Marketing Trends for 2019 – Engage and Solve Customer problems

Since there’s no secret formula that fits every business (although, don’t you wish there was?), smart marketing leaders strive to define the right marketing mix of digital, social and print to move their businesses forward. Keeping a watchful eye on trends is certainly a way to ensure your strategy gives you an edge over the competition.

There is proof that those who embrace change and take risks will drive innovation and reap the rewards. Here are two technology trends that are poised to gain even more traction in 2019 to help you do just that.

1) Marketing Automation:
Marketing automation refers to the software that automates marketing actions – its most common use is for repetitive tasks like emails, social media and other website functions. Automation is also gaining ground in CRM platforms and account-based marketing. This top trend will continue to grow exponentially and become even more sophisticated.

Marketers who already automate processes simply have more free time to think strategically and comprehensively. These advances can truly help you scale more effectively, make better decisions, and save money.

Gone are the days of spray-and-pray marketing. Communicate to those who are relevant. Make it a priority to use automation to analyze buyers’ digital behavior to personalize, engage and inspire everywhere your company has a presence.

Basically, the omnichannel marketing push will keep gaining steam in 2019. If you want to excel at it though, you must utilize and integrate automation technology into every channel.

Here is why:

  • It connects the dots creating a complete picture that leaders need to see.
  • Allows marketers to quickly experiment and test to see what works (with small investments in new channels), providing quick course-correction when needed.
  • Helps to ensure personalization and relevance. Automation can find the right audience, create the right message, and deliver it at the right time. Even so, don’t overlook opportunities to personally keep in touch with customers or reach out directly when possible.

The key is to understand what communication channels resonate with your customers. If a printed newsletter or a direct mail piece will cut through all of the digital noise and put your company top of mind, then consider going the old-fashioned route. I know of one company that did just that using software to collect mailing addresses so they could reach out with print – to offer helpful solutions and ironically to also create more digital engagement.

2) Chatbots:
Given the current globalized B2B business world with 24/7 internet access, customers expect the same “always available” service. Chatbots, known as conversational agents or digital assistants, can offer this around-the-clock interaction and have become “smart” with sophisticated AI technology. By the way, the “dumb” chatbots you may have encountered were not designed with AI.

Offering fast, accurate, and cheap customer service solutions, chatbots resolve issues with pre-programmed scripts requiring little human interaction. In just the past two years this technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Many are reaping the benefits by using it as a tool to strengthen relationships – internally and externally – with clients and customers.

According to a book by Jay Baer, 35% of people would use chatbots for “resolving a complaint or problem.” Strangely, the most common use for this kind of tech was for “getting a quick answer in an emergency” at 37%.

Although, chatbots have improved, there is still a lot of dissatisfaction with the bots that don’t enhance the customer experience. The primary reason to implement this type of technology should be because you have customers who prefer this channel for communication and because it will truly help them, not just because you want to save a few bucks.

Here are a few other reasons why you should consider having a chatbot in your marketing tool box:

  • Better understand your customer with real insights and ultimately use that data to provide improved offers and answers to questions.
  • Once it is built, there are low maintenance costs for chatbots. The key is to choose the right partner from the start.
  • Improve customer service with data collection and analytics. Ex. record data, trends and metrics to track interactions and then make adjustments accordingly.

Whichever trends you choose to explore in 2019, it is up to you, the professional marketer to make the customer experience better. Be present. Be relevant. And be helpful.