Let’s start with this: digital costs are rising astronomically, we still have the duopoly which limits our options, and new brands are making the digital marketing space unbelievably congested.  Ouch. Any one of those things would be hard to deal with, but if you are a more established or legacy brand (not unlike quite a few we work with), all three of the above trends are making it especially hard for you to succeed.  But all is not lost. Believe it or not, there is still plenty of room for established brands to be successful - and those that are agile, creative, open to taking risks, and move quickly with a consumer-led mindset will be much more successful at cutting through the noise.  Here are five trends to keep in mind as you finish your 2020 digital media planning:
  1. Personal connections win.  Winning brands know that the current overflow of messaging makes it difficult to stand out, meaning that personal consumer connections must take the lead when building your approach.  When a brand leads with the customer in mind, you build more advocates, which magnifies your marketing spend through word of mouth, which increases your awareness, which provides you more data...from which you can continue to build more personal connections.  While easier said than done, personal connections will always outperform blanket marketing.
  2. Mobile is not slowing down. This one is a bit obvious, but brands still forget about it: mobile growth continues to skyrocket. For example, Cisco reported that by 2020, over 75% of internet traffic will be mobile, dominating the attention spans of consumers.  We must continue to shape our marketing efforts with a mobile-first mindset - both in driving online and offline conversions. Think of it this way: 80% of brick and mortar consumers are using their phones for research. If that isn’t reason enough for store marketing dollars to support digital mobile efforts, we aren’t sure what is.
  3. Social is not limited to Instagram.  Currently, 97% of marketers are placing dollars on Facebook and Instagram, but the social space is much larger than those two platforms. Making the most of all social opportunities is key for consumer connection, conversation, and a real time feedback loop. As social players like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, and Quora increase their offerings, begin experimenting with them more. We must also begin to leverage social as a two-way communication with more listening and community engagement, vs. just spouting out our points of view.
  4. The future is video. By 2022, more than 82% of all mobile traffic will be video.  That number is 15x higher than 2017. With that insane growth rate,  video advertising offerings are increasing too. From YouTube, to addressable TV, to everything in between, options for advertisers are expanding rapidly with features like ads that appear when a streamer pauses content, unskippable ads, direct response type ads, significantly more valuable performance data, and so forth. Not leaning in to video and waiting a year or two for everyone else to figure it out would be a missed opportunity.
  5. Purpose will drive sales. A new Accenture study showed that 65% of consumers make purchases from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values, and conversely, avoid those that don't. This provides a huge opportunity for brands to build a loyal community by learning what their customers value and using those learnings to affiliate themselves with a larger message of purpose.  Plus, it’s great for the world around us, which is something that everyone can appreciate.
  The above is just a quick “starter kit” of things to consider, but there is one notable one we didn’t even begin to touch on: allowing yourself to be uncomfortable.  As with testing anything new, the outcomes are not guaranteed. But success very rarely comes without taking risks, so push yourself and your teams out of your comfort zone.  Afterall, fortune favors the bold.

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