The start of a new year is a perfect time to break out of your comfort zone and shake things up by bringing some new ideas to your marketing game. Take some inspiration from these key trends to re-energize your approach in 2019, says, June Severino Feldman, Chief Marketing Officer, IPS.
One of the most exciting things about marketing is that the world is our toolbox. What does that mean? It means we increasingly have the freedom to move beyond traditional tactics to meet prospective customers or engage current ones in fresh, new ways – and that keeps things interesting both for them and us marketing pros.
If you’re ready to shake up your marketing game in 2019, here are four trends worth watching that may inspire you to push some of your marketing campaigns or tactics in novel new and exciting directions.
Trend 1: The rise of “crossover” marketing.
Since when do Millennials and classical music mix? While it may seem that classical music is the latest thing Millennials have been accused of “killing”, the paths between them cross beautifully in a new trend called crossover marketing, which blends cultures or seemingly disparate genres to capture the interest of new consumer market segments.
The places where younger generations and classical music naturally intersect are movie scores and video games. And who are huge consumers of both? Millennials, along with other young market segments. Classical music radio stations now actually play and promote music from popular video games – for the sake of their own musical integrity as well as their current cultural significance. The theme “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture” by British composer Jessica Curry was created to accompany an apocalyptic video game of the same name, and its notes would be immediately familiar to many PS4 fans. This is of course reminiscent of the Looney Tunes cartoons which exposed older generations to the joys of traditional and classical music – think Elmer Fudd singing “Kill the Wabbit” to the tune of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weHNnsMY82A
These gaming and movie scores are often as symphonic or super-modern as any movements written for the concert hall. I listen to Newark Classical Radio WQXR-FM in my office, and young software developers or engineers often pop in to inquire about particular songs they overhear. They leave with notes to check out the likes of Tchaikovsky, Oliver Davis, Chopin or Einaudi
The takeaway: Toss aside assumptions about who likes what and look for unlikely connections. Draw parallels between cultures, traditions or genres within your content. Start with something that’s familiar and pair it with a view into a new world. This practice keeps your content fresh and will engage new and more diverse audiences.
Trend 2: The blend of “gamification” with real-world experiences.
When we talk about gamification, we often think of those pervasive “apps for everything” that turn anything — from armed forces recruitment to exercise to selling a new candy bar — into a game.
Yet increasingly popular Pop-Up Experiences (PUEs) are blending the digital and the real world with gamification experiences that bring a brick-and-mortar location together with immersive, technology-driven events.
These pop-ups, sponsored by a variety of brands and causes, are now bringing the magic of artificial reality to bear of sharing their messages in actual retail, sports, entertainment and arts venues around the country. In New York City alone, this past holiday season saw a multitude of PUEs offering consumers the chance to interact with brands and causes ranging from the new Spider-Man movie to art by Warhol, to plant-based eating.
Far from feeling like traditional marketing experiences, pop-ups offer entertainment value of their own that compels consumers to actually seek them out proactively; in fact, many of the NYC PUEs were so popular that they’re being continued into 2019.
The takeaway: Pop-up experiences encourage us as marketers to think about ways to blend hardware, software and environmental design in ways that are both inspirational and aspirational. PUEs often require us to challenge the traditional “brand exposure first” approach, as successful PUEs often put the emphasis on the experience first, with the actual brand names involved taking a back seat, allowing consumers to enjoy an organic, less heavy-handed and more immersive experience.
Trend 3: Storytelling takes center stage.
Our increasingly complicated world brings consumers face to face with complex stories every day. This landscape naturally creates a dire craving for greater clarity, simplicity and emotional connection through storytelling.
Storytelling requires marketers to step back and look at the bigger picture and how it connects to consumers’ lives. The Pop-Up Experiences described above are a perfect example; rather than just pushing an agenda of brand attributes, they create experiences that help consumers explore how commercial brands connect to other aspects of our culture, such as medical care, education, journalism, the environment, or technology. For example, the Dolby Soho Experience describes itself as “An experiential place where science meets art and technology meets imagination” – not a word about theater-quality surround-sound guaranteed to blow your hair back.
Even more traditional written, spoken or video stories can benefit from this multifaceted mindset. The busy intersection of technologies in our lives requires storytellers to boil stories down to their purest and most simple messages, thus creating alignment and continuity across all related content on multiple platforms.
The takeaway: Keep looking for ways to incorporate storytelling into your approach to sharing messages and brand attributes, and challenge teams to look for emotional connections and simple yet powerful takeaway messages to ensure the effectiveness of storytelling across multiple channels.
Trend 4: The hunt for more (and hopefully better) automated SEO tools.
This last trend to watch is more of a wish-list item: The search for a truly effective digital tool for predicting, dissecting and pinpointing the right SEO approach and tactics for our diverse markets.
While there are lots of products out there, I think “the one” with that magic algorithm which will finally turn SEO from more of a prospecting art into a predictable science has yet to emerge.
That does make the world of marketing and marketing technology more exciting, though – there’s always room to evolve and increase the effectiveness or our efforts.
I hope some of these trends spark ideas that help you move your marketing campaigns forward into exciting new spaces in 2019 and beyond. Here’s to a new year of pushing the boundaries and breaking barriers to create new avenues for engagement with the consumers who matter most to you.