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What Will 2019 Bring?

OLIVER Ireland CEO Mark McCann gazes into his crystal ball to predict what 2019 has in store for agencies and brands.

New Year’s Resolutions aren’t just for your personal life, you know. Every business must strive to do better year on year, and for that to happen it’s important to be aware of the emerging trends in your industry. With that in mind, here’s a look at what may dominate the marketing conversation in 2019.

Not a new trend, but one that’s undergoing a sea-change, is user generated content. Consumers are more likely to trust the opinions and recommendations of other consumers rather than straight advertising, hence the popularity of Yelp, Trip Advisor and other catalogues of experience. Even the common practice of utilizing “influencers” to endorse products or services through their social media is on the wane for many brands. Consumers are becoming jaded with the constant bombardment of sponsored posts on their feed when what they seek is authenticity from the influencers they follow. It seems that influencers are losing their influence, but savvy brands are finding ways around this.

Tourist boards are beginning to turn away from established influencers, instead running competitions to appoint ordinary Joe ambassadors. Their all expenses paid job consists mainly of generating shareable content about the destination that can be utilized to show other ordinary Joes that this is a realistic option for them and not just #travelgoals. It looks to the consumer a more organic process than overtly sponsored content, and helps them identify more closely with the brand.

Just as important as making the consumer feel involved is making them feel addressed as an individual. In 2019, we are going to see many more companies making use of new technology and incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence to individualise customer experience. This can be as simple as installing chat robots which find solutions for customer queries outside the company’s office hours. We will see more and more companies opting for making their customers feel individually taken care of rather just another number.

There is a continuing downwards trend in consumer attention span, meaning that creating short snappy video content that still manages to incorporate key messages is the most common challenge facing marketers and brands in 2019. In addition, virtual and augmented reality are becoming more affordable and, therefore, more widespread marketing tools. Through effective use of VR and AR, consumers are involved in the experience. While a virtual product tour is an aspiration for many, VR will also be incorporated in much simpler ways. The simple act of turning a video into 3D or 360 degrees has the air of virtual reality while being very affordable.

Another digital trend which demands new marketing strategies in 2019 is the growing tendency towards voice-operated services. There is a drift towards using voicenotes to communicate rather than text based messaging, potentially due to a weariness for tap-tap-tapping a phone screen, and a desire to lend greater texture to communications. This trend has filtered through to consumer habits, particularly with the increase in Google Dots and Amazon Alexas in households around the country. Since a voice command is much easier than typing on a phone, both queries and purchases via voice input are becoming increasingly popular, and brands must act accordingly. To make the customer experience run as smoothly as possible, marketers will have to work closely with sales and development departments. Yet another reason for the trend towards moving marketing on-site, for easier communication and increased expertise on tap.

In summary, we can see an overarching theme in the marketing trends for 2019. Next year’s marketing strategies will strive to speak to consumers directly, to address them individually and make them feel involved in the community surrounding the product and the experience of it. To achieve this, the existing technologies such as VR and voice command will evolve to become not just useful, but necessary tools. A marketing campaign striving to speak to people’s individuality while incorporating new technologies to make the customer experience more interactive and easier to navigate will require close collaboration between brands and their respective agencies. OLIVER Ireland’s on-site teams act as an extension of our client’s workforce, ensuring work that is relevant, high quality, quicker to market, and cost-effective. That’s a trend we’re sure many brands would be happy to adopt in 2019.

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ December/January 2019)© to order back issues please call 016611660