hard to scale, dif­fer­en­ti­ate your­self, and main­tain trust in the ever-chang­ing mar­ket­ing world. The more you can plan ahead, the bet­ter equipped you feel to man­age those changes when they hap­pen.

Here are some midyear thoughts about what you need to keep an eye out for in 2019:

1. People are putting more trust in others they know and reputable content, not ads.

We knew years ago that peo­ple were run­ning away from tra­di­tion­al ads. A Nielsen study from 2015 showed that the top four most-trust­ed sources of adver­tis­ing were: peo­ple you know, brand­ed sites, edi­to­r­i­al sites, and reviews. Ads are near the bot­tom of that list, and that fact hasn’t real­ly changed.

In fact, 30 per­cent of all inter­net users are expect­ed to be using ad block­ers by the end of this year, mean­ing tra­di­tion­al ads now won’t even reach 30 per­cent of pos­si­ble tar­get audi­ence mem­bers. So, does this mean mar­keters should aban­don ads com­plete­ly? Not nec­es­sar­i­ly.

I hon­est­ly feel there’s still a place for some ads, but they have to be more rel­e­vant and valu­able to the con­sumer. This is why we see more mon­ey going to con­tent mar­ket­ing, influ­encer mar­ket­ing, refer­ral part­ner­ships, and oth­er meth­ods that are designed to deliv­er actu­al val­ue to audi­ences. This shift isn’t going to stop until ads start being more valu­able for the con­sumer.

2. Creativity, not conformity, will set successful marketers apart.

Peo­ple have been say­ing for a long time that print is dead, but I recent­ly came across a com­pa­ny that used soft­ware to obtain phys­i­cal address­es for clients and start­ed send­ing them print newslet­ters. Imag­ine that. In the age of MailChimp and Hub­Spot, this com­pa­ny went against the grain and spent extra mon­ey to do it the old-fash­ioned way. I was also sur­prised to find that its cam­paign was extreme­ly suc­cess­ful — but why?

Sim­ply put, every­body else had gone dig­i­tal, and this com­pa­ny saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. Now, I’m not advo­cat­ing that busi­ness­es should try to res­ur­rect print mar­ket­ing or do some­thing only because it’s uncom­mon and not because it res­onates with their audi­ences. But they should con­sid­er inte­grat­ed cam­paigns and cre­ative dis­tri­b­u­tion tac­tics that focus on ways to engage audi­ence mem­bers that their indus­try com­peti­tors might not be con­sid­er­ing.

3. Winners won’t be concerned with internal barriers.

In my first point, I talked about the need to cre­ate engag­ing con­tent rather than just adver­tise­ments. This engag­ing con­tent doesn’t just help mar­ket­ing. It can enable your sales team and be ben­e­fi­cial to recruit­ing, investor com­mu­ni­ca­tions, inter­nal train­ing, and just about every oth­er area of your busi­ness, too.

Every time I do a keynote pre­sen­ta­tion, I have peo­ple come up to me and say “John, we just can’t do this stuff! There’s too much red tape with oth­er depart­ments.”

My response? Com­pa­nies that put up bar­ri­ers between depart­ments will fail in the long run. Lead­ing com­pa­nies are built on depart­ments that work togeth­er. Cre­at­ing engag­ing con­tent isn’t just a mar­ket­ing con­cern. Great con­tent can fuel oth­er parts of the com­pa­ny, result­ing in bet­ter tal­ent, low­er costs, and improved rela­tion­ships with investors.

4. Understanding how your customers communicate is vital.

Tech­nol­o­gy has evolved tremen­dous­ly over the last sev­er­al years. Recent­ly, my 4-year-old daugh­ter picked up my old Timex watch. After play­ing with it for a few min­utes, she dis­cov­ered that the face of the watch lit up when she pushed a but­ton on the side. She grew excit­ed and told the watch: “Call Grand­ma Hall!” Need­less to say, my mother’s face did not appear on my aged Timex, which dis­ap­point­ed her great­ly.

Cus­tomers aren’t unlike my daugh­ter. They expect that com­pa­nies will com­mu­ni­cate with them in the ways they like. That’s why it’s so impor­tant for mar­keters to be aware of their cus­tomers’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion pref­er­ences.

Experts out there are mak­ing some big pre­dic­tions about how cus­tomers will oper­ate in the future. Some ana­lysts say they think close to 50 per­cent of all search­es will be made through voice search by 2020. I’m not sure how accu­rate pre­dic­tions like this real­ly are, but I do know that my daugh­ters and the gen­er­a­tions that will come after them are grow­ing up in a world where smart­watch­es and smart speak­ers are the norm.

5. Helpfulness and authenticity will combat relationships lost through tech and automation.

There’s no stop­ping mar­ket­ing automa­tion and tech­nol­o­gy. These advances help mar­keters scale more effec­tive­ly, make bet­ter deci­sions, and save mon­ey. How­ev­er, these advances some­times come at the expense of the rela­tion­ships those same mar­keters have typ­i­cal­ly built with mem­bers of their audi­ence.

Although automa­tion might cov­er basic tasks, it’s impor­tant to do your best to add a per­son­al touch or offer direct help when pos­si­ble. I was recent­ly speak­ing to some con­tacts at a con­sult­ing com­pa­ny that had done an amaz­ing job scal­ing mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but they still made a rule to vis­it their clients in per­son once every year to see how they could be help­ful or improve the rela­tion­ship and get to know the peo­ple bet­ter. They said that when they do this, the clients stay longer and spend more mon­ey.

These are just five trends to look out for as you think ahead for the end of this year and into the next. Remem­ber, there’s not a sin­gle “right way” to build a mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, but these five tips can help you achieve any mar­ket­ing goal.