These Trends Will Drive Digital Marketing in 2019

Here’s what our platform partners predict will be big this year

IMGE Studies News Strategy

Few industries move at the speed of digital marketing. Last year’s wisdom becomes old news fast. What will be the emerging trends for digital marketers in 2019? We asked some of our smartest friends in the business, and their answers may surprise you.

Visual-First, Authentic Content

Rachael Samuels, Manager, Social Media, at Sprout Social

More than half of consumers today prefer visual-first content from brands on social, making a quality video strategy a must for brands looking to break through the noise in 2019. To prepare, marketers will need to create video content that feels authentic to the brand and is not just an ad to push product.

The research shows that 40 percent of people say whether a social video is an ad or not will impact their decision to watch. It is clear people are already weary of advertisements, so it is imperative that brands have a firm grasp on the story they are looking to tell. A social video shouldn’t be self-serving or laced with sales jargon, but offer real stories, people and situations. If people connect to the content brands are producing, they’re more likely to not only watch the video, but further engage with it as well.

Email Reigns on ROI

Jen Capstraw, Director of Strategic Insights and Evangelism at Iterable

The Wall Street Journal recently declared email, “the hot new channel for reaching real people.” Despite its tongue-in-cheek headline, the world is finally taking note of what we in the email biz have been shouting for eons—that email is the top channel for ROI. What I’m looking forward to most in 2019 is that email marketing will achieve newfound respect.

Recent acquisitions and fundraising in MarTech show that email is the heart of every cross-channel marketing strategy. Data silos are starting to dissipate and the focus on short-term conversions is waning. The move toward LTV as the ultimate KPI demonstrates that loyalty is a priority, which means 2019 will see a greater emphasis on using email to build customer engagement.

Personalization at Scale

Lucy Caldwell, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President, Crowdskout

In the world of campaigns and advocacy, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of personalization at scale. The advent of innovative technologies that facilitate tailor-made contact –whether it’s via sophisticated email marketing automation, peer-to-peer texting, or buzzworthy apps like VoteWithMe–is a sign that whether you’re trying to reach an audience of five people or five million people, you better be talking to them on the channels they frequent, in the language that resonates, using spokespeople they relate to.

In 2019, your audience isn’t weirded out by personalization–in fact, they expect it. 75% of the general public reports frustration when brands don’t recognize them online and adapt to their interests. For campaign and advocacy pros, this means you need to create experiences that acknowledge who your supporters are as individuals.

Personalization at scale means more than just deploying the right technology–it also means crafting smart content plays to reach your supporters in an era of information overload.  You can’t start from scratch each time you talk to your supporters, and you can’t afford to have your various outreach efforts siloed from each other. With so many competing causes vying for your audience’s attention, expect a savvier-than-ever general public who expects each touch to build on the one that came before. If you’ve texted someone this week, the piece of mail they receive next week should acknowledge that. If a person is visiting your website to contact lawmakers, the phone call or door knock they answer should not reintroduce them to the cause. Supporters who’ve decided to become donors should not be receiving ads for the otherwise uninitiated.

Put another way, to borrow a favorite buzz-term from consumer-side marketers, omni-channel marketing has finally come to politics and advocacy, and your audience expects smooth and unbroken relationship-building from the first time they learn about your candidate or cause to the moment they blossom into super-advocates. So don’t wait! Start now, at the beginning of this critical 2020 cycle, a new Congress and so many state legislative sessions, by integrating all of your disparate outreach tools and getting to know your supporters better than ever before.

The Chatbotification of Content

Ethan Eilon, President at IMGE

In 2019, we will likely continue to see omni-channel marketing on the rise. Mobile use will continue to increase. And users grow ever more comfortable with personalization. What do you get when these trends intersect? The chatbotification of content in digital campaigns.

Digital copy has always been conversational. Yet 2019 will bring a greater awareness that a digital campaign is one half of a conversation. The rise of SMS, chatbots, and simple websites abbreviate copy even shorter. Improvements in deploying custom algorithms will create opportunities for omni-channel marketers to drive users to specific outcomes, and hyper-segment users based on conversation behavior. Expect content to become bite-sized and more responsive to user choices.

As pervasive use of omni-channel marketing becomes the industry standard, digital firms will focus more on flowcharts than content calendars in 2019.

Want to see an example of omni-channel marketing advocacy campaign in action? Check out this case study

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