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Predictions 2019: The year ahead for marketers, by Banali Malhotra

2019 will be a year of consumers calculations and technology, predicts Rakbank’s Banali Malhotra

By Banali Malhotra, director of marketing and corporate communications at Rakbank

The world of marketing is evolving by the minute with the advent of enhanced digital media and the convergence of social media and smartphones. Marketers are now expected to be intuitive in predicting customer preferences using data-driven analytics software while delivering relevant communication to customers in a cost-effective manner. As the prominence of martech rapidly increases, here are a few trends to look out for in 2019. 

Personalising campaigns is no longer enough; sending addressed emails is now considered a given rather than a distinction. Exit personalisation. Enter hyper-personalisation. What will make campaigns more effective will be successfully combining customers’ behavioural attributes with predictive learning through real-time data and serving them actual contextual communication that is most relevant to them. For example, a user browses for travel insurance on your website, spends about 10 minutes and leaves without applying for it. A quick analysis of the user reveals that he previously visited the section on travel offers to Europe and used his card to purchase that offer. The user usually browses the website between 2pm and 4 pm in the afternoon and web notifications have had the highest user engagement in the past. Therefore, a hyper-personalised campaign would schedule a web notification to the user when he logs in next, promoting a special travel insurance product that is valid for a Schengen visa.   

Marketing has always been about telling a story. Over time, the channels of communication and the creative art of storytelling have evolved. A powerful tool to watch out for is video content. An emerging trend is videos that help users understand products and services better through comparisons and innovative campaigns. Live streaming on social is also emerging as a powerful way to keep people engaged and interacting with a brand in real time. However, given the attention span of users, marketers must come up with engaging stories that can be told in six to 15 seconds. It is not enough to depend on organic views; marketers must invest in supporting this video content through sponsored and boosted posts and ads on social media to engrave their ideas in the audience’s mind. It is crucial to have content calendars in place that are aligned to business goals and customer requirements to ensure your story, content and business objectives are united.

A rapidly growing marketing tactic to watch out for is local influencers. Word of mouth never goes out of fashion. Don’t get disheartened if you cannot afford to go with a major influencer because of limited budget. Some of the best influencers can be found inside your own company – your employees – and your own fan base – your customers. Also, explore partnerships with influencers through co-creating content and sharing on each other’s platforms, thus forming a mutually beneficial relationship.

No marketing meeting in 2018 would have been complete without the mention of programmatic buying, attribution, DMP, AI, chatbots, A/B testing, AR, VR and so on. Martech is upon us. But there is no need to feel swamped by all these terminologies. At its very crux, martech is a suite of technologies concerned with creating, managing and using digital tools that make it possible for marketers to automate tasks and make data-driven decisions that result in better ROI for their campaigns. Before implementing any of the above, look at competitors and other industries and see what they are doing. Conduct research to see if your target market resonates with the ideas given and if martech works for your customers and business, and then make sure to give it a prominent place in your marketing strategy for 2019.

One thing to consider for 2019 is in-house development of creative communication. The marketing landscape is evolving, especially on the digital front, and marketers are looking to build up and upskill their in-house creative teams, especially in digital. On the creative side, it can be more cost effective to do things in-house because work gets done quicker, given the fact that marketers know their brands the best, there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to things like quick tweaks, and it is faster and easier to track. This sends agencies a clear message that they need to have more of a partnership approach and add better value from their side by providing access to the senior talent pool within the agency and global best practices across industries.

While these are few of the trends that may prevail in 2019, they serve just as a guideline. As they say, the only thing that is constant is change. It will always come down to knowing your customers, telling a great story and constantly reviewing your strategy to see what can be improved. That will ensure a simply better 2019 for marketers.