Remember Blockbuster? You know, the big movie monster that took over the video rental industry in the eighties. It’s old news now, and the number one reason is its leaders didn’t have their fingers on the pulse of change i.e. didn’t keep up their digital marketing strategies on point.
Is your marketing strategy pushing you forward? Or is it holding you back?
Netflix had it right, predicting that streaming video would be the future. And now, they’ve taken it a giant leap forward again by buying up movie rights and turning them into Netflix Original Series.
While none of us has a crystal ball, remaining stagnant is the kiss of death for marketers. At the same time, trying to integrate a new marketing strategy into your business is a great way to accomplish nothing.
That’s why we’ve narrowed down the trends for 2019 into the three we are most excited about: Influencer Marketing, Omnichannel Marketing, and Chatbot Lead Generation. Let’s dig into each one in more detail.
1. Influencer Marketing
One of the key digital marketing strategies we see making leaps and bounds is influencer marketing. With honesty and authenticity still leading the way in the digital marketing arena, influencer marketing has risen to the top. People trust the influencers they follow, and they love buying what they promote.
It’s one of the most effective digital marketing strategies marketers have for speaking to consumers in an authentic way, and you can’t beat the ROI. After all, influencer marketing yields more than 11 times the ROI of banner ads, according to a study conducted by Nielsen Catalina Solutions.
Having said that, it’s not without its challenges. It can be time-consuming, tedious, and difficult to track. There are no guarantees when it comes to the results you will get, and with it being unregulated, there are many opportunities to get scammed.
So, who’s done it right? Sprint is a gleaming example. They hired influencers like Gerard Adams, Lele Pons, Prince Royce, Rachel Cook, and Bradley Martyn to promote their #LiveUnlimited campaign, gaining a huge audience of young followers. They selected influencers with massive social media presences who naturally personify the #LiveUnlimited lifestyle, and they introduce all 5 of the influencers in this video.
Other brands that have used influencer marketing successfully include Mercedes Benz, Microsoft, Fiji Water, Walmart, and Wish to name a few.
Influencer marketing trends to look out for in 2019 include influencer podcasts and looking outside of Instagram (i.e. Pinterest and YouTube) to connect with influencers. It will also become more and more important to learn how to effectively track the ROI of your influencer marketing efforts, using tools like UTM parameters to help you track campaigns in Google Analytics and Linkfluence’s Radarly.
2. Omnichannel Marketing
The customer journey of today is a complicated one because consumers no longer shop in one channel on one touchpoint. You’ve likely experienced this yourself when you begin browsing for a solution on your phone, reading reviews on social media, and then finally make the purchase on your laptop or in-store.
Where multichannel marketing helps customers complete transactions in different channels, omnichannel marketing takes it a big step forward and allows them to purchase seamlessly across numerous touchpoints and in all channels.
Without omnichannel marketing, the customer journey is choppy and disjointed, and marketers are unable to fully understand their buyers because their technology solutions aren’t integrated. Gone are the days when marketers could create a simple funnel.
A recent MarketingSherpa survey indicated that companies struggle to have the budget and the skills to properly facilitate omnichannel marketing. In addition, the ever-present question looms of how to weave the customer journey together in a way that offers consistent branding and is user-friendly and available in real-time.
That’s not to say it can’t be done. Starbucks, for example, has taken its reward app far beyond what most are capable of. Customers can check and reload their card and instantly access those changes on the app, website, in-store, or on the phone.
Steve Madden has found a way to match up to their customer data across all touchpoints. They combine all of their cross-channel data into one database and then bring in business intelligence to segment the list so that they can accurately target their customers with the right messages.
One of the hottest software startup opportunities of today lies in omnichannel marketing, so you will start to see more and more tech companies entering the market. Some of the big ones as of yet include Magento, BigCommerce, and Netsuite. We have a long way to go, but this technology will continue to advance in the years to come.
3. Chatbot Lead Generation
Artificial intelligence isn’t just for robots in sci-fi movies. It is now being used in numerous industries, and it has a great future in marketing and we see it as one of the up-and-coming digital marketing strategies in the years to come. Its most popular use so far is chatbot lead generation.
This technology provides an inexpensive way to boost customer satisfaction, offering 24/7 fast responses and data-related answers with a conversational interface that appears natural. Chatbots are patient and even portray a sense of humour and personality.
Chatbot marketing is one of the best lead generation tools of 2019, allowing companies to engage potential customers at the right time. It is able to resolve most of the questions customers have about the products and services they are considering. It can recommend products and services based on the interactions is has with users, and it assists with converting prospects into customers. Throughout the process, it gathers information about their needs, likes, dislikes, and expectations, which can be used to improve future communications and offerings.
Software like ManyChat, Chatfuel, and ChatbotsBuilder make Chatbots easy to set up. The biggest challenge is writing copy that is engaging and effective. When you are planning out your copy, focus on keeping it conversational and always consider the users’ goals. It is also a good idea to use chatbots to encourage micro-commitments, such as directing people to a place on your website where they can get the information they seek or asking them to follow you on Facebook.
As surprising as it may sound, 44% of U.S. consumers want to use chatbots over humans for customer relations, according to Business Insider. Obviously, consumers are as excited about this technology as marketers, so make sure you don’t disappoint them by working out any bugs and consistently optimizing the copy based on the data you pull from the Chatbot.
4. What Digital Marketing Strategies Will You Focus on for 2019?
Based on these three digital marketing strategies and trends, what do you need to improve for 2019? Do you want to enhance your customer journey? Are you working with influencers to promote your business? Could chatbot lead generation to be your top lead generation strategy for this year?