The digital marketing world is always expanding and moving forward. This is partly because it’s a creative world in which 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 always evolving.
As this happens, any relevant company needs to evolve, as well. Using out-dated 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. Digital tools that are used specifically to drive e-commerce conversions can now also be used to collect and analyze data relating to products or customer activity. Meanwhile, tools that help to automate certain aspects of digital marketing can lead indirectly 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. There, 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, though, they emphasize the growing significance of simple, third-party tools that brands can use to improve marketing effectiveness.
Superior Internal Collaboration
While we’re 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. This might still be the case for many companies. Now, 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 make 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 there are now platforms and programs that can analyze massive amounts of data relating to customer interactions, browsing, and purchasing. That data can then be turned into incredibly useful material — not just to inform general strategies, but rather 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. Now, however, thanks to an increasing focus on customer service, it’s considered an important 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 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 on an individual basis. Additionally, however, conversational marketing can result in the gathering of 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 do your research on 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 useful content. What’s changed is that search engines are becoming smarter, and more or less learning to value quality. As a result, businesses that are able to convey expertise, provide useful 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 own site and elsewhere — matters more now than ever.
Intensified Email Marketing
Email marketing is more or less a category unto itself and is actually seeing a number of changes. Business 2 Community did a nice 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 indeed 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 in order to stay competitive. For that reason, business owners and marketing professionals should certainly keep these trends in mind.