14 marketing experts predict the trends of 2020 (and beyond)

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As we start a new decade, the trends in marketing and other fields will dictate the jobs available, the projects that are approved, and the trajectory of business. To find out, Ladders asked marketing experts at several well-known companies and agencies for their prediction about the trends we’ll see in 2020 that will impact all of us.

1. Authenticity matters

“Marketers forgot why influencers mattered: authenticity. Yes, you get increasingly professional-grade content for cheap, but it’s starting to look like just another commercial. There will be a return to using honest testimonials from – *gasp!* – actual customers. ” — Bryan Allison, CMO, The Abbi Agency

2. Personalization rules

“Personalization will become more and more important to companies of all sizes. It used to be just a large company thing but it’s critical to understand who is in the market and take action with a personal message for that customer. It is a very focused approach but it can be pulled to scale.” — Celia Fleischaker, CMO, PROS

3. Build your brand

“Many marketers today are so focused on tactical optimizations designed to drive ‘quick wins’ for their business that they’ve lost sight of the importance of brand building. While modern measurement approaches have helped marketers meet the demands for greater accountability and transparency, it’s led them to place too much emphasis on short-term outcomes. In 2020, I predict we’ll see marketers trying to strike a better balance between top-of-funnel awareness efforts and bottom-funnel direct response tactics.” — Lana Busignani, EVP of US Analytics, Nielsen

4. Customer empathy

“As more businesses focus on customer retention, marketers will get smarter about demonstrating more empathy with their customers and prospects. Instead of trying to squeeze every last dollar from customers, businesses will focus on sending more relevant offers in context with individual customer needs while phasing out ‘spray and pray’ strategies across broad segments.” — Tom Libretto, CMO, Pegasystems

5. Trust becomes a currency

“Trust is one of the hardest currencies to replace. As customer privacy and data ownership concerns increase, marketers must work with CIOs in 2020 to make data security a priority, or be ready to account for loss of customers and revenue.” — Claire-Juliette Beale, Marketing Manager, SAS

6. No more likes

“I expect that Instagram will follow through on hiding ‘likes’ to all U.S. users in 2020. With this bold move, both micro and macro influencers will be expected to embrace more sophisticated marketing metrics. Many brands will begin to build influencer marketing campaigns based on conversion rates and ROAS, not on likes." — Erin Storm, VP of Solutions, Lola Red PR

7. Privacy is paramount

“2020 will be the year of learning to balance privacy with cutting-edge marketing practices. Due to customer concerns and regulations like GDPR, the trend in digital marketing is toward ensuring privacy and security with practices like opt-consent and actually readable terms and conditions. While IP addresses are not yet considered PII in the US, they may be soon, and we should find ways to consider privacy and secure, respectful data handling now. " — Janine Pelosi, CMO, Zoom

8. Voice evolves

“In my opinion, voice will certainly take center stage for marketers in 2020. With Amazon Alexa, Siri and other voice assistant services becoming a big part of consumers’ day-to-day interactions, marketers will capitalize on the opportunity to promote relevant products. Search advertising to consumers’ queries will most likely be limited next year as there are still concerns with privacy.” — Nikos Drakatos, Director of Product Marketing, Adthena

9. Customized experiences

“Leveraging the power of APIs, marketers will increasingly be able to create customized experiences that customers will love. And they will do it faster than ever before, with fewer resources, with the ability to be agile and nimble to change with customers’ ever-evolving needs and demands.” — Rishi Dave, CMO, Vonage

10. B2B mirrors B2C

“I predict that B2B marketing and consumption models will look a lot more like B2C marketing over the next decade to lean heavier on bottom-up engagement and appealing to emotion. Mirroring the transition we’ve seen with B2C marketing, B2B audiences will show preference to companies through self-selected education, versus being pitched by a sales rep” — Ami Badani, VP of Marketing, Cumulus Networks

11. More streamlining

“The idea of ‘less is more’ will take focus in 2020. Marketers will hone in on their work more, focusing on key activities to make the most of their efforts. For instance, marketers will consolidate their excessively large marketing stacks and use tools like automation to streamline tasks such as monitor SEO campaigns, aggregate reports from multiple sources and create PPT presentations.” — Anna Burke, VP of Marketing, Catalytic

12. Eco-friendly offerings

“Sustainability. Consumers are growing increasingly alarmed over the effects of climate change and are demanding the brands they shop to create more eco-friendly products with fewer resources and less-wasteful practices. It’s been proven that businesses that are truly sustainable are highly valued and often more profitable, which puts the onus on marketers to ensure their companies have established the most effective tools.” — Nina McIntyre, CMO, ETQ

13. Social values

“In the era of customer and employee activism, businesses that don’t wake up and embrace social value marketing will fail. Customers will use their spending power to support their values and employees increasingly want to work for organizations that further their ideals. Run your business with social values at its core or embrace irrelevance.” — Heather Zynczak, CMO, Pluralsight

14. Big Tech distrust

“There is a growing societal backlash against big tech companies at the moment. Trust in tech giants is dwindling, due to a mix of dubious business behavior and a human tendency to distrust powerful organizations. This ‘techlash’ represents new challenges for communicators, as tech companies must work to pursue organizational legitimacy, strive to put societal concerns first, and embrace new legislation." — Keith Donovan, President, Airfoil Communications