Note: I’ve not missed 5G, edge computing, dark social challenges over measuring social ROI, cloud connectivity, etc however felt a need to slim the list down to the top 5 key digital and marketing trends for 2020 hence here goes….
1/ User need, CX and Context
More emphasis will be placed on understanding consumer product evaluation and the influencing factors that drive purchase decisions. Making sense of this Qualitative data coupled with Quantitative Big Data sets around engagement & purchase decisioning will then create better CRM, loyalty/ LTV, referral and conversion opportunities.
Using the example of Financial Institutions I like some insight from Accenture on next generation banking.
Here Accenture talks about The “Intelligent Multichannel” bank, the “Financial/Non-Financial Digital Ecosystem” bank and the “Socially Engaging” bank.
Digital can absolutely support these 3 models and enhancing the multichannel experience to engage customers, offering improved mobile technology to place the bank at the centre of an ecosystem that sells financial and non-financial services and then improving customer intimacy through 1-2-1 social media engagement…
2/ Influencers – Storytelling > Social Commerce
The influencers and peer groups poles of my customer and engagement cycle will become ever more important in 2020.
However whilst the likes of influencer networks such as Brandnew, famebit, magiclinks, takumi and Tribe will continue, by the end of 2020 switched on Brands will have built on these with much more trust…
During 2020 there will be a rise of truly engaged micro influencers, niche communities and grass-root community campaigns and integrated native advertising whilst conversely ‘generic’ sponsored content (the likes of Outbrain & Taboola) will start to die off due to a lack of believable storytelling, engagement and ultimately sales.
Heightened Social Media engagement (particularly video, photography and genuine reviews) can truly drive engagement > sales; the likes of KLM and Easyjet with Inspire Me are good travel case studies and we will see more of this type of activity integrated into social commerce (think of the enablement from the likes of Instagram checkout and paid Pinterest pins in 2019 > seamless social commerce in 2020).
3/ Visual & Voice Search
Visual and voice search will evolve brand engagement and ecommerce; such as demonstrated by Google, Snapchat and Amazon (from the usual suspect of mobile in particular but also from the growing number of voice assistants that have infiltrated our homes). I believe Voice search and visual search (AR > image) will become much bigger during 2020>
Utilisation of Neuro Linguistic Programming & AI will also mean chatbots and creativity communication with consumers via audio and voice activated formats will also become bigger for 2020>
4/ Digital Marketing ‘traditional’ channels
Whilst social media has been a focus for many marketers in the last few years we must not forget the impact more ‘traditional’ digital channels have; in particular affiliate/aggregators, PPC, SEO, programmatic display that should in turn be underpinned by adaptive design to MVT/ CRO.
There is still great innovation in the above stalwarts and many businesses will still rely on them for micro moments that matter + to generate the lions share of sales during 2020>
5/ Consumer Data Analysis + AI & Machine Learning
From the chips/ functionality that were built throughout many phones in 2019 to enable AR > brands that are starting to adopt AR experiences to overlay over their Brand experiences (everyone from Ikea to BMW) > connected watches (Uber to health advice) > industrial innovation > Voice > The likes of AI aiding Ecommerce sales optimisation we will see advanced technology being utilised in 2020.
Data is key to businesses making better decisions about products, services, employees and more and this will be used to an even greater perspective in personalisation of channels including email, content, social media & CRO. I attended a Google event in 2019 where they were very much focusing on the age of smarter marketing being powered by AI; my big caveat here though is that you still need data analysts/ scientists + a well-integrated tech stack to make the most of AI in your organisation.
Linked with the above you will see more use of tools in areas such as Sentiment analysis e.g CriticalMention, Repustate, BrandWatch or Lexalytics to reveal what people think about your brand that can in turn enable you to tune your product offering, price tiers, sales, marketing, social media and content.
BONUS THEME: Culture and Digital Transformation
To enable true organisational change + the above businesses must first look at its beliefs, ways of working, structures, silos, and culture to see if it is set up to succeed in the Digital Transformation world of 2020> (‘Culture’ being a key part of my 10C Digital Strategy framework)
An example of an area this will be felt in will be Commerce (again featured in my 10C Digital Strategy framework) as benefits of understanding interests, behaviours and attitudes > cultural change to deliver against this commerce need online.
Areas such as growth hacking (“rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business”) will increasingly infiltrate traditional businesses leading to new ways of working (alpha > beta dev becomes standard, user testing becomes the norm, social media R&D greatly impacting new products developed for shelf, Proof of Concept initiatives impacting longer term marketing, etc).
And let’s not forget we are entering an increasingly V.U.C.A world; I will be speaking on the topic of Digital Transformation during the recessional times to come in a few months.