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Want your brand to stand out in 2019? Here are the three hottest global marketing trends to include in your strategy this year – as selected by our experts.

2018 was a busy year for global marketing.

GDPR changed the game in Europe, forcing brands to rethink their approach to marketing and customer data. Influencer marketing went under the microscope, with widespread fraud and rogue brand champions damaging the industry’s reputation. Not to mention AI, voice search, live streams and podcasts all booming and adding themselves to a long list of channels to look into.

And if you’re still busy dealing with 2018’s priorities, how will you prepare for 2019?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

We asked our experts to cut through the noise, identify 2019’s most important global marketing trends, and explain what they mean for your brand. Here’s what they had to say.

1. SEO IS CHANGING – AGAIN

I know, it’s a tired cliché. SEO changes with every Google update. But bear with me.

In September 2018, Rand Fishkin delivered a keynote speech at Brighton SEO – one of the world’s leading search conferences. He revealed that the number of search queries resulting in no clicks has increased by 20% in two years.

 

(Source: SparkToro)

Why? Google is continuing its transition from a ‘search engine’ to an ‘answer engine’. And 2018 saw significant advances in the diversity of knowledge graph content and the serving of contextual results, especially for popular and short-tail queries. For example, here’s what happens if I search for football club ‘Arsenal’:

Look how far down the homepage it appears – after scores, news and other info Google’s pulled.

The result is a rich, useful experience for users, but it’s impacting brands’ click-through rates to traditional listings. This is especially the case for mobile searches, where people are looking for quick answers.

What can you do about it? Here are three tips:

  • Target high-intent, long-tail keywords to push interested traffic to your site without having to compete with the knowledge graph.
  • Optimize relevant content for featured snippets and Google’s knowledge graph. This will also help you rank for voice search. Check out my earlier advice here on how to do this.
  • A supreme user experience is crucial, so make sure your site is mobile-ready. This will also benefit you in mobile-heavy markets like China and Japan.

GARY REILLY, HEAD OF DIGITAL

 

2. PRINT IS MAKING A COMEBACK

Did you see that great print ad from KFC in February 2018? In case you missed it, they had a supplier issue, which meant their UK stores ran out of chicken. To apologize, they printed this in a couple of national newspapers:

 

It’s a fantastic, playful ad that makes me laugh every time I see it. It worked too. The ad won a series of industry awards – and more importantly, the brand’s reputation is now higher than it was before the crisis.

They’re not the only ones to take out print apology ads. Oxfam and Facebook both did the same thing – albeit with a more serious approach. In all three cases, the brands believed print would help them appear sincere and connect with customers.

This isn’t just the case for newspapers either. Magazines are now the UK’s most trusted source of news – and their popularity is growing in emerging markets. Plus, these traditional media deliver better ROI than online channels.

So, let’s buck the global marketing trend of moving everything towards digital. Instead, focus some of your resources on creative, engaging print ads. It will pay off across markets – and when done right, they can help you go viral even faster than the latest Marvel movie.

Looking for inspiration? Check out our advice on how to make a successful global print campaign here.

STANI DOVHUNOVA, PRINT LEAD

 

3. DATA IS GOOD, GREAT CONTENT IS BETTER

OK, this global marketing trend isn’t new to 2019. In fact, I wrote a blog post along these lines a couple of years ago. It was all about how to use keywords to enhance content, not ruin it.

But this year there’s been a renewed focus on using data responsibly. It’s given many marketers a real concern that the new requirements around data will kill their content. Won’t they lose all their readers?

Not much has changed though. Don’t get me wrong, data is important. We should be integrating it into our strategies and using it to understand our customers. But fewer than 20% of UK marketers know how to integrate data-driven insights into their marketing strategy anyway. It often just ties us up in knots.

So let’s make 2019 the year where we start championing creativity again. Use data for insight, but don’t let it suffocate inspiration. After all, sometimes customers don’t know what they want. How many people would have named having Europe’s longest champagne bar as a requirement for a revamped Saint Pancras station? But the planners relied on more than consumer insight alone, and it’s been a huge success.

Similarly, if you focus on crafting excellent, engaging content – rather than blindly meeting a set of metrics – you’ll earn your customers’ attention. In any market. This isn’t pie in the sky thinking. It’s content marketing – and I personally can’t wait to see much more of it this year.

ZOEY COOPER, CONTENT AND BRAND DIRECTOR

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

So what are the secrets to success in 2019? Focus on creativity, not on thoughtlessly meeting targets. Don’t forget traditional channels in the rush to digital. And prepare your content now for the next generation of SEO. Whatever comes in 2019, incorporate these global marketing trends into your strategy – and your brand will stand out from the crowd.

Want help realizing your global ambitions this year? We can help. Click here to get in touch.

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash