Tis’ the season for marketers, brands, and influencers across the industry to offer their 2019 marketing trends thinkpieces, listicles, and surveys — and, honestly, we’re no different.
We know you, the ever-curious marketer who’s always looking for an edge on the competition and in-depth industry insights, want info and advice that can kick your marketing strategy up a notch.
The problem for marketing professionals such as yourself is trying to distinguish legitimate tips and tricks from vague guidance provided by self-proclaimed thought leaders.
We happen to know a thing or two about modern digital marketing best practices, what it takes to succeed, and — most importantly — what marketing technology you need to thrive.
The biggest 2019 marketing trends to track
So, without further ado, here are our humble 2019 marketing trends to monitor in the year ahead.
Marketers will actually get a handle on AI and machine learning.
In the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have not been much more than vaguely aspirational buzzwords for marketers.
Having said that, we think 2019 will be the year marketers really incorporate these tools into their day-to-day to make users’ experiences significantly better (that is, more relevant and better-timed) and gain efficiencies in key marketing processes, like with their customer segmentation activities.
Tools like BlueConic already empower marketers to create more dynamic, precise segments and to contextually personalize content. In the year ahead, though, they’ll have enough unified first-party data to optimize machine learning models and give consumers what they need in the moment.
Rather than using a combination of demographic and contextual segment data and behavioral segmentation data to simply guess, digital marketers will configure AI-based tools to act in real time on predictors like propensity to buy and next best action.
All in all, we believe marketers will employ machine learning to truly understand and predict customer lifetime value (CLV) — and to act on it continuously.
2019 Marketing Trends Check-in: Nearly nine in 10 marketing professionals have adopted some form of AI for their digital marketing strategies, Forrester reports. Enough said.
Marketing pros will also learn how to sell a CDP to leadership.
In 2018, customer data platforms (CDPs) were everywhere — but the big question surrounding the technology was, “What exactly is a CDP? And what can it do for our company?”
Just as often, it seemed the story was, “What is CDP not?” (hint: not a DMP).
Now, though, marketers have a real, intricate understanding of the value of CDPs to unify and activate their customer data without sacrificing transparency, control, or accessibility.
The business case for a customer data platform is quite clear. The CDP enables both:
- Fundamental improvements in marketing outcomes (measured by gains in operational efficiency and speed to market)
- The monetization of new and existing audiences (measured by gains in the effectiveness of interactions and experiences)
By integrating with the entire martech ecosystem, a true CDP liberates customer data so that marketers no longer have to sacrifice data integrity, control, or scale to activate their most valuable marketing asset: first-party customer data.
Simply put, CDPs continue to deliver on their promise, and, in 2019, marketing pros will have the benchmarks to prove it.
2019 Marketing Trends Check-in: Based on our own customer base, it’s safe to say investment in customer data platforms is on the up and up (and we only expect adoption of the tech to grow in the years ahead).
CDPs will bring data — first- and second-party — to marketers.
The value proposition from CDP vendors has traditionally been centered on first-party data (and rightfully so, given it’s arguably the modern marketer’s most important asset).
With increased coopetition in the marketplace, brands find the need to also share their first-party data for a better understanding of the full customer experience — and not just with their product, but in more broad categories.
While data management platforms (DMPs) have traditionally provided second-party data to create robust segments for targeting in activities like ad campaigns, data in a DMP is anonymized and aggregated, making marketers infer behaviors of an individual based on their segment rather than definitely knowing it (an enormous difference).
Brands that leverage second-party data directly from the source maintain the transparency and integrity of the data and are able to act on it.
Among the digital marketing trends outlined here, we firmly believe second-party data’s role as a monetization tool for organizations of all kinds will only continue to grow.
2019 Marketing Trends Check-in: Monetization and utilization of second-party data appears to be on the rise, though many organizations still seem to be turning to first-party data more often to enhance their metrics. Certainly a trend to watch more carefully in 2020 as well.
The marketing technologist’s importance to brands will grow.
Dedicated marketing technologist teams are growing — and for good reason.
Way back in 2014, Harvard Business Review wrote about the “Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist“. What’s more, a Gartner study found 26% of all enterprise organizations have a dedicated marketing technology team, and, on average, each team has 25 FTEs.
In 2019, we’ll continue to see the role and the responsibilities of marketing technologists grow.
Marketing technologists are often the “product managers” of the marketing technology stack ensuring efficient and effective use of technologies.
Their role becomes more critical as companies continue to optimize their tech stacks through both new acquisitions and consolidation.
2019 Marketing Trends Check-in: With Scott Brinker (correctly) asserting “martech is marketing” today, it’s only seems right to see more businesses invest in the marketing technologist role and have those individuals own and operate their CDPs.