Want your brand to stand out in 2019? Here we take a look at the three hottest global marketing trends to include in your strategy this year.

2018 was a busy year for global marketing. With GDPR, data protection regulations changed the game for many brands, forcing them 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. And AI, voice search, live streams and podcasts all boomed, adding themselves to a long list of channels to look into.

Many marketers are still busy dealing with 2018’s priorities, so what has 2019 got in store? Here are this year’s most important global marketing trends and what they might mean for your brand.

1. SEO IS CHANGING – AGAIN

Yes, it’s a constant. SEO changes with every Google update. 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 Google’s Knowledge Graph content and the serving of contextual results, especially for popular and short-tail queries. For example, here’s what happens when you search for the “Australian Open”:

 

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

The result is a rich, immediately informative 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.

So what can you do about that? 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.
  • A quality 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.
  • Optimize relevant content for featured snippets and Google’s knowledge graph. This will also help you rank for voice search. Check out these tips on how to do that.

2. PRINT IS MAKING A COMEBACK

In February 2018, KFC had a major supplier issue in the UK, which meant their stores ran out of chicken. To address this embarrassing situation with UK consumers, they turned to print ads in national newspapers:

 

This was a fantastic, playful ad that did an excellent job of playing on British humor and the fact that printed newspapers, particularly in metropolitan areas, still have a place in reaching consumers during their morning commutes. 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.

KFC wasn’t the only one to turn to print in addressing PR issues in 2018. 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 with newspapers. Magazines are becoming a highly trusted source of news – and their popularity is growing in emerging markets as well. Plus, traditional print media often delivers better ROI than online channels.

Don’t be afraid to buck the global marketing trend of moving everything toward digital. Instead, consider focusing some of your resources on creative, engaging print campaigns. It could very well pay off in increasing brand awareness and sentiment across markets – and, when done right, it could help you go viral even faster than the latest Marvel movie.

3. DATA IS GOOD, GREAT CONTENT IS BETTER

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

But lately 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 necessarily. This isn’t to say that data is no longer important – it should inform your strategies and will help you better understand your customers. But fewer than 20% of US marketers know how to integrate data-driven insights into their marketing strategy.

So make 2019 the year you 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’ve thought a revamped London station would result in Europe’s longest champagne bar? The planners relied on more than consumer insight alone, and delivered 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.

FINAL THOUGHT

So what are the secrets to success in 2019? Focus on creativity, not just meeting data-driven targets. Don’t forget traditional channels in an ever-increasing digital world. And prepare your content now for the next generation of SEO. Whatever comes in 2019, incorporate these global marketing trends into your strategy, use local insights to drive your international content – and your brand will stand out from the crowd.