If there’s one thing that’s a constant in marketing, it’s that it is always changing. Businesses need to stay on their toes to keep up. Those who can capitalize on emerging trends get ahead of the curve—and the competition. Here are 5 of the top digital marketing trends to watch and plan for in 2020, along with marketing tips to get you started.

1. Rise of Customer Experience

Recent polls, surveys, and studies predict that 2020 will continue to see a shift to prioritizing customer experience. Experience is an important factor in purchasing decisions for 73% of U.S. customers, and 65% say that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising.

Consumers have all the information they want at their fingertips. They aren’t waiting for a company to explain how great their products are. Marketing will no longer be about trying to convince people to buy from or work with your company. Instead, it will focus on providing an excellent customer experience that keeps people coming back for more, and sharing their experience with others.

Customer experience (CX) is more than customer service; it’s the entire customer journey. Some of the areas to optimize for better CX include:

  • Speed
  • Convenience
  • Consistency
  • Friendliness

Marketers will need to go above and beyond the traditional marketing funnel, which may not meet customer expectations. In 2020, work on creating a comprehensive customer experience strategy with interaction at every stage, even past the point of purchase.

Getting Started

The first step in improving customer experience is to have a clear vision. Define it with guiding principles, quality training and tracking, and processes for gathering and implementing feedback. This will require a better understanding of who your customers are and what they want. Don’t overlook the importance of employee satisfaction and engagement, because it is that human touch that often plays a big part in creating emotional connections and a great experience.

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2. Personalization to Capture Attention

Today’s consumer is bombarded at every turn with advertising seeking to grab their attention. Some estimates say we are exposed to more than 5,000 ads a day. Therefore, people have grown adept at tuning these out. Traditional advertising is losing its effectiveness, and that will continue in 2020.

The answer lies in forging a connection between a brand and customer through personalized marketing messages. Research found that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that gives them a personalized experience. You only have to look as far as Amazon to see the success of this marketing approach.

Technological advances (like AI) and increased data collection (including social media insights) make it more possible than ever to personalize everything from content to design to product recommendations.

Getting Started

The customer journey offers several potential touchpoints for personalization. Knowing where and how starts with data. Use that data to create buyer personas and segment better content, targeted ads, and recommendations. Map out your content to specific interests and needs of each persona. Marketing automation can help you speak to and analyze each segment. Go beyond just personalizing content by tailoring the entire customer experience.

3. SEO Is Still Essential (But Different)

Search engine optimization will continue to be an important aspect of marketing in 2020 because 75% of internet searchers never scroll past the first page. But the way people are using search engines is changing, with the growth of mobile and voice search. Add to that the evolution of Google’s algorithm and featured snippets, and there is a key difference in SEO moving forward.

It used to be that the goal of SEO was to capture the number one spot in SERPs (search engine results pages). But now the top spot is called position zero. Position zero is a featured snippet of text above the search results, and is the first, and sometimes only, result some users will look at. It is often the result provided for voice searches as well. Optimizing for this highly sought after SERP placement should be a top priority in 2020.

Getting Started

Achieving position zero requires different SEO techniques than for a normal SERP listing. Earning a featured snippet spot requires producing quality content in a Google-friendly format. These 10 SEO strategies can get you started. However, SEO itself can have a steep learning curve, and you may find that enlisting the help of an SEO expert like Big Leap is well worth the investment to get good results.

4. Content Marketing Is Still King

Most marketers have heard the saying “Content is king” and it will remain king in 2020. Most of the current marketing trends rely on content in some way. However, quality will be more important than quantity. High quality content helps you show your expertise and establish credibility and authority. It pleases your customers, and it pleases search engines. (A win-win!)

In addition to a focus on high quality content, consumers increasingly want more diverse content. Develop your content strategy by adding more diversity, like videos, visual content, and interactive content (such as quizzes) where it makes sense for your brand. Live videos on Facebook Live and Instagram Live are also increasingly important marketing tools.

Getting Started

Do an audit of the current content that you have. Remove any duplicate content that is competing with what you already have. Improve or delete low quality content. Brainstorm a wide variety of content topics and mediums that can be of value to your customers, and fit the best ones into your strategy. Big Leap can also help you take your content marketing to the next level and produce high quality content that makes a difference — just like we’re doing for this client.

Related: 8 Miraculous Benefits of Business Blogging

5. Strategic Marketing Goes Broader

Perhaps the biggest marketing trend of 2020 is that most brands can no longer rely on a single strategy or marketing channel for success. Even if you find one that gives you incredible growth, it will likely be short term as competitors jump on board. Marketing will require a broad, holistic approach coupled with the discipline to achieve small gains in several areas. Those small gains can add up to a large impact. This may require a paradigm shift for your 2020 marketing strategy.

Getting Started

Go through your entire marketing strategy and customer experience to see where you have the room to make small gains. Perhaps that’s split testing your title tags, gathering more data to fine tune customer personas, or spending a little more on paid ads.

Jump on These Digital Marketing Trends for 2020

Understanding and planning for these 2020 marketing trends can help prepare your brand to conquer the next wave of digital changes and obstacles. Couple these tips with the 5 key metrics you should also be tracking to grow your business in 2020 for an explosive year.

Jaime Theler