Are you struggling to figure out your marketing plan for 2019? Marketing changes from year to year. Staying on top of trends and swapping out things that don’t work with new ideas leads to success. Looking into the next year allows you to plan your marketing calendar and try to guess trends before the fact so you can get ready ahead of time.
There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States, so if you want to gain a competitive edge, you’ll need to predict what customers want at any given time. Make a few predictions and get out ahead of the competition. The more prepared you are for 2019, the more successful your marketing campaigns will be.
If you’re wondering just what marketing will look like in 2019, here are eight predictions to form your marketing strategy:
1. Location-Based Marketing Expands
As more small businesses form an online presence, location-based marketing will become even more important and targeted. The ability to hone in on people in a specific area is one of the big advantages to advertising on social media and search engine giants. Instead of reaching every person in the world who likes cats, for example, you can reach only those people on the south side of your town who like cats.
2. Voice-Based Searches Take Over
The number of people searching via voice commands is growing, so expect to see more of this in 2019. Studies predict that by 2020, about 50 percent of all search commands will be voice-based. Google’s word recognition accuracy continues to improve dramatically, allowing people to conduct searches without getting crazy results that don’t relate to the words actually spoken.
3. Promotional Products Take on Unique Looks
A trend from 2018 that will continue into 2019 is promotional products with unique colors, textures and patterns. Not only are these products functional, but they are also aesthetically pleasing. You’ll also see tech gadgets as promotional items. Personalized items such as PopSockets, power banks and charging cords are highly appreciated by tech-oriented customers.
4. Live Video Increases in Popularity
In 2016, 2017 and 2018, live video grew steadily in popularity. Expect to see demand for live video increase even more as streaming becomes faster and more commonplace. If the video involves a favorite celebrity, people are more likely to pay for the experience. Free videos are still quite popular, too, so create the best video possible and make sure it offers high value.
Adding a live video to your social media allows users to share your content and get to know you on a more personal level. Some studies predict that by 2019, about 85 percent of internet traffic will be videos. If you haven’t added videos to your marketing plan, now is the time to do so.
5. Chatbots Will Become Even More Common
A lot of companies use chatbots to respond to social media posts and visitors to their website. However, we disagree that this is a positive trend. Instead of investing in chatbots, it’s better to spend those resources developing a personal relationship with your customers and reaching them on a more intimate level.
Imagine ordering food or booking a vacation all without talking to another person. While most people don’t feel negative about chatbots, using a live person allows you to customize the user experience. Of course, you could also try adding a few chatbots for tasks that eat up your time but don’t significantly impact user experience.
6. Virtual and Augmented Reality Grow in Popularity
More brands are adding virtual reality and augmented reality to their marketing repertoire. If you want an example of how commonplace VR and AR is becoming, think about the “Pokémon Go” game that became so popular. People ran everything to find Pokémon in this AR world.
The combination of a mobile app and VR or AR has become possible as cellphones have advanced beyond simple devices that were difficult to use. The power of a mini-computer in the user’s hand allows them to invite customers into a store, try out a new retail design or interact with other game players.
7. GDPR Compliance Takes Center Stage
In the spring of 2018, the EU’s GDPR went into effect. The new privacy rules impacted every site that collected any type of personal information. Although warnings have been issued and GDPR compliances should be in place, many small businesses don’t realize they need to update their privacy policies or notify users of tracking cookies.
By 2019, expect a clear focus to be on compliance. This means that if you want to drive traffic to a page on your site, you need to ensure it’s clear that you comply.
8. Influencer Marketing Increases
Between 2013 and 2016, the number of influencer marketing searches went up 90 times. Strongarm marketing tactics simply don’t work with today’s savvy consumers. Instead of doing heavy self-promotion in 2019, reach out to influencers in your niche.
Brands are allocating more money to influencer marketing. Instead of spending time, money and resources figuring out advertising on Twitter or Facebook, businesses find an influencer and either pay them or team up with them to have their brand mentioned.
The softer approach of having an influencer mention your brand allows you to focus on creating the best customer experience possible while the social media expert spends time talking up your brand.
The future of marketing is exciting. Expect to see more videos, increased virtual reality and less human interaction. The help of advanced tools allows you to stay ahead of your competitors. Instead of investing in ads that never pan out, you’ll know the best times to run different types.
2019’s trends will look somewhat similar to 2018’s marketing trends. Don’t plan on massive changes but do expect to better define the way you market your business to the public.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.