Welcome to the season of prognostication.
2019 is fast-approaching, and with it comes winter’s most frequently asked question: “How is marketing going to change next year?”
Yawn. Pubs from Adweek to Forbes are all over this. So, rather than create another list of cool new things that might be coming, we decided to flush out a list of once-cool, once-new things that will soon be going.
To help in this effort, we reached out to nine savvy Philly-area marketers and asked them to share their thoughts on the following question:
What is the next QR Code?
(i.e., The sexy new digital tool/platform that everyone is jumping to use, which will turn out to be a “bust”)
Here’s what they had to say …
VP of Marketing
City Fitness Philadelphia
“Influencer marketing. It’s a useful buzzword and has been an invaluable tactic over the years — but it’s just a tactic already hinting at diminishing returns. As users scroll by more and more sponsored posts from ‘public figures’ on Instagram, it will become harder for them to differentiate between influencers they follow advocating a wireless company or weight loss teas. Cultivating brand ambassadors who honestly and organically express themselves will always be valuable for every brand, but ‘influencer marketing’ as we are currently experiencing it is on its way out.”
Director, Customer Marketing
“2019 I fear will be a year that goes ‘off the rails’ and marketers just go for it. In an economy that’s more about #MeFirst than #MeToo, we will see trending towards the outrageous to get attention — the louder the better. More pop-ups and chats, more interactive content, more AI tracking, and more ‘I can’t believe this got approved!’ Will this work? In the beginning, yes. But in the long run, I’m hopeful that carefully crafted content and vendor/customer relationships, based on a desire to resolve customer pain points, will dial it back and level set to a less invasive and more prepared conversation.”
Corporate Director, Content & Media
Universal Health Services, Inc.
“Clearly the technology itself is not a bust, but voice search and voice-activated devices are something marketers need to figure out. It’s not about it being that new place to showcase your ad, it’s about trying to create engagement with your brand by offering a useful, almost utilitarian way to provide information to your customers. Will consumers use voice to casually browse a website in 2019? Probably not, but they are already using it to buy things online and get specific information (e.g. directions) quickly. What that means for marketers, is that sometimes the value of the newest consumer tech might be more basic than you realize.”
Associate Director, Marketing – Americas & Global
“Today’s consumers are smart, deliberate and want more conversation — less presentation. What’s about to go bust are the days of creating manufactured, presentation-based content for content creation’s sake. We’re moving toward a more personal, emotionally-connected, content-marketing environment. A model where real-life interactions with a brand invoke emotions about what customers do, how they touch and how the ‘feel’ about the brand will drive the creation of content. This is where is see experiential marketing becoming more of strategic focus. While big brands have been doing this for a while now, perhaps it’s time others should consider following suit. A strategic focus on how people experience the brand can have the ability to transform and elevate a more emotional connection between the brand and their consumers, which is becoming increasingly important as consumers demand more personalization.”
Elisa A. Rodgers
Director of Marketing
Reed Tech/LexisNexis IP
“My guess is that in the future, there will be less emphasis on MQLs. After all, if you have every single person in your addressable market and are not getting them to become opportunities, there is a problem. Smart marketers will be focusing more on getting prospects to the table that have Budget, Authority, Need and Timing (BANT). We will do this by making sure we address their core pain points and engage them with dynamic and tailored content. Early in my career, we were looking at impressions. Impressions are rarely even shown as part of our funnel for B2B. As we become more sophisticated, I believe we will be looking more at how many opportunities marketing has created over the number of MQLs.”
Senior VP, Head of Product & Channel Marketing
Chubb – Personal Risk Services
“2 things go bust in 2019: complacency and an inability to clearly prove the return on marketing investment. These shouldn’t be a big shock to anyone, as they’ve been building for some time, but I feel like 2019 will be a clear turning point. For complacency, data privacy & integrity should be top of mind. Those firms who fail to adequately protect their customers — and their data — will now pay a higher cost than they have traditionally. I wouldn’t be surprised if some are driven out of business due to failures. For marketing ROI, the modern marketer has been driving this hard for years — and we’ve come a long way … but there are still hold outs if we’re honest. Those marketers who struggle to prove their ROI are in trouble should a downturn hit, and dollars become even more scarce. Those who can prove a hard return will thrive and see their scope grow, while those that cannot will see their budgets dwindle even more quickly.”
Public Relations & Social Media Manager
“Artificial Intelligence has been over-hyped, but in 2019 marketers should start using a subset of AI called machine learning to improve customer experiences and support. For instance, predictive modeling can be used to identify patterns in data and improve customer interactions.”
Director of Content & Media
“While it’s hard to argue with the growth figures we continue to see out of Instagram’s camp, IGTV will be nothing more than another feature that pops with usage for a few quarters and then fades into obscurity. Since the user growth of Facebook is stalling in North America, they’re doing everything they can to squeeze the other properties for growth. That means adding bells and whistles to platforms that weren’t built for what they want them to do. Was stealing the Stories functionality from Snap the right move? Totally. But are you going to turn IGTV into the next YouTube? No way. Instagram wasn’t meant for long-format consumption, it’s there for quick hit social gratification.”
Associate Vice President | Strategic Marketing & Communications
“I’m not sure it’s about what the next QR Code is, but rather, the take-aways from it. The lesson for marketers is not to get lured by the next new, shiny object. We have to know our audience and understand behavior and preference and, even then, dig deeper to really understand the feasibility and viability of a new platform or tactic. For example, a while back, we elevated the role of Snapchat in reaching out to prospective undergraduate students. This worked … for a short period of time. After both environmental and business shifts in the Snapchat platform, we found our ability to engage with our audience drop significantly (with decreases of 25-50%). If our engagement strategy had been more platform-dependent, this could have been really damaging. Bottom line: Build content platforms in-house, be measured and thoughtful about HOW and WHY you engage in unowned content delivery platforms. USE METRICS. And don’t double down if it’s not working!! Shift your strategy.”
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