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We are just a few short weeks till the start of a 2020. Can you believe have fast 2019 has gone? With the new year fast approaching, we are looking to help give your marketing efforts 20/20 vision by giving you some things to look for or think about. Each week we will cover a different topic about organizing your thoughts, efforts, and strategies around that topic. Enjoy the content and let us know if you have any questions!

“The only constant in life is change” – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

In business, change is not something you have to learn to live with; it is something in which you must learn to thrive. And when it comes to marketing yourself and your business, this means understanding the changing landscape of the industry. You must see how technology is advancing the tools we use to communicate our message and how political and social norms shift what our audience expects from us. 

You cannot hide your head in the sand and wish for the best. Doing so runs you the risk of you and your business being ignored.

To find success and thrive in the upcoming year, you must understand what tools are at your disposal and know what your audience is looking for in terms of how you interact with them.

I understand that you do not have the time to look into this yourself, so I have put together a list of digital marketing trends for 2020 and how you can position your business to take advantage of them.

MARKETING TECH

“Marketing Tech” is something that can be on this type of list from now ‘till the end of time. As time goes on, companies develop new technologies and improve current ones, so new tools are constantly available and old ones become more accessible. 

An example of this advancement in marketing tech are chatbots. I covered chatbots in my marketing automation blog, but chatbots are pieces of software designed to conduct a conversation with your customers as if they are speaking to an actual person. It used to be that you needed extensive experience with coding to set one of these up on your website. Now, there are several services that allow you to add one to your site with little to no coding experience. 

Other examples of marketing tech include videos, analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality. As technology improves, these tools and tactics will become more readily available for small- and medium-sized businesses to use. 

HOW YOU CAN USE

Outline a potential customer’s journey from discovery through purchase. Then, analyze your process of intaking new leads and following up. Determine where a lead may get lost and see if you can employ a piece of marketing tech to prevent that. An example of this would be getting a lot of traffic to your website, but not getting any leads. Installing a chatbot on your site could begin a conversation with a potential lead and present the opportunity to collect their contact info. 

MARKETING BECOMES AN EXPERIENCE

As we move into the new year, it is becoming harder and harder to stand out. You are not only competing against other marketers but also against a 24/7 news and sports cycle and streaming services that can be accessed just about anywhere. 

To get the attention of your audience you must do more than put marketing content that says “Buy This!” You will have to make them stop what they are doing so they can give you the attention you need to get them interested in your products and services. 

In 2020, this will be done by making your marketing efforts an experience. Augmented and virtual reality campaigns are already being employed by larger companies. As these technologies become easier to employ, small businesses will be able to use them as well. 

Another way to make marketing more of an experience is through personalized messaging. Your communications should be tailored to speak to the individual and their individual needs. Doing so will make you stand out as a company that really cares about their customers. 

HOW YOU CAN USE

Become really familiar with your audience and their pain points. By understanding who they are and what keeps them up at night, you will be better able to speak to them and what they are struggling with. Collect contact information and use a CRM that allows you to address your audience by name, even in mass emails. Go back to the marketing tech and see what technologies can be used to create a more engaging experience for your customers. 

TRANSPARENCY BECOMES KEY

In the last few years one of the primary concerns for many Americans had become privacy. I am not here to comment on the political aspects of those concerns, but those concerns do play a role in how we, as marketers, communicate with our current and potential customers. 

The platforms we use to communicate our message, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, email, and our websites have all come under various levels of scrutiny. In May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which primarily regulates data protection for private citizens of the European Union (EU) was implemented. To rank higher in Google you must now have HTTPS protocol, even if your site is not an ecommerce site. And the United State Congress has called the heads of Facebook and Twitter so they could testify in part to how secure they platforms are.

What this all points to is that privacy for private citizens is becoming a larger issue and the tools we use to communicate with our audience are changing to reflect this fact. To ensure that you are in the right, transparency will be extremely important because you need the trust of both your audience and the marketing platforms you use. 

HOW YOU CAN USE

First, be transparent in everything that you do. People will excuse an honest mistake before they will a lie or any form of deception. Second, review the terms and services provided by the platforms you would like to use. If you have any questions, message their support. As long as you are not doing anything dishonest, this is an easy, but vital, step to cover in your marketing efforts. 

CONTENT MARKETING

Content marketing is a vital aspect of any successful marketing campaign, and this will continue into the new year. Above, I mentioned the importance of making marketing an experience; the content you develop is part of that. 

Video is already the most popular form of content for your target audience. If you need any proof of this, look at how many of the big social media platforms have or are developing native video capabilities. I will save you the time—it’s all of them. 

Streaming video is becoming the most popular form of video content. This is another way you can create and make your content more personal. People love live video and they love feeling like they are part of the story. 

Lesson: if you are not doing video, you should. 

Chatbots and AI can be used to start a conversation on your website or even on your business Facebook page. This allows you to get to know more about the person you are targeting, so when you get in touch with them in person, you have a much higher level of familiarity. 

HOW YOU CAN USE

Successful content marketing campaigns are all about having a plan. Before you start, take time to understand your audience, the marketing channels you will be using, and what types of content will develop. Detail how you will create and publish the content. Make sure to analyze how the content is resonating with your audience and how you can improve. 

CONCLUSION

Change is constant, but is also necessary. We need change so we have the opportunity to be better. 2020 is fast approaching and we will be afforded many opportunities to improve ourselves and our businesses. The above trends will help guide you through those opportunities. Let me know which trend(s) you are looking forward to the most!

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