As impossible as it may seem, we are only a few short months away from the start of 2020. There is still a lot to be done in 2019, but when it comes to marketing your business, investing some time to look ahead to see how you can prepare yourself and your business for what is to come can do a lot for you in the long run. During the month of August, I will focus on how you can position yourself and your business for marketing success in the coming year.

A Greek philosopher by the name of Heraclitus once said, ?change is the only constant in life.? Heraclitus was speaking to the dynamic nature of life and how we all must understand that change is very much a part of the human experience. To find happiness one must accept this fact and find a way to live and thrive in a world that is constantly changing and evolving. 

This philosophy is very much applicable to business, and in particular, marketing, where it can be argued that change is THE defining characteristic of the industry. If you wish to be successful in marketing, you must be at peace with the changing nature of the industry and determine how you can make change work for you. 

This week, I am looking at changes in marketing trends for 2020, and how you can make them work for your business! 

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Recently, I wrote about the value of creating a customer experience. This is only going to become more important. Why? Consumers now have the capability to craft their own information bubbles that are set to their specific needs and desires. 

Your target audience doesn?t have to pay attention to something they?re not interested in anymore. Social media platforms and streaming services are designed to deliver content based on what users have liked or followed in the past. Consumers now have the power, possibly more now than ever, to convert to your business or ignore you. 

If you wish to make an impact moving forward, you have to look to deliver an experience which grabs and keeps the attention of your target audience. 

Even More Technology

Last December,  I wrote about technology trends for 2019. What I wrote then will still be applicable in the coming year. The primary difference is that you will see more of things like chatbots, virtual and augmented reality, and video marketing. Due to advancements in technology, these tools of marketing will become cheaper to use and therefore easier to implement. 

Businesses looking to create a unique customer experience will use more robust chatbots to address customer questions or incorporate augmented/virtual reality to give their audience a memorable experience. 

If you are looking to stand out, or just keep up, capitalizing on these (relatively) new marketing tools and others will not become a luxury but a requirement for many businesses. 

More Emphasis on Live Video

By now you should know how important video marketing is. According to Hubspot, the percentage of companies using video in their marketing was 63% in 2017. At the beginning of 2019, that number rose to 87%. The growing value and importance of video marketing has not changed. 

What has changed is the emphasis on live video marketing. Live videos are part of creating a more dynamic customer experience. You are giving your target audience a chance to interact with you and your brand in a way they have never been able to before. They get to see the people behind the brand and develop a deeper connection. 

In short, video marketing is no longer become an optional. To become and stay relevant, you MUST deliver video content to your audience. And while you are at it, look at how you can better connect with your customers by delivering live content. 

Social Media Will Become More Fragmented

Earlier, I alluded to the fact that consumers possess the ability to create their own little information bubbles. Social media has played a huge role in this as most platforms are designed to keep its users on their platform for as long as possible. They deliver the content their users wish to see in an almost unending fashion. In 2018, a survey by the Pew Research Institute showed that the average American uses three social media platforms. And to underscore my previous point of the importance of video, just about every major social media platform contains some form of native video capability. 

I point this out not to speak badly about social media and the various social media platforms, but to point out how they are designed to work and, from a marketing standpoint, how you can make that work for you. 

I could not find any numbers for 2019, but it would not surprise me if the number of social media sites the average American uses decreases to just two or even one. Why? Because of the competition between the various social media platforms for the hearts and minds of its users is just too much (or not enough to pull in the numbers anymore). It is now more important than ever to define your target audience and select the best social media platforms to disseminate your message. 

Making It Simple Will Become Key

This may seem like an odd way to end this blog, but I believe that simplicity will be the key to marketing success.

In 2020, businesses who find success in marketing will do three things: 1) Properly define their target audience, 2) Use video and technology to deliver a unique customer experience, and 3) find the correct marketing channels to deliver their message. 

As much as change is a part of life, and as much as the marketing industry changes and evolves, there is one thing that never seems to change: if you focus on the needs of your customer and you speak to how you address those needs, success will come so much more easily.

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