2019 Marketing Trends Continued…
Last week, I touched upon some marketing trends for the New Year. I noted that content, SEO, and paid media need to work together to achieve your end goals. But here are even more 2019 marketing trends you should be aware of:
6) There’s Something Better than an Imaginary Buyer Persona
Persona development is a valuable tool as you build out and segment audiences for an advertising blitz, email campaign, or dedicated bit of content. After all, before you get on the road, you need a destination; your client or customer is where you’re headed. But there’s something even more valuable than imaginary people: real people.
But how do you find real people?
From the people you already know! Especially in education, you have a trove of data and information on the students who have come to your institution and succeeded. Use the data you have and take them a step further. Talk to the actual humans behind the data. Interviews give you audience intelligence that is priceless when you’re trying to fill your next classes. The more recent the better.
7) Micro Influencers Matter More than You Think
Celebrity endorsements once reigned supreme in marketing. The bigger the better for branding and sales. And in the digital world, where celebs like Beyoncé and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have more than 120 million Instagram followers, it’s easy to get caught up in the fervor. But 2019 will be the year of the micro influencer. That’s because your customers care more about themselves than they do about any big-name superstar. So, show them someone like them who has a much smaller following, but is someone to whom they can truly relate, and you will get results.
Especially in higher ed, micro influencers can boost local content so its message reaches the exact audience you need when they are most ready to apply and enroll. Instead of a celebrity with no attachment to your institution, find a recent grad with a compelling story. Help future students imagine their success by looking at students and grads who seem a lot like them. In 2019, don’t think big. Think micro.
8) Video is Growing Vertically –and at 360°
For years, video has been an important part of digital marketing. It was once a great addition; it’s now a mandatory component. By 2021, video will account for more than 80 percent of all internet traffic.1 Even live video will be part of marketing tactics in the coming years. How could you incorporate Instagram stories into your marketing plan right now?
If you expect to remain competitive, you need a video strategy that melds seamlessly with all your marketing collateral. But videos in 2019 will expand. They need to be relevant, fun, and visually compelling, making use of the filters and formats your audience uses every day on their own. Think panoramic 360° views that make the user feel like they just stepped onto your campus or in your classrooms.
Video is also another opportunity to optimize. Search engines love video, especially when you use the right titles, keywords, and meta descriptions. Optimize your video. And since Google has decided to take a mobile-first approach to how it considers a user’s experience, you need to as well. That means those videos should be shot and ready to view vertically. It doesn’t matter if you like the look of landscape; you need to make viewing your video as easy as possible. One less move—turning a phone horizontally—is one more way to optimize.
9) Chatbots are Here to Stay
As a user yourself, you may find those little popups to be annoying. Or you may be able to visually ignore them altogether. And while that doesn’t sound like good news for marketers, there is enough data to support their long-term survival. More than a billion people interact with chatbots every year and many actually prefer that their customer service interactions occur through chatbots.2 This is especially true for millennial users. They shun email and phone calls in favor of their favorite little bots. And for a variety of reasons3:
24 Hour Service
Answers to Simple Questions
Ease of Communication
Swiftness of Complaint Resolution
But just like there are good and bad videos, effective and ineffective websites, ads that engage or repel, chatbots need to be built and executed with care. You want to accommodate, not alienate.
10) AI and Data Analysis Will Expand Customization
Artificial intelligence allows you to leverage customer data to improve the content and services you provide. It helps you use past actions to anticipate future needs, and can be invaluable in providing a customized experience to your users. Your users—and Google—want information they care about. Whether it’s an ad, an email in response to a query, a chatbot conversation, or downloadable eBook, you need to know what works with which user and how to replicate your efforts in a way that is effective. Learning from what you’ve done is what AI is all about. And examining data on a continual and regular basis and improving based on their evidence is the driving force behind digital marketing.
11) Bonus Tip: Security Matters
If 2018 taught us nothing else, it showed us how important security is. Digital marketing is an amazing tool, but if users feel like a visit to your site or collateral materials could leave their personal data in jeopardy, they’ll shun you. Work with your tech team, not just to conform to online rules and protocols, but to also stay ahead of the curve. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect last year in Europe will make its way across the pond. Don’t wait for the wave. Be ahead of it.