With the new year underway, now is the ideal time to review your marketing strategy and anticipate where you can any changes offering opportunities to capitalise on or changes you need to make plans for.

So, what are the big trends coming your way this year?

1. Political uncertainty

Like it or not, Brexit and the hard to predict associated changes is radically changing the way many businesses are operating. Contingency plans, import and export, currency issues – however your business needs to react, the worst thing to do would be to not have a plan at all (or several).

“For brands, waiting to see what occurs is no longer an option. Plans, and contingency plans, must be made now, otherwise they won’t be in a position to act on whatever sequence of events actually comes about.” – Marketing Week, 12 December 2018.

As The Drum also reports, global conflict is ongoing and the opportunity for brands from a marketing perspective could be to offer emotional solutions rather than political ones.

2. The changing face of influencer marketing

Influencers will still have a big part to play in 2019, but as this recent Government guidance from the Competition & Markets Authority states, transparency is key. Bloggers, vloggers and social media personalities are now under increasing scrutiny and pressure to declare upfront whether their posts include paid for or gifted brand endorsements.

In addition, as reported by Entrepreneur, ‘micro-influencers’ are on the rise thanks to brands such as Iceland using those with smaller followings and ‘real people’ to promote their products, due to the increased trust of peer-to-peer marketing for this audience.

3. Well-planned content marketing

Most would no longer argue the importance of content marketing; content has been king for many years now, and the cross-discipline benefits are vast. As Entrepreneur states, the goal is not to simply put content in front of people and hope they respond to it, but rather to encourage them to share and engage with it. The key to getting this right is all in the planning; ensuring that your content is well-written, and reaches the right people at the right time, in the right place.

Smart Insights adds that research from the Content Marketing Institute shows the importance of a more strategic approach to include audience engagement and commercial goals of leads and sales, as well as persona-based content and improved effectiveness measurement. Marketing Week said that 2019 could be the year that effectiveness finally wins the battle over efficiency.

4. Voice search growth

According to The Drum, every major brand will have a voice search strategy by 2020. As Smart Insights reports, Mozcast SERPs features analysis shows the growth in ‘related questions’, demonstrating the growth in conversational search from voice-activated speakers for example, which will continue to vastly shape the path of digital marketing. As Entrepreneur recommends, this is the year your business can get ahead of the curve by ensuring that your site is optimised for voice search.

5. Omnichannel

The most effective brands will be able to develop fully integrated customer experiences, across not only their digital channels, but print and digital too. Aside from measurement challenges, this means that budgets need to be carved up between print and digital pots for the best campaigns across multiple mediums, as Laura Fox from APS Group says in CIM Exchange. This seamless method represents true customer centricity, rather than just lip service.

6. Agency model

Finally, an important challenge for our agency customers is the increased attack on the traditional agency model, as reported in Marketing Week. The issue of cost and time pressures that are felt by some clients, together with the growth of an in-house approach has meant that some agencies are under increasing strain from dissatisfied clients to show billing transparency and increased knowledge within their teams. Smart agencies are already planning how to adapt their models. If you’re an agency owner or manager, read more about our agency services to see how we could help you.