For the 4th year we present a meta data analysis of the predictions made for the coming year by industry experts. This year we gathered 195 predictions and categorized them as presented in the chart below. For charting purposes, we normalize volume to 100% so we can determine which are the main areas of discussion. The main topics of discussion this year were Content, Segmentation, Emails and ESPs, and Data Analysis. We will discuss each category in more detail below. The link below the chart provides source information for the predictions.
Emails and ESPs
For emails its predicted that the channel will see greater usage as the distrust for social media effectiveness continues to loom large over the events of the past year. Emails will be more interactive for consumers and the main tool for ecommerce to engage customers and grow sales. If marketers stick to the privacy sensitivity highlighted by GDPR, email will continue to receive the respect it deserves.
For ESPs it is good to recognize the shifts in consumer demands and the segments that are focused on by marketers. Winners will be those that provide means for easy interactions with direct to consumer subscription models, the consumer desire for video consumption and tools for account-based marketing. ESPs with CRM functionality for advanced segmentations, pre-built segments, and cross-channel communications are the order of the day.
Content from brands is expected to be more authentic with a low-key tone to the verbiage. Storytelling and interactive content will keep your subscribers engaged for 2019. There is an expectation for quality over quantity and humanization of brands.
Although there will be a proliferation of video use and interactivity with emails, there is also an expectation that more plain text email will be used for communicating with customers.
Marketers will need to be good data managers to be successful, but thanks to AI and predictive analytics, success is easier to obtain. Predictive analytics are becoming the keystone for predictive automations and email campaigns. Chatbots are utilizing AI and machine learning to assist in answering routine questions for website visitors and decreasing the overall sales cycle and increasing customer satisfaction.
AI is also making it easier for hyper segmentation and the increasing use of personalized dynamic content which has created the mantra that 2019 will be the year of Customer Experience for Email Marketing. Special care in utilizing 1st party customer data will still be needed to develop trust while delivering an excellent buying experience.
Automations will become less clunky and more natural in their flow with the help of AI. Triggered automations will increase in use and become the backbone for a more personalized experience for the individual. There is a realization that the sales funnel is non-linear and unique for each visitor, so the brand story will be built in the same manner.
Curiously there was not a single prediction that focused specifically on ads.
Sensitivity to data protection and individual privacy remains high. First party data acquisition takes precedent. Respect for the subscriber’s privacy rights and control of their data will be shown by an increased use of preference centers so the subscriber has complete control. Brands will make greater use of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to create a more harmonious email ecosystem. This will also allow for the use of branded emails in Gmail.
Micro influencers and local influencers are becoming more important. Brands need to bring the social back to social to build trust. Brands must also lean in to controversy and take a stand when necessary. Augmented reality video is also expected to disrupt social media video in 2019.
There is a continuing call to optimize the mobile experience. More mobile, more mobile, more mobile please! Mobile trumps desktop use.
More brands will be using website personalization. According to a recent survey, 43% of shopper prefer a tailored shopping experience. As part of this, there will also be more bespoke landing pages to satisfy potential customers.
Voice navigation and command is becoming prevalent in many applications. Email is not immune to this trend. Its expected that voice will enter the email platform in some manner in 2019.
2019 appears to be the year of the individual, where if their cards are played right and they allow for the use of their personal data, they will get the shopping experience of their lifetime.