During the recent AMA Chicago Sunrise Series – Digital Marketing Trends and Practical Applications for 2020, I felt proud as a digital marketer to sit in front of a panel of powerful women in marketing at West Monroe Partners in Chicago. About roughly 50 attendees appeared anxious with enthusiasm because, like me, they wanted to learn about 2020 digital marketing trends and how to apply them in the new decade.
Moderated by Tracy Samantha Schmidt, founder and principal of Chicago-based Socially Authentic, the panel included the following thought leaders:
- Casey Foss, CMO of West Monroe Partners
- Holly Hale, Associate Email Marketing Manager of FTD Companies
- Sarah McNabb, CMO of Gate 39 Media
- Becca Toth, Customer Success Manager of Sprout Social, Inc.
For more than an hour, the panel talked about the must-know trends for 2020. Below are expert highlights from these top digital marketers.
- Key trend: Optimize your website content for voice search.
Application: By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice-based, so make sure your website content reflects the words that you would want to say (excluding the alt tags). For example, create or refine an FAQ page that includes conversation phrases and questions that consumers are likely searching for online. An example is “It says my package was delivered, but I don’t have it.”
- Key trend: When implementing a chatbot, it’s imperative that consumers know that it’s not a real person, yet it’s more than just a robot.
Application: Aside from customer service, consider using a chatbot in unique ways, like for storytelling or quizzes. Give your chatbot a character or persona, which can create an experience for the consumer that reflects your brand.
- Key trend: Use social media to connect to consumers but also to help them connect with others.
Application: Be part of the conversation that’s happening online, especially on your social media channels by responding to comments and direct messages. The social media team members behind the subscription-based pet toy and treat service BarkBox addressed an online controversy with one of its products by using this tactic. To take it a step further, create a Facebook Group that encourages conversation between peers in your customer base.
- Key trend: Make it personal and music to their ears.
Application: Email is still one of the top ways to reach consumers so that’s why each touch point needs to be valuable. Personalized subject lines have shown to drive higher open rates, and more consumers are using their e-readers to read emails. Email marketing agency Action Rocket embedded a Daft Punk hit directly into an email, automatically playing the song when the email is read in an e-reader.
- Key trend: “Influencers” are turning into “brand advocates.”
Application: Find and develop a strong partnership with those who talk about you and engage with you the most – and those might even be your employees. Instead of hiring someone for a one-off project, implement a long-term strategy with him or her.
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