Someone once told me an audience will pay more attention when you tell them you’ll be talking about three things. My interpretation of this advice when applied to marketing trends may have come from the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Talking about just one marketing trend is too narrow. Talking about two trends might suggest a point and a counterpoint or an unintended ranking. Three trends, like the conclusion reached by Goldilocks, is “just right.”
Three Marketing Trends on Our Radar for 2019
Based on extensive research, conversations, and personal conclusions (I was going to say, “my gut” but was also advised to avoid politics by the same person who counseled me about audience attention) here are three marketing trends we will be watching in 2019:
1. Smart Speakers and Voice Search
Smart speakers are playing a bigger role in many lives. According to eMarketer, “The number of US smart speaker users will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47.9% between 2016 and 2020, from 16.0 million to 76.5 million. Amazon and Google will continue to battle for control over the space.” Their forecast increased significantly from the prior year and notes, “Uptake has been so strong that the number of adult smart speaker users will surpass that of wearable users for the first time this year.”
While the commercial about Alexa losing her voice did not make the IWCO Direct list of favorite Super Bowl commercials, it’s interesting to note that it has been named one of the funniest commercials of 2018. If, like me, you read, “Alexa, Should We Trust You?” in The Atlantic, you may only laugh nervously about Alexa and the impact the device and others like it is having on our lives. We, and other trend watchers, will be watching the impact the growth of smart speakers has on marketing plans and SEO strategy for voice search.
2. Data Privacy and the Role of Direct Marketing
Earlier this year, my colleague Michelle Peel wrote about how consumers’ desire to buy from brands that represent transparency, authenticity, and advocacy is impacting the insurance industry. One of the ways all brands (not just insurance) will demonstrate transparency is how they handle data privacy. Another trend we will be watching closely in 2019 is GDPR’s impact on how we collect, use, and store data. A recent McKinsey podcast put it succinctly: “As companies begin to follow the principles of GDPR, the European Union directive on data protection, they must better understand what personal information really is and how to properly manage it.”
As our 2018 marketing intern and GDPR expert, Erin McGinnis, wrote, “Direct mail is compliant with GDPR because organizations can make a case of legitimate interest for sending marketing mail.” We will be watching closely to see if direct mail as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy increases as brands become increasingly familiar with the requirements of GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act that will become law on January 1, 2020.
As my colleague Krista Black noted when discussing data-driven marketing trends for 2018, “The growing amount of data, combined with consumers’ desire to use that data to improve their everyday lives, will have to be balanced with consumers’ expectations of privacy. For marketers, that means using a deft hand when they handle consumer data and craft their messaging.”
3. How to (Wisely) Integrate Data and Creativity
Speaking of data, the third trend we will be watching closely in 2019 is the impact of data on creativity. In an interview with CMO.com, Stacy Martinet, VP of marketing strategy and communications at Adobe, said, “A data-driven approach to creativity helps marketers work more productively, create the right content faster, and deliver that content to the right customer, across the right channels, at the right time.” She goes on to say, “Forward-thinking organizations are already considering how to integrate data and creativity.”
IWCO Direct isn’t “already considering” the integration of data and creativity, it’s something we’ve been doing for years, and are excited to see our philosophy taking root and becoming a trend to watch in 2019. If you’re concerned about crossing the line from creative to creepy, Alan Sherman had some great advice when he wrote this about our approach to avoiding the appearance of being Big Brother: “We do this by staying away from the use of data that most recipients would find overly personal—family information, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and other potentially sensitive topics. More general information, such as name, location, or purchase history, is more acceptable.”
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