Personalized hologram ads.
Walking, talking chatbots.
Billboards on self-driving cars.
These are just a few examples of what we won’t see from marketing in 2020.
Joking aside, marketing is at a crossroads. With a plethora of tools and data available to both marketers and consumers, there’s an overwhelming number of opportunities to market effectively.
The key to capitalizing on new marketing trends in 2020 will be focusing on which tools best serve your business, and not getting lost in the shuffle of flashy bells and whistles.
(FYI, personalized hologram ads are not one of those tools––maybe someday.)
Having said all that, here are 5 marketing predictions for 2020.
1. More 10X Content, Less Fluff
In the search for that ever-elusive white whale of SEO, more companies than ever are pumping out stale, boring, recycled content.
Company leaders imagine these space-filler blog posts (complete with “magic” keywords!) will improve their search rankings and grow their businesses. So they pump out mediocre content on a consistent basis, defiling the internet with hundreds of blog posts about mac and cheese recipes.
(Spoiler alert: it’s just cheese, noodles, and whatever other stuff you want to throw in. We get it.)
Is some recycled content helpful? Absolutely. But you won’t stand out by writing the same thing as everyone else.
You’ll stand out by creating what’s known as 10X content: content that is ten times better than the best content currently available on your topic.
According to Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz and SparkToro, 10X content meets the 7 following criteria:
- It creates a positive and unique experience with pleasing layout, fonts, and other visuals.
- The content itself is high-quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting, and remarkable.
- The scope of the content is considerably different than other similar work.
- The page itself loads quickly and works on mobile devices.
- It creates a strong emotional response (such as awe, joy, surprise, etc.).
- It is amplified by shares on social media and other links to it.
It solves a problem by providing comprehensive and exceptional resources or information.
Here are three examples of 10X content:
Creating this level of quality means taking more time with your articles and videos, but the payoff will be worth it: you create better articles and videos, you don’t feel the need to churn out content every single day, and your potential customers have a better experience with you.
It’s a win-win-win situation.
2. A Rising Emphasis On Experience Marketing
More and more, company leaders realize that effective marketing isn’t predicated on convincing people of anything.
It’s predicated on providing a good customer experience.
Providing a high-quality customer experience means they’re happy all the way from the discovery stage of their buying process to the point where they buy your product or service and beyond.
In other words, your marketing doesn't stop once people become a customer. Why? Because their experience with you doesn’t stop.
In 2020, expect your competition to ramp up their marketing efforts during the customer experience. You’ll see people doing this in two seemingly simple ways:
- Better Hiring Practices––Most customers leave companies because of a negative experience with an employee. Of course, each employee needs to take responsibility for the customer experience, but you have to take responsibility for the hiring of that employee. If you don’t create a high-quality customer experience with better employees, your marketing has failed, no matter how big your revenue numbers are.
The Demise of Bulk Emails––Bulk emails will be less and less effective as people focus more on segmented lists. Personalizing emails will require more effort than auto-populating the reader’s name at the salutation.
You’ll have to speak directly to their needs, and if your list is big, their needs will be different. Segmented lists will no longer set you apart from your competition––it will be a necessary practice just to keep up. You can’t provide a solid customer experience if your customer feels like one of many.
3. The End Of Plain Text Content
Most people are visual learners, and most people are more likely to engage with colorful and visually evocative posts rather than plain text articles.
Not only do we process visual information faster than written information, but we also intentionally seek it out more. As such, companies like Google have recognized our increased number of image searches and invested in tools to accommodate them.
But you’re not the owner of Google. You’re not the owner of Bing. And I hate to say it, but you’re not even the owner of AltaVista. As such, you don’t have to modify a search engine to accommodate visual content.
Quite a relief, right?
But you do have a challenge of your own: you need to create that visual content by doing the following:
- Knock Off the Stock––Adding stock images on blogs and articles is the bare minimum for visual appeal. In 2020, people will expect customized visual content. This means using custom images on blogs (whether designed or photographed). At the very least, use sites like Pexels and Pixabay to get free, high-quality stock images.
- Infographics––There’s nothing new here: people love getting condensed information in an easy-to-skim format like an infographic. Converting your blogs (especially listed blogs) into infographics makes them much easier to skim, engage with, and share.
- Personalized Video––This is the real meat and potatoes of visual marketing in the future. Adding personalized videos to your emails will soon be the norm. Similarly, using video explainers for FAQ pages and product pages will be a huge leg-up for companies.
4. Live Video Will Dominate Pre-Recorded Video
People spend 3 times more time watching live videos than they do pre-recorded videos. That’s a huge difference!
But it makes sense: the live element makes videos more engaging and gives viewers the feeling that they can influence the content (with questions) compared to passively watching a pre-recorded video.
Live videos also tap into peoples’ fear of missing out. You can re-watch a YouTube video at any time, but you can only catch a live video once (even if the recording is posted elsewhere after).
A great way to take advantage of this trend in 2020 is to host live webinars, where people can ask questions about your company and your products, or you can teach them about something related to your industry.
5. More Voice Searches
Whether you think the government is spying on you, corporations are listening in on your conversations, or you just don’t give a damn either way, voice search and smart speaker usage are increasing.
At the moment, voice search accounts for about 20% of our searches. Similarly, over a quarter of adults in the US own smart speakers. Those numbers are only going to increase in 2020, so you need to accommodate voice search in your marketing.
People search differently with their voices than they do with their fingers. Voice search queries tend to be:
- More conversational
- In the form of complete sentences (specifically questions)
For example, let’s say you have a nasty rash in your armpit. If you typed your symptoms into WebMD, you’d likely type a fragment like “armpit rash.” But with voice search, you’re more likely to say something like, “Hey Google, what’s this nasty rash in my armpit?”
It makes sense. You talk to Alexa, Siri, Google, and even AskJeeves like they’re actually people, so you speak more conversationally.
As such, you’ll want to focus on answering complete questions for your customers rather than focusing in on keywords. In doing so, you’ll actually fill your content with long-tail keywords in a format that doesn’t feel like spam. For example, rather than keying in on “digital marketing” as a keyword on a page, you’ll focus on something longer and more complete, such as “how to improve my digital marketing.”
Similarly, focus on posing and answering full-sentence questions on your FAQ page. And get to the point of answering the question (without preamble) as quickly as possible. That will make your content more likely to show up high on Google voice searches.
Grow Your Business in 2020 And Beyond
Even without personalized hologram ads at every corner, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of marketing options available in 2020. There's no end to the potential distractions for marketers and company leaders.
But if you focus on what’s most effective for you, and most likely to be consumed by your potential customers, you’ll be more successful.
At ROI Online, we know how hard it is to zero in on the right marketing efforts. That’s why we help small business owners create a marketing machine that works—no matter what fads come our way.
We use evergreen principles that help you take advantage of trends like voice search, live video, and more without getting lost in the shuffle of short-sighted marketing tricks.