5 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

Jan 03, 2019 - John Paff

Happy New Year! Here are five insights to help you make the most of your 2019 marketing investment.

There’s New Emphasis on Employee Communications

A tight labor market, heightened expectations, and strategic shifts in business culture are driving a “radical transformation” of employee communication says Blythe Yee, head of internal communications at LinkedIn and an advisory board member of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations. “It’s no surprise that there’s a strong correlation between communications, employee engagement and business performance,” says Yee. Savvy employers are placing renewed emphasis on employee communications with internal magazines, communication portals, and purposeful face-to-face meetings in an effort to retain good talent, drive business culture, and engage employees as brand advocates.

Podcasting is Experiencing a Renaissance

Streaming audio services have been around for decades, but the popularity of smartphones and smart speakers has greatly expanded the podcasting audience. Nielsen reports 19 percent of Americans listened to podcasts weekly in 2018. As Nintendo’s Cynthia Gordon recently observed, podcasts have attracted more than twice the audience of Sunday Night Football. “The podcast audience [tends] to be young, educated and affluent,” says Nielsen. “Advertisers who can leverage the [targeted] podcast audience may find a greater ROI since this group tends to spend more.”

Brands Need More Video, Better Video

Busy lifestyles and hectic schedules mean that decision-makers — like all of us — are showing a preference for short-form video over lengthy text. In the manufacturing and B2B sectors, sales and support content continues to shift from print to video. We’re seeing a similar trend in health-care, especially with patient education. As the novelty of online streaming video has worn off and the competition for eyeballs has increased, we’re seeing greater emphasis placed on higher-quality video production. Companies are replacing their original low-budget DIY videos with better-crafted videos made with excellent lighting, sound, and storytelling.

Credibility, not Celebrity, Wins Influencer Marketing

The early days of influencer marketing depended on total audience reach: If a big star mentioned your product on their blog or social media, that was enough. But consumers have become more wary of celebrity endorsements and increasingly seek sources they can trust. Kantar predicts that in 2019, brands will launch influencer campaigns with “experts…with lower individual reach but with higher creditability.” Kantar advises that “the successful micro-influencers will be the ones who offer relevant content, with high quality aesthetics and meet their followers’ needs [for] entertainment or new information.”

Your Brand Is What They Say It Is

Online reviews and consumer comments have never been more important. In recent months, many more Nichols clients have asked us to help them monitor and enhance their online reputations, especially on social media. We anticipate this trend to continue throughout 2019. The Nichols team has sophisticated tools to help our clients monitor their news mentions and social media — and to respond appropriately.

What trends are influencing your marketing decisions in 2019? Drop us a note and let’s talk about your particular challenges and opportunities.