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6 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2020

By Paula Milam, President and Chief Strategist, TruStar Marketing, LLC

As we begin a brand new decade, speculation on marketing trends abound. The cool constant is that we can continually improve ROI by expertly fusing the art and science of marketing. This is true across digital and traditional media.

It all seems so fast moving that it can be confusing. The rapidly advancing marketing technologies of the day support the marketing improvement we seek with faster, deeper data insights that can cue timely responses automatically to the biggest opportunity gaps.

As we examine the markets and successes, here are some of the top trends to consider in your marketing priorities in 2020. 

Branding is Still King

Businesses are looking more and more alike from a customer-experience perspective. In addition, our electronic devices are a continual distraction. The best way to overcome both challenges is to:

  • Gain a deep understanding of your target audience. We recommend independent, qualitative research in the form of short (20-30 minutes), confidential interviews with customers, prospects and If you have never done this, or have not done it in a while, add it to your must-do list. Learn what’s on their minds, what keeps them up at night, and what’s on their wish lists. Focus on purchase decision-making and work to understand their primal emotional drivers, as well as their pragmatic/practical decision drivers.
  • Use that information to meet them in their current mindset and create a strong emotional connection. Part of this entails humanizing your brand and strategically leveraging the customer experience. This must be from the customer’s vantage point; not ours. That starts with market data and qualitative research.

Paid ads on Social Media Should be Considered

ROI for social commerce has grown fourfold in recent years (39% of marketers now report significant ROI generated from social media marketing, compared to 9% in 2015). This year, marketers will continue to use new, and ever-evolving, types of paid ads via Facebook, Instagram and other social channels. Keep in mind, however, that success isn’t automatic. A sophisticated level of direct-response marketing expertise goes into the most successful campaigns. Remember the best approaches: frame the problem, tug at emotional draws, then provide an in-depth look at the recommended solution.

Email marketing is Still Going Strong – Refine It

Email marketing may feel overdone – especially when you look in your in-bin. Nonetheless, it seems to work.  In fact, email is still how U.S. consumers want companies to communicate with them, according to this recent Salesforce study. What’s more, email marketing continues to have the highest ROI in the industry, despite what may seem to be low open and clickthrough rates

If your business, or your client’s business, isn’t seeing strong results with this powerful medium, look inward. Do your emails strike an emotional chord? And does it do so in the subject line? If not, you have work to do. If your in B2B marketing, start with a serious content strategy review. Audit your content inventory. Identify meaningful topics and help educate your prospects and customers. If you B2C, it’s the top way people ask to see special offers and how e-commerce lifts sales.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other emails hitting your audience’s inboxes each day, so compelling messages that speak to what they care about most are paramount.

Privacy Concerns and Regulations Continue to Grow

Consumer privacy, which gained a lot of momentum with GDPR, will gain more speed in 2020 in the USA. That’s because the new California Consumer Privacy Act and other privacy laws continue to give consumers more power over their data. While marketers initially feared this, the tide is shifting and they’re beginning to embrace it. In addition, clients are asking more questions about the data they’re using and are making a push of their own for first-party data. It’s also one more reason email marketing isn’t going anywhere; companies that had decreased those efforts are, once again, allocating more time and resources to those initiatives.

IP Targeting Delivers Digital Ads with Precision

While cookie-based ads still work, privacy regulations and cookie-blocking technology make it harder for digital marketers to reach target audiences. TruPoint Account-Based Marketing, TruStar’s Internet Protocol (IP) targeting service, overcomes these challenges by collecting a device’s IP address and matching it to a physical address. This lets you can serve up  display or video banner ads on websites only visited by your target households. That means no waste in impressions or budget.

Mobile First and Voice Search Require Immediate Attention

Optimizing for mobile first and voice search intent continue to be paramount. Mobile first algorithms are specific and constantly updating technical website requirements. You need to stay on top of these. The evolution is expected to continue. Mobile first and Voice Search considerations are “must have” for 2020 Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

More than half of all Internet searches now occur via mobile search, and nearly 40% of internet users have used a voice assistant. Voice search will continue to grow in 2020, especially now that Google has made its natural-language processing framework (called BERT) standard. The concept of entities in terms of how search engines structure and digest content are very much part of this.

Integrate Traditional & Digital Media

It’s a Tra-Digital Media feast for those who understand how to integrate and track these powerful vehicles. For example, Broadcast and direct mail are influential in health care and insurance marketing, especially with boomers and seniors. They work on a bottom line basis and integrate with landing pages and micro-sites.  This group searches the most for health information terms, too, so be sure to integrate your media channels. Plus, we get less mail now, which also works with these segments, so expect to see that tick up a bit, too.

Are There Common Threads?

At first glance, these trends may seem diverse at best. Some involve new algorithms that determine what your search will deliver. Others require laser-focused use of data and technology, even in the deployment of traditional media.  When you take a closer look, though, the key is to focus on what works for your audience. Know your audience. Be open to wise integration of multi-media resources, but be intentional and by all means, track all of it.

It is about understanding human behavior and decision making and utilizing the tools we have to apply this to your marketing. The tools include processes and technologies that give us visibility to data that measures meaningful brand connections, all the way through to sales. It provides the information you need to strategically communicate with your market segments in a timely and meaningful manner.

There is so much potential in 2020 – and the highest ROI will come by fusing the power of your brand with power of data. It’s going to be a fun year! Wishing you the best of health and happiness in 2020 – and always!

TruStar Marketing fuses the art and science of marketing to improve your business. We specialize in health care, insurance and high-tech manufacturing industries. Digital marketing that works stars with a free introductory call.