From innovative technologies to the desire for more personal, emotional connections, we’re peering into 2020 and highlighting ten critical marketing trends that will significantly impact the industry. Through the thoughtful application of forward-thinking marketing strategies, brands can stay ahead of the rapidly-changing needs of their customers, foster growth and increase ROI.


The Humanization of AI Smart Speakers, Chatbots & Brand Tech

In many homes, you’ll find Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Google Home. More than 56 million smart speakers were purchased in 2018 alone. This AI technology is streamlining menial tasks, such as, “Text mom that I’m almost home” or “Ask Patrón for a cocktail recipe.” 

By 2023, AI-powered chatbots are projected to help retailers cut costs by $439 billion and increase sales by $112 billion annually. It wouldn’t be surprising if the total number of smart speakers doubles by next year, especially when people prefer to interact with chatbots more than human representatives. In most cases, the former is able to pull purchase history and provide prompt answers more quickly.


Customers Want More Video

It’s not uncommon to search YouTube for a how-to video instead of reading a manual. In fact, 72% of people would rather use a video to learn about a product or service versus any other medium. By 2020, videos will attract 75% of all internet traffic, which explains why more than 72% of businesses say video has improved their conversion rates.

The ever-increasing popularity of live videos, Instagram stories and more makes it important for brands to take advantage of the medium’s inherent reach. Perhaps most telling of all, more than 52% of people say that watching product videos create confidence in their online purchases. 


The 8th P of Marketing

Many people interact with a brand solely because of the personalization it offers. When customers don’t want to feel like just another buyer, marketers can attract them by creating more personalized experiences tailored to their individual needs and desires. Currently, more than 96% of marketers believe this approach advances the brand-customer relationships.

There are, of course, the 7 Ps of Marketing—Price, Product, Promotion, Place, People, Partners and Physical Evidence. As data begins to more clearly define who marketers are communicating with, personalization can be added to the marketing mix. Brands should strive to speak directly to their customers and avoid broader messaging.  


Media Buying in Real-Time

By 2020, 90% of digital display ads in the United States will be programmatic, an astronomical increase from just five years prior. Real-time bidding continues to be one of the top emerging technologies offered in media buying.

Of course, programmatic advertising goes beyond digital. TV and OOH are evolving as well.


Content Meets Conversion

Instagram has helped shape how people shop. For example, shoppable stories, posts and in-story stickers that link to different merchants. Similarly, Shoppable Ads via Google Images makes the buying process swift and easy.

More than 70% of people say they are more likely to complete a purchase when an item is customized to their current location. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have taken advantage of this trend, with more than 50% of people feeling confident enough to purchase an item after viewing just one image.


Smart Signs

Digital out-of-home (OOH) signage is the new norm and it’s impressive. For starters, it’s capable of customizable content. If traffic is moving at 60MPH, it will display 10 words, given that the driver won’t have time to read more. However, in peak rush hour, it could display up to 150. Digital OOH is also capable of data feeds, real-time updates, live video, facial recognition, geofencing and more.

If its features don’t attract marketers, the results will. When compared to static, digital OOH is two times as likely to be seen, two and a half times more impactful.


Lifetime Value

The most successful brands create positive experiences for customers. Now more than ever, thanks to the web and social media platforms, those customers have the ability to voice their likes and dislikes. Brands, as a result, should be hyper focused on fostering loyalty and boosting customer lifetime value. 


On-SERP SEO, Visual Search and Video Optimization

The average Google search yields more than 63,000 results per second on any given day—plenty of competition for brands in an ever-dwindling space. On-SERP SEO, visual search and video optimization may be viable solutions.

On-SERP SEO can help by optimizing a webpage, maximizing website visibility, increasing click-through rates and generating more traffic. Likewise, knowledge graph entries and rich snippets are quickly replacing traditional search results as well. Searches are becoming more curated, and the tools to assist users are becoming more exact with producing results.


Cultural Relevance

Just about every business with name recognition is taking sides on social issues. Paper straws at your favorite fast food restaurant, Nike speaking on racial inequality with Colin Kaepernick, police brutality from Pepsi and a learning moment on the #MeToo movement from Gillette. 

Brands are taking sides and owning a sense of purpose each movement offers, hoping to draw in more consumers. However, when brands miss the mark and come off inauthentic, consumers become skeptical and turn their backs on the brand. Pepsi is familiar with this, as is just about every brand around Pride week. 

More than 9-in-10 Millennials would switch brands associated to a cause they believe in. If a brand can authentically speak to a movement or cause, that leaves all the more room for success of the company.


Emotional Connections

Brands that communicate with customers on a more visceral level have always been more successful. This has never been more important than today given oversaturated markets and media fragmentation.