VIth Sense: 2020 Marketing Predictions

Author: Tim Berney
Posted: Jan 31, 2020

Topics: The VIth Sense

Every year, it seems that there is unprecedented change happening in the marketing world. And while 2020 might not bring the evolutionary changes cable television, search engines, or social media have had on our society, the habits of consumers are evolving as dramatically as they have in the last 30 years I’ve been in the business. As a result, so is how we’re reaching them with our messages. This marketing predictions blog is intended to highlight shifts that will have the most significant impact on the marketing landscape in 2020.


Prediction #1: Less Predictions

Marketers make a living on the ability to recognize and capitalize on trends -  a tremendous value for our clients and businesses. We’ve had to rely heavily on developing hypotheses and testing those for success. While some are better at it than others, educated predictions are the norm (see my 2019 predictions and subsequent results).

 In 2020, we’ll see a shift. Artificial intelligence tools, data and the analytics thereof, A/B testing, social listening, and other feedback channels will allow us to take the guessing out of the equation. We will know more certainly than we ever have in the past. The wise marketer will use existing tools to prove their hypothesis before a large sum of money is invested.

In 2020, we will need to listen to what consumers are telling us through the tools at hand— more knowing, less guessing is here.

Prediction #2: There Will be a Shakeout of Ad Agencies

In 2020, there’s no denying that agency life is shifting. The profit structure of the industry brings new challenges with small commissions, no mark-ups, and a squeeze on fees. The easy measurement of KPIs has some questioning the value of a strong brand. Nevertheless, agencies that can react to these changes, remain efficient, and prove value to their clients will continue to thrive. The best of the marketers will remain healthy.

Prediction #3: A Bot Predicted This Blog

Prediction: Analytic performance metrics from existing content will inform and predict what motivates audiences to take action. The photos we use, words we choose, colors, CTA buttons, and more, will be determined (suggested) by AI apps and software. Like other behavioral tactics, the data will tell us in real time what is working and performing best. Algorithms will tell us why. An orange comic sans headline might not be your cup, but if it is instigating conversions, who cares? Performance-based content versus uninformed content will win every time in 2020 – if you’re smart.

Prediction #4: Influencers Keep a Foothold

Influencer marketing is no longer about celebrities. So those that believe it has run its course are misunderstanding the tactic. Celebrities kickstarted the trend but were never the idyllic mechanism because authenticity is always questioned with celebrity representation. Think about it this way: There are people that you look to for direction in your life— be it for food, exercise, clothing, or spiritual guidance. While you might have taken notice of what a celebrity was using or recommending, you probably didn’t seek out their recommendation specifically. When a celebrity endorses a brand, there’s an assumption that they are being compensated. Inevitably, their message holds little value to an audience who’s smarter than ever and craves truth. That’s not real influencer marketing- it’s old fashioned endorsement. Just on a modern platform.

Non-celebrity, micro-influencers are born from authenticity. If they come across as not genuine, they won’t rise to influencer status. They’re just people with a passion and some talent in a specific subject. They can be in your own town or across the world. Because they are interesting and talented (and maybe good marketers), they develop an organic following. But don’t underestimate their power of influence. There are marketing and talent agencies on the rise that solely represent micro-influencers in the brand deals they sign on with. These Average Joe influencers, ironically, are reaching celebrity status by creating engaging and consumable content to niche audiences. Hello, Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

This is nothing new to society, we just have more channels to become exposed to them. Brands in 2020 will have to use influencers creatively. With platforms cracking down on regulations and testing societal boundaries (Instagram hiding likes), who knows how this industry will mold. Influencer marketing isn’t going away anytime soon- rather, it’s just beginning to mature. Should be fun.

Prediction #5: Matthew McConaughey Finally Fired by Lincoln

Monologues cease. Spots will be pulled. Sales will rise.
In all seriousness, the notion that celebrities should or could dictate creative strategy or execution is a joke. It was a fad, not a trend. And all credibility that any celebrity had in the development of creative execution was killed by this silly partnership. Rant over.

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