Trends can be fleeting, but they frequently point to broad shifts in consumer interests and industry developments. I’ve collected my top five 2020 marketing trends, based on Gartner and industry experts' research, to help software sellers better navigate all that’s new and novel this year. I hope they’ll help you build a strong strategy that includes consumer insights, conversational email copy, a reimagined content plan and more.
Trend 1: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Predictive analytics, the use of data mining, modeling and machine learning to identify patterns to predict future outcomes or trends are becoming more widespread marketing tactics. Marketers' access to AI tools and data continues to help teams make strategic choices and increase conversion rates. Gartner predicts in 2020 that more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated, increasing the practical use of an enormous amount of data.
Embrace the long-term process that AI onboarding often involves and set realistic goals and benchmarks throughout the year to begin collecting data. And then use those insights to guide product development and marketing strategy based on predicted consumer interests and trends.
Trend 2: Conversational Outreach
Adapt marketing messaging to be conversational and personalized to align with today’s B2B buyers’ tailored communication expectations. Focus on marketing email outreach that includes personalized copy about why your product would suit that specific customer’s needs and pain points. Buyers won’t hesitate to “switch to another company that they believe caters to their requirements better” with 72% of surveyed buyers saying they want companies to personalize communication to suit their needs, according to Forbes.
Build email tracks according to a variety of your most desired customer persona types and specific job roles, responsibilities and needs. Then, increase email impact and create a one-to-one, timely connection through triggers based on specific buyer behaviors.
Trend 3: Compelling Video
Video as a marketing medium continues to increase in popularity: 92% of marketers surveyed for Wyzowl’s 2020 State of Video Marketing Survey say video is an important part of their marketing strategy — the highest percentage of any year since 2015.
Leverage video marketing to promote your products and demonstrate complex features in an easily digestible way. Remember to keep video efforts strategic and to “cut to the chase” and “devise compelling storylines that credibly answer key buyer questions, feed the needs of target personas and create a path to value quickly” (full report available to Gartner clients).
Trend 4: Reimagined Content
B2B decision-makers have shifted to include more millennials, with 73% of 20- to 35-year-olds involved in the purchase decision-making process at their companies, reports Harvard Business Review. As a rule, those millennial decision makers start their product research online rather than connecting with a salesperson.
Guide millennial buyers with content fit for every stage of the funnel and encourage audience participation through social media, contests and review collection to extend brand exposure across their relevant networks. Also, explore interactive content to better engage your target audiences —“91% of consumers prefer interactive or visual content, such as video, over conventional static media” (full Gartner report available to clients).
Trend 5: Big Data
Leverage consumer data to gain knowledge of in-market buyer needs and trends. Data insights can expose evolving consumer needs — for example, through customer reviews — and guide marketing strategy throughout the year.
When sourcing or collecting consumer data, remember to pay close attention to data privacy laws. Only collect contacts legally through verified channels as new regulations are put in place, like 2019’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
There you have it, from one marketer to another — the top five trends we’ll see across marketing in 2020. Keep these trends in mind as you build your strategy to effectively connect with target audiences and make a marketing impact like never before.
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Kari Test is a Manager on the Vendor Marketing team at Gartner Digital Markets. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Kari graduated from Elon University before moving to the Washington, D.C. area. In her free time, she loves exploring Old Town Alexandria, traveling, and trying out new recipes. Connect with Kari on LinkedIn.