The digital marketing world is continually expanding and moving forward. This is partly because it’s a creative world where people are still coming up with new ideas to support their businesses. But it’s also because changes in technology and internet usage habits often lead to new strategies. Whatever the cause, though, digital marketing is a type of work that is constantly evolving.
As this happens, any relevant company needs to evolve, as well. Using outdated marketing efforts can be sufficient to a certain degree or with a particular limited audience. By and large, though, a company that doesn’t adapt to new digital marketing trends will always be likely to fall behind its competition. This makes it a good idea to check in on recent trends and changes from time to time, which is just what we’re doing here.
Below are six trends in digital marketing practices that are particularly relevant in 2020.
The Rise of E-Commerce Tools
E-commerce and digital marketing are increasingly going hand-in-hand, in that efforts in one can inform the other. For example, Digital tools explicitly used to drive e-commerce conversions can now also collect and analyze data relating to products or customer activity. Meanwhile, tools that help automate certain aspects of digital marketing can indirectly lead to more e-commerce activity.
This is something we dove into in detail in the article ‘10 E-commerce Marketing Tools Your Brand Needs in 2020’ back in January. We identified numerous specific programs — including Kissmetrics, SEMrush, Canva, and more — that assist with this process going both ways. Some of them help to turn e-commerce conversions into data operations, and others incentivize sales. Altogether, they emphasize the growing significance of simple, third-party tools that brands can use to improve marketing effectiveness.
Superior Internal Collaboration
While discussing digital tools, we should also note that they can help with internal operations for modern companies’ marketing departments. In the past, marketing has, at times, been something of a disjointed effort. For example, businesses might have relied on a combination of part-time, freelance contributors, in-house managers, and contracted professionals with limited expertise in specific aspects of the process. Unfortunately, this might still be the case for many companies. However, improved collaborative tools can make it easier for these disjointed teams to operate more effectively on the same page.
What we’re referring to, essentially, is the improvement in digital workspaces and project management software. Writing about the latter, Box points out just how many functions can be performed in a centralized online workspace. They include file sharing, project planning, progress tracking, app usage, and seamless collaboration. All of these functions in one place, making it easier for marketing teams to work cohesively. So, while improved project management doesn’t directly yield marketing results, it can transform the process in a very positive way.
Predictive marketing is a fascinating concept and one that is likely to drive strategies into the near future. The basic idea is that platforms and programs can now analyze massive amounts of data relating to customer interactions, browsing, and purchasing. That data can then be turned into handy material — not just to inform general strategies but also to develop near-formulaic outreach methods. Essentially, information about what paths customers have taken to making purchases can show a company how to market to similar customers by driving them down the most efficient versions of those same paths.
Conversational marketing is a term many might not have recognized a few years ago. However, thanks to an increasing focus on customer service, it’s considered an essential aspect of a modern strategy.
In essence, conversational marketing is exactly what it sounds like: the process by which business and prospective customers can engage in real, helpful conversations. Medium covered the concept in expansive detail and noted that this type of marketing could be conducted through AI chatbots, live chats, and targeted messaging, all for more or less the same purpose. That purpose, however, has multiple facets. Most directly, conversational marketing means better customer service; customers feel seen and heard and have their needs met individually. Additionally, however, conversational marketing can gather significant insights about customer preferences, habits, and tendencies, all of which can feed into the data behind a broader marketing effort.
Emphasis on Quality Content
If you research what’s changing in digital marketing or even SEO specifically in 2020, you’re likely to come across articles discussing the importance of quality content. The truth is, of course, that quality has always mattered, in a sense. Consumers are more likely to be drawn to platforms that share appealing, attractive, and valuable content. What’s changed is that search engines are becoming more intelligent, and more or less learning to value quality. As a result, businesses that can convey expertise, provide helpful material, and naturally and genuinely meet consumer needs are likely to be more successful in attracting visitors. This means that the quality of a company’s content — both on its site and elsewhere — matters more now than ever.
Intensified Email Marketing
Email marketing is more or less a category unto itself and is seeing many changes. Business 2 Community did an excellent job of summing up some of these changes, highlighting six in particular: minimalist design, hyper-personalized automated campaigns, mobile-first optimization, social media integration, video content, and brand storytelling. These are increasingly significant focal points of successful email marketing campaigns, and each one requires specific effort.
With that said, though, the changes in email marketing can also be characterized more broadly. Overall, digital marketing efforts are crafting emails with more consideration of content trends (such as mobile usage, social material, and videos) and with greater personalization.
As you can see, a full adjustment to modern digital marketing trends covers a lot of ground and requires significant effort. However, as stated, it’s generally necessary to keep up with trends like these to stay competitive. For that reason, business owners and marketing professionals should undoubtedly keep these trends in mind.