I’m a strong believer that one day shouldn’t make a difference to your effort, attitude or desire…
BTW: The ‘one day’ I’m talking about is the annual New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day transition.
…and the same goes for the digital marketing landscape and the way we market on it.
However, it’s that time of year when plenty of people become (overnight) experts on the future of everything: fitness, health, social media, business, politics, the economy, and obviously (and most relevantly to us) digital marketing.
I can’t predict the future but I work in this space every day, and whilst nothing will change in just 24 hours, I can make some predictions for the movement of digital marketing trends over the next 12 months.
In the last few years I’ve made some marketing forecasts, and most of them have been correct (without trying to sound too smug), so here’s to hoping that I keep up my decent track record.
Let’s find out for ourselves…
Marketing Trends of 2020
The Value Line
This thing is forever moving, but in 2020 this trend is never going to be more important to businesses, brands and marketers.
The value line refers to how much ‘value’ creators are able to give away (for free) in their content. For instance, one creator might be prepared to publish 1 hour of video a week, and another might be able to publish just 10 minutes.
If the quality of their videos is the same, the first creator is giving away a lot more for free to their audience (50 minutes more) and will ultimately succeed.
This is a simple way of explaining something that is a lot more complex than the length of video content. The value line also refers to the amount of quality that is injected into your content.
Another example is this blog, I could easily visit other marketing blogs, round-up some of their predictions and do a copy (and rewrite) job on them.
This wouldn’t take long, but it’d be a rehash of other people’s work and that would shine through (if not in this blog, in one of the others).
But I’m not, I will take a good chunk out of my day to think about the future of marketing and write about the most valuable points for you guys. This is where my value line is. And as long as it goes further than other people’s, it will help me (and us) succeed.The more you’re able to give away (aka the higher your value line) the bigger and faster your audience will grow! 📈🌱😎Click To Tweet
The more you’re able to give away (aka the higher your value line) the bigger and faster your audience will grow. This means more brand exposure, greater awareness and more leads for your business (or personal brand).
Over the course of 2020, I will continuously analyse our value line and those of our competitors, and repeatedly try to push it higher.
If you’re going to compete, you’re going to need to do the same.
Fewer Quick Wins
There was a time (quite a few years ago now) when ‘hacks’ and ‘shortcuts’ actually existed online. You could perform certain marketing strategies that would cause a quick, sharp jump in your performance.
Those days no longer exist.
Social media platforms and search engines are shifting their focus to brands who appear trustworthy, authentic and transparent, and there’s good reason for this…
…it’s never been more important to the general public.
People are more worried about their data, privacy and the perceived ‘fakeness’ of businesses online (particularly with the growth of dropshipping).
Just about everyone I know has been bitten by someone online, whether that be a low-quality product for a high online price, 6 week+ delivery wait, non-existent customer service, terrible digital training course, a product that never arrives…
…the list goes on.
The problem for us is that these ‘businesses’ (I use that word very loosely btw) make digital marketing more difficult for everyone else. And as result of this, quick wins have almost completely become a thing of the past (no matter what your industry ‘guru’ keeps telling you).Authenticity, trustworthiness and transparency have never been more important to businesses online. 🤝🕵️♂️💻Click To Tweet
Authenticity, trustworthiness and transparency have never been more important, and it takes long term implementation and strategy to achieve these increasingly crucial factors.
If somebody tells you that their digital hacks are going to transform your results overnight, they’re probably part of the problem. Yes, you must invest in learning, but be careful who (and where) you’re learning from.
One of the best ways to analyse the future of digital marketing is to look at your own behaviour and attitude towards it.
As a customer online, I have noticed that my patience continues to shorten. This means that I’m not as prepared as I was to wait, and I consider anything less than instantaneous an arduous delay.
This includes but is no limited to (because I’ve probably forgotten something):
- Customer service chat: I expect live customer chat to be a given from any business that I buy from online, and if I have to wait to speak to someone, I feel like I’ve been short-changed and I’m not cared for. Although I know this is not the case (as I work in digital) it’s a growing feeling that I’m not alone in feeling.
- Answers: I don’t always want to engage in a conversation with someone to find the answers I need. Sometimes I just want an immediate answer to one specific question. I like to find these in chatbot navigational menus, extensive FAQ pages and content.
- Payment forms: If I make a repeat purchase from a business online, I expect my details to be saved in their payment form. When it isn’t, and I have to go through the entire process again, sometimes I’ll just abandon it.
- Checkout processes: Checkout processes that are spread over multiple pages are irritating. I’ve already made the decision to buy, so why are you trying to draw out the process and make me change my mind? Checkout processes should be in as few pages as possible.
- Delivery times: Amazon Prime has caused a problem for the rest of the world’s digital sellers, their delivery times. As a regular online shopper, I expect things to come next day (all the time), and worse still, I’m used to not having to pay for next day delivery. A number of other companies have followed suit with their own ‘membership’ style next day delivery service, and I’ve taken plenty of them up on it (and I’ve found myself buying from them much more often because I know I’ll receive the product quicker than from other companies).
The speed and instantaneous expectations of online buyers (and audience members) relates to the growing importance of customer experience (aka user experience). This digital buzzword has grown so much, that it has almost become the internet’s version of pre-sale customer service.
Analyse the processes of your business and see where you can increase speed for a progressively impatient world.
As a content director, I’m never more comfortable than when I’m writing. It’s the route that I took into marketing and it’s something that I really enjoy. But I understand that it isn’t enough anymore, and you must too.
It doesn’t matter what type of marketing content you’re most comfortable with, you must be prepared to extend your reach into other mediums, now more than ever before. This means that bloggers must become podcast hosts, video presenters must become writers, artists must appear on video…
…in other words, you must create every type of content (or at least pay others to). When you’re able to do this, you can be everywhere, and this has never been more important (and easy) in the history of marketing.
People have never spent more time online, and that means that they’re prepared to visit more places, have more social channels and engage with more content (and ads) online.
This might sound great, but to a business who only focusses on a limited number of digital channels, it causes problems.
Although the idea of being everywhere might appear difficult for a small business (or one man band’s), for a savvy marketer who understands how to efficiently repurpose content, it’s never been easier.One piece of long-form content can generate tons of social content for a smart social media marketer. 🎥📖🤓Click To Tweet
1 piece of content created for your blog (like this one) can easily become 100 pieces of content for a variety of digital channels. Think tweetable quotes, images, lists (the sub-heads in this post), podcast subjects, a short explainer video…
…the opportunities are limitless when you’re smart with them.
BTW: Find out more about how to Create Months of Social Content.
Video in Search Results
If you thought all these digital marketing trends would be strategic, you were wrong, here’s a tactical trend for you in 2020.
Google own YouTube, and as a result, YouTube videos have become a regular feature in Google’s search results…
…and their popularity is growing.
So much so that ‘Videos’ not only have their own ‘tab’, they also appear as sole results on the SERPs and frequently appear as a ‘carousel’ of options. As a marketer this is just too big of an opportunity to miss.
If you follow my digital marketing predictions, you might remember that I told you all to start producing video content several years ago, if you still haven’t, now really is the time.YouTube videos are becoming a more prominent feature on Google's SERPs, presenting a massive opportunity for marketers. 🎞🔎🤩Click To Tweet
With videos appearing as results in the world’s most visited website, you can give your brand another amazing opportunity at exposure. Whether that is from a Google search resulting in a click to your YouTube videos, or just by a searcher seeing your video’s thumbnail (and therefore seeing your face, or brand) it’s too big an opportunity to miss.
If you aren’t, get on video before you’re left behind!
Digital Marketing Trends of 2020
So, those are my top digital marketing trends for 2020. They’re all original, informed by my experience in digital marketing and completely free for our audience…
…and hopefully, in themselves (as well as all our other articles and guides) a good example of what’s required in the future of digital marketing.
You must put more value into your free stuff (e.g. content), be more transparent (and authentic), be quicker, available in more places and formats and prepared to publish video (to take advantage of Google’s evolution) in 2020.
Good luck for the year ahead. And when (or if) you ever need me, I’ll be here, doing my best to serve you better than before (with the use of these tactics).
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