Marketers watch out: Trends that will take off in 2019

Industry stalwarts give their predictions for the new year

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Published: Jan 7, 2019 9:00 AM  | 5 min read

The growing momentum of social e-commerce or brand activism means that marketers are connecting authentically with their customers. No longer are marketers focused solely on moving a customer through the funnel. They are creating experiences that are promoting brand affinity and even advocacy. We asked marketing maestros on marketing trends that they think are set to take off this year. Here’s what they have to say…         

Swati Rathi, Head of Marketing, Godrej Appliances

The focus on returns-centric marketing, which is definitive and measurable though not necessarily limited to sales, returns. Greater intermingling of media and more holistic approach to marketing is a trend that will stay.

With increasing ad blocking, increasing privacy concerns and more regulations around digital marketing, digital’s key USP of sharp targeting may get blurred. Newer ways of targeting may have to evolve which may also impact digital ROI.  

A niche but growing set within the digital universe will reduce its social footprint as it chooses more authentic experiential living, and consequently it will be even more difficult to target for marketers. Smarter, more seamless content integrations which engage, and not interrupt, would be one of the implications.

B Krishna Rao, Sr. Category Head, Parle Products

The year 2016 was a game-changer for India as it witnessed the launch of Jio. This was followed by other telecom players entering the market. Data became easily affordable. And so were smartphones that made people have an easier access to internet. And this propelled digital marketing or digital advertising. Three decades ago, print and radio were the key mediums. Then TV emerged. After digital came in the picture, though we were talking about it, there was no conviction that you will get the bang for the bucks you spent on it. But now, it has all changed. You can actually monitor whether it’s making a difference. At Parle, our digital spends have increased from 7-8 per cent to 15 per cent now. I feel that 2019 will witness more spends on digital. Content-advertising will become more evident. Platforms like Google and Instagram will help propel the growth of video advertising. 

Another trend I see is the focus on premiumization across categories. As people’s disposal income rises due to schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, they will have far more access and they are going to spend it on aspirational items.                                 

Manasi Narasimhan, VP – Marketing & Communications, Mastercard

2019 will be a breakthrough year for shifting from the ‘information age’ to the ‘experience age,’ where people crave meaningful experiences. People interact seamlessly with technology through innovations like voice activation, facial recognition, AI, and AR/VR. Technology will be more intelligent, connected and human than ever before. To win people’s hearts and minds this year, brands must curate hyper-relevant, personalised experiences to build businesses that stand the test of time. 

Here are three trends that will command our attention this year and require our investment:

The first is big data. Data is the lifeblood of our digital existence, creating previously unimagined opportunities to understand and connect with customers. Omnichannel becomes the only channel. Marketers must leverage data to create seamless personalised, human, delightful experiences across the customer journey consistently on mobile platforms and brick & mortar.

The second is storymaking. Understanding what people truly care about (passions) is critical – it’s how we bring our brand promise to life. We’ll continue to invest in our experiential platforms like Priceless Cities and develop even more ways to bring experience and emotional connection to the forefront of all our efforts.

The third is pursuit of purpose. People today believe in the power of brands to effect positive social change. And they themselves have a duty to make the world a better place. Doing well and good is not a fad – it’s here to stay.

Veetika Deoras, Head - Marketing, Category, Digital & loyalty, Tata Starbucks

As customers embrace digital, marketers would need to be ahead of the curve and be adept at balancing the rationality of data and technology with the warmth of emotional connect and purpose.                                                 

Sanjeev Shukla, Chief Marketing Officer, Muthoot Pappachan Group

The year 2018 in itself was an exciting year from the marketing perspective. But then, marketing is always exciting! But if I were to say, the year saw the “global godfather of the marketing world” Sir Martin Sorrell exiting WPP, and one of WPP giants JWT (a 130-year-old  ad agency and one of the biggest in the world) simply vanishing from the surface of the earth, indeed was stirring and caught the nation’s attention! Certainly from marketing point of view, particularly from branding lessons perspective, its explicit that while reaching on top is tough, staying there is just too tough!

The challenges, many a times regulatory, but most of the times driven by customers, pushes companies/brands to refresh, reinvent, innovate…simply put, continuously change…and if you are behaving like an Ostrich, market  pulls you down and you become a truly ‘grounded’ brand.

Vernacular in digital has indeed been one of the key trends this year. Talking of digital at a larger level, 2018 also saw the launch of Google BOT, Alexa. Apart from the “digital-comedy” of the two digital assistants (Siri & Alexa) fighting over their bosses, the tech/digital changes and mainstreaming of stuff launched in earlier years, like OTT/online media platforms like Hotstar, Netflix, etc. have led to substantial change in media consumption habits, which we marketers must watch out for. 

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