We live in a time where marketing changes not just every year, but every week. Changes in consumer behavior, privacy legislation, marketing tools, and platforms regularly transform the face of marketing.
As the Global Brand President of Matrix and Biolage, I’ve seen trends come and go over the years. Brands have to stay on top of trends, both continuous and emerging, to see real results.
In the wake of so much change, it’s crucial to stay on top of this year’s trends. Where will 2019 take marketing? Here are my predictions.
1. Valuable and useful content adapted to each platform comes first
No, content marketing isn’t dead. In fact, it will grow in popularity this year. Although some brands say content marketing doesn’t work, that’s likely because they aren’t using content effectively.
In social media, it’s about understanding what service you provide to your audience. What is that must-have, unique point of view or piece of information that will cause someone to follow you?
2. Affordable AI
AI won’t replace marketers’ jobs. However, AI will continue taking over less desirable, time-consuming tasks. AI will free up marketers to spend more time on strategy, synthesis, and innovation.
I think AI chatbots will be particularly useful in 2019. Chatbots allow you to reply instantly to customer questions without a fleet of customer service representatives.
Other AI applications will also become more prominent and affordable. Use AI to monitor user behavior for personalized content, product recommendations, and even context-specific remarketing.
3. Security concerns
The #DeleteFacebook movement dealt a hard blow to marketers’ data practices in 2018, and rightfully so. Europe’s GDPR data guidelines also transformed how many marketers use consumer data.
In 2019 we’ll see more security regulations modeled after GDPR. Your best option is to become GDPR compliant today before your government requires stringent data practices.
4. Inclusive marketing
As a member of the LGBTQ+ and Latino community, I’m thrilled by the rise in inclusive marketing. I don’t think this is necessarily a passing trend, but an evolution that will make marketing even better.
2019 is the year of inclusion. Feature diverse people with unique needs in your ads, content, and print materials. Invite LGBTQ+ people, people of color, all types of beauty, whatever their body type or age and people with disabilities to grace your marketing materials.
Although inclusive images are a good start, that isn’t where inclusion ends. Embrace inclusivity in your business and employment practices. Make sure you consult and listen to them when creating products, services, and other content to make sure you understand their viewpoint. It’s more about culture, beliefs, history, and values than it is appearance.
5. Voice search
More users are switching to voice-enabled devices like Alexa for hands-free internet browsing. But the vernacular is changing: voice search keywords tend to be longtail and conversational.
It’s even more critical for marketers to understand how they can optimize for voice search. Features like onsite FAQ pages and Google’s Rich Snippets will carry even more importance for marketers in 2019.
When it comes to influencers, 2019 is the year to go small.
Celebrity endorsements alone no longer cut it. ROI and high costs have made marketers turn away from traditional endorsements. Instead, we’re seeking out more micro-influencer partnerships.
Micro-influencers aren’t big-name celebrities. They do, however, have dedicated online followings that trust their expertise. Micro-influencers are both easier on your pocketbook and more effective in gaining an audience’s trust.
Even more importantly, advocates are going to drive your brand love. People who already have the experience of your brand and love your brand will speak about it like no other.
Today, brands will need to understand influencers and advocates on a much deeper level. Understanding their culture and their core values will allow you to connect with them on a person-to-person level.
There has been growing pressure on many industries over the last few years to become more sustainable. Luckily, many of us, including L’Oreal, have become champions of that cause and are leading the sustainability agenda.
Sustainability and transparency are going to be increasingly important in 2019, especially when talking about reducing our impact on, and maintaining, our planet with eco-friendly products and initiatives.
8. Where and how to reach Gen Z
While we are still mostly focused on millennials, the focus-shift to Gen-Z is coming fast and strong. Quickly understanding them, their social media habits, attitude towards life, aspirations, values, and purchase paths will be the next challenge of our industry.
9. Humanized marketing
Customers want your brand to be transparent and honest. Be upfront about your business practices. If they don’t align with customer expectations, yesterday was the time to improve your practice.
Humanize your marketing through genuine connections. For example, LUSH builds relationships and transparency with their Behind The Scenes videos.
10. Beauty disrupted technology
Technology has already disrupted the way we buy beauty, the way we search the beauty category, and even the way we perceive beauty (Snapchat and Instagram filters). What is hasn’t done is disrupted the way we enhance our beauty without being intrusive or invasive. That will soon change, though, as cosmetic products that shift after application start to hit the market.
Getting out ahead of this, and preparing a marketing campaign around this seismic cosmetic shift will allow you to stay top of mind with your customers, and at the top of the industry.
The bottom line
2019 will be another excellent year for marketing. It’s impossible to see exactly where the industry will go this year, but the future is very bright. Embrace these trends to deliver awe-worthy campaigns that delight your audience.