A quick Google search for “digital marketing trends 2020” will show you just how much is happening in marketing this year. How do you know where to focus your efforts?
We asked members of our team for help. Here’s what they had to say!
Whether you’re a social media marketer, a brand marketer, an email marketer or a generalist, there’s no shortage of new ideas. What is one trend marketers should be focusing on this year?
Using video to tell great stories. So much of marketing has shifted to optimizing channels and analyzing data, which has made us work smarter.
The downside of this shift is that we often overlook what's at the heart of making these channels effective — sharing something with your audience at the right time that gets their attention, moves them to watch and speaks to their needs.
Amrita Gurney, VP Marketing & Community, Head of Brand Design
It’s not exactly a new trend, but a continuing challenge and opportunity for marketers this year is to get better at personalization, and doing it at scale. For B2B companies that usually means account-based marketing, but every marketer should be aiming to personalize their digital experiences for different audiences, and doing it in real-time wherever possible.
Personalization used to just mean including someone’s name in a marketing email, but now the best brands are creating dynamic content on their websites aimed at specific personas, and sending carefully curated, customized content to people based on their interests and behavior. There's always new technology to help you achieve it, but you don't necessarily need a big budget to get it right.
Stuart McLachlan, Demand Generation Manager
Personalization is a marketing term that gets thrown around a lot, and can range in how complex or difficult it is to craft. IMO, as long as you are putting the right content in front of your audience, you're working towards a personalized marketing experience. I think one of the easiest, most human ways to personalize your marketing is in the distribution of your content.
Talia van Everdingen, Marketing Programs Manager
From a website perspective, I see much of the focus being on performance — faster, more accessible sites that help improve technical SEO. It's nothing really new, but there are always ways to continue to push the limits as newer techniques and technologies emerge. In terms of design, I see subtle animations and videos playing a big role in delighting users. It's important to catch people with the right balance of visuals and striking copy that keeps them engaged and wanting more. Animations and movement, when done right, can really help with that.
CJ Reyes, Web Developer
When it comes to content marketing in 2020, I believe brands — whether you're in travel or SaaS — can benefit most by honing their focus on two areas: SEO and thought leadership content. In the past, brands have been off-kilter, leaning too far to one side or the other. A solid content marketing strategy today requires a healthy mix of both.
I know this isn't necessarily a trend, but revisiting your approach every year can help set you up to effectively tap into video marketing, featured snippets for SEO, optimizing for voice search, and other elements that latter up to your overall strategy.
Julia Manoukian, Senior Content Marketing Manager
How can other marketers action this trend?
If you have a small budget, it's never been easier to be an amateur videographer. You can get set up for less than $1,000, and take advantage of all the free or inexpensive tutorials out there on everything from storyboarding to editing.
If you have a bigger budget, you can get access to more professionals, and create higher quality productions.
Pick one channel — your blog or social media or ads, and replace or augment some of your static imagery or text with video.
Any travel brand can try personalization. You just need to be smart with what you test, because segmenting your audience will most likely increase your workload.
You might want to start by creating standalone pages on your website that cater to different demographic groups. Or you might have the time to go further.
For instance, once you become aware of a specific interest group within your website visitors or customers, you could set up recommendations on your website, or set up automated emails or a chatbot that immediately suggests related activities or information that might interest them. It doesn’t have to be an up-sell! You could also re-write your ads and marketing emails to target that specific group. Anything that makes it feel like you're talking specifically to them will help build rapport and make them more likely to spend time on your website, to visit and to book with you.
The key to truly personalizing your content is making sure you're putting it in front of the right person. The easiest way to find out what type of content your audience wants to consume? Just ask them! Or, at the very least, make it easy for them to find it on their own.
For example, on your email newsletter signup page, ask people what they’re interested in hearing about so you can share relevant content — a traveler looking for family vacation spots will want information that's very different from a local looking to stay up to date with weekly events. The extra amount of time spent to create a few different versions of your newsletter can make all the difference!
You could consider doing the same for your social channels if you have a large enough following and enough content to support multiple accounts. A Twitter account for local sports or FAQs, and a separate Instagram account to inspire foodies could be a great play to help visitors find exactly what they're looking for.
For any brand, web performance is something that is continuously worked on and is never a one-and-done kind of thing.
Implement smaller improvements throughout the year, like focusing on how your site looks and performs on mobile, or ensuring that your site meets the standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Do audits a few times a year to see what can be improved (e.g. benchmark your site speed and general performance at the beginning of the year and check in later to see if any of your improvements have made a difference, and adjust from there). Treat your website like a living, breathing thing; it's okay (and recommended!) to play around, experiment, and optimize to continue to make it as good as it can be!
For SEO, start by doing keyword research around what people coming to or at your destination or are searching for. For example, I know the folks over at Huntington Beach found the search term "pizza Huntington Beach" had a decent search volume and relatively low difficulty. They created a blog post around it and have seen some really great results.
Thought leadership can come in many forms: articles, brand videos, social media, speeches, etc. I think in the travel space, this can also involve key marketing initiatives from the brand. Visit California's road trip microsite is a good example of this. The driver behind this page was to push more people around the state. They use CrowdRiff galleries to see which visuals are the most popular, then they switch them out with lesser-known destinations where they want to drive tourism traffic. The key learning here is to find what you stand for and communicate that message through your marketing.
Themes like sustainability are big for travelers and marketers alike, so keep that in mind when planning out your content.
Where is somewhere you can’t wait to travel to in 2020?
I'm excited to be going to Scotland this year. I haven't been since I was in my 20s and it's got everything I love — beautiful landscapes, warm people and great culture.
On a trip home to the UK this year, I’m managing to squeeze in a weekend in Budapest, which I'm excited about, as I always try to visit at least one new destination each year, and I've never been to Hungary! I’ve heard great things about the architecture and culture, and I’ll be sure to check out the famous baths.
South Africa! It's going to be the perfect mix of nature, adventure, amazing food, and family time. I'm especially excited for all of the unique resorts and lodging options that are on the reserves.
I'll be heading to Mexico City in February. I'm mostly excited to wander around the beautiful parks and markets, and experience the city and culture through food!
I'm going to Palm Springs in April to check out Joshua Tree National Park. I'm excited to do some hiking and maybe try surfing somewhere on the coast.
Image credit: @chicken.andthe.monkey