Shade Wilson, Director of Digital Strategy, Elevation Advertising in Richmond, told Capitol Communicator that 2019 will be a year of continued change for how marketers use context, creativity, insights and results to help solve their customers’ and brand’s challenges.  He offered four trends for 2019:

1. Embrace the journey—in context

Even more, consumers will be ignoring traditional sales and marketing messages with their forced time bound calls-to-action. Instead, brands that connect with their customers in micro-moments, playing off flashes of relevance and context to the customers’ lives, will drive higher consumer engagement.

Take, for example, Burger King, which won Best Product Launch at the 2018 Digiday Awards. (I served as a judge for this competition.)

Burger King was looking to roll out spicy chicken nuggets in their stores. However, instead of doing a standard new product announcement, they leveraged online consumer angst against Wendy’s, who had recently removed spicy nuggets from their menu. Burger King promoted tweets from Wendy’s customers who were unhappy that Wendy’s had discontinued their spicy nuggets. Other media placements positioned Burger King as the solution for Wendy’s customers who were missing their spice. The campaign results went beyond generating internet buzz; they sold a three-month supply in four weeks.

Cultivating these types of moments and opportunities will require greater adaptability by marketers and a keener ear to what will resonate with their consumer at the moment.

2. Ask the big question, get the big answer—creatively

Too many marketing campaigns embrace a small idea, looking to make marginal improvements on existing marketing approaches or channels. In 2019, brands that ask the big questions and look creatively for ways to engage audiences will be rewarded with significant results.

One example of this was an Instagram campaign run by an online retailer. The brand was running video ads, but the completion rates of the traditional ads were lower than they were hoping to see. They developed a creative approach that was visually powerful and also included an exclusive offer that could only be accessed through the ads. This approach got consumers to watch the entire video and purchase directly from the interaction. As a result, video completions improved and sales increased.

3. Get comfortable with data insights—so you know when to call BS on it

The use of data in marketing is powerful. But the industry’s collective dialogue on Artificial Intelligence over the last year has been long on speculation and short on delivering practical applications. Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising sees full AI integration as 5 to 10 years out from being entirely productive for marketers. However, data collection, customer usage, and insights are available through many of the platforms and systems most marketers already have access to today.

In 2019, we will see all levels of marketers (not just the data scientists) continue to become more comfortable with gathering and applying data and more importantly, drawing conclusions and making decisions based on it. This will drive an understanding of how to drive forward a brand’s connection with their consumers by unleashing information.

4. Understand the impact—how brand matters, how awareness matters, and what drives results

In 2019, more marketers will move beyond only measuring results on the last consumer interaction and towards models that look at the entire customer journey, to identify how marketing is making a collective impact. This will come through the integration of approaches like multi-touch attribution or media mix modeling.

Examples of this are how brands are monitoring the impacts of traditional broadcast channels combined with online marketing and in-store footfall measures to see a fuller view of consumer reaction to marketing.

In some cases, it will be a combination of both people-based and channel-based metrics. The tools to accomplish this are becoming more widely available and marketers who take the time to learn and deploy them will benefit in the end.

In 2019, marketers who embrace new approaches, integrate creative with technology, and navigate consumer preferences will begin to see the full potential of their marketing efforts.

You can find other predictions related to what’s ahead in 2019 here.


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